Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Dye, Eggs! DYE!!!!

So, this year the boys and I decided (read: I decided for the boys and I) to try a lot of different ways to dye our Easter eggs. There were some seriously differing levels of success with these experiments, and I've learned a lot of Do's and Don'ts which I shall now - wanted or not - pass on to you!

Hot Glue Eggs - NOT recommended for the kiddos
This turned out awesome but is a HUGE cheat - I did the decorating with the hot glue, then dropped the eggs in the dye after it dried. It dyed the egg shell but not the glue so I think if I were a little more adventurous, we could've tried to peel off the glue and the pattern would have been in white underneath - but I was afraid of cracking the shell so I just let the kids mess it up - uh, I mean pretty it up - with paints and glitter.
Striped Eggs - you just put a couple rubber bands around the eggs before you drop them in the dye.
The little "egg-droppers" that we made from pipe cleaners were a bust. We had much better luck just using plastic spoons to drop and fish out the eggs.

The striping turned out pretty good. It was not as easy as you'd think to get the rubber bands around the eggs - some fell off once they were dipped, and some just refused to stay on even before they got dipped. After they dried - check out my ghetto egg stand, I just turned a Styrofoam cup upside down and ripped out the bottom :) - the boys decorated them with glitter glue sticks.

Glitter Eggs - glitter is from the Dollar Tree, they have them in little packs of 5 colors in a mix of small and large flakes

This was a huge bust. I used an adhesive spray - we got more glitter on our fingers than on the eggs. Then, it took forever to dry. And then, they wouldn't dye. The spray  - or maybe the glitter? - somehow prevented the dye from sticking to the shell. Maybe rubber cement would have worked better. I dunno, not trying this again.

Two-faced Eggs - massively easy and pretty darn cool-looking, if you ask me.
Yeah, so, it doesn't take a genius to figure out how we did these. Just used shallow dishes and laid the eggs in on one side for a while, took 'em out and let 'em dry a bit, then put them in a shallow dish with another color.

Tie-dyed Eggs using veggie oil - major bust. For some reason, the oil made whatever color we used turn this poopy brown color.

This was one of those pinterest fails. Yes, I followed the directions precisely. It said:
For these just add a tsp. or two of oil into your food coloring mixture
& then dip your egg into 1 color & remove.
 Gently wipe off the excess oil and then dip into another color! 
Dip into as many colors as you like for a cool marbled effect.
Yeah, right. The oil made the dye super slimy and each dip made it more and more poopy brown.
Tie-dyed Eggs using dye dropped onto paper towels - SCORE!
These were our biggest success - the boys were able to do it all themselves and they turned out awesome. All they did was put different colored drops of food coloring directly onto a paper towel, then put the egg in the middle, wrapped the paper towel around the egg and dropped it into a plastic bag. We kept it in the plastic bag for maybe ten minutes, took 'em out and got these! So easy and really cool looking! No poopy brown here!
Sticker Eggs - no good.
Didn't even bother taking a picture of the final product for this one. The stickers came off while the eggs were in the dye. Might have worked if I had better stickers maybe?

Fail or not, we had a lot of fun trying these different methods of dying eggs. Now I gotta get off the computer and make some egg salad!


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Happy Easter/ Passover/ Persian New Year!

Happy Easter everyone! And Passover. And Persian New Year. Yeah, all of that. I really love this time of year, starting with daylight savings and going all the way through to Sizdah bedar. Um, yeah, maybe I should back up a bit and explain some things.

You know how this country is called a melting pot? Well, I got your melting pot right here, baby. My mom is Jewish, family's been here for a couple of generations but before that they were from Russia. My dad is Muslim, born in Tehran, Iran - although he's been an American citizen four times longer than he was an Iranian one. I married a Christian - although I'm not sure what kind of Christian, since Rob doesn't practice, so I know it's not Catholic and that's about it. His father's family is mostly Sicilian and his mother's is mostly Cherokee. So the boys are straight up everything. They truly are the "other" choice in that optional part of a survey where I warily check off "Caucasian" if for no other reason than "other" seems more like "nothing" to me.

So, this time of year, we celebrate Passover by going to our Jersey relatives and eating a fabulous meal - Gefilte fish, Matzoh Ball soup, Lamb and Brisket - hells yeah! We read a couple passages from some Passover pamphlet that reviews the "cool parts" (my opinion) of the Old Testament - you know: mean-old Pharaoh in Egypt, let-my-people-go Moses, the plagues ending with the killing of the first born, the mad dash through the parted red sea - that cool stuff. We at the "cool table" (the second generation) generally crack obnoxious jokes and drink copious amounts of wine through the whole thing and chime in mostly to sing "Dy-Dyanu" at the top of our lungs. Yeah, we ain't coming from no synagogue, brother.

Around this time is also the first day of Spring, which is the Persian New Year. You know, when all of Mother Nature's plants and creatures which were dead or hibernating through the winter begin their life anew? Makes so much more sense than celebrating a new year in the dead of winter, don't it?

Anyway, there's a lot of really awesome customs associated with that as well. The most fun one for the boys is Chaharshanbe suri (literal translation: Wednesday Feast) which the boys know as "the one where we jump over fires". The Wednesday before the first day of Spring, we set fires (usually just some twigs, accelerant & balled newspaper in large pan roasters set along the middle of the driveway) and we jump over them while reciting a rhyme that essentially says the fire will burn away all the bad from the past year and set us up fresh for all the good in the coming year. Pretty awesome - but, man, does it freak out the neighbors! :)

There's also a huge party on Nowruz (New Year) - lots of dancing, lots of drinking and a Santa-type guy named Haji Firooz that gives presents to the kiddos. And then, 13 days after the new year, there's Sizdah bedar (literal translation: Getting rid of Thirteen) where all Iranians go to the countryside - we usually go to Ridley Park - and have a picnic. It's really, really wonderful to have cultural traditions that aren't "American" and I'm very thankful that my family keeps those traditions alive. And again, the religious aspects of the culture are non-existent in our family - ain't nobody going to no Mosque over here!

Then, somewhere in the middle of all this, we do Easter. For us, Easter is about egg hunts, ham dinner and baskets of candy. Don't mean to upset the "true believers" out there, but nobody in my family is going to a church outside of a wedding - so all that's left for us on Easter is the Pagan stuff :) Speaking of which, I did ALOT of Easter egg dying with the boys this year. So much so that I'll be posting all the different techniques we tried on a second post. So, for now, I leave you with some of the Easter-themed delicacies I created this year. Happy Spring!!

Got this off pinterest. Out of a dozen eggs, these were the only two that I was able to use - no matter what I tried, I could not get the shell to peel away from the egg without massacring the white.

My most popular Easter creation - and one that I came up with on my own - is Easter Bark. I laid out Matzoh on parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Then, I melted a bag of white choc chips in the microwave and poured them over top. Then I scattered jelly beans on top and put it in the fridge for a bit. Easy peasy. 

I put a can of white frosting into separate cups and used food coloring to make the different colors. I cheated this time and used a Pillsbury sugar cookie dough instead of making my own, and I free-style cut the dough into the shapes. Used some mini-choc chips and a few marshmellows as well.


Thursday, March 28, 2013

99 problems and this b*^&ch is one

Well, here is the first of what I'm sure will be many apologetic posts about being too busy/ sick/ depressed to write. As often happens with writers, I went through an extremely busy couple of weeks, followed by a couple of weeks of rebellious "I'm just not in the mood to write", followed by a couple of weeks of sheepish "I just can't seem to get myself to write". It seems I have 99 problems and this b*^&ch is one. But now I'm back, so here we go again.

After being terribly sidetracked, I am back in "diet" mode. This time, I have a juicer. I have lost - wait a minute, lemme just run to the scale - 7 lbs in 7 days. I am still not under the 200 lb mark - I am soooooo looking forward to that, though! - but I'm extremely happy with my progress so far. I spent about two & half days "detoxing" - nothing whatsoever but fruits and vegetables from the juicer (well, and coffee). The next couple of days I added solid fruits & veggies - salads mostly - and then I gave myself dairy back - a hard boiled egg, some cheese. Also, the weather has improved a bit so I went jogging the past couple of days.

Juicing has been fun and makes me feel so healthy but it is very time-consuming and quite expensive. It's definitely not something I can maintain long term. But, while I can sustain it, I have discovered some great things.
Here is the result of my first shopping trip before the detox - these two large boxes cost me $80 and that was at a Mexican fruit & veggie stand with insanely low prices compared to the grocery store! Some of the non-veggie/ fruit items included here: Coconut water, agave syrup and coconut milk.
First, there is a huge difference between a juicer and a blender. Juicers have this centrifuge thingee (kinda like the Gravitron at the carnival that spins fast and pulls you against the wall) that pulls out the pulp. Makes fantastic pure juice BUT the amount of juice you can get vs. the pulp you make from one fruit or vegetable is enough to make you cry. Luckily, our compost pile is the richest that it's ever been.  Also, some fruits & veggies can't (or shouldn't) be juiced. Bananas can't. Broccoli shouldn't.

This was my first combo - in the blender, before I got the juicer. I added coconut water & a little agave syrup. What I learned - grapefruit is really strong, if you use more than a half, all you taste is grapefruit.
Here's what it looked like. It tasted better than it looked :)

Next, ginger makes everything delicious. I never had fresh ginger at home before, and I still don't know what to do with it besides put it in the juicer, but I'm gonna start looking up recipes 'cause I love, love, love ginger - ah, that ZING! I have also discovered beets - never EVER had beets before - and they are LOVELY but make your poo red (which can be quite disconcerting).

Last, if you put more than three different fruits & veggies together (in the juicer or the blender), you're really just wasting money, 'cause the taste is gonna get all muddled. KISS (Keep it simple, stupid) is definitely the way to go. 

Also, the time-consumption is not just in preparing the fruits & veggies, but the clean-up afterwards.

Ok, while I am still motivated, I'm gonna get the boys together, go for a jog, then start some Easter/ Passover dessert-making. Will post more later (I promise)!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Be Nice, for God's Sake

So, on Valentine's Day I spent the day refereeing between my 4 year old and our 3 year old neighbor. I really don't know what it is, but they sure do have a love/hate relationship.
I am fairly confident in saying that Kyle isn't an aggressive kid. He went full time to daycare up until this year and his nick name was "The Lovebug". And although Jack and Kyle do a lot of wrestling that inevitably ends with someone crying, they don't beat the crap out of each other out of malice or anything. In fact, for three years apart in age, I think they play pretty well together most of the time.
But there's just something about this neighbor's son that turns Kyle into a real jerk and it worries me a little. The kid can be a little annoying, but not any more than any typical three year old - he looks for attention by doing things like standing right in front of the tv so nobody can see and then he'll smile & refuse to move until the fourth or fifth time he's asked to. Or he'll want to play with anything Kyle has in his hands but he'll refuse to let Kyle play with anything he happens to have his hands on. Again, typical three year old behavior, in my opinion.
But, I feel like Kyle's reaction to this boy's little annoying tendencies is a little extreme. Kyle spends most of the day trying to get away from this boy, which of course causes the boy to try harder to pursue Kyle. He'll actually get physical with this boy, I've seen him push and kick him away from him when the boy tries to lean into him or sit next to him. And before you start judging me, it's not like I'm just sitting there watching this without intervening - I have done a lot of "You guys have to learn to share", "Please take turns, guys" or just plain "Be nice, for god's sake!".
In the end, I guess what I'm most concerned about is that Kyle doesn't turn into a bully. I hate bullies. I was bullied in both elementary school and middle school and I would be so disappointed if one of my kids did that to someone else. As bad as it made me feel, I would much rather my kid have to go through the bullying than to find out that he's the cause of some other kid's misery. I am hoping that this will be less of an issue with boys than it is with girls - everyone knows that girls are so mean to each other, although it's not like boys can't be bullies. But, I gotta have some kind of advantage for not having girls right? I keep getting told, you just wait until they're this or that age, then you'll be glad you don't have girls. So I'm hoping that their gender will pay off in school with nice, uncomplicated relationships with their friends - you know, the kind of thing girls can't seem to manage without back-stabbing, belittling and the general serious psychological damage that females can do to each other.
But, from what I can see so far, it's just a poor dynamic with this particular child, so I'll just keep my eye on him and try to keep reminding him to be nice, for God's sake. In the meantime, I managed to make 29 Valentine Owl puppets for Jack's classmates. Yes, there are 30 kids in Jack's first grade class. But I'll save my complaints about the poor state of our educational system for another post.
I got a bag of felt Valentine shapes - hearts and flowers and words like "kiss" & "love"- from the dollar store. God bless the dollar store.

I cut foam into the shape of a heart and glued it upside down to a craft stick.
The little note on the back I got off of my friend Jenny. Dunno if she made it up or got it from somewhere else.
When we move into our new house, I definitely want to make a decent, well-organized crafting space.

I didn't include any candy, which I suppose I could have but I decided not to. I mean, I honestly do not remember getting any candy with my valentine cards when I was a kid. When did Valentine's day become another Easter?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Daddy-Fest at Casa de Bad Mom

I am starting to get horribly jealous about how much my boys worship their daddy. For the first time in the history of my motherdom, I find myself wishing I had girls. But, to be honest, knowing my luck, the girls would prefer Rob over me, too.

It's just so frickin' frustrating. I spend so much more time with them, and quality time too. I'm constantly carting them around to this or that event - bouncing, playdates, ice skating, you name it. And I'm the one that feeds them, buys them stuff, cleans up after them. Really, the only thing Rob does for them on a regular basis is put them to bed.

And yet it's a constant Daddy-Fest at Casa de Bad Mom. Especially Kyle, the four year old - everything's about daddy, daddy, daddy. I try not to express my bitterness, especially considering that Rob never had a dad growing up and all he ever wanted out of life was to be a good father. But I do catch myself sometimes saying things like "Daddy doesn't make you dinner, mommy does" or "When was the last time Daddy took you to Chik-Fil-A?". And then I just sound like an ass.

Anyway, this past weekend we had a huge storm so it was time for stuck-inside-all-day-let's-do-a-craft-so-that-we-aren't-watching-t.v.-literally-24-7. My mother (the Good Mom) had gotten the boys mittens that they had considered "too girly" to wear - they were covered in skull-and-crossbones but the eyes of the skull were heart-shaped so that was just too feminine for my little homophobes. So, I broke out the hot glue gun, a pack of colored foam sheets that I got from the dollar store, some googly eyes and a black marker. Here is the result:

Unwanted Mitten Finger Puppets
Kyle requested animals.
Despite what it looks like, I am not an artist, so I had Jack on google images bringing up pictures for me to use.

Jack is very into monsters - we just rented Hotel Transylvania so I think that's where this comes from.  My Frankenstein and Wolfman are inspired but my Dracula is just awful - what's with his hair?

They really did seem to enjoy playing with these puppets and it kept the television off for a good hour so that's something. 
Meanwhile, my diet has been completely sidetracked by events that came up in the past two weeks - Superbowl, Moms' Night Out, celebrating a friend's birthday - so, I put back on 2 of the 15 pounds I lost since I started the diet last month. *sigh* I wanna buckle down and get back on the horse but Valentine's Day is this week plus we have a big snow tubing event planned for the weekend, which means drinking - because that's how Bad Mom rolls - which means diet-out-of-window for another week. *reiterated sigh* We'll see how it goes....


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

5 Signs That I Have Been Married Too Long

Don't get me wrong, I like being married. I love my husband. His contact info is stored in my cell phone under the name "True Love" so that's irrefutable. And nothing makes me appreciate my marriage more than my single friends. Oh, the horror stories I hear from them about the dating world, if my husband heard them he'd never doubt my faithfulness or commitment ever again, not that he does now. But, after a decade of marriage, there certainly are signs that we ain't newlyweds no more. So these are 5 of them.....

1. I have not owned a set of matching bra and panties in years.

In fact - as I have what the biddies call "an ample bosom" - all of my bras are the matronly, underwire, three-pronged kind. All undergarments are reasonably colored in either black, white or beige, without any patterns or lace. I have a basket of lingerie somewhere in the back of my closet of frilly, flimsy things that are gathering dust.

2. PDA is strictly done to gross out the kids.

I try very hard to remember to kiss the hubby when he gets home from work, but I admit that even that doesn't happen some days. Certainly, when we are out and about, there is rarely any public displays of affection. Even the hand holding - I mean, really, is it necessary? I don't need a sweaty palm in mine to know that my husband loves me. However, giving a big smooch just to hear "OHHHHH GROSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!! That's so disgusting!" when we are in the middle of a packed restaurant, now that's priceless.

3. Farting.

I remember an extremely short amount of time in our dating history - perhaps no more than our first 2 months together - in which I "held it in". When the farting in front of my dear one actually happened, I remember feeling - and I still do feel this way - that this really could be "the one". Yes, my test of whether or not it is true love is the ability to fart without hesitation. 13 years later, however, it is getting to be a little ridiculous. Especially in the car or in bed - Rob's farts can be so bad in a confined space that my eyes will actually tear up. Mine, of course, smell like perfume.

4. Open-door Bathroom Policy.

This is along the same lines as reason #3 but carried to the extreme. We have one bathroom and it is closet-sized, no exaggeration. I remember distinctly the night - approximately three years ago - while I'm putting on makeup at the mirror, which is inconveniently located inches from the toilet, and Rob is taking a whizz. And I realize that I am getting splashed. *sigh* Rob is also a "lazy flusher", so even the "if it's brown, flush it down" rule doesn't seem to apply to him. I am even at the point in my marriage where pooping is not a private affair. Rob has to take a long, hot bath every night to relieve his joint pain and it's just the one bathroom so, if you gotta go then, you gotta go. But it is definitely a sign that there is no shame left in me whatsoever.

5. Forget Santa, I buy my own presents.

It's a matter of practicality but it's also a clear sign that I've been married too long. In our first few years together, he would get me presents but they were not to my taste, and therefore, a waste of money we don't have. The next few years, I tried the giving-him-a-list thing but he still managed to f*%k it up. At this point, I don't ask him to do anything in terms of presents - why bother? I know what I want/need & I know where to get it. For my birthday, anniversary and Valentine's day, all I ask for is a card with something personal written in it - and he does that. For Christmas, I buy my own stuff, wrap it myself and put his name on the label - he doesn't even know what he got me until Christmas Day. Hell, at least it's a surprise for somebody. I, of course, still buy presents for him though. The man would be naked if it weren't for me.

So there you go, 5 signs that somewhere along the line I became very, very comfortable - some would say complacent - with the person I love. It would be nice, I suppose, if we made a concerted effort to change some of these things. If, say, I ask him to buy me a nice matching set of undergarments for Valentine's day, that could actually knock out signs #1 & #5 at the same time. But here's what I envision: he gets me some ridiculous outfit from Victoria's Secret that doesn't fit but I squeeze myself into it like an overstuffed sausage & then I look at my reflection with ass fat and back fat and side boob all bursting the seams of this stupid lacy piece of fluff and burst into tears. And really, who needs all that? So, instead, I will add the moniker of "Bad Wife" to "Bad Mom" and be done with it.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Moustache is Back

I think I'm officially calling this one - the moustache is back. Finished my sixth and (supposedly) final round of laser hair removal on my upper lip from a Groupon I got a while back. It's been about a month and, yup, looks like I'm gonna have to dig back out the hot wax. Luckily, my faith in lasers was not as solid as my last big weight loss and hence, unlike last year's bag of fat clothes, I did NOT throw out my unwanted hair removal accessories. *sigh* One of the many trade-offs of being a half Middle Eastern sasquatch - bimonthly, I must layer up so much wax on my body, you could stick a wick through my skull and light me like a godd@mn candle.

I am, however, delighted with my highlights - yes, another Groupon or possibly Livingsocial deal, ah who the hell knows? Anyway, one of the few positive genetic gifts passed down to me from dear old dad is the lateness in life in which my hair will turn gray. I have to this date - I'm six months away from 40 - only had three gray hairs. This is the God's honest truth so shut your cakeholes. I gleefully lord this over my younger, thinner, smaller-nosed sister regularly, she who would be fully nanny-gray if it weren't for expensive dyes. Tee hee hee. But, for the past three years, I have decided that some blonde streaks would do me nicely. And my hair is extremely thick, like a brillo pad, so it takes a good 2-3 hours normally to get my hair did. Despite my bad-momishness, I can really only justify 2-3 hours of "me" time once every six months. Got the deed done last weekend and, as I said earlier, my happiness with my hairdo does balance out the realization that I will be ripping hair from my upper lip in the very near future.

Last night, in an attempt to NOT have the boys spend the night a) watching tv or b) wrestling/ beating the crap out of each other or c) spending money buying toys that they will destroy faster than you can say "What the f&ck was THAT?!", I broke out the hot glue gun. I really think I'm going to edit my blog to read "Bad Mom" with the subtitle "How a Hot Glue Gun Keeps Me From Killing my Kids". I was putting away laundry and decided that the unmatched socks I was keeping in a little basket in the kids' room had gone unpaired for long enough. So we made these:

 SOCK MONSTERS (I wanna call them SOCK INSECTS but spiders are ARACHNIDS)
The idea itself was NOT mine. I got it from frugalfun4boys.com - wonderful website, I highly recommend it - although I didn't follow the same directions as that mom suggested (as she suggested sewing which I DO NOT DO).

All I did was cut the socks in half, cut up the one half of the sock into strips and stuff the other part of the sock with them. Does that even make sense? Then I hotglued the sock closed, glued some pipe cleaners for legs and cut some felt to make eyes & fangs. We made two spiders and two ants.

Believe it or not, the boys played with these sock animals for an hour straight without fighting, turning on the t.v. or destroying them and scattering the ripped-apart pieces all over the house. Go frickin' figure.

I am now going to get in the shower to get ready to go to the Bottom Dollar to get supplies for the meals we are bringing to Super Bowl at my sister's. I am making my awesome guacamole and my cousin's awesome buffalo chicken dip. Yes, I will update with pics and recipes later. For now, Bad Mom must wash....