Crock Pot Problems

My husband and I have this deal that whoever cooks dinner, the other half has to clean the dishes.  I like to cheat sometimes and make Crock Pot dinners.  Therefore, my stress level is greatly reduced by the mere fact that I do not have to rush home to cook.  Then, since I technically mix all the ingredients that morning, my husband is on Crock Pot cleaning duty. 

Yesterday, I made a delicious chicken and rice meal in the Crock Pot.  As my husband was in the kitchen filling the Crock Pot with soapy water, he yells at me, “For your next blog, you should write about Crock Pot problems.”  I started laughing and said “like what?”  He then unleashed his tirade about our beloved Crock Pot. 

Problem #1:  There is no way to delay the cooking start time.

Most of the Crock Pot dinner recipes that I use suggest cook times to be between six and eight hours, if cooking on low.  The issue that arises for my husband and I is that round trip of driving to work, working and then driving home is 10+ hours.  Now, the Crock Pot we have does allow me to set the timer for eight hours and then it switches over to keep warm.  By the time we got home last night, the chicken was slightly dry and the rice was burnt around the edges.  Being frustrated by this in the past, my husband has tried to rig the Crock Pot to the Christmas lights delayed timer.  We are still working out the kinks in that process.  Therefore, Dear Crock Pot Gods, please find a way to delay the eight hour cooking time by two hours for my husbands’ sanity.  

Problem #2:  We have to soak the Crock Pot in soapy water for three days.

Ok, so we may not need to actually soak the Crock Pot that long, but, it does make it easier to clean.  However, it is about 50/50 who really ends up cleaning the Crock Pot, due to my husband letting it sit in soapy water for this long in order to loosen up all the food.  Half the time I end up cleaning the crock pot because I am sick of it sitting on the counter and taking up valuable space.  I beleive that his intended goal is to get me to clean it, whether he wants to admit it or not.  Above all things to cook in the Crock Pot, making Queso is probably the worst.  Now, that I believe should soak in soapy water for three days!

Problem #3:  We are too lazy to return the Crock Pot back to its home.

Even though this wonderful dinner maker takes up valuable counter space, we still find ourselves leaving it on the counter for another three days after it is cleaned.  Why?  Reason number one: we bought a house that does not have a pantry.  We underestimated the importance of a pantry and house number two will definitely have a pantry.  Therefore the Crock Pot’s home, since it is so big, is shoved in a bottom shelf behind the smaller Crock Pot and electric griddle.  The process of removing these items and putting them back in front takes more effort than we are willing to put in on a week night.  Honestly, it would probably take five minutes, but we would rather spend those five minutes with little man.  Unless, little man decides to throw a fit, and yes we have entered into that fun stage.  At this point, I usually let my husband handle the tantrum and I suddenly found myself five minutes to complete this task! 

In light of these problems, we are reduced to using our crock pot on the weekends for chili during football season.  GO CHIEFS!Maybe a handful of times during the year do we dust it off to test out a quick dinner solution.  Then we remember how much of a pain in the ass it can be.  A month later, we forget the whole process and dig it out wondering why we do not use it more often.  The vicious cycle of the Crock Pot starts over, once again.

Black Nose Out Of Joint

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Missy Girl, our beloved brindled boxer, has been my baby girl for the past three years.  My husband got her for me as a Christmas gift in 2010 right before we moved into our first home.  She has been spoiled from day one!  However, now with a toddler crawling around the house, she has found that she is no longer top dog.  Poor Missy Girl (her real name is Mischief, however, we were always going to call her Missy for short but “Girl” got added somewhere down the line to form “Missy Girl”). 

Missy became not only our pet dog, but like a child to us.  The first year we had her, we made sure to take her to the dog park and for runs.  We spoiled her with a plethora of toys and treats.  Of course, and to this day, she is the only child allowed to sleep in bed with us.  Her first birthday, we threw her a small party complete with dog cake and presents to open.  The following Christmas, a local pet store had a Santa Clause for the puppies to meet and take their picture with.  You bet we waited in line for almost an hour for that picture!  Not only did she get spoiled that Christmas by my husband and I with a full set of angry bird kid toys (that I waited in line for two hours on black Friday to purchase), but she was also received presents from Nana and Papa. 

While I was pregnant, she had reached the point where she could be out of her kennel all day while we were at work.  I liked to think she just lounged in the big bed (our king sized bed) while I slaved away at my desk.  We never had a problem with her chewing anything or destroying a pair of shoes.  My husband trained her well (I wish I could claim some part of her well behavior but I really can’t)!  However, shortly after little man was born, she suddenly developed a fondness for chewing.  After returning home from a quick thirty minute trip to the grocery store, we found a ski mask, binky and a white plastic child’s hanger chewed up and eaten.  She threw up bits of plastic hanger for a week straight.  After that, she started going back in her kennel, for her own safety.

Little man and Missy Girl’s relationship started to blossom when he started crawling and playing.  She would bring him her angry birds and ropes, waiting for him to try and grab them.  Missy has always been gentle with him, except maybe when handing out too many kisses.  Even yesterday, I caught my son grabbing a hand full of Missy’s floppy ear and yanked as hard as he could.  She did not make one sound.  Even when he got in trouble for pulling her ear, she showered him with kisses.  Besides chewing up a few pacifiers and hangers, she has yet to chew up any of his toys.  A couple months later, she has reverted back to our well behaved puppy.  Until recently that is, now she is pissed that he is getting all of her table scraps.

In all actuality, little man is just eating his fair share of table food.  However, in the past, Missy Girl would get tidbits of our dinner cut up and placed in her bowl.  Now, in her eyes, I bet she is thinking “that damn kid is stealing all my food.”  She nudges and whines at me every time I place meat on little man’s tray.  She circles his chair like a shark waiting for anything to fall.  The second his hand leaves the tray, she is right there licking off every piece of left over sausage hidden in that little hand.  Last, when I pick him up out of his high chair, her snout goes right in to clean up anything he has dropped.  However, her begging stops at Cheerio’s and refuses to clean those up off the floor.  One would think beggars should not be choosers. 

Now do not let her fool you, she still receives her own burger, brat and slice of chicken whenever we have home cooked meals.  Plus, whatever is left on little man’s tray goes right into her bowl when he is done eating.  Yet, she likes to remind me constantly while I am eating my dinner that she is sitting, somewhat patiently (insert nudge with wet nose here), by my side waiting for her share. 

Poor puppy may not get to go to the dog park as often or visit Santa this year, but that Missy Girl is still spoiled rotten. 

No Sick Days for Mommy!

Do you know that instant where you realize you are catching a cold and there is nothing you can do about it?  That instant hit me last week with the cold from hell!  It is making the rounds through the entire family.  When I say entire family, I am not only talking about my son, my husband and I.  I am talking about Grandparents too!  Even co-workers are coming down ill.  Everybody told me, that when I had kids, I could guarantee to be knocked down by colds more often.  I now believe them 100%!

Catching colds used to not be such a big deal.  As a child, if I got sick enough I got to stay at home with mommy.  She would make me chicken noodle soup and Orange Kool-Aid.  We would have slumber parties on the couch and these were the moments she taught me how to crochet.  At 10 o’clock in the morning, every sick day, Price is Right would be on and I loved competing against the contestants on the show.  I have lost count of how many cars I would have won had I been there!

As I got older, I started getting “get better soon” gifts from my parents.  Anything from a new stuffed animal to ice cream because my throat was sore.  Yes, these little gifts lasted through my college years, as well.  I remember my dad making the hour drive to my dorm room with medicine and cookies to make me feel better.  My mom bought me a new pair of shoes when I contracted pink eye in both eyes. 

When my husband and I bought a house less than half a mile from my parents, you bet I called my mom when I was not feeling well.  Again, at 25 years old, my mom would still bring me Tylenol and chicken noodle soup.  However, I can no longer drink Orange Kool-Aid without thinking about crushed up ibprofin.  I never learned how to swallow pills until high school so my mom always crushed it up and mixed it with orange Kool-Aid or orange juice for me to take it with.  Yuck! 

That all changed when my baby boy came along.  I no longer get special treatment on my sick days!  Instead I have plethora of responsibilities to accomplish on the days I am not feeling my best.  The days of coming home from work and going straight to bed are long gone!  On the rare occasions that I find myself sick enough to stay home from work, I still have to get up once little man arrives home.  There is a mouth the feed and a little tushy that needs washing.  He does not care if mommy has a cold or not.  However, there is nothing a little snuggling cannot cure! 

Not only do I have to keep my bed waiting for me, my little “get better soon” gifts have disappeared.   Those have also made the transition from daughter to grandson.  When my poor baby had to have surgery at a month old, my husband and I came home to an array of gifts on our dining room table from Nana and Papa for little man.  However, I am 100% ok with him getting the little gifts now, my poor baby deserves it when is under the weather! 

Thankfully, I have a very supportive husband that agreed to be Mr. Mom last week while I was battling this cold from hell.  Mr. Mom fed, bathed and put little man to sleep so this Mommy could get her first full sick night in nine months!

Zombie Apocalypse

One of our favorite shows has recently started again, The Walking Dead!  However, now being a mom, I am finding it harder and harder to watch the show each week.  Mainly due to the fact that I would hate to have my son grow up during the Zombie apocalypse.  Would we be safe?  I could not handle if I lost him to Zombies.  Never the less, when I start watching this show again, I tend to have at least one zombie nightmare a week.  A couple of weeks ago, the following happened:

I woke up at 2:34 am to “beep, beep, beep” and the kitchen light on.  My husband was not in bed next to me and in my half-awake brain, I jolted upright.  Missy was lying at the end of the bed and she just perked her head up an inch to give me the “why did you have to wake me” look.

I yelled at him, “What are you doing?”

I hear back “The power went out.”

Again I ask, “So what are you doing?”

“Fixing the clocks,” he replied in a very “what else would I be doing” kind of way.

I signed and then slammed my head back into my pillows.  Missy girl also let out a deep sigh and went back to sleep.  After the beeping stopped, kitchen light turned off and he was back in bed and back to sleep in record time, I was now wide awake.  As I lay there tossing and turning between the small space from the edge of the bed and Missy’s domain, I started to wonder why the power went out to begin with.  In the three years that we have lived in this house, the power has only ever gone out when thunderstorms have rolled through.  I stopped and rested on my pillow and listened as hard as I could for thunder.  All that my ears could pick up was Missy’s snoring and the soft buzz from the baby monitor.

“Nope, no thunder, it must be the zombie apocalypse has finally happened and the power plant was attacked.” Is the exact rational thought that went through my brain at three o’clock in the morning.  The monologue that I continue to have with myself in the wee hours of the morning was as follows:

“Should I just lay here and wait until I hear slapping of hands on the window?  I would hope that sirens would go off to let us know that the zombies are coming.  Do I just lay here and wait for my dad to show up?  I would definitely
hear the Hummer coming down the street.  I mean, that is the game plan.  I will need to run upstairs and grab my baby.  Do I need to bring the car seat?  If the zombies are here, do I really need to abide traffic laws?  We do not have enough formula in the house for him to survive off of until he turns a year old.  Maybe when we get farther out of town, we can stop at a small grocery store and pick up supplies.  Zombies would not be in the small towns yet, right?  Also, we should load up on canned food.  Canned food lasts forever, right?  I should also pack up all the baby food because we may need to eat that, as well.  What would we pack all the baby and canned food in?  I should invest in those canvas bags.  “Save the planet!”  There is not going to be much of a planet to save if the zombies are here.  What if other people try and steal our food?  I hope other people in the neighborhood do not have guns.  I do not want to go to war with anybody when we are trying to leave.  What if a zombie tries to attack me while I have my son in my arms?  I need to go do shooting practice again.  Hopefully my husband and my dad will have my back.  Life would be pretty crazy if the zombies do come.  I wish I was a doctor.  What if somebody gets sick?  However, my sister is a nurse so maybe we will be OK.  We should probably coordinate a location to meet up with my sister and her husband.  Well, I do not hear any sirens or hands slapping on the windows so I think it is safe to go back to sleep.

Needless to say, the zombies never showed up that night and all the clocks were correct in the morning.

Working Mom From Home….

I am very grateful that my job allows me to work from home in certain situations.  For an example, when I have a doctor’s appointment at an odd time, like ten in the morning.  Instead of making the thirty to forty min trek to work, work for an hour, and then make the trek back home, I can stay at home, get something accomplished and then head into work after the appointment.  Another example is when our poor puppy, Missy, has to have surgery for her tumors.  I did not know that Boxer dogs were prone to have so many tumors that can lead to cancer.  We take her tumors very seriously, as she is considered one of our children!

The days of working from home have become fewer and fewer after my son was born.  Mostly, due to the fact that watching a baby while trying to focus on a computer screen is damn near impossible. 

However, this morning, Nana sounded like she was on her death bed so I decided to try my luck.  My son has become quite independent since he learned to crawl.  My first task was to find a way to contain him to the living room.  Now, our house has a 60 inch doorway between our living room and kitchen / dining room.  Granted, we have not looked very hard, but we have yet to find a baby gate that stretches the full length.  Our son has recently found out that he loves playing with cabinets and Missy’s dog food.  Now, if we have yet to find a baby gate for our doorway, do you think we have child proofed our house at all?  Nope.  Therefore, my baby gate consisted of three dining room chairs stretched across the gap.  He loves playing on the chairs and has yet figured out how to crawl through them (However, he did manage to get Tonka truck stuck under it).  Problem solved!

Next, I quickly discovered that anything on the floor is his territory, which gives him a right to play with it.  My fun, bright, newly painted yellow computer desk is not big enough for me to stretch out my many binders of tax related information.  Therefore, when I no longer needed it, I threw last year’s binder on the floor by my feet.  Apparently the brightly colored guitar that makes endless noises or the John Deere Tractor is just not as much fun as the new black binder on the floor.  However, he quickly learned that Canada tax returns do not provide high quality entertainment.  Never the less, I had to pry it out of his hands before he managed to cover the pages in slobber or left over peaches.

Last thing I want to hear while working at home is hearing nothing at all.  That is when I know he is up to no good!  When this moment happened, I looked to my left to see if he was still playing with his toys.  Nope.  I look to my right and find him by the stairs.  Now, if the rest of our house is not baby proof, do you think our stairs are?  It actually does not matter if we did have a baby gate on the stairs because he has not found the stair opening yet.  From our living room, you can see the stairs that go up to the second floor.  The stair boards stick out from the wall about an inch or two.  These stair boards that stick out have become his new favorite past time.  What he likes to do is see how far he can climb up the outer part of the stairs while still touching the ground.  Normally he makes it to the third stair before he falls down and starts back over from stair one. 

This morning though, was a different story.  He was still on the outside of the stairs, but he managed to get his arm twisted between the railing and the stair board above.  Instead of crying to let me know he was stuck, he proceeded to twist his body around and dig the arm deeper in.  My initial reaction was to say his name in a manner I was hoping to come across as “super mom to the rescue!”  Apparently, it sounded like he was in trouble.  He jumped, jerked his body around, yanked his arm free and started crying.   

All of this happened before 10:30 in the morning.  At this moment, I fed him a bottle, rocked him to sleep with my left arm and used my right hand to navigate through accounting information on the computer.  I was very thankful that my husband was able to come home at one o’clock to take over little man duties so I could make progress on my work to-do list!

Getting Older

When I turned 28 this year, I started thinking about everything that I had not accomplished in the past ten years.  I found myself wishing that I traveled more when I was childless and did not have so many responsibilities.  Taking that big trip to England is getting farther and farther out of reach.  Instead of being frugal in my early twenties, maybe I should have enjoyed the money I did make a little more.  Maybe I should have never second guessed going out to eat at a nice restaurant or felt guilty with a purchase of a big ticket item.  Perhaps I should have lived up life just a little bit more.  Has the best time of my life really passed me by?

As I watch my 9 month old grow more and more each day, I start to think every chapter in life provides a new experience that makes it our “best time of our life” to date.  For a baby, learning to crawl or walk is probably the best time of their life at that point in time.  For a kid, learning how to ride a bike could be the ultimate moment.  As a teenager, getting that small card symbolizing independence from their parents and can distance themselves from the house a little more.  How about finally hitting 21 years old and can drink or go to bars legally (because we all know that most of us drank underage).  As we grow older, I believe the “best time of our life” moments get fewer and farther between.  Children grow and learn at such a rapid pace that these moments happen more frequently.  

As I am sitting there pondering turning 28 and wondering if I am ever going to have the money or the time to do all the things I feel that I have missed out on, I stop and look around.  In the past 10 years I have;

  1. graduated high school
  2. graduated college
  3. started my first job
  4. went skydiving
  5. switched to an even better job
  6. bought a house
  7. got a dog
  8. got engaged
  9. ran my first half marathon
  10. got married
  11. visited the Dominican Republica
  12. had a baby. 

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I had so many moments that could qualify as a “top moment” in the past 10 years.  Instead of feeling sorry for myself for not getting to check off a few more items of the bucket list, I started to feel grateful about what I did accomplish.  Who knows adventrues my family I will embark on in the next 10 years.  So I may not have the money to go to Europe right now, but I have my whole life ahead of me.  I do not like to think that the best time of my life has past me by.  I like to believe that there are many more experiences that I have to look forward too.  As a person, I may not grow and change as quickly as I did those early years oflife, but I am looking forward to what the future has to offer!