Thursday, July 29, 2010

My Deere Boy

Some Background

Living where we live, Joel sees tractors on a daily basis, and every time, without fail, he bellows, "TRAC-TOR! TRAC-TOR! TRAC-TOR" until somebody finally says, "Yes, Joely. Tractor."

Just for fun, I waited it out one time.  He said "TRAC-TOR!" with increasing intensity and ardor, TWENTY-THREE TIMES. I stopped him because his face was turning tomato red.

In other words, the boy likes tractors.

Cake Wrecks

I have a long and unfortunate history of making frightening birthday cakes for my children.

Owen's 4th birthday brought us the Serial Killer Cupcake from Hell:

Joel's first birthday cake was a blue monstrosity with bad, bad lettering. I shamelessly lied, and told my guests Owen frosted it. 

When I  got it into my head that Joel needed a three-dimensional birthday cake shaped like a tractor, I did the reasonable thing, and begged asked my mom to do it.


My mother declared that the cake would be made out of Rice Krispie treats. She started her construction.

I did what I do best. That is,  supervise and make smart-ass remarks.

Using her magic and ancient incantations, my mother turned blocks of Rice Krispies into this:

My mom can do anything.

The Aftermath
Well, really, this says it all.

This is my happy TWO YEAR OLD celebrating his birthday today. We had friends over for pancakes. We played in the kiddie pool and ran the sprinkler and squirted water at each other with spray bottles.

It was glorious. Pure, unadulterated toddler bliss.

Mushy Stuff
Two years ago, Joel was born. Our climber, our thrill-seeker, our militantly happy miracle.

Joel, my boy, the world is a better, happier, place with you in it. You're my dear, Deere-loving, boy.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Anything On Earth

Today, the weather was almost pleasant, and we took the boys to the sculpture garden so Owen could show his grandfather how he bikes, "Faster than my Dad runs, faster than a car, faster that anything ON EARTH."

We're working on his confidence.

He pedaled faster than I could walk, so I let him go ahead, stopping him periodically by yelling, "Red Light!" He would freeze in position and wait for me to catch up, then zoom off into the distance once again.

As I walked, watching my boy navigate his world, I thought about autumn, and how pleasant it will be to visit this park. I thought about the crunch of the leaves and the bite of the air, and my boy, pedaling without consequence, without purpose, just simply because it's so much fun.

Then, it hit me. He will be in school three days a week.

Three days a week, he will not share these gorgeous moments with me.

Three days a week, he will belong to his friends and his teachers.

For three days a week, he will have a world entirely apart from me.

This is how it should be.

Yet, as I watched him, I realized that with every day, he is pedaling away from me.

At this time next year, he will be on the cusp of kindergarten. And then it will be first grade, than middle school, and on and on it goes.

So incredibly fast. So incredibly soon. He's pedaling away, faster than his Dad's powerful strides, faster than a car, faster than anything on Earth.

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Whole Lotta Love

Awhile back, before I left town, I did this, commemorating my 500th post. 

I did a game where I would contribute a dollar for every comment. I used to select the winning commenter's favorite charity.

I ended up with 49 comments. I decided to make the contribution an even $50, because I have issues with even numbers being cooler than odd numbers. 

So, imagine one of those comically oversized big checks made out to the Bay Area Food Bank, which serves the Central Gulf Coast of Alabama, Florida, and Mississippi.

They are presently helping out families who are needing food due to lost  income from the BP Environmental Disaster. I'm honored to help out such a worthy cause.

There was a block of voters, courtesy of my friend Muliebrity Smith, who all voted to support this organization. However, the official winning vote was Kristin, who does not have a link, unless I missed it in my caffeine-induced haze.

I'm honored and grateful that I have this opportunity to blog, and that I am able to provide the universe with some of the comfort and joy you've brought me.

Too mushy? I'll leave you with this:

What do you think this is?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sundays in a Historical Tourist Trap City

I am sneaking onto the computer for a minute because my parents, who are visiting from Colorado, are both reading The Washington Post quite happily.

I expect that I will continue to be a spotty poster/commenter for the remainder of the week.

I notice that I have new followers and I love you. Let's get married.

I will visit you soon.

I will also be a better reader/commenter once I return to my hermit-like normal life. The life, that is, where it is not considered socially unacceptable to be on the computer numerous hours each day. 

While I was away, the boys and I met up with my parents at Colonial Williamsburg. With the temperatures soaring around 103 degrees, we all got a true taste of what it would be like to live in the days of wool breeches and hand-powered air conditioning.


We did a forced march up and down Ye Olde Roadway, pushing or pulling the red-faced, whining children. We almost got Ye Olde Heatstroke, were it not for Ye Olde Starbucks.

We quickly returned to the pool, where we engaged in a turf battle with Ye Olde Teenagers and their ancient squirt-muskets of annoyance.

It wasn't all historic ass-tractions, though. We also went to Busch Gardens, where I learned that my children are stubborn as mules.

Thanks to my parents, who attended a root-canal of a time-share presentation, we got discounted tickets to the theme park.

We went straight to the Sesame Street Children's Lollapallooza of Awesome, where my children refused to play in the specially designed sprinkler park, preferring to frolic in the blazing sun.

Owen was quick to dismiss most of the rides as "too fast" or "too scary," although there were infants riding the rides unaccompanied.

Eventually, after some careful analysis and study, Owen determined that these rides were not designed to torture or injure, and he decided to take the plunge. Joel was quick to follow.

I think they enjoyed themselves.

After Busch Gardens and the historical death march, there was only one place left: Bass Pro Shop.

Owen is into fishing, you see, so I thought he would like the fly-fishing demonstration.

I didn't realize it was also a home-design mecca.

I invite you to give me the best idea for how to incorporate this unique and timeless piece of decor into your life. The best entry, as determined by my Dad, will win the title of MOST AWESOME COMMENTER.

Have at it, and I'll see you when my parents find another newspaper or a good episode of Walker, Texas Ranger.

(Thanks to Unknown Mami for hosting Sundays in My City).

Unknown Mami

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Day My Kid's Head Got Stapled Shut

I had a pretty typical weekend. I went to the gym, my in-laws stopped by, Owen and I went to the movies, and my baby got three staples in his head. 

Yes, it finally came to pass. Joel had his first trip to the ER on Saturday.  I'm amazed we lasted as long as we did.

The culprit in all this was a mission-style coffee table. Joel was doing his typical kamikaze-style moves on the couch. He was seated, rolled backwards, and hit the base on his head against the sharp edge.

There was blood. There was that holding-breath-for-a-long-time-then-WAIL thing that babies do. I cleaned it up, and told Paul that it would probably require stitches. I filled up my coffee cup, grabbed a few toy cars, and drove to the hospital.

We registered, and since this was the same hospital where both boys were born, Joel was already on file. The lady asked me to review his information, which I had given to them between gut-splitting contractions several years back.

They had my religious affiliation as Mormon, which is apparently the closest translation to "Get that fucking computer away from me or I will rip out your septum."

Labor was not my finest hour.

We were quickly sent back, since Joel's head looked like this (SKIP IF BLOOD FREAKS YOU OUT)

It turns out that the Nurse Practitioner that worked with us was my neighbor. This is what happens when you live in a small town. She confirmed that he would need a 'closing, but decided that staples would be quicker. And, incidentally,  TOTALLY AWESOME.

Joel amused himself.

Then, it came time to put on the topical anethetic. A reasonable person would allow his mother to hold the gauze against his wound.

Joel is not a reasonable person.

Instead, he looked like a victim of Revolutionary War combat.

Throughout all of this, Joel was quite content. That is, until, he remembered the hospital bracelet around his ankle.

He hated that thing.  "No, no, no, no, no!!!" he screamed, yanking at it with great fury.

It was as if that simple strap of paper had stolen his girlfriend and set his vintage Corvette on fire.

Do you remember Uma Thurman in Kill Bill? That was my kid.

Yet, when we wrapped him in a sheet, held him down, and our neighbor stapled his head shut? That wasn't a big deal. He didn't even cry.


He's fine now. We will walk next door in about seven days so my neighbor can take the staples out.

So, kids, what did we learn from all this? 

1) My kid has sensory preferences and probably won't be rocking the jewelry any time soon.

2) Coffee tables don't belong in our home. Or anything nice, for that matter.

3) Joel is one tough kiddo.

4) His staples are not magnetic. Yes, I tried.

(I'm done with you crazy big people).

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday Fragments: 500 Posts!

This marks my 500th post. Keep reading to find out about a special opportunity I'm giving you, my readers, to celebrate this dubious achievement.


I am on my last day of wearing my glasses after my week-long adventure with pink eye. When working out, I would generally take off my glasses. I am so blind that I couldn't read the numbers on the treadmill. To add to the madness, I wore my ipod.

Thus, I was blind, basically deaf to outside noises, and sweating profusely.

I imagine that this is what it feels like to be Mickey Rourke.

I attempted to take a yoga class, and to keep my glasses from falling down with each Downward-Facing-Dog, I donned this bandana. Prepare yourself: Serious Dorkage Below.

I am so street. And yes, I am flashing West Side, yo. Because, apparently, it's still 1994. 
(I hope Tupac and Biggie work it all out.)

Speaking of yoga-type stuff, Owen was rubbing his face. He said, "My third eye is really blurry today." 

I've heard my yoga teacher talk about the third eye, so I've decided my son is very in-tune spiritually. Or perhaps he has three eyes. It has been awhile since he's had a bath. 

Joel is a Vacation Bible School drop out. He went for one day, and the best part of the entire morning for him was when his brother and his friend fought over him like a rag doll: 

I liberated Joel from the world of crafts and songs, and took him to his favorite place: the steps by the Italian restaurant.

He was much happier.


This is all it takes to make me happy.

I am so grateful for blogging. I get to express myself. I'm privileged to read your stories. I have met wonderful people. I've grown.

I want to thank you. I've created a contest, of sorts.

Leave a comment---you can ask me a question, tell me something you've enjoyed reading, or just say something nice.

Also, please tell me a charity that is close to your heart. (Please, no political parties or highly controversial charities).

I will use Random Number Generator to select the winner. That person's selected charity will receive a donation from yours truly.

I will pay a dollar per comment. So, fifty comments=fifty dollars to the selected charity.No duplicate comments, please.

Let's make this a good check! Tweet it, send your friends, and thank you, thank you for your support.

This runs through Tuesday, July 20th.

Thanks, as well, as always to Mrs. 4444 for hosting Friday Fragments.

Mommy's Idea

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Watermelon Margaritas and Drinking in the Country

(If you're just here for the recipe, feel free to skip my little digression). 

All of my knowledge of cocktails comes from one source: our first home in Maryland. 

Located on the Potomac, this shack of a house had holes in the ceiling and unfortunate seafoam sponge-painting in the master bedroom. The landlord was a certified jerk (I think the Jerk Store called him, because he was their best customer).

But yet, it was on the water. It had a dock. We would sit and and watch the osperys dip into the water, barely skimming the blue surface as they searched for fish. Paul would cast his reel into the sparkling waters, as the sky faded from orange to purple to black. Together, we would relax in the stillness, serenaded by bullfrogs and the gentle lapping of the water.

We also drank quite a bit. We had no children, and we lived in the middle of nowhere. All of our neighbors came from the same family and had lived there since the Ark and Dove arrived back in 1634.

On our second day there, Paul had a twenty minute conversation with one of the locals and came inside, saying, "Shit, I didn't understand a word he just said. Not a damn thing"

To recap: Our house was a shithole, our landlord was a jerk, our neighbors spoke 7th District gibberish, and it took thirty minutes to hit the nearest grocery store.

This meant we made a lot of cocktails. Some were dismal failures, such as my kerosene flavored mint juleps. Others, though, were big hits.

My favorite cocktail came from Cooking Light.

Here's what you do:


  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 lime wedge
  • 3 1/2 cups cubed seeded watermelon
  • 1/2 cup tequila
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon triple sec (orange-flavored liqueur)
  • Lime wedges (optional)


  1. Place 2 teaspoons sugar in a saucer. Rub rims of 6 glasses with 1 lime wedge; spin rim of each glass in sugar to coat. Set prepared glasses aside. 
  2. Combine watermelon and next 4 ingredients (watermelon through triple sec) in a blender; process until smooth.
  3. Fill each prepared glass with 1/2 cup crushed ice. Add 1/2 cup margarita to each glass. Garnish each glass with a lime wedge, if desired. Serve immediately.
*You can freeze the diced watermelon for up to two weeks. Place diced watermelon on a cookie sheet in the freezer for six hours or overnight. Store frozen cubes in a zip-top freezer bag until ready to use.
This is amazing and dangerously good. Cheers! 
This is a contribution to Share a Straw with Think Tank Momma. Clickity to see other delicious cocktails.

(You know I'm trying the Sangria Blanca this weekend!) 

Think Tank Momma

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I'll Show you a Swagger Wagon

Shortly after we found out I was pregnant with Owen, our Honda Civic croaked on us. (Bless its 200,000 mile heart).

Sadly, my green four-door  headed to the fuel-efficient crossroads, to party with Bones-Thugs-n-Harmony and wear that fancy spoiler denied in this life.

We poured a little soy sauce on the ground in respect, and then turned to Consumer Reports. We had the usual questions about fuel efficiency, reliability, swagger---all the stuff that matters.

We knew only one thing: We would not get a minivan. We knew we only wanted two kids, and we wanted something that didn't suck up the gas. We wanted something a little cooler, something that set us apart from the Mommy-And-Me set.

So, we bought a Subaru Outback. Because we like to party.

Since we were getting a station wagon, I decided to own it. I tried to get wood paneling. I looked for a Baby-on-Board sign. I even attempted to get it in Family Truckster green.

 Alas, none of that came to fruition. Except for the green.

Yet, five years later, we do have a functional car that drives well in the snow.

It also attracts weirdo conversations with hippies in parking lots. They are often wearing faded Gore/Liebermann campaign shirts, and they refer to their cars as "Subies."

I feel like saying, "If you love your Subie so much, why don't you marry it?"

That's what passes for banter in my head most days.

Anyway, with reflection, I can now admit this deep, dark fact:  I envy  the minivan moms.

Their kids have their own self-contained seats (or better yet, rows.) 

My kids are close enough that they routinely pinch each other's cheeks and snatch cars from each other's hands.

They have built in DVD players. 

My kids repeatedly hit their heads against the carseat, say "Ow" and laugh hysterically.

Their cars do not smell like pure evil. 

After Owen spilled milk in the backseat, I took the car to the car wash. I opened the door, and the attendant gagged a little. 

And finally: The minivan is good for lovin'. Fold down seats? Awwww yeah.

The Subaru? Not so much.  (Trust me on this).

PS. If you're interested in reading about my tired self, I'm the featured writer on the Write for Charity website. 

Monday, July 12, 2010

How to Not be Mother of the Year

Like all Not-Mothers-of-the-Year, I often buy parenting books to keep my kids out of prison (or at least therapy).

Some of the worst of the lot are the "Make meals fun!" genre, where one is expected to make potato mice or homemade "avocado froggy dip." It's all a little too precious, and a lot too time-consuming for my taste.

Nevertheless, I attempted to step outside my comfort zone, and the result was this:

It's a sun! With enough protein to raise Atkins from the grave!

I presented this to Owen, and he promptly told me that he didn't like peanut butter and my eggs were utterly and completely ruined because I sullied them with pepper.

I said, "Fine. I'll eat it."

He replied, "What am I going to eat?"

I munched on one of the peanut-butter rays and replied, "You can lick the plate when I'm done."

I'll happily confess to all sorts of bad-mother transgressions. Yelling? Check. Cereal bars and popcorn for dinner? Of course! Going inside to "use the restroom" and secretly checking my messages? I'll own that!

This is a little harder to confess, but true nonetheless: at times, I find my children excruciatingly boring.

Today, for example, Owen wanted to play "store." He said, "Mommy, what do you want to buy?"

I looked at him, smiling behind the chair he had fashioned as his counter, and said, "A banana, please."

He frowned."We don't have bananas. What else do you want?"

A stiff drink, I thought, and said, "How about cheese?"

"We don't have cheese. What else do you want?"

I sighed, and looked at my clock. Surely, we had been playing this game for at least an hour. "Why don't you just tell me what you have?"

"We have baseball gloves," he replied.

Naturally. "I'll have a baseball glove, please," I said.

"That'll be twenty thousand million dollars," he said. "Sit down and count it out for me."

At times like this, or when I am reading Digger Man to my youngest for the fifth time in a row, my mind drifts to this place, my blog. I'll play with topics, and stretch sentences in my head as if I'm pulling taffy.

Although I am sitting with or near my children, my mind is floating off on my little cloud of inspiration. I feel connected to the world, to adults, and to the life I once had, because I know that I will be able to write it all down.

On the more tedious of days, this thought keeps me one foot ahead of crazy.

 I bought this corner table for ten bucks at the consignment store.

On impulse, I asked Owen to help me paint it.

The dribbles, the uneven brushstrokes, the globs of grass and dirt mixed in with the paint---GAH!

It took every ounce of my being to not snatch the brush from his hand and finish the job myself.

But together, we did it. It looked like it was done by a blind, one-armed stork, but we did it.

He leaned back in the grass, his knees splattered with paint, and said, "I'm really, really good at painting, Mommy."

"You sure are, honey," I replied, mentally considering how many coats it would take to repair his damage.

After some thought, I decided to leave it.

Yes, it's not perfect.

There are Goldfish crackers for dinner and days where he goes to preschool without underwear.

Yes, there are marks.

There are days of too much TV and too few consequences. 

Yes, there are splotches.

I skip pages in Curious George. I pretend to care about tee-ball and monster trucks. 

And yet, mistakes and all, it stands. It endures. It is beautiful, perhaps more so, in its imperfection.

This is an entry in Mary Mommyologist and Tina @ Life Without Pink's  "Not Mommy of the Year" Contest. Click to read the other amazing entries!

NOT Mom of the Year Award

Friday, July 9, 2010

Health Care Reform

I woke up this morning to discover that my left eyelid had fused itself shut.

This isn't a normal event. I chalked it up to allergies, pried it open with a wet washcloth, popped in my contacts, and loaded the boys up for my spinning class.

Note: This was a monumentally bad decision.

After class, I looked in the locker room mirror and saw that my eye was red and boogers were oozing out of it.

This was understandably disturbing. My eyes are designed for come-hither glances and the artful application of eyeliner, not as a way-station for green snot.

After infecting the entire gym with my pestilance, the boys and I high-tailed it to my internist. And yes, I eye.

Pink Eye. Really?

I am thirty-five years old. I have taught in public schools for ten years. I have graded essays with dried green snot on them.

I have never, ever, had pink eye before.

Before my doctor helpfully told me that my eyes looked "gross," he faxed a prescription to Rite Aid.

I know that I do not have the power of the famous bloggers of the world, but I will use my forum to say this: Rite Aid is staffed by idiots and I hate them with the white-hot intensity of a thousand setting suns. With a cherry on top.

They didn't have the eye drops for one of the most common ailments in the world.

This meant I had to go to effing Wal-Mart.

Oh, let me add in this tidbit. My left eye was hurting so much that I took out my left contact, leaving me half-blind, and with no depth perception. Driving my two children around. Awesome sauce.

We arrived at Wal-Mart, and were told we had to wait forty-five minutes. I stalked around, half-blind and bitter, grumbling at my children, and wearing sweaty workout clothes.

In other words, I fit right in.

I bought new lipstick and new powder. Still felt stabby. I bought the fixin' for s'mores. Still felt stabby. Went to the pharmacy to see if my prescription was ready.

The lady told me, "Look, we told you 12:15. You need to take a seat for fifteen more minutes."

Ah, hell naw.

I said, "I just don't understand how hard it is to put drops in a bag. I just don't."

"We have to put you through the system," she said.

"Fine," I grumbled, walking back over to my cart, which Joel was presently filling with containers of Tums. "Okay, boys, we have to wait here for FIFTEEN more minutes. Do your best."

Another employee, heneforth known as the Patron Saint of Wal-Mart, said,  "Look, I have kids, too. Four of 'em. You're next."

She took my name, put the drops in a bag, and sent me on my way. We were on our way in three minutes. I love her, and if I ever have a daughter, her name will be Diamonique, in honor of this woman.

Moral of the story? Rite Aid sucks. Wal-Mart sucks too. But, yet, once in awhile, you find that Diamonique in the rough.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


When Charlotte converted to Judaism on Sex in the City, During a self-imposed study of world religions, I learned about the Mikveh.

A Mikveh, according to Rabbi Wikipedia, is a pool of natural water used to, "... regain ritual purity after various events, according to regulations laid down in the Torah and in classical rabbinical literature."

I'm not going to pretend to know anything more than that (although I welcome the insights of those who do). I attest, though, that water can indeed heal.

When the boys and I went to the pool yesterday, they weren't thinking of my impatient, "Owen, get in the car seat right now!" or my mumbled, "Joel could you be more annoying?"

No. Through the ritual cleansing of water and chlorine, they became more fun, and I became less testy.

Magic stuff, that water.

Owen did his awkward little frog-paddle, bravely dipping his head underwater, and saying, "Mommy! Did you see what I did? Aren't I very brave?"

"Yes," I said, "You are super-duper brave." He paddled off to do it again, as I watched Joel jump onto a little fountain, shrieking with joy, his face a perfect, yellow daisy.

In the water, it's so easy to love these boys. Perhaps it's because I have to be so cautious. There's no text messages or magazines or phone calls. There's no gossip, no blogging, no bitch sessions. It's just us.

Focused. Present.

I think I need a Mikveh  in my house. Since I bathe and shower only periodically, that won't do.

Perhaps if every time I wash my hands, I attempt to shed away distractions, I will enjoy my children more. I will regain my pure love and my best intentions.

Or, perhaps I will develop Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

Like most things regarding faith, one person's reality is another person's  hoo-hah.

But this I know: When I toweled off those boys, and we drove home, pruny and soft-skinned, we were at peace. I felt the spirit of love in that car as surely as I feel the keyboard beneath my fingers.

And so, I will continue to seek the water.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

I'm a Bad Person

Okay, there's this acquaintance of mine.  I knew her a few years back.

She doesn't really like me.

Through the small-town grapevine, I've heard something really funny about her. Epic.

I'm not sharing it because I don't want to be petty.

But it's really hard.

So, do this for me.

In the comments, share something that you cannot share on your own blog. Underblog. I'll return the favor when I reply back.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Rich White Girl Problems

On Friday afternoon, I was on the computer, doing what I do--dipping into your stories, commenting, mulling over my own daily overshare. The normal stuff.

And then. rather suddenly,  I lost my "w." It plumb popped off my keyboard, and despite my best efforts, the key was worthless.

I soldiered on, figuring that there were plenty of synonyms out there. I could substitute. I could be creative. It was just a mental challenge, courtesy of Dell and The Universe. No biggie.

Five minutes in, I realized that I use the word "awesome" a lot. Like, all the time. I also say "wonderful" with surprising frequency. I was lost without my "w," a consonant I had never before considered important. More important than "x" perhaps, but certainly not the game-changer of letters.

I hit my Waterloo when Salt asked a general question about our Blog Titles/Names. I simply could not discuss the meaning behind "Away We Go," because I couldn't write it. HORRORS! (By the way, it's a statement on how life goes in random directions. You can either fight the tide or just smile, release, and say, "Away We Go!"

So, yes, this was quite the serious problem. I told Paul we needed a new computer immediately---we could always harvest from our Money Shrubbery, after all. 

He gently suggested an alternative. Ten dollars later, we have this workable, if not elegant solution:

In other Rich White Girl Problems, I was standing in my bathroom yesterday, and found myself thinking, "If I just lost a little more weight, the bones in my chest would stick out."

What's that all about?

I know this isn't attractive. This is too thin and it is sickly and dangerous. I know the pernicious nature of eating disorders.

And yet, the thought was there. It came from somewhere.

I thought about it again after reading Frank Bruni's Born Round, an engaging memoir about his rocky relationship with food. He commented he and his sister struggled with weight much more than his two brothers. He suggested that this preoccupation might have been connected to the fact that he and his sister are both attracted to men.

I thought that was really interesting. I wonder if lesbian women have less body issues? Does it go away because the male ideal is out of the picture?

Is our society still that patriarchal? Or do women do this to each other?

Or is this just one guy's opinion?

For my final rich white girl problem, let me share this: my red highlights are fading way too fast because I've been swimming in my friend's swimming pools.

Life is a struggle, indeed.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Food From Lake Woebegon: Share A Spoon

When Think Tank Momma announced that this week's theme for Share a Spoon was casseroles, I was all, "Yo, bitch, I got this."

I am a Lutheran with German heritage. My extended family is from Illinois. I married a Norwegian Lutheran with family from Wisconsin. When our families joined forces, it was an epic pairing.

Between the two of us, we have made our own maple syrup, skated on actual ice, had lumberjack relatives, enjoyed lutefisk and picked herring, and been bitten by an actual Muskie. (Paul did most of these.)

I find coffee cups that say, 'This is most certainly Brew" hilarious. I can tell you all about Martin Luther, including the fact that he turned out to be an anti-Semite.

Not especially proud of that one.

I listen to Garrison Keillor not so much as a talented essayist, but more as an anthropologist, reporting on the goings-on of my own milk-faced, frozen culture.

So, yeah, when I found it was going to be casseroles, or as we call it, "hotdish," I knew this was my week to shine.

All casseroles have a few required ingredients:

1) Mayonnaise? Check.

2) A can of cream of something soup? Naturally

3) A mystery ingredient that adds icky texture? Ahhhhhhhh yeah.

This recipe, I admit, comes from Paula Deen, who is totally not a Midwestern Lutheran. (Also, in the spirit of total disclosure, I have lived in Arizona and Maryland, but never in the Midwest. I am a wanna-be, similar to Marky Mark).

Anyway, here it is:

Chicken and Rice Casserole
  • 2 (14 1/2-ounce) can green beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 cups diced cooked chicken
  • 1 medium onion, diced and sauteed
  • 1 (8-ounce) can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
  • 1 (4-ounce) can pimentos, drained
  • 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed cream of celery soup
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 (6-ounce) box long-grain and wild rice, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 cup grated sharp Cheddar
  • Pinch salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix all ingredients together

Pour into a greased 3-quart casserole dish. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly.

(Playing on the floor with cooking utensils is optional).

It's really good. Enjoy it.

That's all the news from Lake Woebegon. Good night.

Think Tank Momma