December 29, 2017

Annie's Vegetable Beef Soup

I love a good soup in the wintertime for lunch or dinner.  This is one of my favorites that my mom has always made.  It has great flavor from all the spices and is easy to put together thanks to the use of frozen veggies.  The whole recipe takes less than 30 minutes of hands on time and makes a large  quantity for eating, freezing, or sharing!


- 2 lbs. ground beef
- 1/2 tsp. Jane's Crazy Mixed Up Salt
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. Lantana (all purpose seasoning)
- 1/2 large green pepper, diced
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 4 celery stalks, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 28 oz. diced tomatoes with seasoning
- 14 oz. beef broth
- 72 oz.  V-8  juice
- 1 bay leaf
- 8 oz. frozen corn
- 8 oz. frozen butter beans
- 8 oz. frozen carrots, sliced
- 8 oz. frozen okra, sliced
- 8 oz. frozen  pearl onions
- 8 oz. frozen green beans, cut


Brown the meat with the spices.  Saute the chopped onion, celery, garlic, green pepper in a small amount of olive oil until tender, about 5 minutes.

Mix the meat and veggies together in a large pot and add all other ingredients.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 hour.  Enjoy!

October 31, 2017

Holiday Randomness

Halloween is over.  It was fun while it lasted but oh my gosh it lasted so long.  I made the mistake of decorating way too early and had to commit to a full Halloween lifestyle for 31 full days.  Do you know how time consuming it is to maintain an inflatable?  I had to put our inflatable pumpkin reaper to bed every night by unplugging it, then wake it up every morning plugging it in, wiping the dew off so that it could stand up right, fluffing it up.  I even had my first IRI: Inflatable Related Injury, when I sliced my foot on some slate spiffing it up for the day.
Now that Halloween is over, t'is the season to give thanks.  And I have so many things I am thankful for this year. 
First, I am thankful for Papa John for serving his pizza with a cup of butter and making us feel like its ok to dip pizza in butter.  Because I didn't even know it, but pizza actually does need a butter garlic dipping sauce.
Secondly, I am thankful for Otter Box, without which I would literally have no phone.  I drop it myself from time to time whilst carrying the personal belongings of 3 people everywhere I go.  But mostly the protection is needed from Katie, who just recreationally hurls my phone across the room almost every day.
I am also thankful for pimento cheese, for adding word pimento and letting us pretend that we aren't just eating cheese with mayonnaise added. 
Did you know that I used to hate celery, ham, mayonnaise, and the rye chips in Chex mix? Now I only hate celery. No wonder I am literally the exact average male or female that can log on to a cardio machine without changing the age and weight setting.  Basic and proud.

I am also thankful for my family and friends and Harris Teeter for being there for me for lightbulbs, diapers, wine, and sustenance.  But mostly wine.
And I know it's not the end of the year yet, but it has recently felt like the end of the world, so I'll share a few musings about 2017 while I got the ol' laptop out.
I am officially declaring this as the year that people stopped caring about hair. They don't care about their short hair, their new hair, their kid's bed hair. #shorthairdontcare? Guess what?  No one else does either.

Also, people need to stop saying "And just like that.." when their kids turn a new age? Just like, that your kid turns 4? Are you freaking kidding me? The last 4 years have been the longest of my life. If your parenting experience is happening "just like that", you aren't spending enough time with your kids.
Why do they make the towels at salons hot as fucking fire?  It seems like if every nail tech in all the land has to shake the towel vigorously before use, lest it burn your skin off, that they should just universally lower the temperature of the towel warmer...
Marilyn ---> Out

August 22, 2017

Fun Fact

Did you know that even when kids learn to sleep through the night, they never actually sleep through the night? 
There is literally always something that makes it so you never, ever get a solid night's sleep.  Sometimes they have a cough.  Sometimes the rain is too loud.  Sometimes the dark is too dark or it's not morning time enough.  And, my favorite and most common culprit, is the damned stuffed froggy that falls down the side of the bed.  Whatever it is, you're likely to be tired for the next 18 years I am convinced.  Especially if you have a child that absolutely refuses to sleep past 6am.
The bad news about being a stay at home mom to little kids is that you basically aren't a real person.  You don't get to shower without either advanced scheduling with your spouse or, better yet, an audience.  I probably have one shower a week without Katie serving as my hype girl at the end of the tub while she gets gently misted by my shower spray.  You are a human jungle gym, a hair play pony who is not allowed to have feelings in the root of her scalp, a servant, a short order cook, and an asswiper extraordinaire.
But the good news is that on those days when you really aren't a real person because you woke up 5 times the night before, you don't have to go to work the next day and pretend like you aren't more desperate for naptime than quitting time.  Instead you get to sit around in your sweatpants until the spirit moves you to go play, while breaking up play doh fights and trying to find your coffee in 50 different locations. 
Sometimes I don't know how my husband goes to work after nights like that and talks to actual high functioning adults.  I am lucky that I only have to decide between grilled cheese and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as opposed to like, actual business things that matter.
I do have to say, ever since Katie turned 18 months old life has been a lot easier.  And funnier.  I say more ridiculous things per day than I ever thought I would in my entire life.  Today's highlights include:
"Don't wipe your bottom with your finger ever again!"
"Please don't put your food in my armpit!"
"Stop throwing batteries at me!"
I simply cannot imagine the desire to have more kids because I feel like I am just now getting to a sort of sweet spot.  Well, sweet-ish maybe.  Or more like sweet-adjacent a few days per week.  But it's getting good.  I might actually be running out of things to complain about!  But I'm sure I'll think of something.
Also, on a semi related note of ridiculousness, does anyone else feel like they have officially reached the age where, if you see a random piece of fuzz or rogue hair sitting on your body, you think, "Please don't be attached.  Please don't be attached." neither...

May 23, 2017



You know your life is sexy when the recent thrills of the year include figuring out how to remove some mildew from your bathroom ceiling and finding your child's lovey that you thought was lost forever.  Seriously, I was SO excited for both.  It was a little scary.

Due to recent general life exhaustion, my sister and I decided to take an emergency "let's not let our kids make us have mental breakdown" trip last week to Florida.  And, lo, it was glorious.

I was so pleased to discover that I still know how to read AND sleep pass 6AM.  And, wow, did I forget the simple pleasure of eating a meal without simultaneously tearing up bits of food for two kids while trying to entertain them and not throw food across the room.  Sheer bliss.

I never fly these days, which is due to the fact that I never go anywhere, which is due to the fact that KIDS. But when I got on my second flight which I barely made because my first flight was so delayed, I was hungry because I totally missed lunch due to my delay.  Which reminded me of a flight I took a few years ago, armed with a breakfast burrito. After taking a few bites, I noticed the guy next to me staring at my burrito. Trying to be nice but NEVER thinking he would say "yes", I asked him if he wanted half of it. He said "Yes"...and I continue to be amazed by the sociological event to this day. I really wished someone would offer me a half of their burrito on that second plane to Florida. No such luck. I accidentally went 7 whole hours without eating. I am basically a survivor.

The only bad part of the trip was that I forgot my sweatpants because they give me life.  And maybe also my 10 inch rectangular sunburn by my armpit that totally defies sunscreen and logic.  I am not one with the sun.  

Did I mention we were staying in Juno Beach which by all accounts appeared to be a retirement community?  We took a step class one morning and burned at least 40 calories. And we were in the minority of people who did not have a bandaid holding at least one part of their skin together.  Yet somehow my calves were sore for 3 days afterward.,,moving on....

On a side, but travel related, note, is anyone disturbed by the Charlotte Airport bathroom attendants?  I appreciate the thought and the toxic amount of air freshener, but I simply do not need someone to bless me before,during, and after my urine stream.  I think they could go ahead and cut that from the budget.

I got back at high noon on Sunday and was already on my first load of someone else's laundry by 12:30.  Back to life, back to reality.

It feels so good to have my batteries recharged.  Right before school ends and I have 3 months of endless Katie.  I am already looking forward to my next vacation again in another 3 years!

April 27, 2017

Poor little underwear

Kids are the best/worst.  Sometimes it just does not seem like this can be real life.

I am probably just delirious from the worst night's sleep ever, but I cannot stop laughing right now and it's all because of poop.

Jack woke up around 2am last night (Oh, joy!) complaining of a stomach ache.  I wasn't surprised because he hadn't pooped all day.  I know he tried at school but quite frankly his tiny little butt is too small to fit on the toilet seat and I think he's afraid he will fall in.  Any way,  he wouldn't go back to sleep after several tries so we let/made him get in the bed to sleep with us/on my head.  It was already a super pleasant situation but it got even better around 4am when we heard a wet noise and Grant started freaking out.  I didn't really care because I was so tired and I am so  used to poop in the potty, in the diaper, in the yard, that I just wanted to sleep through it. 

Amazingly, Jack didn't wake up.  That is why I can't stop laughing. How can anyone sleep through their own shart that is not a drunk frat guy!?  Of course when we woke up this morning there was hell to pay in terms of laundry and butt crust.  But I will forever remain amazed at this event.

I had a similarly delirious laughing fit/is this real laugh event recently when we were headed back from Hickory.  Our kids are notoriously heinous in the car and we were so desperate towards the end of the journey that I told Grant to give Katie the ice scraper to play with.  He decided to take it a step further and use the ice scraper as a hand puppet.  You know, the old favorite muppet Mr. Ice Scraper.  What has become of us?

Did anyone else wake up one day in their 30's and think they were looking at a poor old dead person in the mirror?  I did and I am officially aging. 

You know how they say the eyes are the windows to the soul?  Well, my eyes look like our windows did that time Grant was weed eating and caused some sort of yard debris to fly into our window and shatter it into a million pieces.  Botox, I'm  coming for ya.

Also, I think my kids have made a secret agreement that they can never both be sweet at the same time.  At any given time one of them will be an angel baby and the other is biting me and screaming at me that something is "NOT DELICIOUS!" 

Katie regenerates more spunk every 30 minutes so she is hilarious but also quite an independent lady with an attitude.  Jack is potty trained with is officially the crowning achievement of my life, but he did shart in his underwear last night so I'm not writing my own book about it just yet.

So that's what's new with me.   Sharts, crows feet, and disbelief at my own life.  Yesterday I meant to grab a sparkling water from the fridge and accidentally got a Bud Light instead.  It hard to convince myself not to be that mom at the park with coldie.

And in case anyone was wondering why I never blog anymore, it's because I haven't had free time since before Katie was born and even to write this I am letting my kids eat markers and draw on themselves so I can have a minute of peace.  Sometimes you have to do what you have to do!