Author Archives: jross

Behold The Rice Cake Monster









Picture this.

It’s Saturday, and I’m dragging both my husband and Avery to grocery shop.  I know I could get it done faster if I went alone, but what fun would that be?

Avery’s bottle is due in 2.5 hours, so I obviously have TONS of time to get us all to the grocery store, get the shopping done, and make it back here in time for his you-better-not-be-late bottle. 

Wrong, wrong, and wrong.

We’re rounding the corner into the freezer section (I forgot breakfast and a frozen pizza for $2.67 sounded ideal), and then the kicking, fussing monster starts.  Holy hell, his bottle is 20 minutes overdue.  Yeah, my sense of time these days is um…not present.  I, of course, didn’t pack one because that would make it too easy.

Cue the rice cakes.  Never in my wildest dreams would I imagine Avery would look at an apple cinnamon rice cake and then devour it like that crazy blue monster we all love so much.  I had tossed some in the cart at the start of the trip just to see if he’d take to them. 

While the groceries were being bagged, I forked over a rice cake and watched my little man look at the not-too-sweet disc and immediately start nibbling.  He ate the whole thing.  I was impressed.

Cookie Monster is awesome and all, but my Rice Cake Monster is the best. 


The Change-Up



Look at that happy couple.  Full of wine and anxious to close the deal on their new house. 

This picture was taken at a good friend’s wedding approximately 3 months before that fateful Friday.  I will forever remember January 15, 2010 as the day I peed on a stick, and my life changed forever.  It was that day that I found out I was pregnant with my son – certainly the most drastically altering day of my life.

Up until this point, this blog has been an inaccurate reflection of me.  While I greatly appreciate all of the full-time-stay-at-home-mommies that can survive on 10 cents a day, home school their children, do all the housework, AND have 6 well-rounded children – I have not been given those super powers. 

My super powers are collecting Guinness-worthy cat fur balls in the recesses of my messy living room, finding new and creative ways of getting dried food off my ceramic floors, making up new songs about anything and everything to distract my son, and finding diapers at less than 20 cents each. 

I just want to be myself – my sarcastic, slightly neurotic, in-it-to-win-it self. 

I’ll be writing what I feel, when I want, and only using a PG-13 filter.  That’s what a blog is all about anyway, right?  I’ve experienced the vise-like pressure of conformity, and let’s just say….Been there, done that, threw away the t-shirt.

At some point, I’ll get around to doing a full bio (in all its glory) on my about page, but until then, I hope you’re not too puzzled by the abridged version.

So back to the photo.  It’s a great reminder of who I was before that fateful January day, and I will forever be in debt to the photographer, but….and this is a big but (ha)…that chapter has ended and the new pages are often writing themselves before I even have a chance to eat breakfast or put on pants in the morning.  The new pages are written by a true master – a boy named Avery.  He is my main focus is life, so why not accurately represent that in my blog?

I’ll leave you with a highly-coveted photo of the great one.  As for me, I’m off to scrape Cheerios off the floor and mainline some coffee.


Destroyer of the To-Do List



A year ago, if you asked me if I were a procrastinator, I’d say that my procrastination days ended long ago…when I was 17…Thanksgiving weekend…when I thought the police would show up at my house…and drag me out…kicking and screaming.   What????

Oh yes, everything you read is correct. 

It was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving around 6 pm, and I decided to finally clean out my car.  When I got the the backseat, long after “normal business hours”, I discovered the speeding ticket that was due to be paid a week prior.  In a panic, I called the phone number at the bottom (the police department) to discover that there was no one I could talk to about it and yes, that meant that technically there was a warrant out for my arrest.

Cue the hyperventilation, adrenaline rush, and absolute and utter panic attack.

After this horrible incident I decided not to procrastinate ever…again.  Well, with anything serious.

So…when I look at my blog and see that I haven’t posted anything in a month, that forever-burned-in-my-brain panic creeps up, and I wonder, “Why can’t I just write a post?”

See that cute little boy in the picture?  His name is Avery, and HE is the reason.  And to be honest, I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

These are just a few of the reasons I haven’t written in awhile:

Digging cat food out of his mouth, kissing his finger after his toy bit him, picking up all of the DVDs he’s removed from the shelf (again), collecting yards of toilet paper he’s decided to share with the rest of the house, sweeping up Cheerios and other partially chewed food he’s launched at the floor, pre-treating all of his clothes and their unidentifiable stains, washing his bottles, cutting his food into bite-sized pieces, changing yet another diaper, chasing him, wondering if and when he’ll ever stop 1) drooling and 2) putting EVERYTHING into his mouth….

This list is endless but the big picture it all creates is my cute and happy baby. 

So to all those babies out there who like to destroy your Mommy’s to-do lists, keep on destroying – we secretly love it.

So I Have a Garden…Now What?


Vegetable BountyIt’s a great feeling when all the hard work you’ve put into your vegetable garden starts paying off, and you begin harvesting your own vegetables.  I’m having a zucchini overload and have been looking for recipes left and right. 

I received an email from Martha Stewart’s website directing me to the greatest thing ever – A Seasonal Recipe Guide…broken down by season! 

This guide has a vast directory of all vegetables and fruits you may encounter in your own garden, at your local farmers’ market, or from the grocery store.  This guide is amazing! 

Here are my favorites for summer:

Check it out and let me know if you find any great recipes to take care of your own bountiful heap 🙂

What’s on the Menu? 7/24-7/30


Somewhere during this busy, ridiculously hot month of July, my menu posting has gotten all out of whack.  It looks like I’m just posting a 1 week menu this time around – but I’m not shopping until next Saturday.  This probably looks like something I’ve already posted.  After losing 1/2 pound of italian sausage to negligence (forgetfulness by way of exhaustion is more accurate) and being too tired or hot to fire up the oven, we flip-flopped a few items. 

And here’s what’s on the menu:
Sun, 7/24: Pigs in a Blanket (with From-Scratch Crescent Dough)
Mon, 7/25: Polish Sausage with Saurkraut, Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Tues, 7/26: Bacon Turkey Cheeseburgers, Oven Fries with Kalamata Dip
Wed, 7/27: Leftover Night #1
Thurs, 7/28: Pizza Braid (We had to bake for 30 min.  This was a HUGE hit in our house!)
Fri, 7/29: Leftover Night #2
Sat, 7/30: Bombay Curry with Chicken, Potatoes, & Broccoli (Husband’s Meal)

I’m also making the following “extra” this weekend: Baby Whole Wheat Pancakes (for the baby!) to freeze and pull out as needed.  I made buttermilk pancakes last night, and he absolutely loved them.  We spread them with natural applesauce and some with yogurt.  I thought it would be great to have a bag of them frozen so I could pull them and microwave whenever we want them.

Recipe: Refrigerator Pickles



So not only are zucchini coming out of our ears in our garden, but I hear that cucumbers seem to be following suit in my friends’ gardens.

I’ve always found cucumbers (that aren’t pickled in the dill-fashion) to be rather bland but refreshing all at the same time.  I’m not a huge fan of the giant cucumbers most common in the supermarkets because after I dig out all the watery seeds, there isn’t much left. 

I prefer the English Cucumber a.k.a. Seedless Cucumber (total misnomer.)  I slice them in half and then use a melon baller to remove all of the compact seeds.  This isn’t necessary for the recipe below but just a suggestion.

These refrigerator pickles are on the sweet side which are usually not my favorites, but I’ve been eating them as an accompaniment to summertime meals for as long as I can remember.

This recipe comes straight from my grandma’s old, green metal recipe box from the cabinet above her fridge.  Who knows how long she’s had it in her possession?  To be honest, I’m surprised it isn’t one of those recipes that grandma’s set to memory because it’s such an easy summertime side dish. 

Refrigerator Pickles

1 cup white vinegar

1 cup sugar

¾ cup water, lukewarm

1 large Seedless or Conventional Cucumber, seeded and sliced

½ yellow onion, slivered (optional)

Mix the vinegar, sugar, and water together until sugar is completely dissolved.

Add the cucumber and onion.  The cucumbers and onion can be above the level of the liquid a bit- you’ll find that the cucumbers will lose a lot of their moisture when they’re pickling.

Refrigerate for at least 24 hours – I prefer 48 hours.

Note: The great thing about this recipe is that once you’ve depleted the “pickles”, you can feed the vinegar/sugar base with more cucumbers and onions for a second batch.  I don’t do anymore than that because I feel like they start to lose their kick.

If you’re overrun by cucumbers, check out some of these recipes:

Easy Tzatziki with Toasted Pita Chips

Gazpacho (this will help use up your tomatoes and peppers too!)

Greek Salad

Thai Cucumber Lemonade (this looks way too interesting to pass up!)

Cucumber Watermelon Margaritas (obviously a good idea)

And if it appears by my selections that I have an Ina Garten obsession, it’s because I do.  She has fantastic recipes that never cease to amaze our taste buds.  Enjoy!

I ♥ Target: 34 Writing Utensils for 6 cents



It’s that time again.  I don’t have any school-age children, but I have fond memories of back-to-school shopping, and often look for deals on supplies that I can use or donate.  We didn’t start this early when I was a kid – our shopping trip was usually in August, about a week or so before the actual start of school.  If it would have been much earlier, we would have opened everything and used it just from sheer excitement.  We liked going back to school in my house Smile

Although it’s not fall, and I didn’t buy pencils, I can’t help but think of Tom Hanks’ character in You’ve Got Mail:

“Don’t you love New York in the fall?  It makes me wanna buy school supplies.  I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.”

– Joe Fox

I actually asked my husband if he could go snag this deal for me last night as I was suffering from a pretty nasty headache – let’s blame the heat that I didn’t go out in yesterday, shall we?

To my surprise, he agreed!  (I’m starting to think he likes to see the look on the cashier’s face when he hands them a stack of coupons that drastically lowers the total.) 

After only 1 phone call to verify a few things, he was headed to the check-out with this deal:


Paper Mate Eagle Ball Point Pens (10 pack) – $1.02

Used 3 $1/1 off Target coupons (Under “Stationary & Holiday”)

Paid 2 cents each, 6 cents total

Sharpie Fine-Tip Markers (2 pack) – $1

Used 2 $1/1 off Target coupons (Under “Stationary & Holiday”)


Grand total after tax (which was too small to add I’m guessing): 6 cents

They may not be newly sharpened pencils, and it may not be fall just yet, but I’m stocked up on pens and Sharpies for mere pennies!