Teething Bites

 

Daddy ran out to get me my own frozen bagels for teething. Yeah, he's whipped!

It seems like my son has been stood up on his first blind date. A tooth is definitely coming–I can feel it under his gums–but it’s playing hard to get.

My little man requires as many costume changes as Lady Gaga these days, soaking through shirt after shirt with drool. He’s been dressed and undressed for the main event since he was four-months-old. When is this flirty little tooth going to make its grand appearance?

My poor baby boy is in a constant biting frenzy, grabbing anything and everything–toys, fabrics, hair, cell phones (nothing is safe)–to relieve the pressure on his swollen gums. When he’s not chewing on something he’s gnawing on his fists. I consider it a personal challenge to take a hands-free photo of him.

He refuses his bottles, suffers through naps, and cries randomly. I stand at the ready, baby Tylenol in one hand and laundry detergent in the other, eagerly anticipating his first tooth. But it just keeps winking at him without committing. Blind dates can be a bitch. He’s almost eight-months-old!

Do you have any teething tips to help pass the time?

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Naughty Girl Brunch

There are some recipes that make me want to squeeze my eyes shut and click my heels together to mentally escape as I add the sinful ingredients.  They’re so bad, yet so good. Naughty recipes like these are the equivalent of a drunk dial in college; one has to be in the right state of mind to make them.

If you watch The Food Network, you know Southern cook Paula Deen is known for her distinct recipe style: butter with a side of butter. I usually avoid her concoctions, but I simply can’t resist her French Toast Casserole.

Eater beware: if you consume too much French Toast Casserole you will regain the Freshmen fifteen, but the occasional hook up won’t do you any harm.

New Year’s resolution (bikini ready by June) be damned; I just had to eat some this morning after my in-bed-before-midnight New Year’s Eve snoozabration. I am sure it was still December 31, 2010 somewhere in the world when I gave in to temptation, right?

Happy New Year!

French Toast Casserole

 Ingredients

  • 1 loaf French bread (13 to 16 ounces)
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Dash salt
  • Praline Topping, recipe follows
  • Maple syrup

Method

Slice French bread into 20 slices, 1-inch each. Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9 by 13-inch flat baking or casserole dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and whisk until blended but not too bubbly. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spread Praline Topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Serve with maple syrup (though you don’t really need it with this recipe because it stands on its own, some people like it).

 Praline Topping:

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well.

Posted in Diet, Family, Food, Life, New Year's Eve, recipes, Thoughts, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

New Year’s Reprieve

Guess what I am doing this New Year’s Eve? Nothing. We’re talking PJs, pizza, and bubbly Mommy juice to ring in 2011. That’s if my husband, who threw his back out before our major blizzard (forcing me to break my 20-year no shoveling streak), doesn’t throw me out first. Husband + bad back + wife who temporarily becomes a single Mommy during recovery= grumpy marriage.

I asked a few friends what their plans are, and they’re equally pathetic, even without the bad back equation. When did we become so lame?

I  have appropriately welcomed in past New Year’s Eves in Times Square, Boston, Las Vegas, Orlando, and the Bahamas, to name a few. I splurged on trendy outfits, professional blow-outs, inflated cover charges, five-course dinners, and limousines without batting a fake eyelash. I pulled all-nighters voluntarily.  That was me…then.

Now, I will cozy up on my couch in suburbia and talk about how lucky we are to stay off the roads with the crazy drunk drivers while watching the uber-annoying Ryan Seacrest earn yet another paycheck. And if I wind up pulling an all-nighter it will only be because my son wants to party it up in his crib.

Cheers to 2011!

Posted in Family, Holidays, Kids, Life, New Year's Eve, Parents, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

It’s a Blizzard, Baby!

View from our yard

The spirit of Christmas in my hometown has been blown away by blizzard-force winds. My son and I made the obligatory trip to the grocery store in anticipation of record snowfall today (20 inches, anyone?), and were greeted by absolute pandemonium.

If you were raised like I was it is in your DNA that you must go to the grocery store at the threat of any significant snow. It doesn’t matter if you just went a couple of days ago, and your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer are fully stocked. You must join the other genetically programmed Mommybots in their quest for basic supplies just in case.

It was insane today (our last blizzard was in 2006, so we’re a little out of practice in Boston). People grasped their carts with white knuckled fear, and weaved in and out of aisle traffic like they were in bumper cars at an amusement park. They strong-armed their way to the hot ticket items–bread, water, and eggs–relying on their pent-up post-holiday aggression as stamina to get supplies before they vanished before their eyes. I thought people would be a little kinder to me with my seven-month-old son in the cart, but I still got knocked around a few times–even as a defensive driver.

The check-out lines were 20 people deep, and every incompetent employee seemed to be working and screaming out for price checks. Customers were rolling their eyes, sighing loudly, and grunting in disgust at the slow pace while trying to maneuver their over-filled carts towards the front of the now-curvy check-out line.

It truly was every man, woman, and child for themselves. Well, mostly it was every woman and child for themselves. Men definitely don’t have our do-it-all DNA.

My son? He slept right through it. He can’t sleep past 5:30 a.m., but can easily snooze through pre-blizzard mayhem at the grocery store. He’s a little man already!

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Master Multitasker

I’ve hit a new low trying to cram too many things in a 24 hour period. Today, I filed my baby’s nails on the “Daddy’s scratchy face” page of his Pat the Bunny book.

While I am not proud, I do think it’s pretty genius. Feel free to copy the idea in the privacy of your own home. Why should my son merely feel “Daddy’s scratchy face” when it can give him a much-needed manicure at the same time?

Multitasking is a prerequisite for Mommyhood. Most women I know–with or without kids–do the work of a team of people on any given day, and still manage to remember the small stuff–tickling their babies chins with their scarves for a laugh, placing a note of encouragement in their child’s lunch boxes, picking up an extra pair of pajama pants for their husbands because they notice they’re running low.

Tonight, I made the filling for my baked ziti while holding my son in the crook of my right arm, despite the fact that I am a righty. I somehow managed to add a blend of cheeses–including ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, provolone, and fontina– Italian seasoning, garlic, and breadcrumbs and crack two eggs to mix in and bind it together–all with my left hand. I felt proud of myself in a sick, overtired way, standing in my kitchen balancing my 23-pound son on my right and an oversized serving spoon on my left with finesse. Truth be told, I felt like I should be wearing a superhero cape instead of an apron.

Are you a master multitasker?

Lefty Baked Ziti

  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Lefty Baked Ziti
 
Ingredients
1 box of ziti or rigatoni with lines
1 container of ricotta cheese
1 package of shredded Italian 6-cheese blend
1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese
 1 cup of Mozarella cheese
1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder (or to taste)
2 eggs
Palm full (2 T) of Italian breadcrumbs
1 extra-large jar of store-bought sauce (homemade is always better if you have it, but this is meant to be a quick week night meal)
 
Method:
Prepare ziti/rigatoni with lines using the package directions, but take it out when it is just al dente (usually one minute before the minimum cooking time). The pasta will continue to cook in the casserole dish; overcooked pasta is a no-no. Drain pasta, and put it back in the pot you boiled it in.
Meanwhile , mix ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, 3/4 of a bag of the Italian 6-cheese blend, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and eggs in a bowl.  Add in the breadcrumbs. Mix the cheeses with the pasta, and add in some sauce (until it’s a very light pink).
 
Coat the bottom of a casserole dish with a generous layer of sauce. Pour the ziti/rigatoni mixture over the first layer of sauce, and then top with another layer of sauce. Sprinkle the remaining 6-cheese Italian blend plus the mozzarella over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or until brown and bubbly (hint: if you need a little help making the top brown and bubbly, pop it under the broiler for one minute). Enjoy.
Posted in Family, Food, Kids, Life, Parents, recipes, Thoughts, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

That’s a Wrap!

 If you want to test your courage, strength, and endurance, schedule a photo session for a seven-month-old and a teenager one week before Christmas. It is much harder than any Iron Man competition, trust me.

Sure, those who compete in an Iron Man complete a 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run, and 2.4-mile swim. But I had to fight massholes whizzing around the mall parking lot 112 times with their blinkers permanently on while stalking people for spots. They mouthed at least 26 profanities that would make most blush when they realized the spot hoarders weren’t leaving, they were just unloading gifts into their trunks to free their hands for more shopping. And I almost got in 2 accidents with my 2 kids in the car before I pulled into a space with a maneuver worthy Indy 500 recognition.

When I finally got to the studio, dozens of strollers made the reception area virtually impassable, the front desk was overwhelmed with holiday-hungry people, and I was greeted by a woman oozing fake Christmas cheer. I knew she’d like to be anywhere but there; at least that’s something we had in common.

My seven-month-old, who’s usually a ham in every sense of the word,  mostly wanted to look anywhere but at the camera, and my teenager wanted me to look at her hair to ensure it was up to her standards between takes. My pseudo elf photographer kept saying, “Oh my G-d, he’s so cute,” while tickling my seven-month-old with a germ laden feather to get him to smile, which made my teenager roll her eyes in annoyance. I was literally melting under the hot lights while doing the appropriate song and dance to make both of them happy.

When we finished the half-hour session I texted my husband and asked him to please join me in prayer for one good shot for our first family New Year’s card. The man knows I am crazy, but married me anyway, so he obliged.

When the proofs came up on the computer screen, I crossed my fingers and my toes jammed in 4-inch heels for one miracle shot. Shockingly, my teenager and I almost drove our pseudo elf to Grinchland while looking through the selection because there were so many beautiful ones to choose from! Christmas has come early to the Meltzer family. You’ll just have to wait for our New Year’s card to see for yourself.

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Holiday Card Envy

Why am I sending New Year’s cards to usher in 2011?

Here’s my spin: New Year’s cards are for trendsetters. 

Here’s my reality: New Year’s cards are mini miracles for procrastinating Mommys who book their kids’ photo sessions 11 days before Christmas, long after the Hanukkah ship has sailed.

I am currently suffering from severe holiday card envy. My mailbox is stuffed with a never-ending flurry of immaculately dressed children in coordinated outfits striking playful poses every day. They exude holiday cheer in color and in black and white; in the studio or on location.  And they’re all coming in time for loved ones to not only hang them on their refrigerators with pride but also make the mandatory call to the proud Mommy who sent them to gush about her kids’ cuteness.

I, on the other hand, was willing to bribe the photographer I called tonight to squeeze my kids in this weekend. Thankfully, I saved some Christmas cash because he has one half-hour spot open on Saturday. It’s a drive-by photo session for my drive-by New Year’s card–they will probably have to be taken off the refrigerators as soon as they’re put on at this rate.

Why can’t I seem to get it together this year?

If my trendsetter idea doesn’t catch on, I guess I have one New Year’s resolution already: to send our holiday cards in time for the holidays in 2011. Only time will tell if it’s one I can keep.

Posted in Family, Holidays, Kids, Life, Parents, Thoughts, Uncategorized | 3 Comments