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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dinner in a Minute

We moms juggle. When I think about my life as a mom, I picture myself mentally, juggling. I've never mastered the skill of really juggling, I've tried several times and ended up once with a black eye from an apple (a brilliant episode in my life). Shortly after that I had to go to an emergency room for an unrelated problem. I was asked by no less than a dozen well-meaning medical people if I felt safe in my home. Number one it was a dorm, so really, the answer was no, but I didn't dare. Number two, I don't know how many times you can say, "I'm fine. I was attacked by fruit while attempting a circus act because my chemistry grade wasn't what it was supposed to be and I was looking into alternate careers."

When I later became a registered nurse and had to bumble my way through ER rotation, I found that most of workers had great senses of humor. Apparently, none of them were on duty that night.

I'm wandering again. It's all this juggling. It's like my brain is juggling and I'm madly typing to keep up with it and I can't quite make it and I really want to make a point, but


Deep Breath.

I believe that moms do more than multi-task. Muti-tasking is for whimps. I mean, right now, I've got laundry tumbling, dinner bubbling, I'm on the phone with the laptop repair man, I'm writing, I'm carrying on an IM conversation with my husband, and I'm petting the dog with one foot and shoving Tech Decks under the couch with the other (Don't ask. I'm attempting to teach Young One the answer to what happens when you leave your teeny toy skateboards in an area where your mom, in bare feet will step on them while carrying a large load of laundry in a basket which will launch six feet in the air while she screams in pain and angst and watches several hours of folding and sock matching scatter on the floor of the family room. Yes, probably the best answer would be to have him help clean up the mess, but he wasn't going to be home for hours and I'm just waiting for him to ask, "Where are my Tech Decks?" And of course my response will be, "I have no idea. You'd better search the house.")

Where was I?

Oh yes, juggling.

Have you ever had one of those days where you're running around doing all the assorted things it takes to make a home a home and it's about a half an hour until dinner time and you have no idea what you're making? You know, those days when you:

  • put the covers back on all the kitchen switches and outlets because they've been off for a project for forever

  • find the replacement shoelace to a shoe because the first one was used to swing Spiderman across a room and didn't survive the trip

  • menu plan while keeping within the budget and finding meals that your kid won't turn his nose up at (or you hubby either)

  • fish Matchbox car parts out of the dryer vent (don't ask)

  • try to figure out how to clean between that impossible to reach without moving the entire oven crack between the stove and the cabinets
  • cut all the coupons that you've left in a pile to cut and then realize you didn't know about most of them when you were menu planning

  • curse menu planning and coupons and anything else that has to do with trying to save money and budgeting and grocery shopping

  • water the plants and accidentally water the dog requiring a towel and a milkbone for the dog and a mop for the floor

  • decide once and for all that cleaning between the stove and the cabinets can happen when we need a new oven

  • make some laundry detergent (this isn't as weird as it sounds, search under homemade cleaners and you'll find my powdered recipe) I made liquid today. More details later.

  • wipe off the counters for the 400th time in one day

  • bake a cake

  • coordinate a playdate

  • do at least 700 loads of laundry

  • realize you forgot to renew the tabs on your car, so you quick run to the licensing office to take a number, wait in line, and then have them skip your number, so you have to make a scene to get service, and everyone in the office looks at you like you're completely looney.

  • get home after receiving new license plates that look awfully funny because they're no longer embossed, but printed digitally, and learn that you can't get the bolts off the old license plate by yourself. And this pains you. Oh, it's awful, because you want to be an independent woman and really don't want to ask your husband to help you with something that he can easily do in five minutes and you curse your wimpy upper arm strength and vow to do more push ups and bicep curls and you'll lateral raise until your delts are steaming.

  • Sort through the giant pile of mittens and gloves and hats and scarves and realize there are no matching pairs and the hats are all too small for Young One's winter wardrobe.
  • Clean a bathroom.
  • Walk with cleaning supplies into another bathroom and stand in a stupor wondering how two human beings can make such a mess in such a short time. Scowl at what looks at an entire tube of toothpaste in the sink. Wonder for two seconds how and why it's there. Entertain the thought of running away to Tahiti rather than cleaning it up. While cleaning it up, realize this is why Mrs. Cleaver took valium.
  • Greet the child as he arrives home, hoping to appear like Mrs. Cleaver minus the apron and the valium.

I have to say, the meet and greet is one of the best parts of my day. I love to see Young One's first smile. I love to just listen, not ask a bunch of questions, but just listen to his day. I love to watch him devour a snack. When I had my business, I didn't get to have this precious time with him. I was too busy and too overwhelmed with all the work to be done that there was really only time for a quick hug and to get him settled before I had to head back to the desk. I do have to be thankful, though, that I rarely had to miss being the person he saw when he got off the bus. That was one perk of being a business owner--I set my own schedule!

Then, all of a sudden, the dinner hour is looming down on me. And with any luck, I've planned something and it's happily defrosted in the fridge. There are those days, though, when last minute dinner planning does happen. Thankfully, I usually have something around the house for just such a day. Sometimes it's breakfast for dinner, sometimes it's jazzed up sandwiches, sometimes frozen pizza and a tossed salad, sometimes the leftover buffet.

Pasta is almost always an option. This is one of our favorites. Don't try to juggle this recipe. It pretty much needs your entire attention for about 7 minutes. You can do it. Focus.

Shrimp Noodle Bowls

This recipe is quick to the table and delightfully delicious. Shrimp and pasta tossed with veggies in an Asian sauce. Please use your recipe builder to confirm Weight Watchers Points. It all depends on the ingredients you use. My recipe below is approximately 7 Points per serving and serves 6 generously.

1 box Ronzoni spaghetti (or other high fiber pasta)

1 bunch green onions, cleaned and chopped

1 bag broccoli cole slaw

1 16 ounce bag of medium-sized, cooked shrimp, thaw under cold, running water and drain well

Light Asian salad dressing--Ken's Steak House brand is great, Newman's Own is fab

Cook pasta as directed. Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium high heat, spray with nonstick cooking spray, add onions and cook until tender. Remove from heat and set aside until pasta is done and draining. Place pan back on medium-high heat and add shrimp and broccoli slaw. Stir fry until crisp tender. Add noddles and toss to combine. Add Asian salad dressing, approximately 1/4 cup at a time, until noodles are coated and flavors are combined.

Add any veggies you have around. Peapods and red peppers would be delightful additions.

This is great with fresh mangoes topped with a little coconut for dessert.

The picture above is a delightful creation by ChimeraCrochet. Please visit her etsy store. I find her work filled with whimsy. She's very talented.

1 comment:

I triple dog dare you to comment.

Taking a little time to play with words, to play with food, and just to play!