Friday, August 28, 2015

7 Quick Takes about How to Get Ahead When You're Really Disorganized, A Meal I'll Never Forget, and Why I Have Tendonitis Now

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday!


Remember that awesome camping trip with our friends I told you about last week, and how we went to a beach on the ocean where everyone gets eaten by sharks?

Well, I learned that the day after we went there, it was closed due to blood in the water. I'm thinking/hoping it was from a seal or something.

I'm beginning to notice that this other family and I leave carnage in our wake every time we go camping together. A few years ago the very river we canoed down had a massive bridge collapse two weeks later.

Moral of the story: if I ever mention that I'm going camping near your house, check out the coverage on your homeowner's insurance. You're probably going to need it.


You'd think that with less than a week until school starts, my big project would be back-to-school shopping. But no, that's not how I work. I'm actually working on getting organized for camping.

This might sound counter-intuitive, but hear me out: I cannot think ahead of time. I've tried, and I've failed. So I do the next best thing, which is to do it after the fact, and then be way ahead of the game for next year.

(Phillip thought I was insane when I made a Christmas card holder this January, but if I didn't do it right then when it was still on my mind, it'd never get done.)

I've seen the OCD camping packing lists and the anal-retentive bin system and thought, "What normal person does that?" 

Well, I am. Because I'm tired of being a stressed-out mess when packing for a camping trip. Instead of collecting individual band-aids and paper plates and flashlights from random locations in my house, I'm just buying duplicates of everything we take camping, putting it all in a labeled bin, and reveling in the knowledge that I've just shaved hours off of our packing time for the rest of our lives.

Maybe it's dumb to do that after the season is over, but that's just how I roll.

(Except for the stupid stepping stones I started in June 2014. I probably won't finish those ever.)

My grandchildren will be hauling these out of my basement after I die.


When Phillip grocery shops, you're never quite sure what he's going to bring home. When he sees something interesting, he can't help himself from wondering about the possibilities of using it in the kitchen. (Since "interesting" usually means "expensive," I try to do most of the grocery shopping around here.)

This week Phillip saw some veal liver for a dollar a pound (manager's special!) and you know what happened next. He started thinking about all the health benefits of liver and how we've never had it, and the next thing you know it just jumped into the cart with the rest of our food.

Feast your eyes on the baby cow liver before you. LOOK AT IT!!!

When the kids asked what kind of meat this was, Phillip chose his words very carefully. "Cow," he told them circumspectly.

And then we bit into it.

For those of you who've never had liver before, allow me to describe it to you: imagine a food-like substance with the texture of Spam. At first bite, it tastes like grass mixed with the juice left in a can of peas. And then, just as you're about to swallow: BAM!! Aftertaste of sweaty socks.

"Aggggh! What part of the cow is this?" the kids screamed as they clawed at their throats and pushed each other down running to the kitchen for water.

"Is it the poop??" my 3-year-old asked, wide-eyed.

After all is said and done, though, I wouldn't take back the experience. I've never had food that made me laugh and dry heave at the same time before.


On the spur of the moment, we decided to celebrate the end of summer with a S'more bonfire in the backyard. But silly me, I forgot that we have children and so it took us about the same length of time to get outside as it would for us to pack up and move to France.

As you can see, our youngest (foreground, with Leap Frog computer) isn't much of an outdoorsman.

This is what happens when you ask a 3-year-old to roast you a marshmallow.


We've also been grappling with a weird on-and-off stomach bug in our house, which has made us feel a little out of sorts this week.

I'll tell you what's life-changing, though. A kid old enough to:

(a) detect ahead of time when he's going to vomit
(b) make it to the bathroom in time
(c) flush the toilet on his own afterward.

Let me tell you guys, it's WAY better than when a toddler cries out "Mommy? I don't feel good!" and when you get there she pukes down the front of your shirt.


I'm already having pangs of wistfulness for summer. A flurry of start-of-the-school year emails forced me to pull out the calendar and fill it up with all my kids' soccer games and practices and school-related activities... and I don't think I'm ready. 
In less than a week's time I'm going to be waking up every day when it's still dark out.


The biggest disaster of the week this week wasn't caused by my children, but my me, and I think that's noteworthy. There are 5 of them, after all, and causing epic disasters is both their full-time job and their favorite way to spend their free time.

I must not have attached the syringe right when I refilled our printer ink, because it flew off the bottle and ink exploded everywhere. All over me, my 3-year-old, and most disastrously, my sheer white curtains.

Not just any curtains, mind you. Our window is a funny size so I personally designed and made all 4 panels, even though I hate sewing, even though I wouldn't wish working with sheer fabric on my worst enemy, and it took me about 50 hours to finish.

Before the Exxon Valdez oil spill, obviously.

After staring at what I'd done with my mouth hanging open for 5 minutes, I leaped into action, hoping I could just bleach out the spots. But bleach did absolutely nothing. Nothing!

You know what worked? Hair spray. I told the kids to have crackers for dinner, spread everything out on the kitchen floor, and individually spritzed every single ink spot with hairspray and rubbed it out with a toothbrush.

Because of the way the fabric was woven, the ink made these little plus signs all over.

Get ready for the magic to happen.

The ink just transferred to the paper towel below, like an iron-on patch!

It took me two hours including a trip to CVS for the biggest honking bottle of Aqua-Net I've ever seen, and then a final rub-down with Fels-Naptha (my favoritest stain remover in the world,) but the curtains actually look like nothing ever happened.

Which is good, because I am NOT sewing new ones.

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RAnn said...

I am so glad you were able to get those curtains clean, and I'm glad that liver didn't end up on my plate.

Unknown said...

Haha! Absolutely send me a warning if you camp in the Panhandle area of Texas (or the nearby area of NM or OK). Glad you saved the drapes. Down the front of the shirt isn't as bad as when the puke goes inside the shirt. The poop part of the cow... priceless!

Jenny Evans said...

I thought it was a good question!

Unknown said...

Good save on the curtains!
I've been working on my kitchen/ family room curtains since November of last year... when I do get them done I'm definitely not ever sewing curtains again!

Jenny Evans said...

You start out thinking, "It's a rectangle, how hard could it be?" And that's the beginning of the end.

Jenny said...

Your house sounds so fun at dinner time. Not that I want to eat liver, because I don't, it sounds awful. But I just wish I could be a fly on the wall and hear all the conversations about the food. haha.

Jenny Evans said...

The kids are actually great sports about trying new, weird things! Sometimes they even like it. Not the liver, though.

Queen Mom Jen said...

Man I would have cried about the curtains! Good save!

Jenny Evans said...

Oh, I did! And then I just got mad. And then Aqua-Net saved the day. Whew!

Anonymous said...

I hate liver too. Please don't come camping in Fl! Lol We have enough trouble now that hurricane season is here!

Unknown said...

Back in the Dark Ages one of the requirements of Weight Watchers was to eat liver once a week. Can you believe that? Every bit as nasty as you described!
So glad on your curtains. Cause they were amazing. Not surprising they took so long. Sheer fabric with decorative bands all around.
Good luck on getting ready for school. That is one of the few things I do NOT miss about having my family at home. Mamasan

Jenny Evans said...

Wait, was that a requirement for losing weight or losing the will to live?

Rachel said...

The liver story cracked me up. I'm not a huge fan of "interesting" foods. Thankfully, Angel eats anything, so when our friends would spoon intenstines into my bowl in China, I'd slyly spoon it over into his.
I am so glad that the curtains didn't end up being an unfixable disaster--that would have been so sad! Hairspray to the rescue!

Jenny Evans said...

Well, even our one child who is sort of our human garbage disposal wouldn't eat this, so I wonder what Angel would have done!

I also am really happy about the curtains. I love hairspray.

MIchelle @ Moms Are Frugal said...

Knowing that hairspray will take ink out of curtains is my tip of the day. It is great the ink came out. I would not have sewn new ones either. Have a great week!