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January 2015

Super-Nor'Easter-Winterstorm-Pain-in-the-Ass-Juno

Big doings here in Jersey. We've got our first major snow event (a.k.a. ROYAL PAIN IN THE ASS, if you're from Jersey) creeping up our coast. The kids had an early dismissal (they've already canceled school for tomorrow), my husband's work closed early and, well, now we wait.

20150126_123955-MOTION

The snow started blowing sideways at lunchtime, but the blizzard doesn't really get here until sometime in the middle of the night, because who needs sleep, right?!?

[raises hand]

I have anxiety issues with snow -- especially major P.I.T.A. snow events and most especially driving in it, here in Jersey, home of Asshats On Wheels!

Middle girl: Don't worry Mom, Holly's taking me to work!

Now that we have a kid driving (and two more driving, this spring/summer) the panic that sets in...whenever I hear the words..."major..."snow"...and..."event"...used in the same sentence...goes way beyond the fact that I do NOT do snow...very well...and, well, Eastern-European-types are not very good at keeping a straight face...AND...we pretty much suck at poker, too.

Oldest girl: But driving in the snow doesn't bother me...as much as it does you... Mom!

Truth. Which is why she is driving her sister to work and...you know...I'm not...sooooo, if it's gonna snow, I'm the one who's usually hoping Mother Nature drops a sh&tload of it, right on top of us!

Mother Nature: A'ightden...BAM!!!

So, I'm sorry...New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine...Super-Nor'Easter-Winterstorm-Pain-in-the-Ass-Juno is ALL my fault!

The boy: I'm sooooo nervous about this storm!!!

And I seemed to have transferred my fears, onto my 16 year-old son.

Me: Bah, we slept through worse storms, it's gonna be okay!

And by we, I mean my son -- the boy can sleep through almost anything, seriously.

The boy: Nooooo, WHAT IF IT DOESN'T SNOW and WE HAVE TO GO TO SCHOOL?!?!

[GASP!]

Me: Oh, the hor-ruh!

He's got mid-terms, this week. Enough said.

[sound of crickets, laughing, from all the way in Flah-rid-duh]

Stupid #snowmaggedon15, dumbass Juno. 

© This Full House 2003-2017. All rights reserved.

PLEASE Don't Call It A Sweet Sixteen Party!

My son is turning 16, next Friday. SIXTEEN!!! The difference between his turning 16, as opposed to my two oldest daughters having crossed that bridge...with very little pomp and circumstance, other than a group sleepover...YAY!!!...while my 13 year-old daughter is already clipping through fashion magazines for prom dress ideas...WOW!!!...is that the boy insists his turning 16 is really not ALL that big of a deal.

Gamer Glen

Guess what he wants for his birthday?!? G'head, I'll wait!!!

Glen: I have to tell you about something my friends and I did in school.

Aaaaaaaand, here's where being a mom of a teenager (for the last 9 years) comes in REAL handy.

Me: [blank stare]

Rather than jumping to conclusions (which is the only form of exercise I seem to be getting, these days) and imagining the worst possible things my son and his friends could have done, to want me to hear it from him first...because TEENAGERS...I've learned that's it's probably a real good idea to just...you know...shut up and listen.

Glen: This kid invited us to a party.

Still shutting up and listening.

Glen: He's a special needs kid, it's his birthday, but we're not sure how we feel about going.

This is the part where my brain nearly exploded and it took ALL of my strength (mental AND physical) to not want to revisit the last almost-sixteen years of parenting my son, because clearly I'm NOT doing it right.

Me: What do you mean, you're not sure how you feel about going?

My husband and I have been especially mindful of our childrens' need to be able to understand and acknowledge empathy, however, our parenting doesn't always necessarily translate well outside of the home...because PEER PRESSURE!

Glen: We want to go, but for the right reasons.

So I asked him for their reasons:

  • Birthday Boy visits everyone's lunch table, for a few minutes, every day.
  • On this particular day, he invited each of the kids to his birthday party.
  • He had a list of 21 kids (TWENTY ONE!) who accepted his invitation and said they would go...and then as soon as Birthday Boy left their table...they whispered to each other how...nah...they really weren't going.
  • Throughout the day, my son and his friends were asking around, you know, to see who was going (or not) to Birthday Boy's party.
  • None of them expressed any interest in actually going.

And the number one reason why my son and his two best friends actually went to Birthday Boy's party:

  • How would YOU feel on your birthday...if no one showed up...seriously?!?

Not including my son and his two best friends, four other kids were there and they ALL had a really great time -- especially, Birthday Boy!

Don't get me wrong. This is not a post about how I feel my son is better than your son (or daughter) and, quite frankly, the boy is especially gifted at driving his father and I bat-shit-crazy...more often than not...trust me.

Glen: You can blog about it, if you want to.

But because people are always so quick to point out how (or when) a kid should (or shouldn't) act...especially if he or she is not your kid...it's nice to hear whenever a teenager is NOT driving his parents bat-shit-crazy.

Glen: Because not ALL teenagers are like that.

Aaaaaaand, my son thought it was good to know -- me, too!

Glen: But...PLEASE...don't call it a sweet sixteen party!

Sometimes, these blog post titles just write themselves...YO!

© This Full House 2003-2017. All rights reserved.

One Flew INTO the Cuckoo's Nest

Today started out not so great, however, I was mentally prepared for it (living with 3 teens, a 20-something-year-old and not sleeping very well, having agonized over ALL the things, last night), because there's always a fair amount of crazy going on at our house and I am a fully-functional worry wart.

Heather: Holly has an interview, so you're taking me to work, right?

There's a long and very convoluted story of why Heather doesn't have her driver's license, yet. It's not my story to tell. Suffice it to say, spring cannot come quick enough.

Me: Yup!

[looks out window]

BAH!, it's snowing like crazy.

Because I'm a...BAH!!! It's snowing like crazy!!!...sort of driver. Then the car broke down and then something broke in my head. You know, the type of broke that makes your nose run, while you stare at absolutely nothing, and a long line of spit starts to form...from your chin...to your chest.

Or am I the only one who has broken head, runny nose and spit-forming-from-your-chin-to-your-chest-type moments?

So, yeah, I was feeling very, very sorry for myself, when I heard the bird hit the backdoor.

BONK!!!!!

Heather: OH NO, IS IT DEAD?!?

My middle girl was working from home (because the car broke and then MOM'S HEAD BROKE!) and we both just stood at the back door, staring at this poor little bird, lying on its stomach with its legs all splayed out and its face stuck in the snow.

Me: Well, its legs are moving.

But the poor bird seemed to be having trouble lifting its head from out of the snow.

Me: Maybe it just knocked the wind out of itself.

I know...I personally would've been all...HOLY CRAP!!!...who put that door there, dammit?!?

So, I reached down, picked it up, held the poor thing in my hands and stroked the top of its head...while the snow dripped from its beak...in a light shade of pink.

Heather: Look, Mom is being all Snow White.

Not really, I was wearing pajamas, but it was snowing.

Me: He's breathing a bit funny, but his eyes are open, I don't want to scare it.

I wiped the snow from the back step and gently placed him down.

Me: We'll just have to let nature take its course.

I mean, it's a bird. Birds don't live that long, anyway. Right? Flying into stuff or getting eaten by something bigger. What are you going to do? It's survival of the fittest.

Me: FRIG THAT!

I grabbed some lint from the dryer (there's always plenty to share!) and placed it under the bird.

Me: There, now his belly won't be cold.

The bird was still awake, but not moving much, besides flexing his tail feathers.

Heather: Maybe we can put him in a basket and hang him up high, so the hawk doesn't get him.

GOOD IDEA!!! I grabbed one of the baskets from the kitchen, lined it with some more dryer lint, gently placed the bird inside and hung the basket right outside the backdoor.

Basketfull of Bird

Now, mind you, both Heather and I were running around the house...looking for just the right basket...and more lint...during this entire time...with the dog running right behind us...because BIRD!!! 

And then Melisa called.

Me: OMG! We're trying to save a bird!

Melisa has visited with us a couple of times (most recently, this past October) so she's used to the crazy. Aaaaand she can pretty much follow along (for better or worse) whenever I crazy-talk.

Safe and sound

The poor bird...I couldn't just let it die...it DESERVES a chance to live...I'M GOING TO SAVE THIS BIRD, DAMMIT!!!...and she kept listening, because she is a good friend, like that.

Heather: I think it's moving around!

So she stepped outside to take a closer look...

Heather: OH!!! It just flew away!!!

Then something else broke in my head and I started crying into the phone. And then my daughter wanted to know why I was crying?

Me: Because...[sniff-sniff]...I already started writing this blog post...[wiping nose]...in my head...[sniff-sniff]...with two alternate endings.

I like this ending MUCH better, because that's EXACTLY how my mind works and welcome to my brain!

Melisa: IT'S A SIGN!!!!

Aaaaand, then my day started to get MUCH better.

Me: Now If only I could come up with a good title!

Blog post title inspiration, courtesy of Melisa.

© This Full House 2003-2017. All rights reserved.

The Gifts That Keep On Giving!

I loved whenever my kids would bring their school projects home and, considering we've had a kid in preschool, grade school, middle school or high school since 1996, we have certainly collected a fair amount of "pretties" over the years.

Every now and again, I'll find a construction paper greeting card tucked deep in between some books or reach for a pen and grab one with a plastic daisy (my favorite flower) taped to the end of it and I'll remember...ohhhhh, yeah...this was the Mother's Day card Glen made me and that is the pen that Hope gave me one Christmas.

Clay pots

In fact, these 4 little clay pots are the first thing I see...every morning...stacked by oldest to youngest, from top to bottom, all dusty and everything.

Ask me what we ate 2 nights ago and I'll give you an epic.........[blank stare]........oh, wait a minute...I just blogged it, like yesterday...haaaaaaaaang...onnnnnnnnnn...okay, it was my favorite go to family meal: Hungarian Beef (Pork, Lamb or Chickent) Stew!

[blink-blink, blows bangs out of eyes, blink-blink]

Soooooo, point being (because I really do have one) I've got a real super-selective memory.

Me: Can I use your really pretty tea-infuser cup?

I've been trying to cut down on my coffee consumption. That's right, I said it! Because I've recently got hooked on drinking loose tea (I blame Melisa!) and I couldn't remember where in the heck I put my little plastic infuser, but found my daughter's really prettiful tea cup with lid and everything!

Holly: You mean, YOUR really pretty tea-infuser cup?

.......[blank stare]........

Holly: I gave it to you for Christmas, 3 years ago!

My prettiful almost new tea infuser cup

Ohhhhhhhh, isn't that niiiiiiice?!?.........[blank stare]........AAAAAAAAND I LOVE IT!!!

© This Full House 2003-2017. All rights reserved.

Pörkölt: Hungarian Beef (Pork, Lamb or Chicken) Stew

So, yesterday I shared my secret stash of REAL paprika (seriously, I totally felt as if it should have been illegal) today I'm super-excited to be able to post one of my favorite go to Hungarian family recipes -- Pörkölt, made in a pressure cooker!

I needed to wait for it to finish cooking and then make sure to make it look all Pinterest-worthy and stuff, but mostly because I'm a little afraid of the pressure cooker and it sort of needed my full attention.

Good news is, the Pörkölt came out fantastic and I didn't blow anything up!

Porkolt - Hungarian Pork Stew
I know, riiiiiiiiiiight?!?!?!

First, a quick Hungarian lesson: Pörkölt is a stew made from beef, pork, chicken, lamb...you name it and you can probably make Pörkölt out of it...and it's what most folks mistake as Hungarian Gulyás.

Hungarian Gulyás is actually beef soup made with carrots, potatoes and spaetzle-type dumplings: you can find my family's recipe for REAL Hungarian Gulyas, here!

So, on with the Pörkölt! With my sincerest apologies in advance, because I've learned to cook adding the amount of ingredients "by eye" and am really bad at actual measurements.

Hungarian Pork Stew

Ingredients:

  • For this Pörkölt, I whacked up a 3 lb. pork roast into stew-sized pieces.
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 chopped green pepper (or cubanol pepper)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped (or 1 1/2 teaspoons of garlic powder)
  • 3 tablespoons of Hungarian Paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
  • I used half of a 32 oz. container of vegetable stock (so 16 ounces)
  • Salt, Pepper to taste

Putting it ALL together:

  • Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven or a deep pot
  • Saute the chopped onion and green pepper for about 5 minutes
  • Add the garlic, paprika and stir for about a minute
  • Add the crushed tomatoes and vegetable stock
  • Add salt and pepper to taste (before you add the meat!)
  • Stir in your meat
  • Add the crushed pepper flakes (optional)
  • Cook covered for about 2 hours, or until the meat is nice and tender or you could use your pressure cooker instead and get it done in about 30 mins.
  • Serve over elbow macaroni (or YOUR favorite pasta) 

P.S. This recipe would comfortably feed 8 people.

P.P.S. You can substitute any meat you'd like.

P.P.P.S. The measurement for the liquids can be adjusted to the amount of meat you have on hand (that's what SHE said!) and all you would need to do is make sure that the liquid covers the meat (see previous parenthesis!) completely.

P.P.P.P.S. If using a pressure cooker, please pay attention to the pressure cooker instructions, because I am ABSOLUTELY TERRIFIED OF THE PRESSURE COOKER!!!!

Jó étvágyat (Hungarian for good appetite, pronounced yo-ate-vadj-yat)!

©2003 -2015 This Full House with a fan page on Facebook, a way for you to subscribe to receive This Full House blog post by Email and everything! Also, I'm attempting to blog EVERY DAY in 2015, I hope it lasts! #TFH365 

© This Full House 2003-2017. All rights reserved.

Sharing My Secret Stash of REAL Hungarian Paprika.

My parents worked two (sometimes three) jobs -- we lived in a 4-room apartment, upstairs in my Grandmother's house, at the time -- so my brother and I grew up eating a lot of t.v. dinners -- remember those?!?

The salisbury steak with the chocolate pudding-ish cake was my favorite. Or was it the dinner that came with the hot apple lava? I forget. Either way, I almost NEVER ate the veggies -- they were just too squishy for, my taste.

Aaaaanyway, dinner planning during week nights and Saturdays (a.k.a. scrub the apartment, from top to bottom, or until everything smelled of bleach day) was kept real loosey-goosey.

Sundays, however, we (my grandmother, mother and I) would spend the entire morning cooking Hungarian food -- it was my favorite day! We still celebrate Sunday supper with my parents, whenever we can.

Now that my kids are older, and their palates have matured enough to believe that eating anything other than chicken fingers will most likely NOT kill them, it's fun to revisit some of my favorite childhood dishes -- especially, whenever I'm running late with putting dinner together (which is most nights, sorry guys!) and I've pretty much conquered my fear of the pressure cooker.

Ummmmm, okay I'm still a little afraid of the pressure cooker.

Tonight, I was running late with getting dinner started. SURPRISE!!! Even though my husband, Garth (not his real name) was nice enough to remember to take a pork roast out of the freezer for me, this morning.

Pork roast takes at least 90 minutes to...you know...roast...and it was already way past hungry o'clock, so I busted out the pressure cooker and whacked up the pork roast into stew-sized pieces to make one of my favorite meals on the fly -- Pörkölt!!!

Pörkölt is a stew (made from beef or pork) and what most folks mistaken for Hungarian Gulyas -- you can fine my family's recipe for REAL Hungarian Gulyas here!

Then I reached for the paprika...in a secret little place I keep it...hidden far behind the other herbs and spices...and I couldn't help but feel as if I were hiding something...you know...illegal.

Aaaaaaand, not because I keep it in a special tin!

Hungarian Crack

...OR that it's also tie-wrapped in a plastic baggie!

Hungarian Crack 2

Not for nothing, but paprika NEEDS to be stored in a cool, dry place, away from sunlight AND my aunt in Hungary can only afford to ship so much...every few months...and I share the delivery with my mother (a.k.a. our domestic supplier)...because REAL HUNGARIAN PAPRIKA, you guys!!!

[sound of crickets, chirping]

Tell you what, I'll share the recipe with you tomorrow, because I've been typing this blog post for...I'm not sure how long...and I forgot to put the danged timer on for the pressure cooker.

Besides...GAWDFUHBID!!!...I share something that is NOT Pinterest-worthy...right?!?

RIGHT?!?

[go home crickets, you're drunk]

Riiiiiiiiiight.

Stupid pressure cooker, dumbass crickets.

©2003 -2015 This Full House with a fan page on Facebook, a way for you to subscribe to receive This Full House blog post by Email and everything! Also, I'm attempting to blog EVERY DAY in 2015, I hope it lasts! #TFH365 

© This Full House 2003-2017. All rights reserved.

Watch Out, Watch Out, She's Got Man-fingers!

I have NEVER been (or will ever be) associated with anything even remotely petite. I was one of the lucky ones to have blossomed earlier than the rest of my entire second grade class, which earned me the nickname "Amazon", because SECOND GRADE and...flash-forward eleventy-three years...SARCASM!!!

Then, sometime around the fall of 6th grade, the Wonder Woman television show hit the airways:

 

Aaaaand, I was all...BOOM!!!...POW!!!...NOW all the world is ready for me, and all the wonders I could do! Even though I wasn't as...uhhhhhh...tricked out...as Lynda Carter was (still is) ...physically...or any other 'cally...especially, in the 6th grade...or ever.

Not to mention, the show had pretty much ended by the time we got into high school and then John Hughes brought back petite...dammit.

Disclosure: I am a HUGE John Hughes fan, literally.

Still, after birthing 4 babies, I've grown to love my 5' 9", size 12 body frame -- bumps, lumps, hug-worthy squishy parts and all -- my man-fingers, not so much. Most especially, texting with my man-fingers. On the other hand (see what I did there?!?), they come in very handy when:

  • Opening wine bottles
  • Opening pickle jars
  • Opening ALL the jars
  • Poking holes into packages
  • Ripping open cardboard boxes
  • Poking and ripping ALL the things
  • Flipping someone the bird (don't even make have to!)
  • Epic 5 stars -- my teens gave me that one, I still don't know what that means

Yesterday, I came up with a new one:

  • Scrubbing grout into total submission

Yah, that's right, no grout is safe! Unless, it's bathroom floor-type grout that's been multiplying since last New Year's Day. Then...OH YES...it's gonna get ugly, real fast.

Flash-forward this afternoon: I mentioned how the tips of my fingers hurt while chatting with Melisa (because she's a good listener and NEVER judges me and I love her!), but even she had a hard time imagining why the tips of my fingers would hurt.

Me: Yah, it sort of looks like the prune-y skin you get after swimming.

Melisa: [waiting for me to finish, because REALLY?!?]

Me: I think maybe it was the fact that I used straight-up bleach, to clean the grout.

[one beat, two beats]

Melisa: Because, CHEMICAL BURN!

[blink, blink]

I looked down at my man-fingers.

Manfingers, busted
Getting all up close and personal with my man-fingers...

UPSIDE: I didn't even feel burning them while making dinner, too much.

Manfigers, fried
Deep-fried man-finger, it's what's for dinner!

Sooooo, I guess there's no use in hiding it any longer...[heavy sigh]...YES!!!...my name is Wonder Dork...and I have man-fingers...and you should be feeling really, really good about yourself...right now!

You're welcome.

©2003 -2015 This Full House with a fan page on Facebook, a way for you to subscribe to receive This Full House blog post by Email and everything! Also, I'm attempting to blog EVERY DAY in 2015, I hope it lasts! #TFH365

© This Full House 2003-2017. All rights reserved.