What’s for Dinner?

There are a few for sures when you are an Italian mother.  Hair, and lots of it, a rather large nose, talking violently with your hands, and the amazing ability to cook. I am a solid 3 out of those 4 but frequently question if I can truly claim my heritage.  I definitely have the ability to grow hair like nobody’s business.  On command, instantly.  I can grow a more successful mustache than my non-Italian husband and the one day I skipped shaving my legs, a 3 year old pointed at me and told his mom he saw Chewbacca.  Big nose? Definitely. Talking with my hands? Absolutely.  I can have an entire conversation with my hands including emojis without saying a word.  The one area I fail in is cooking.  Miserably.  When people find out that I am Italian they usually make a comment about how I must be able to cook great spaghetti sauce.  I can open a jar, I can work the microwave.  We don’t starve. 

Unfortunately, my kids are always hungry.  Like every day at the most inconvenient times like when I am playing games on my phone (and they know that candy can’t crush itself) or just get in the car to go somewhere. Since my purse is the family trash bin, at any given time I can put together an entire meal with what I find in the bottom of my purse.  I am resourceful.  I am also pretty sure that Chex mix was invented by some busy mom that forgot to pack snacks and dumped out her purse into a Ziplock baggie.  Trail mix was invented by a slightly healthier mom.  It’s all good.  A little fuzz never hurt anyone and if they find something like a paper clip or a hair tie it’s a bonus prize like in a Cracker Jack box. 

What I don’t understand is why everyone has to know what we are having for dinner hours prior to dinner time.  Will it change the course of their day?  Will knowing that we are having pizza rather than meatloaf make for a better day? They already know I am not a good cook.  Maybe they are planning how much they need to eat throughout the day so they won’t need to eat my cooking? Do they even care or is it an automatic reflex when they see me? Whatever reasons they have don’t really matter. As long as the world keeps turning, every day kids will ask “What’s for dinner?” whether they actually want to know or not and moms will be scrambling to figure it out.

Memory Foam Mattress Topper-1, Me-0

April 11, 2018

Today started out OK, busy at work but it made the day fly by. I was tired but no more than I have been for the last 18 years so I decided on my way home that instead of taking a nap when I got there, which was my first choice, I would get all of the house cleaning done and dinner made before succumbing to the chloroform I swear is in the fabric of our couch. I made a quick stop at Albertson’s since coffee creamer is on the Fab 5. I grabbed 5 bottles (yay they have peppermint mocha but I might need to check the expiration date), some Oreos, and then a bunch of bananas to make me look like a good mom. I used the coupon that I got last time for creamer that spits out of the register only after you have just bought some, gave the bagger the Dollar Tree reusable bags I brought with me, put in my debit card number and was out the door. I got home and put away the creamers, bananas, and the half empty package of Oreos and set out to tackle some laundry. I needed to take the 4” memory foam mattress topper off of our bed and put it back in the box to return to Target-darn you Redcard. So, I tore off the blankets and sheets and shoved them in the washer with a Kirkland brand detergent pod without even the slightest urge to eat it. I reluctantly slinked back to our bedroom knowing that I would have to go one-on-one with the memory foam since taking it out of the box was no picnic. Let’s back this up a bit. A few weeks ago I thought it was a good idea to buy a memory foam mattress topper for our bed since our mattress is not very old but unfortunately not very comfortable. I really don’t want to spend a small fortune on a new mattress yet so I went on My Target app and saw that foam toppers were on sale. I read a bunch of reviews, found one that had a bunch of stars filled in and clicked purchase. I bought a king sized 4” memory foam topper. I couldn’t wait for it to arrive! A few days later a small box arrived just inside our gate. I had also ordered some screen protectors for our phones so I assumed that the box contained them. I picked up the box and it was really heavy, 34 pounds actually. I muscled the box into the house and opened it in the living room. The memory foam topper shot out of the box like a rocket and opened to its full width of a king sized bed and height of 4” which threw me against the wall. Stunned, I checked for injuries and stood in disbelief at what had just happened. Not to be discouraged, I folded it in half and pulled it into my bedroom like a giant, really heavy taco. I was still excited to see how this was going to fix my mattress. I took off the mattress cover and struggled the topper onto the bed. I think I mentioned it was heavy. Our current mattress is already pretty high so the topper added another 4” plus the mattress cover, sheets, and the 50 blankets we use left me just inline with the height of the light switch on the wall when I laid on top. Perfect. I waited to see what my husband would say when he got home. He walked in our room and sat in the chair that is next to the bed. I could only see the top of his head from where I was laying way on top of the bed, but I could tell it was slowly shaking side to side. He thinks I’m crazy. I assured him that although it may look ridiculous it was going to be so comfortable and we would finally get good sleep! Well, it didn’t work out so well. It’s really hard to roll over since it is so thick we get stuck, like really stuck, and I’m pretty dehydrated since I don’t want to risk having to pee in the middle of the night because having to get a running start to jump back into bed wakes me up and I can’t fall back to sleep. So I’m returning it. I kept the tiny box that it came in just in case it didn’t work out. I spent a good half hour trying to get it in the box. I burned off most of the Oreos I ate in my attempts and had sweat running down my back. I rolled it up like a sleeping bag and tried to squeeze it into the box. Too big. I folded it in squares and jumped on it to squish it down. It pushed me backwards. Luckily my latest attempt with Nutrisystem was a bust because I needed every pound I had as I straddled it in an effort to keep it squished down to the size of the box. Apparently it has a really good memory because it kept reverting back to a giant menacing square. I never did get it back into the box and I want to meet the person who originally did. I will buy that person a beer and swap stories about our adventures with the memory foam topper. Good times. Currently it’s in my room half on the bed, half up the wall with the now-flattened cardboard box under it. I closed the door to the bedroom and posted a sign to enter at your own risk. That thing has problems. Either my husand will deal with it or I will post it for free on Craigslist. For now, I’m off to buy a new mattress.

Embrace the Outtakes

A491BF26-E349-4F97-9833-0D16A2577871December 11, 2017

Embrace the outtakes. Yesterday we took our annual family pictures. With a whopping total of 202 pictures taken there are exactly 4 that are decent. FOUR. Only one of those was a whole-family picture and clearly required help from a higher power since it was taken at church. For those of you that have salvaged more than that I applaud you. If you have more than two kids you deserve public recognition, maybe a monument. Family picture day is the worst. 
Instantly my kids became wild animals. It was like herding feral cats. In most of the pictures I look like I am in pain and my static filled hair is plastered to my face. I guess I haven’t perfected threatening my kids while smiling, seriously I’m not a ventriloquist. I kept thinking, “What is with this weather and who are these primates calling me mom?”
Here’s some of the dialogue from this experience-“Don’t touch me”…“Omg, open your eyes”…“I’m starving”… “Get the dog out of the pool”…“Don’t get my fat arms in the picture” (that was me)…“Stop crying-there better not be tears in these pictures”…“Who smiles like that?”… “Take off your sunglasses”… “Seriously, what is wrong with you?”…and my personal favorite, “Hey Mom! You look pregnant!” Good times.
So, I decided just to post the outtakes. Why not? Everyone posts the best ones. I’d rather post the ones that shows our true selves. We are funny and messy, sassy and obnoxious. We are real. For better or worse-We are The Tart’s.
Merry Christmas from our perfectly imperfect family to yours.

1st Week of School vs. 8th Week of School

September 5, 2012

In honor of the first week of school I have thought about this time of year and realized why it’s called “Fall”. Everything starts out perfect and slowly starts to decline. First week of school vs. Eighth week of school.

For the first week they have all new clothes which are ironed, matching, and with new shoes. By the eighth week the same clothes are worn to donation status and all pants are now high waters. What the heck? It hasn’t even been cold yet. Nothing seems to match anymore and missing buttons on shorts renders them a total loss. Should be claimable on Homeowner’s? Holes in shoes, both feet.

During the first week Mom gets up early to make breakfast because after all it’s the most important meal of the day. By the eighth week, Dad is microwaving bean and cheese burritos.

First week-New backpacks! Eighth week-Broken zipper with a zip tie and some duct tape. The character backpacks are about as sturdy as a Walmart bag which replaces the backpack all together by the end of the year.

First week, hair is done every morning by Mom. Eighth week Dad does hair, AKA bed head with a bow. Oh yes and week one there are lots of hair accessories which are lost forever by week 4 or so. The pack of 1000 bobby pins is down to 4.

In the first week there are healthy lunches brought to school packed the night before in a new lunchbox. By the eight week it’s Skittles and a package of Top Ramen in a paper bag since the lunchbox resembles a petrie dish. When the lunch is forgotten at home, it’s a frantic scavenge of car seats while in the carpool line at school trying to simultaneously count out $1.90 for a school lunch in nickels and lint, and not hit the poor crossing guard.

I am sure that there are lots of other things to bring up. But now I am tired and since it is still the first week of school I have to get up extra early so that all of my kids look and feel their best tomorrow morning! I decided that the first week of school is like a New Year’s resolution without the stress of trying to lose weight. Happy Back to School everyone!

Road Trip

July 24, 2018
We just got back home from a 12 day, 5000 mile road trip. One that 6 months ago my entire family nagged me to let us fly instead of drive. Let’s face it, we are so busy that I don’t get to actually spend much time with my kids so I was looking forward to some quality time on the road with them. We went on this trip to watch one of my 6 nephews get married. When my sister told me he was getting married I almost told her no way. How could this be happening? This is the little boy who thought we was Harry Potter but couldn’t pronounce his Rs so called himself Ha-We and once answered on his homework that milk came from the store instead of from cows. They moved when he was young so that’s how I always picture him. Now I watched him get married. I wanted to tell him “Congraduwations” and almost looked for the Sharpied lighting bolt scar on his forehead. How can a boy who will always be an 8 year old to me get married?

So while the rest of my Facebook friends were vacationing in Hawaii, Costa Rica, Italy, and other exotic places, were were road tripping to Kentucky. To make it more exciting, we planned to head to Iowa for a week after. Giddy up. On the road when I swiped though my social media I saw pictures of my friend’s views out of airplane windows and videos of zip lining through the jungle while I was stuck in a car that smelled like feet and milk farts for days.

I didn’t want to take extra time off of work which meant we’d have to pull an all nighter to get there on time. I don’t see what the problem is with that. I sleep just fine in the car while my husband drives through the wee hours. We set off on our trip driving through the night like we were on the run. My husband asked me to drive around 2am to which I responded yes and then instantly fell asleep for 2 hours. He loves me and I don’t know why.

Driving 30 hours straight is not without adventure. Every stop involved bladder busting sodas, $5 candy, salty heart attack inducing snacks, and a fly in the car. I was happy with my cheese and beef jerky being that I’ve sworn off sugar for the time being. I held cheese like it was a candy bar and bit right off the brick. I also drank a ton of water, and continuously needed to pee, like immediately, and sometimes we had to stop places you only see on an episode of Cops. Especially in the Ozarks at an all-night mini mart. As soon as we parked, swamp people came dragging out of the woods like the Thriller video. I ran into the bathroom before I peed my pants while my son was busy asking a lady with “Die” tattooed on her left knuckles and “Death” on her right which was spelled “Deaf” where the best place around there to go Noodling was. I figured the tattoo artist misunderstood her being that she was missing every third tooth. I had to decide whether I would protect my son or use the bathroom and clearly I chose not to pee my pants. The bathroom wall had peep holes drilled in them in surprisingly conspicuous places so I just did a small finger wave toward the hole at the creep that was for sure watching me. At this point I didn’t even care. We loaded up on our junk food and got back in the car as a 60 year old Eminem look-alike walked out of the mini mart, ripped his shirt off then took a Kiss mask out from his butt crack and put it on. He swaggered over to his car which looked like it was recently in a demolition derby, windshield shattered, and sped off with his head stuck out the window like Ace Ventura. I decided that a dental hygienist’s job there must be cake being that the whole town put together might have enough teeth for a full set.

We arrived in Kentucky just in time to shower and change. I successfully removed the half eaten lollipop stuck in my hair and rogue french fry from my bra which was a mystery since I didn’t eat any. It is extremely humid there so my hair was on point to make Weezey Jefferson jealous. I painted the girls nails and toes while driving so they looked like a 3 year old was offering mani-pedis. We were tired and wrinkled but we were there. On time.

After a few days in Kentucky we headed to Iowa. There we had adventures with mosquitos big enough to put a collar on and a near miss with a tornado. I’ll take earthquakes and rattlesnakes any day compared to that. As my friend and I drove towards the low hanging black swirling clouds an emergency alert rang out of her phone so loud I jumped in my seat and hit my head on the ceiling of her car. I looked over to see her reaction to the alert and she just shrugged and said “Eh, it’s fine”. Like this happens all of the time. Since my only experience with a tornado is watching the movie Twister I was looking around her car for something to use to tie myself to a pole. I was ready to jump out of her moving car any minute with my purse strap fastened around my waist. Luckily, we ended up turning away and headed home shortly after.

The rest of the trip was relaxing and uneventful. We laughed a lot and made great memories. I’d do it all over again to spend that time with my family. It’s always a good time when the Tart’s go on an adventure and I can’t wait until the next one.

What is Happening?

April 25, 2018

I believe that we are put in certain places at certain times for a reason. Maybe to see how we will handle ourselves in situations. Mostly I think God just likes to mess with me. Today I had exactly 8 minutes to get from work to my Little’s school to pick her up so I figured I had plenty of time to make the 14 stops I needed to make before getting there. I first went to the grocery store to redeem my winnings of $5 cash from the in-store game going on and pick up a few items. Since we spent about 30 hours sifting through the game pieces for this prize I figured I better get it. I breezed through the store and grabbed apples, bananas which were on sale, and a Caesar salad all-in-one. I ran to the deserted customer service counter and stood there doing the “I’m in a hurry” dance waiting for someone to help me since I was on a strict time schedule. While waiting, a lady walked up behind me and asked if someone was opening the register. I had no idea but I told her that I suppose eventually since we were standing there. She told me she needed to change 4 quarters for a dollar. I offered her the dollar and she gave me about 16 coins, not a single one a quarter. I dumped the change in my purse and she told me to count it. I told her, “Um, no that’s ok” since I considered it lost forever in the Mary Poppins disaster I carry around as a purse and should have just offered her a dollar with nothing in return in the first place. She told me again to count it since she didn’t think it was a full dollar. What? I assured her it was ok and she turned and bumbled away.

Just then another lady came up behind me, leaned in and said that she just got money for the first time in 2 months. She was injured and had been waiting on disability but then had to go back to work. Then the day before she was scheduled to start work again she broke her leg. It seems she was down on her luck and I felt really bad for her. I wasn’t sure what I was meant to do for her at this time in this place. She said her leg was manageable but then she accidentally ran over her husband with her car. OMG! I asked if he was ok and she said, “Well, no!” turned abruptly and left. I must have stood there with my mouth open in shock for at least 2 minutes. I ended up putting my groceries back and stuffing my winning game board back in my purse to be redeemed another day since now I didn’t have time.

I picked up my Little from school on time since the carpool lane takes forever, dropped her at soccer practice, then stopped by another store to pick up what I needed. On my way in to the store that, by the way, didn’t have bananas on sale, a lady was sitting at a table eating a huge sandwich. As I walked by she grabbed my arm and asked me to buy her a salad. I looked to the sky and asked what in the world was going on today. I thought a salad was a strange request but it wasn’t booze or cigarettes so what the heck?

I don’t claim to know what God’s plans are for me but today left me a little confused. I think I was meant to offer someone in need some money, lend an ear to someone needing to talk, provide a healthy meal to a stranger, and pay full price for bananas.


971A6433-2CD6-451E-B611-001198F4B2E7.jpegApril 21, 2018

I’d like to say that I wake up every morning feeling like P. Diddy but that would be a lie. Especially on an early soccer Saturday morning. It’s more like the droopy cartoon dog that uses toothpicks to keep his eyes open. Sleeping in is for the weak…and kidless.

Since Wes is on the pool deck all day I’m on soccer with My Little. I reluctantly rolled out of bed and dragged myself to the kitchen to start the coffee and feed the dog, knocking on Raegan’s door on the way. I narrowly missed falling in the hallway as the kitten weaved in and out of my feet. Same four-letter words, different day. I’m comfortable with routine. 
Once fueled for the day I showered, swiped sharpie on my roots, slathered on some lipstick, grabbed my shoes and we were out the door. I finally see the resemblance between myself and the preschool drawings my kids made of me. A circle with limbs coming out of it with black marker hair and bad lipstick. Accurate. 
We flew down the hill to the fields and my daughter jumped out of my moving car to make it there just in time. Success. Despite my mismatched shoes I’m calling this morning a win.