Wednesday, March 23, 2011 | By: Slacker Mom

Movie Review: Tangled

As this movie is about to hit DVD, many of you have probably already seen it. But if you're reading my movie reviews, you definitely aren't after reviews of what's currently in the theaters. The fam went to go see this movie at the second run theater as a send-off to Daddy leaving for Texas. Howdy grumbled, "Do we HAFTA see 'Tangled'?" to which I cheerfully replied, "Yes! And you're going to like it!"

Thankfully, I was right, although, you won't get him to admit it. The closest you'll get is that it wasn't "too bad". While this is a Disney movie, it should be clarified that this is a movie with John Lasseter as executive producer. He's the man behind all the Pixar movies. If you're going to a Pixar movie, you know without a doubt that you are seeing a movie with heart, soul, and humor that is safe for all ages. Such is the case with "Tangled".

Mandy Moore is the voice of Rapunzel, the girl who has spent her life locked in a tower in an effort to keep the world away from her magical hair. Zachary Levi plays Flynn Rider, the rakishly charming thief who inadvertently jumpstarts Rapunzel's foray into the real world, much to the consternation of the woman who has kept Rapunzel hidden all her life and passes herself off as the sweet girl's mother.

Rapunzel is all green-eyed wonder as she discovers life outside of her tower. Everything is new, everything is an adventure. And even the toughest of rogues can't help but fall for her sweetness. Flynn tries hard to ditch the girl as she is keeping him from escaping with his stolen treasure but eventually, even he falls under her charm. And no movie would be complete without a plucky sidekick for comic relief. "Tangled" has two--a horse named Maximus, who is set on bringing down Flynn, and a chameleon named Pascal, who shows his emotions by changing colors. (I wouldn't be surprised if there's been a spike in chameleon sales since this movie came out.)

This is the most expensive animated movie made to date ("Avatar" not included), but it was worth every penny. Several times during the movie I found myself caught up in the look of it all. I was just in awe at far they've come since the days of "Toy Story". The detail is just amazing. You can see every strand of Rapunzel's golden hair as it moves. In a close up of Flynn, you can see his stubble. But I'm not talking just a hazy shadow, I'm talking individual whiskers of differing length. It's a gorgeous movie on top of being so fun.

The songs are great, of course. Mandy Moore has a voice that's just perfect for Disney and I was pleasantly surprised at how well Zachary Levi can sing. When Donna Murphy belts out her song, "Mother Knows Best", I pictured a very Jewish Queen Latifah singing her song from "Chicago"--"If You Be Good to Mama, Mama's Good to You." And that is a compliment.

If you haven't seen it, go out and rent it. Better yet, buy it on DVD. It'll be worth the investment as you'll want to watch it over and over. (*****)
Saturday, February 19, 2011 | By: Slacker Mom

If It Wasn't For The Last Minute...

I am definitely a works-well-under-pressure kind of gal. Most of that is by necessity as I put everything off until the last minute and have no choice but to get everything done under a serious time crunch. It's been this way my entire life. There was never any "preparing" for tests. There was only cramming the night before and remembering all the useless info just long enough to ace the test and then forgetting it all immediately after.

The funny thing is, I used to really freak out and storm around the house stressing about how I hadn't started yet and so I was doomed to failure. That's just my way. I did this one time and I got so worked up about how it was 1am the night before the big test and there was no way I could pass it so why bother studying? My roommate at the time had no choice but to be witness to my melodramatic doomsday-ing. After listening to me predict my inevitable failure a dozen times or so, she concluded I must be right and she gave up and went to bed. But that was just the opening act. See, after I've stomped around a good bit and thrown a tantrum, I buckle down and get the work done. I stayed up late and crammed and got an A on my test. My roommate didn't. And I don't think she has ever forgiven me for bringing her down.

Since then, I've learned to just accept that I am a last-minute person and it will get done. Will it be exactly the way I imagined? Probably not but the end product will be more than adequate and will pass everyone's standards (just maybe not my impossibly high ones).

So it really shouldn't have been a surprise when I found myself on Wednesday making phone calls and sending out emails to people to invite them to Sassy's birthday party that was on Saturday. That's right--3 days before my daughter's party and I was just now getting around to inviting them. And it didn't end there. Here is a little recap from the last few days.

Wednesday Realize I forgot to send out invites; break Sassy's heart that the invitations she'd been planning for weeks wouldn't be made after all; realize Howdy's party is the following weekend and go ahead and make phone calls for his party as well (Go me! I'm on top of something!)

Friday afternoon Oops! Apparently I left a close friend of Sassy's off the invite list. Send frantic FB msg to her mom, begging for daughter to be able to come; agree to let her stay well past party time in order for her to be able to make it

Friday evening--9:30pm-ish In the middle of a Pampered Chef party that I'm hosting at my mom's house, it suddenly dawns on me that today is Friday--the Games are not planned, cake is not baked, treats for goodie bags are not purchased; momentary panic then laugh it off and continue party. Before leaving party, convince mom to bake the birthday cake since she is better at it than I am (truth)

Friday night/Saturday morning--12:45am Finally get home after spending hours chatting with friends; dread the flight-of-the-bumblebee cleaning job that awaits me; discover Hubby has been waiting up to help me clean (love that man); spend a few minutes cleaning and then try to convince Hubby that we should just call it quits and finish in the morning; Hubby insists on cleaning (hate that man); crawl into bed at 1:45am

Saturday morning (aka D-Day) Wake up and alternate between random cleaning (sweep kitchen, dust TV, clear table, clean kitchen counters...)and searching the internet for game/party ideas. Make a frantic run to the dollar store to get party props; stop at mom's and see that she bought everything for goodie bags and is going to put them together along with the cupcakes she's baked (love her); hurry to get back before Hubby has to leave for work; fail to find games on the internet; declare myself a creative genius for coming up with great party games myself; proceed to throw it all together

12:15pm After failing to convince Hubby that the kids would be better off with McDs for lunch, reluctantly take a break to feed the Minions; force down a sandwich while finishing games

12:45pm 15 minutes to party time; discover that I wasn't finished prepping; slight panic while acknowledging that I should have known better than to think I was done BEFORE party time

1:05pm Send the first 2 guests upstairs to play with Sassy while I finish booklets needed for all our activities

4:11pm With the exception of the one friend who is staying late, the guests are gone; pick up trash/discarded plates and cups; big sigh of relief that party is over

4:17pm Head downstairs to see Hubby who was hiding out in the basement for the entire party (minus the singing of "Happy Birthday); flop down on the couch and announce to Hubby that the party was a huge success; conclude I must be the most awesomest mommy ever

4:19pm Purposely block out the reminder that Howdy's party is only a week away and I will soon be doing this all over again.
Thursday, February 17, 2011 | By: Slacker Mom

House For Sale


Two story Tudor home with basement. Glass block windows give it lots of character and provide free air conditioning--year round. Highly sought after hardwood floors in the living room and first floor bedroom. A good buffing would take care of the roller skate marks the children left behind and the grooves the furniture made when the wife moved her furniture around every 2 months. The open kitchen has been decorated in retro, 1970's, gold shower paneling--except in those areas that the wife was able to rip it off the walls in ragged, broken patches. And speaking of open, you'll never have to worry about cupboard doors getting in your way again as all the doors have been removed. If you should decide to rehang them, the doors are still available, only without the hardware as the wife (again) removed it all in anticipation of a painting project that never got underway. Don't be alarmed by the missing piece of countertop--the husband has replaced it with a bit of plywood after another ill-advised home project attempt by the wife.

The bedroom on the first floor boasts 2 windows that both open--something you won't find on most of the first floor and therefore highly coveted. It has a quaint little closet that also features those glass block windows--perfect for making sure you are alert in the winter mornings. After all, nothing wakes you up quite like putting on clothes that are a crisp 34 degrees.

In the bathroom, you'll notice that there is a new shower/bath surround. Don't concern yourself with the lack of hardware on the bathtub plug--a rubber stopper works just as well. The empty metal box along the far wall used to house the radiator but now serves as a post-modern decorative accessory. While the vanity looks stunning with its marble counter and rich, cherry cupboard, you may notice the lack of running water in the sink. Not a problem as the family has proven that brushing your teeth at the kitchen sink works just as well.

Heading upstairs, you'll find the carpet is similar to Berber. The light, tan color is handy for helping you see each spot that needs to be cleaned. Wouldn't want you to miss a floor stain, after all. To the right is the first of the 2 upstairs bedrooms. Granted, it is only marginally wider than the twin size bed crammed inside but it's perfect for a baby or perhaps a Pygmy dwarf. Don't be alarmed at the 10 inch gaps between the stair posts, hardly anyone has ever fallen through. The last bedroom is the jewel of the upstairs. Bigger than any other room in the house, it has plenty of space for kids to spread out all their toys and can easily fit over 1,000 Legos in the walking space. As all the ceilings are slanted and low in the corners, it even has a built in doorstop, ensuring that when your kids throw open the bedroom door, it will only dig deeper into the ceiling instead of making a loud noise. Don't worry, the painfully bright yellow walls will grow on you. While the result of a paint chip mix up, they have since proven to be great for assisting in waking the children up in the morning. No more sleeping in when the sunlight hits those neon reflectors! The radiator warms up the room but not so much that you can't feel the fresh air seeping in through the single pane windows, assuring that you'll always feel the great outdoors--even when you're snuggled in bed.

Don't let the lack of overhead lighting discourage you. With a dozen or so strategically placed lamps, you'll have the house lit up in no time. And with the old wiring system, you'll never want for entertainment. Just try to figure out which breaker will trip when you run the hair dryer and the microwave at the same time. Or how about the washing machine and the bathroom heater? Or even the upstairs heater and the downstairs radio? Good times.

Before we head down to the basement, let's stop in the laundry room located off the kitchen. The flooring is hardy, indoor/outdoor carpet squares. This ensures that anything spilled will be well hidden. In fact, unless you happen to walk in there barefoot, you'd never even know that your dog peed in there because he was too wimpy to go pee in the rain.

Be sure to watch your head as you go downstairs to the basement. The ceilings clear 7 feet, but unless you're a giant, you'll have no trouble moving around down there. You'll notice most of the carpet squares have been removed, leaving only the concrete floor. Don't worry, throw rugs will help keep some of that frigid cold from seeping into your bones. The bonus room behind the stairs is great for storage, as long as you don't need a door as that has been removed. And the room at the other end of the basement would be a great office. Just be sure not to block the one side of the closet as it's your only access to the water heater and boiler. And there's a bonus--the boiler is an antique! Original to the house in 1947, it even features the old asbestos coating, several inches thick. They sure don't make them like that anymore!

You'll notice the cozy bathroom is actually about 6 inches higher up due to the hidden plumbing beneath the floor. Again, unless you're freakishly tall--like over 5'10--you'll be able to fit as long as you duck your head when leaving the room. The shower is just the right size for one person, as is the rest of the room. You'll never have to worry about anyone crowding you while you're trying to get ready in the morning--no one else will fit in the bathroom with you.

Pay no mind to the slight mildewy smell. With enough bleach and Lysol, the smell will go away. The hose running through the hole in the back door and snaked around to the shower will ensure that--assuming that it no longer rains like a waterfall and the city fixes all the drainage systems in the neighborhood--it will no longer flood in the basement. If you're concerned about it, just make sure that you keep all precious items at least 2 inches off the floor.

Through the back door (Don't worry that it's a hollow door--the odds are pretty slim that anyone will ever try to break in.) you'll find the back patio. You'll find plenty of room here, as evidenced by the owner's mountain of garage sale items that fills half the space. The yard is maintenance free provided you don't mind long grass. The owners recommended you don't leave small dogs back there as theirs had a tendency to get lost in the foliage for days on end. The garden space on the side of the house has produced lots of fruits and vegetables. The crows and the slugs seem to truly enjoy the harvest. And the owners were careful to leave all the dead plants in there for "compost".

The 2 car garage is currently so full that it can only be navigated by a narrow walking path--proof that there is plenty of storage space. And if that isn't enough space for you hoarders out there, the owners will throw in their 1992 GMC Safari van for free. They're not entirely sure it runs, but for the last 4 years, it's worked great as a storage shed!

The front yard is pretty low maintenance as well with the side being covered by 2 truckloads of dirt and gravel. Nothing to maintain there as long as you're a fan of morning glory and blackberries. The far side of the yard features 2 young oak trees. As they seem to be sickly and not growing, you'll never have to worry about raking up those annoying leaves.

Act now to get this great deal. Thanks to the lousy economy and the housing bust, the owners now owe much more than the house is worth. Don't make the same mistake they did--get it now while it's worth almost nothing! And if you call in the next 10 minutes, they'll even throw in their lawn mower for FREE! While it's not actually working, it makes for a great lawn ornament. Don't wait--call NOW!
Wednesday, February 9, 2011 | By: Slacker Mom

You Can't Rely on Dogs

I thought I would share with you another slice of my disaster magnet life. Again, let me stress that I am an intelligent, highly capable, somewhat educated woman. But for some reason, minor disasters seem to follow me everywhere. I'm like the Pied Piper for mishaps and mayhem.

This particular event happened when I was pregnant with Bubba and I was given a baby shower over at my mom's house. After it was over, I started loading all my goodies and loot into my station wagon like anyone would--while my Mom and sister went into the kitchen to chat. I know what you're thinking. How could they be so thoughtless to not help out a pregnant woman, especially a daughter/sister? In their defense, I'm sure they were only looking out for me. You know, trying to help me keep my strength up or some other garbage like that.

So I'm loading up my car which I have backed into the driveway and I have a LOT of stuff. I have very generous friends. I don't want my purse and keys to get buried in the back so I leave them on the passenger seat while I'm loading. At night. In the dark. By myself.

I toss in the last gift and that's when I do something monumentally stupid. Just as the hatch is closing, I decide I need something out of the back and I reach over to stop it from closing. Wait for it...I close the I know, brilliant, right? It gets better. I think, maybe I can just pull my fingers out so I tug really hard while trying not to cry because it frickin' hurts. I get 2 of my fingers out but my index and middle fingers are still stuck and now, with the others out of the way, the door closes that much tighter.

Here is where I need to stop and explain something. My parents house is basically in the shape of an "L". I was in the driveway at the top of the L, my mom and sister were in the kitchen at the end of the small part of the L--all the way at the other end of the house. My dad was in his room at the corner of the L, watching TV with Howdy tucked into bed beside him.

I've now got my right hand stuck in the back of my wagon and I want to cry because it hurts but I know everyone is inside. But I should just be able to yell for help, right? I yelled. And yelled. And yelled some more. Nobody heard me. Actually, that's not entirely true. The neighbor's horse started running around in circles in the pasture. I could only hear it though because it was too dark to see. Also a dog started barking somewhere in the neighborhood. I was hoping that he was starting one of those barking chains like they did in "101 Dalmatians" and that help was on its way in the form of canines who were trained to fetch car keys and help idiot humans.

I kept yelling for my mom, dad, sister, anyone, but no one came. I did finally get through to someone though. From my dad's open window I could hear Howdy calling, "Mommy?" Yes, you read that right. My dad's window was OPEN and he still couldn't hear me. He's not the most alert man during the daytime but put him in front of the TV at night? Forget it.

I tried not to panic. I figured, I'm pregnant and have a lot of stuff to carry out. Surely my mom or sister is going to come into the living room soon to help me and then they will find me, grab my keys off the passenger seat where they were now taunting me, and get me out. Nobody came.

I started to get desperate. I thought, if I could throw something at the house, maybe the noise would cause someone to come out and investigate. So I took off my shoe and threw it. Did I mention that my right hand was the one that was stuck and I'm right handed? And also that I throw like a girl? My shoe landed about 3 feet shy of the house. Which meant I needed to try again, right? The next shoe made it farther but it only made a slight tapping noise as it hit. I may have started to cry at this point.

How long was I going to be stuck out here? I'm 8 months pregnant--things could happen. Dad had a grandkid tucked next to him and a sitcom--he wasn't going anywhere. Hubby was at home, knowing I'd be home whenever us girls could stop flapping our jaws long enough for us to actually say goodbye. Mom and sis were doing who-knows-what at the far end of the house. Surely someone had to be wondering about me. Right?

They did eventually start to wonder about me. After almost a half an hour. I saw my mom come into the living room finally and I started shouting. Luckily, the window was open so she heard me pretty quickly. She got the keys and opened the door for me, saving my fingers from having to be amputated. By that time, they had gone numb and when the circulation started moving again, they really started to hurt.

My dad had indeed heard Howdy calling for me but just figured he was asking a general question about where Mom was, not that he was trying to alert anyone to my predicament. As far as the barking chain? Yeah, it so doesn't work. I never saw a single dog. I always have been more of a cat person. Did I learn a lesson from all of this? Definitely. Now I have someone else load all my stuff for me.
Monday, February 7, 2011 | By: Slacker Mom

Land of the Lost

Did you feel that gravitational shift last week? You know, the one that caused life to come to a screeching halt? Huh. Maybe it was just me.

Last week Hubby left for Texas. Again. For the last year, he has traveled there almost every month to do a craft fair in Canton. It's great for him because he gets to stay with his brother and evenings are spent playing cards and games with his 3 brothers and his friends. He makes enough at the craft fair to pay for his trip and then it's a business write off.

In the meantime, life isn't so great for the Queen, who is at home with nothing to do but mourn and throw herself pity parties. Let me just take a moment to say that yes, there are times when it's kind of nice that there's no one here directing my schedule or asking me if reading my 3rd trashy novel of the day is really necessary or wondering why I'm sleeping in when the kids have been parked in front of the TV since 7am. I will admit that there are the occasional benefits but for the most sucks.

When Hubby is gone, life gets the brakes slammed on. It's like we're stuck in a holding pattern and we won't get permission to finally land until he's back. I hate to sleep alone and so I avoid it. I tried the whole "hey-kids-let's-all-sleep-in-Mommy's-bed" thing before. It doesn't work. So I stay up reading until I've got one eye closed and the other one crossed and the words are nothing more than disjointed letters floating around in front of me. This means I get to sleep anywhere from 3:30am to 5:30am. And then I can't wake up in the morning. The kids come in around 8am and ask if they can watch cartoons. You mean you want to fill your head with obnoxious cartoons that will no doubt rot whatever brain cells you actually have left in those heads of yours? As long as you don't wake me up, go for it.

After I drag (literally) my carcass out of bed around 10 or 11, I make a halfhearted attempt at being Sainted Mommy and make my kids do their chores, get dressed and even turn off the TV while I decide to skip breakfast because it's too much trouble and sit on my laptop checking out Facebook. During the day, I wander the house aimlessly, occasionally I will find it in me to take care of the dirty dishes or put in a load of laundry. Today I managed to scrub the kitchen floor, even though the rest of the kitchen isn't looking too hot. I encourage the kids to play outside while I sit in the relative silence and lose myself in mindless activities. After lunch, I get the kids going on their video game time and then I drop like a stone back in bed for an hour or so where I make up a small bit of the sleep I didn't get that night.

I have friends that check on me, make sure I'm still alive. I think they just want to reassure themselves that I haven't gone catatonic while rocking in the corner and drooling. They do try to coax me out of my cave but it doesn't usually work. Life is simpler here. Nothing is expected of me until I walk out the front door. I get up, get dressed, feed the kids. Outside these walls, I am expected to hold an intelligent conversation, maybe even listen to someone else. That's just too much to ask.

Dinner time is always interesting when Hubby is gone. I hate to cook when he is here and it's even worse when he's not. Time loses all meaning during his absence so I generally don't realize it's dinner time until 5:30 or 6:00. Then I have to figure out what to make for us that will be relatively quick and most of us will actually eat. Whenever possible, I invite myself over to my parents' house for dinner. I'm much more inclined to eat whatever someone else is going to cook and they live really close.

I re-order my Netflix queue just before Hubby leaves so that I can watch a bunch of the movies that I know he would hate to sit through. The only problem is, it feels wrong to watch a movie without him. Two nights ago, I finally did but only because the movie was from the library and I didn't want to pay any late fines. I sat in my living room by myself and watched it. And it was funny so I was by myself and laughing out loud. That's just not right.

I crawl into bed around midnight, sometimes earlier when I'm really exhausted, and most of the time I have every intention of getting some rest. Never happens. There's no hunk of man candy to snuggle up to, no one to kiss me good night, no one to listen patiently while I suddenly rattle off the twenty things I forgot about earlier that are too important not to be shared at 12:30 at night. I could care less about having the bed all to myself. When he's in it, I'm stuck on him like Velcro and when he's gone, I sleep on his side. Getting the whole bed to myself is highly overrated.

I don't know how single moms or military moms do it. Hubby's only been gone for a week and already I'm walking around resembling a shell-shocked nuclear fallout survivor. While I am perfectly capable of running this house and taking care of the kids without him, I DON'T WANT TO. Where is the fun in that? And trust me, he makes everything fun.

He's supposed to come back on Friday, 4 more days. It's hard to believe we actually lived in 2 different states for 2 months while I was pregnant with Sassy and Howdy and Bubba were just little. How did I survive?
Friday, January 28, 2011 | By: Slacker Mom

Mommy Has Left The Building

After tucking the kids in last night, Hubby came downstairs and said, "Bubba said you wanted to talk to me about something?" In our house this means that one of the kids is trying to finagle their way into being allowed to do something which I must then debate with Hubby. My response to this particular request was, "Huh, wha? I'm supposed to be talking to you about something?" I had no clue what it was we were supposed to be discussing. I racked my brain trying to remember if Bubba and I had talked about anything but my mind was a complete blank (I know, big surprise, right?). Then suddenly I had a vague recollection of Bubba talking about wanting to earn money by walking dogs. At least, I think that's what he was talking about.

Apparently there is a lesson that my little minions have yet to learn about their Mommy. If Mommy has a book in her hand and her eyes are on it, you no longer exist. Hubby is catching on, I believe, but I have had to admit that, although I did just answer questions and nod at correct intervals, I couldn't recall a single word of the conversation that we just had and could he please repeat everything he just said? Reading is sacred escape time for me. I don't just read my books, I am completely absorbed in them. The world could come crashing down around me but as long as I can still read the words on the page, I wouldn't even flinch.

So I was lost in my book when Bubba started chatting away. He didn't talk until he was 4 and it's like he's always trying to make up for lost time. When this kid starts talking, he doesn't shut up! Most of the time I play Sainted Mommy and listen to everything he says, make eye contact and respond appropriately. But last night was Hubby's night to tuck in the kids which meant after riding herd on the minions to complete their chores, I checked out. When Bubba started talking about wanting to earn money (to buy stink bombs, by the way), I listened dutifully for a moment or two but that book was calling out to me. It was a sound I couldn't resist. I do remember Bubba asking me something which I might have responded with a generic "I'll talk to Daddy", but I really couldn't be sure. I do know that I told him we would talk about it in the morning, to which he answered with a very firm, "AFTER breakfast." Sure, sure, honey...whatever.

The only thing is, what was "it"? Were we still on the dog walking thing? I do remember him asking if he could babysit toddlers. Heavens to Betsy, let's pray I didn't encourage him in that one. Were we going to be discussing stink bombs? 'Cause that one's pretty cut and dry--no stink bombs in my house. I really have no idea what he said since I'd been lost in fiction. He pretty much lost me at "hello". I love the kid, I really do, but he can go on and on. And on. And don't forget--there was a book involved.

So far today, he hasn't asked if Daddy and I have talked about "it" and I hope he doesn't remember. But I'm thinking I should probably set down a cardinal rule that if Mommy's nose is buried in a book, go ask Daddy.
Thursday, January 27, 2011 | By: Slacker Mom

You Blew It, Kate

A few years back, I was totally hooked on Jon & Kate Plus 8. Come on, those adorable little munchkins with their germaphobe mom and slacker dad? How could you not get sucked in? I stopped watching just before they actually moved into a house that could hold all of them as well as all the camera crews that practically live with them, but I kept up with the Gosselins via the internet and People magazines (you know, reliable sources). So while I missed the airing of the marital breakdown, I read about it plenty.

Let me confess right now to having a secret affinity for Kate. I mean, seriously--the woman ran that house like a military general. Kate--with her obsessive floor mopping, precise laundering system, aversion to anything resembling stickiness on her children's hands, and insistence on feeding her children organic--was my idol. You did NOT want to mess with that mama. So when things went downhill fast, I was on Team Kate. It wasn't long before Jon revealed himself to be a Grade A d-bag and I knew I had chosen the right side. And for a small while, I think most of America was on her side.

As anyone who has read their weight in entertainment magazines could tell you, if your husband has just ditched you and is now parading around town with a bevy of hoochie mamas, the first thing you do is cry foul--publicly. Just look at Nicole Kidman when Tom Cruise went psycho, or Jennifer Aniston when Brad Pitt left her for Miss Sexy Pout, or even more recently, Sandra Bullock and Capt. Scum. Get the public behind you and your career will flourish.

She was so close! Yeah, Kate had some sympathy there for awhile. You had to feel sorry for a woman whose husband left her to raise 8 kids while he reverted back to his college frat days. But then she had to go and blow it. First, were the rumors of her involvement with her bodyguard. There was no proof so that was easily swept under the rug as mere gossip. Then she went and was photographed repeatedly in her bikini and got hair extensions. I realize that if you look that good after having 8 kids (thanks for the free tummy tuck, Doc!) then you really want to show it off, but when you're trying to keep America on your side, less publicity is the goal here. The nails started hitting the coffin when she joined Dancing With The Stars. Girlfriend revealed to everyone that she is a whiny media hog who, incidentally, can't dance. There were also rumors of her getting her own talk show or co-hosting The View. The handful of faithful supporters she still had were just barely hanging on at this point.

There was probably a infinitesimal chance of her redeeming her image after all this but she managed to effectively slaughter that chance when she appeared on an episode of Sarah Palin's Alaska. She and the kids spent the day (correction--they didn't even last the whole day) with Sarah Palin and her family while they went on a camping trip. They picked a spot near a river, and like the weather here in Washington, it was overcast, cold and drizzly. They did get a good fire going, though, and the kids tried their hands at fishing and making s'mores. They seemed to be having a ball and didn't let the weather bother them at all. Kate, however, was a royal nag. She whined because she was cold. She whined because she was hungry. She whined because it was dirty. She kept trying to convince her kids that they didn't really like it and they should all head home. When that didn't work, she resorted to telling her children that if they liked camping they weren't really Gosselins--they were Palins. Eventually that guilt trip worked and they hiked it back to the house leaving the Palins to finish their camping trip.

Are you kidding me?! Your kids are having a great time outdoors and you ruin it for them? How selfish are you? Do you have any idea how great I think it is when my kids actually want to STAY outside? In the summertime I can only get them to play outside by telling them they have to play outside for an hour before they can play any video games. Newsflash, Kate--you are the MOTHER. You no longer get to do what you want, when you want. Do you know how many birthday parties, carnivals, cheeseball movies, and theme restaurants I have endured for the sake of my children? Suck it up, woman! No one who goes camping with children is doing it for their own benefit; it's a pain in the cellulite-filled hiney! We do it because our kids enjoy it. We do it because they learn about nature and have a great time. You know what those kids are going to remember about their one attempt at a camping trip? That mommy spoiled it for everyone.

Kate, while I won't lower you quite down to Jon's level, you have officially entered d-bag territory.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011 | By: Slacker Mom

Until Next Christmas

The holidays are over and gone, the tree has been tossed into the yard, the ornaments are packed away and the Christmas pies and cookies are settling nicely onto my hips. This year I worked on shipping and delivering frames all the way up to Christmas Eve so the holiday seemed to go by in the blink of an eye. It wasn't until after I tucked the kids into bed on Christmas Eve that I even found the time to wrap any presents and put them under the tree. The lack of gifts had my kids worried to point that they asked me if they were actually getting any presents this year.

But Christmas was a success. Now that I've recovered, I have a few moments to reflect on the season, in particular, a few things I found to be on the wrong side of ridiculous. (My apologies in advance for my less than stellar phone pics.)

This is quite possibly the most obnoxious "Christmas" tree I saw all season. Hot pink? Really? How exactly does that make you feel jolly? Can we just agree to steer clear of trees that aren't green or white flocked?

This beats out the florescent tree. It's a card you can send to your friend and her cat. Her CAT. I don't know what's worse--the person who would actually buy a card for a friend and her cat, or the woman who needs a card for herself and her cat. (And by the way, who at Hallmark greenlights these things?)

But THIS one earns the shiny, bedazzled ascot for the most ridiculous thing I saw. This is a display of VALENTINE'S crap merchandise--only 4 days away from Christmas! It's hard to see but on the left side of the pic are 2 aisles of Christmas decorations. BECAUSE CHRISTMAS HADN'T COME YET! I was still out trying to get my shopping done and they were trying to shove February down my throat? I can get behind all on my own, thank you. I don't need anyone's help. Sheesh!

Despite the over-the-top decorations and highly aggressive selling calendar, I managed to enjoy the season. But I'm curious--what obnoxious or ridiculous things did you see this Christmas?

Movie Review: Too Many to Count

So many movies, so little blog time. With the craft shows over for now and Christmas behind us, we've had a lot of free time to catch up on our movie watching. We've seen some really good ones lately so I thought I would give you the condensed version of my movie reviews.

Calendar Girls stars Helen Mirren (love her!) and Julie Waters as lifelong friends who are members of a stuffy ladies' society. When Waters' husband dies of cancer, they get the idea to create a calendar to raise money to buy a new sofa (or "settee" in Brit speak)for the waiting room at the hospital. The twist is that they will appear nude on the calendar with only strategically placed pastries or watering cans to cover their bits. It's based on a true story and it's sweet, sad, hilarious and touching. (****)

Repo Men Rated R for good reason, this one stars Jude Law and Forrest Whitaker as the titular repo men--only these men don't repo cars or tvs, they repo organs and other transplants. In the future, if you have a bum knee or a weak heart, it can be replaced with an artificial one--as long as you keep up with the payments. Law is one of the best at his job until an accident forces him to get an artificial heart. Life falls apart around him at this point until he can no longer make those payments. There's plenty of blood and fighting before and after Law goes on the run to avoid being reclaimed. I'm not usually one for sci-fi but it was interesting. The twist ending, however, left me disappointed. (***)

The Back Up Plan stars Jennifer Lopez as a woman who gives up on finding Mr. Right and goes through artificial insemination---just before she meets the man of her dreams, played by Alex O'Loughlin. This guy could be THE ONE, but how does she explain to him that she's pregnant? Predictable, funny, sweet---everything a good rom com should be. (***)

Despicable Me: Steve Carrell is Gru, supervillain. In an attempt to steal the moon and one-up an annoying new villain named Vector, Gru adopts 3 little girls to aid in his evil plan. He, of course, is not fit to be a father while the 3 little orphans can't help being anything but adorable. Needless to say, there will be some Grinch-ish redemption before all is said and done. I loved this movie--so cute, so funny and Carrell is great as Gru, reluctant father. (****)

Toy Story 3: These movies just keep getting better and better. In this final(?) installment, Andy has grown up and it's off to college for him, where childhood toys are not welcome. What will happen to the Woody, Buzz and the gang? I can't give anything away except to say that it won't just tug at your heartstrings, it will give them a mighty good yank until you're weeping at the sight of a stuffed cowboy doll and a plastic spaceman. (*****)
Monday, January 3, 2011 | By: Slacker Mom

A Day That Ends In Y

I woke up the other day and dragged my tired body upstairs to find that my wonderful Hubby had set my water kettle on for my tea. How sweet and thoughtful he is! Except...he turned the wrong burner on. Instead of turning on the back burner where the kettle was, he turned on the front burner...where my Pampered Chef rectangle stone sat. "That can't be good," I thought in all my brilliancy. So I tried to push it off the burner. That push was all it took. The darn thing split open like a pistachio. While Pampered Chef warranties against breakage, they don't say anything about warranties against negligence or just plain stupidity. Which kind of sucks because stoneware comes in a light shade of sand and it takes years of greasy foods and high fat meals to get the thing seasoned just right.
But after recovering from the shock of seeing my favorite cookware shatter into 3 puzzle pieces, I prepared for my hot water which was now heating up on the correct burner. Reaching into the cupboard, I grabbed a mug that had been put away upside down--meaning right side up. It wasn't that I wanted this particular mug for my tea, it was just that I couldn't stand to see it sitting in the cupboard WRONG. So I flipped it over. Only to discover that it was my tea mug from the day before that I had never got around to drinking. I had set it up in the cupboard with the intention of heating it back up and drinking it at some point. Well, because I am just that good, I managed to spill tea EVERYWHERE. It spilled all over the 2nd shelf as well as the bottom one, AND--because my cupboards have no doors thanks to another moment of my brilliancy--it also spilled all over the counter. The tea that spilled on the 2nd shelf leaked down onto the 1st shelf which spilled over, adding even more to the mess on the counter.
So with a shrug of my shoulder, I cleaned up the mess. I wanted to blame it all on the fact that it was Monday but the truth was this kind of thing happens to me all.the.time. Really, it's just typical stuff for a day that ends in "y".