Friday, November 20, 2009

Offspring Revelry



Is there any greater feeling than the pride one feels when their children succeed?

I think not!

I have never felt more accomplished than I did yesterday as my gorgeous and intelligent beyond bounds 1st grader was presented with his (what I know will be the first of many) honor roll certificate.

Congratulations kiddo- mom and dad (and a whole slew of other folks) are very proud of you!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Architectural Association (excerpt 'Raising Nick' re: mistaken identities, vol:2)


Background info: while sitting on the floor at abuelo's house, putting together an obscene amount of lego vehicles Nick received for his birthday and watching CNN. Yes, I force the child to watch CNN. If I have to occasionally watch Hannah Montana, he has to occasionally watch CNN.

Story of interest: some Al Qaeda members captured with pictures of men in turbans flashed across screen.

Nick: Oh my gosh Mom! Look, they caught one of the pyramid men!!!

Abuelo and I: (looking at each other) Buwahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Honestly, I sometimes wonder why I even need to watch TV considering the amount of entertainment this kid provides.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Ch-ch-chia Obama

Looks like Santa is getting my list early this year!



Even I can't resist this.

There are two versions available for preorder: Happy and Determined.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sand between my toes


I'm at a loss for words and really, where I am, I don't need them.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Laugh out loud!!!

Usually, Adult Swim and SNL Shorts are my favorite sources of bust your a$$ laughing silliness in skits, videos and cartoons but this takes the cake.



I'll take this moment to thank youtube, ebaumsworld and hulu...although hulu kills it with those ads, for keeping me laughing while sick.

Enjoy!!!

Friday, June 12, 2009

How to Make the Perfect Tostones. Period.


Prior to the advent of Nick, I used to go out with my single, childless pals nightly. Nightly. After his arrival, I lost interest in all things club/bar/alcoholish and my closest pals really took this to heart.

They would complain about how they never got to see me anymore so I gathered the few I considered true friends and created a weekly dinner at my house on Thursdays called Family Dinner.

The menu varied weekly and I admit, it was a way for me to practice and share my love of and prowess in the kitchen...not to mention my friends were always eager to come. Now those dinners include more folks 'cuz we've incorporated hubby's most cherished as well.

One of the menu items requested most often and complimented to the nines was- is tostones. I say 'is' because they were requested again for last night's dinner and did not fail to impress.

If you have no idea what a toston is then a) you're missing out and b) you don't know any Latinos- specifically Cubans. While tostones are not really specific to Cubans, I am of Cuban descent, they are a Cuban staple AND my Cuban grandmother taught me how to make 'em.
So by default, to me, they are Cuban.

Tostones, pronounced toes-toe-nays, are nothing more than twice fried, green plantains. Yet, for as easy as I think they are to make, some people have difficulty making them and always ask me why mine taste so good.

I admit, a good toston is more complex than just cutting a plantain and frying it but it's not rocket science either. Apart from the mojo with which they are customarily served, certain prep and cooking techniques are what I find key when making the perfect tostones.

Ingredients

Green plantains (the greener the better- they cannot be ripe)
Water
Salt
Vegetable oil

I can't stress enough the importance of the plantains being green. If you get ripe ones, you end up with maduros, a totally different side dish. Your best bet is buying them the day of.

First you'll want to peel the plantains. This isn't as easy as it sounds, though and totally different from peeling a regular ole banana. Sometimes the peel gets stuck to the plantain. You'll first want to chop the ends off. The best way to get that peel off is to slice it, making sure to not cut into the actual plantain. Slice the peel in half by making two lengthwise cuts on each plantain. Then take the tip of the knife, or your nice manicured nail, and work a corner piece of peel off making sure to keep the peel intact. The stick your fingertip or nail underneath the bed of the peel, running lengthwise along the plantain. The peel will come off slowly.

After you've peeled your plantains, you'll want to cut them in 1/2" to 1" thick pieces.



Then, and this is what I think is key, fill a bowl with water and salt and place the cut up plantains in the mixture and let it sit there. Watch TV, gab on the phone, or just continue other menu items like I do. I let them sit in there for anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.
Note: anything longer than that and you'll want to stick your bowl with plantains in the fridge or your plantains will start turning black.



When you're ready to fry your plantains, heat up enough oil in a pan/skillet to cover half the length of your cut plantains. Turn the burner on high and wait for the oil to heat up.

Plop as many cut plantains as you can into your pan/skillet. Fry them for about 5 minutes on each side until they are a light golden color (raw plantain is whitish).



Then remove them from the oil and place them on a paper towel to absorb excess oil.

Then use a plantain apparatus- like a tortilla press, although the palm of your hand and some wax paper will do just fine just make sure to wear a glove or something if using your hand as these puppies are H O T, to flatten the plantain chunk.



I use a cute wooden apparatus and truth be told, my sous chef helps me squash 'em.



Once you've flattened your plantains to about 1/4" thickness, return them to your skillet until they are really golden on both sides. I like to add a little salt directly on to each plantain at this stage.



Once again, remove them from the skillet and drain them on some paper towels. Place them on a platter and step back as your guests attack the serving dish.

You can garnish them with any number of things but my grandmother's SUPER SECRET mojo recipe is undoubtedly the best in my unbiased opinion...I could tell you what it is but you'd have to marry me (bigamy is illegal in Florida) or someone else in my family first.



Tostones go well with anything- even alone but on this night they were a side dish to Arroz Imperial, and since there was equal interest, maduros.

You're an idiot (excerpt 'Raising Nick' re:developing a thick skin)



It's not easy going through life with a funny last name. It's not easy at all but even I have to admit, it sure helps you sort the trash from the treasure. Well that and you learn how to defend yourself which is always helpful.

As a kid, the other kids would tease me about my last name- Newhouse. They'd call me oldhouse, bluehouse, redhouse, (insert term here)house and would always laugh hysterically after they said it. It took me a while to realize the majority of these people simply felt inferior to me for one reason or another and were just trying to feel better about themselves by bringing someone else down. When I finally did come to the realization, things got easier because I would just retort with laughing in their faces which really seemed to infuriate some.

So when Nick explained why he had been disciplined at camp for teasing another kid and the reasoning behind his teasing, I knew just how to handle it.

As I picked him up from summer camp today, his very young camp counselor shyly advised me that he had been calling other kids 'idiots' and she had to punish him. I thanked her and walked hand in hand with my little name caller back to our car.

Why were you calling the other kids idiots?

You don't understand mom. When they were calling our names this morning, the kids laughed when they said my last name and started calling me oldhouse.

I don't understand? Trust me baby, I know more than you give me credit for.

Actually I do understand. When I was little, kids used to say the same thing to me. They used to say all kinds of things- oldhouse, bluehouse, redhouse, smellyhouse. People can be mean huh?

Yes that's why I called them idiots.

But that wasn't very nice and you did the same thing to them that they did to you. You acted like an idiot too. Why would you call them idiots?

Dad told me to.

.....
What? Dad told you to call them idiots?

Yes mom. Dad told me if anyone called me a name to tell them they were idiots.

.....(shocked my husband would give such horrible parenting advice and thinking what to say)
Even if someone is an idiot, you don't have to tell them. Like I said, then you're acting like that too. Let me ask you a question- is your name oldhouse?

No.

Then why did you answer?

Because they were talking to me.

No, you just said your name is not oldhouse. Your name is Nick Newhouse so unless someone calls you Nick or Newhouse, you don't need to answer because that's not your name. Pretty silly, answering to someone else's name- don't you think?

I guess but what do I do if someone calls me names?

You should do nothing because your friends will never call you names and anyone that does, is not important. If you really want to say something, just ask them "didn't your mom teach you not to open your mouth unless you have something nice to say?" or tell them that the correct way to say your name is 'Newhouse.'

Does that work mom?

Not really but does it matter what people who are not your friends think?

And yes, Dad was disciplined too for telling him to call other kids idiots although it turned out Dad simply said people like that were idiots. He never attached instructions to retort with name calling.

Friday, May 29, 2009

It's the Little Things that Count! (excerpt 'Raising Nick,' re: friendships)

Background info: Nick sitting at dining room table, coloring.

Me: That's nice. Is that for me?

Nick: No, Mom; this is for Celeste.

Me: Celeste?

Nick: Yes, mom. Look what happened: Talyana was coloring and she didn't know how to color something so Celeste helped her and when Talyana was done, she gave her paper to Jazmin.

Me: So?

Nick: Celeste was sad that Talyana didn't give it to her. She put her head down on her desk and started to cry because she was sad.

Me: I guess that wasn't so nice, huh?

Nick: No. That's why I'm coloring this for Celeste- so she is happy.

..........

Wise beyond his years, this kid. I'm amazed by the lessons I learn from him and proud that at such a young age, he already knows how to be a selfless friend.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Parenting Readiness Test

I love this every time I get it in an e-mail. The author is unknown but there's NO doubt he/she was a parent!

Mess Test
Smear peanut butter on the sofa and curtains. Now rub your hands in the wet flowerbed from outside and rub on the walls. Cover the stains with crayons. Repeat. Place a fish stick behind the couch and leave it there all summer.

Toy Test

Obtain a 55-gallon box of Legos (if Legos are not available, you may substitute roofing tacks or broken bottles.) Have a friend spread them all over the house. Put on a blindfold. Try to walk to the bathroom or kitchen. Do not scream. (This could wake a child at night.)

Dressing Test
Obtain one large, unhappy, living octopus. Stuff into a small net bag making sure that all arms stay inside.


Feeding Test

Obtain a large plastic milk jug. Fill halfway with water. Suspend from the ceiling with a stout cord. Start the jug swinging. Try to insert spoonfuls of soggy cereal (such as Fruit Loops or Cheerios) into the mouth of the jug, while pretending to be an airplane. Now dump the contents of the jug on the floor.

Night Test
Prepare by obtaining a small cloth bag and fill it with 8 – 12 pounds of sand. Soak it thoroughly in water. At 8:00 PM begin to waltz and hum with the bag until 9:00 PM. Lay down your bag and set your alarm for 10:00 PM. Get up, pick up your bag, and sing every song you have ever heard. Make up about a dozen more and sing these too until 4:00 AM. Set alarm for 5:00 AM. Get up and make breakfast. Keep this up for 5 years. Look cheerful.

Physical Test (Women)

Obtain a large beanbag chair and attach it to the front of you clothes. Leave it there for 9 months. Now remove 10% of the beans.

Physical Test (Men)
Go to the nearest drug store. Set your wallet on the counter. Ask the clerk to help himself. Now proceed to the nearest food store. Go to the head office and arrange for your paycheck to be directly deposited to the store. Purchase a newspaper. Go home and read it quietly for the last time.

Grocery Store Test

Borrow one or two small animals (goats are best) and take them with you as you shop at the grocery store. Always keep them in sight and pay for anything they eat or damage.

Final Assignment
Find a couple who has a small child. Lecture them on how they can improve their discipline, patience, tolerance, toilet training, and child's table manners. Suggest many ways they can improve. Emphasize to them that they should never allow their children to run riot. Enjoy this experience. It will be the last time you will have all the answers.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Before I was a Mom

Before I was a Mom, I never tripped over toys or forgot words to a lullaby.
I didn't worry whether or not my plants were poisonous.
I never thought about immunizations.

Before I was a Mom, I had never been puked on.
Pooped on
Chewed on
Peed on
I had complete control of my mind and my thoughts.
I slept all night.

Before I was a Mom, I never held down a screaming child so doctors could do tests.
Or give shots.
I never looked into teary eyes and cried.
I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.
I never sat up late hours at night watching a baby sleep.

Before I was a Mom, I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn't want to put him down.
I never felt my heart break into a million pieces when I couldn't stop the hurt.
I never knew that something so small could affect my life so much.
I never knew that I could love someone so much.

I never knew I would love being a Mom.


Before I was a Mom,I didn't know the feeling of having my heart outside my body.
I didn't know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby.
I didn't know that bond between a mother and her child.
I didn't know that something so small could make me feel so important and happy.

Before I was a Mom, I had never gotten up in the middle of the night
every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay.
I had never known the warmth,
the JOY,
the LOVE,
the heartache,
the WONDERMENT or the satisfaction of being a Mom.
I didn't know I was capable of feeling so much,
before I was a Mom.

Send this to someone who you think is an awesome Mom.

May you always be overwhelmed by the Grace of God rather than by the cares of life

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Miami Law (Sue on being nerdy)


'Cuz I'll never really grow up...and thank heaven for sons. :)

Official Release:
"Miami Law gives players the opportunity to fight crime by using brute force or conducting detective work," said Mike Pepe, Director of Marketing at Hudson Entertainment.  "The unique combination of action and crime-scene investigation gameplay will keep Nintendo DS owners hooked throughout the entire TV series ready storyline."  Miami Law features an intricate storyline with a shadowy terrorist conspiracy, furious shoot-outs in abandoned warehouses, challenging crime-scene detective work and more.  Players will have many opportunities to choose their path and experience the story from two points of view - either as the intense Law Martin from the Miami PD or the brainy Sara Starling from the FBI.  Depending on which character they pick, players will be presented with different challenges.  Playing as Sara will feature a puzzle-based, mystery solving element, whereas playing as Law will thrust the player into the action, often into car chases or shoot-outs where taking out the bad guys is the only way to get results.  Unlockable extras, including Texas Hold 'Em Poker and Sudoku, are also included and can be played at any time after being unlocked."

Exclusive DS release is scheduled for 06.09.09

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Supply and Demand (excerpt 'Raising Nick' re: passing genes)

Nick: Mom- are there tacos in San Francisco?

Me: Yes. You can probably get a taco anywhere. (wondering whytf he's asking 'bout Frisco?)

Nick: Even in outer space?

:/

...

(smartass)

If only it were that easy...(excerpts from 'Raising Nick' re: fantasy)

Nick: Mom, if I behave tonight, can we go to Hawaii next week?

Gus & I: (looking at each other) ...

Sue: (to Gus, smirking) If I behave tonight, can we go to Hawaii next week?

Gus: ::smile::

does that mean yes?

Some 'girls are mean' bitches....(excerpt 'Raising Nick')

Nick: Mom, why are girls so mean?

Me: Who was mean to you?

Nick: Nicole and Stephanie (No clue who Stephanie is but Nicole sent him a $1 Valentine Gram for ValentiMe's day)

Me: But not Celeste?

Nick: No. Celeste is nice. (NOTE: Celeste is this cutesie, little, pig-tailed girl in his class who ALWAYS SCREAMS 'goodbye' to him when I pick him up @ school's end. She has a little sister named Emily and Nick ALWAYS talks about her. I like her so I usually ask.)

Me: How are they mean? What do they do?

Nick: Well, they're not friends because Stephanie doesn't like Nicole and I'm friends with Stephanie because she sits next to me.

Me: OK, but how are they mean?

Nick: They say they don't want to play with me.

Me: OH. Do you want to play with them?

Nick: No. Girls are mean but why? You're a girl mom.

Me: If you don't want to play with them, then it shouldn't matter why they are mean but not all girls are mean- just some. Nicole and Stephanie are mean because they want to play with you and don't know how to tell you that.

Nick: Can I just play with Sean and Isaiah?

Me: as long as you get an E

Nick: Nicole smells bad

Me: (trying not to laugh) OH...

Wiener Sighting (excerpt 'Raising Nick' re: reading skills)

Nick: (LOUD) look ma- WIENER!!!

Me: (driving) What?...what are you talking about silly boy? What wiener?

Nick: Look! The sign says 'wiener,' right mom? (pointing at roadside sign)

(driving eastbound on Killian, going over the Don Shula)

Me: It sure does but that's a lawyer's office not a real wiener. (Adopt-A-Road program, Law offices of Wiener & something forgettable)
(thinking to self- 'I didn't learn about wieners in kindergarten.')

Nick: What's a lawyer Mom?

(Thinking to self- 'sometimes a wiener...')

Plastic Identity (excerpt 'Raising Nick' re:sentimental ties)


Background info: Plastic animal (giraffe, elephant, tiger) collecting, bike riding, fun filled Zoo day with about what seemed like half of Miami....MAN was the zoo packed!

(...in the car, on the way home)

Nick: Dad, can I name the giraffe?

Gus: Of course. What do you want to name him?

Nick: DeeJay

Gus: But you can't name it DeeJay, you already had a 'DeeJay.'

Nick: But I like DeeJay

Gus: That's like if Mom and I have another baby and name him/her Nicolas.

Nick: Oh...

silence

Nick: I know. I'll call him 'Smith.'

LOUD laughter from Mom and Dad

Seeing is believing (excerpt 'Raising Nick' re:mistaken identities)


Background info: immediately after seeing a braille sign....

Nick: Mom, what are the little dots for?

Me: They're for the blind.

Nick: the blind?

Me: Blind people cannot see.

Nick: Why?

Me: Well, sometimes people are born that way; sometimes they get sick and lose their vision (pointing at his eye); sometimes they get hurt in an accident.

Nick: An accident? Like when I leave my cars on the floor and it's dark and you can't see them and you sometimes fall.

Me: (trying not to laugh, semi-stern voice) Yes, like that. You have to pick up your cars or I'll think you don't want them and I'll give them to the church.

Nick: Ok.

Me: :)

.......

Nick: Mom- blind people grow up to be pirates?

.........

Case Studies: TV rots kids brains (excerpt 'Raising Nick' re: selfishness)


Background: Me standing on the counter top of Nick's bathroom sink painting an airplane....teetering on tippy-toes 'cuz I have vertical accessibility issues...Nick laying on the bathroom rug staring at the ceiling pestering me to finish the plane and start the clouds on the ceiling.

Nick: Mom- be careful! You're going to fall and I don't want you to get hurt.

Me: I'm not going to fall but thank you.
(Thinking to myself 'perfect opportunity for a 911 refresher')

Me: Do you know what to do if I fall and can't get up or if you see someone sleeping and they don't wake up?

Nick: Yes.

Me: What?

Nick: I call 9 1 1.

Me: Good. Do you know your address?

Nick. Yes. It's (includes hand signs) THE 3 O 5...

Me: ....where did you learn that nonsense? Did Tia Nicole teach you that?

Nick: I saw it on my TV when I was 4 years old.

(Note: when Nick refers to memories, he includes 'when I was '..IDK)

Me: TV is bad. It rots your brain. 3 ZERO 5 is our area code but it's not our address. Our address is XXXXXXXXXXX.

Time lapse: 5 minutes, practicing address

Nick: Mom- if I call 9 1 1, do I get a medal like that kid on TV?