2016 total: $9901.02


Not Chicken Tortilla Soup

In theory, Jill should get the credit for this recipe. In reality, Alexis thinks *I* am the best cook of all time and that I make the "best soup EVER EVER EVER!" (Her exact words.) All I did was swap out a few ingredients for vegetarian equivalents, but if the kid wants to worship me, whatever. I'm game.

(Not) Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 package Morningstar Meal Starters Chik'n Strips

1 can black beans

1 jar salsa

2 cups of broth (I prefer this brand because it's not super tomato-y, but it is sometimes hard to find, so I slum it with regular vegetable broth if I have to)

Tortilla chips

Shredded cheese

Throw the chik'n strips, beans, salsa, and broth in a pot and cook on medium high heat until hot.

Scoop into bowls and then garnish with cheese and a handful of crushed tortilla chips. DONE! It takes about ten minutes to make, which makes this my new favorite recipe in the whole wide world. It gets bonus points because of Alexis being a fan as well.


Physical Comedy Rules

I *LOVE* this photograph.

Wanna guess what she was so joyous about? Some hints:

It wasn't the prospect of sledding (that had already happened).

It wasn't that I had promised her a pink pony that would poop glitter and naked Barbie dolls.

It wasn't that I admitted I secretly loved the Jonas Brothers and was going to quit my job so we could stalk them full time.

She was THAT joyous moments after her view changed from her dad sledding down the hill to her dad crash landing and rolling down the hill in a crumpled pile of man vs plastic sled vs icy hillside. (He was fine.) (Mostly.)

I only know that's what happened because I could see the reflection in her eyes. I guess maybe I should have offered to help the poor guy instead of standing there taking pictures.

But at least I didn't laugh like she did.


I Probably Did Something To Deserve This

"Momma, I'm sick," Alexis whined from the back seat.

"No, you're not," I told her. Compassion? What's that?

"YES, I AM," she insisted, straining her voice just enough to make herself cough.

Cringing, I desperately looked around for some riot gear or an eject button or something. ANYTHING BUT COUGHING.

The kid went on talking and fussing some more, continuing to cause herself to turn what was probably a tickle in her throat into a full-blown cough. "You need to take a drink of water," I told her. The "And stop talking" was implied.

"I dooon't haaave any waaaaaater," she whined.

Of course she didn't. Just because I put a bottle in her cup holder at least twice per week doesn't mean it will be there. She's famous for crying that she doesn't have water, even as she is the one who continuously takes it into the house. Someday when she's the mother of her own children and complains about how they can't leave things where they belong, I'm going to pull out my best Nelson "HA-HA" impression. And a NEENER NEENER.

"We'll be home in five minutes. Just hang tight," I told her.

"But, Momma!" *cough*cough*cough* "I'm sooo sick," she whined some more.

"Alexis, you just have a frog in your throat," I told her. I already knew she didn't have a fever or swollen tonsils or anything. It was Just. A. Cough.

"I do NOT have a frog in my froat!" she wailed.

"Yes, you do. There's a frog in your throat and it's making you cough," I told her.

"But! But! But! I didn't see a frog go in my mouf! I would have seen it!" she replied, her voice tinged with desperation.

Fighting the urge to laugh at her literal interpretation, I told her that it probably crawled into her mouth when she was asleep. Compassion? What's that?


"OK, but if there's isn't a frog in there, why are you coughing? Doesn't your throat tickle?" I asked.

She thought for a minute before getting a fearful look in her eye and confirming that, yes, her throat did sort of tickle.

Of course, no evil parenting deed goes unpunished. The cough grew legs overnight. It gave the kid cause to be up and wanting to destroy the universe more times than I ever remember her being up as a newborn. Seven times in six hours? Or was it eight times? Each time she popped into my face and forced my eyelids open with the words, "Make the frog go away, Momma."

Stupid frog.