Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Remarks and Speeches

We attended the annual Varsity football banquet for Mitchell. It is always nice to hear the coaches remarks about your child, especially when the remarks are heartfelt and sincere. It is especially wonderful to hear someone else praise and appreciate your child.

Since this blog is an alternative to keeping every photo, highlight, newspaper clipping and certificate, I am pleased to have video recorded Coach Barren for posterity.

Someday, Mitchell will thank me for the blog. For now, not so much.

With four younger siblings hogging the posts, it is a refreshing change for me to dedicate this space to Mitchell. Coach Barren is allowed to speak about Mitchell in such a glorious manner, but me, not so much. Not according to Mitchell who loathes the blog. Ahhhhh, the blog.

It was like pulling teeth (stay tuned on Thursday for another tooth pulling blog post) to get Mitchell to pose for these photographs.

He fights me, calls me names and gives me death glares, but somehow, I manage to get my snaps. I am not a quitter either, and when I set my mind to something, I do it. If there is one thing I have in common with this kid, it is our hard headedness.

The coach motivates Mitchell to be a better player, and likewise, Mitchell has a reverse psychology way of motivating me to be a better parent. This young man is hilarious, smart as hell, and most of all, he is charming-

I would like to think he gets these traits from me, but I had nothing to do with it. His father is a professional speaker, and the apple don't fall from the tree in this case. Mitchell's senior football speech was last but not least.

It's complicated, but no matter how hard he tries to piss me off, I just can't stay mad at him.

These are my official remarks.

Congratulations Mitchell you deserve all the glory. Now, clean your room and take out the trash.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Witching Hour

The hour after dinner but before bedtime has always been the witching hour around here. The kids are tired, my patience is fried, and the clock just drags from dessert until lights out.

Except from Thanksgiving until New Years.

I have eliminated our Holiday season witching hour. On the nights (excluding Hanukkah when we light the menorah, play dreidel and sing songs) we have a new family tradition. This is a bit unorthodox in a Jewish family, but when you are parenting multiples and they are driving you bat shit crazy all winter, you actively seek out less traditional methods of parenting- for survival.

It gets dark here at 5:30, sometimes even earlier. This is a bonus for my new found love of Christmastime.....the neighborhood lights tour!

Here is my new evening agenda: Feed the kids dinner, shower/bathe them, get them into warm pajamas, load them in the van and tour neighboring subdivisions looking at the Christmas decorations. Every evening we pick a different area and each child selects their favorite home. I sip my final latte of the day, listen to my own tunes, and watch the road as the clock draws closer and closer to bed time.

Here is a sample of how we roll!

If we stay home during this last hour of the day it is chaos, fighting, raging voices and pure hell. For some reason, while buckled into their boosters, the kids behave like civilized citizens rather than goons. I can't figure out the difference, and I won't even try- I am just so glad I have found a solution to the ever present witching hour.

Moms of younger multiples pay attention. I have discovered a cure for what ails you.

Stay tuned for a future post of the most tacky decorations in town. I have a few naughty neighbors on my list. The kids and I have been mapping out the route for another blog.

Obviously, no one comes close to my former next door neighbor in Prairie Village. Oy, if we had this kind of whack-a-doo here, I would be schlepping the kids over there every night just for my own sense of diabolical revenge. I pity the folks who were stupid enough to buy my old home.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Batch Cooking for Dummies

If I were to write a cookbook or blog about how to survive cooking for a large family, I would title the book just like this post- Batch Cooking for Dummies. The concept of multi-tasking meals is something I have perfected over here.

The key to my sanity is serving healthy meals at home because let's face it, going out is a pain in the tuchas, and it is bionic expensive with this many people. Cooking every night is time consuming and expensive unless you have a game plan. With a little creative planning, shopping sales, buying in bulk and filling the freezer with meals makes my batch cooking plan successful.

The first thing needed is a freezer with space for about 20 meals stored in foil catering pans or flat gallon sized ziploc-sicles. With room to stack the dinners, a sharpie marker and a few hours to prep and cook, you can save yourself a ton of time during the busy week. The goal in batch cooking is to make the most meals from the same ingredients at once.

In one afternoon I will make all ground meat
themed dishes using key elements like marinara, and various pastas, chili, soups and tortillas for enchiladas and leftover filling for nachos and tacos. The browned and drained ground beef is essential to other casseroles too, so I can cook up a few pans of meat and assemble several various entrees.

I have learned to brown, drain and freeze ground beef or turkey in batches. This is a huge time saver because defrosting, and then cooking the meat is the most time consuming part of most meals. When you have already done that step, prepping tacos, or adding the meat to spaghetti sauce takes two seconds.
You can whip up a healthy meal very quickly if the meat is pre-cooked and does not require thaw time. Not to mention that it is much less expensive to buy the family packs or stock up when the ground meats are on sale.

Here is a sample of my afternoon of batch cooking using ground beef.

I made three pans of gf lasagna. There were two trays of corn tortilla enchiladas and three ziplocs of taco fixings along with a huge batch of chili, spaghetti and meat sauce, and steak soup. All of these are go to dinners when I am pressed for time.

On another day I will use boneless, skinless chicken to prepare 5 different meals from the same basic list. Much like the ground beef I have perfected the art of mass grilling, baking and storing. I can do a killer salad with grilled chicken in a jiffy when the chicken is already grilled and cut into strips. Likewise, pastas and stir fry takes no time too.

On a chicken cooking day I will make: Chicken Pot pies, Chicken corn chowder, chicken broccoli cheddar rice casserole, Chicken Parm, homemade gf chicken filets, Salsa chicken enchiladas, and a few chicken strip ziplocs for stews, soups and salads. Can see how easy this really is?

I would lose my mind if I had to start over every day with basic ingredients and no plan. I can rotate through the freezer for a plethora of tasty dinners on the fly.

Batch cooking for dummies, it is a no brainer.

Friday, November 26, 2010

My Coastal Contacts FREEBIE- it is a winner!

Last week, I ordered a free pair of new glasses from Coastal Contacts. I was skeptical at first, but figured, what do I have to lose? So, at precisely noon EST, I painstakingly selected a pair, entered all my information, and hoped for the best.

Today, on Black Friday when everyone and their mother is out spending money, I on the other hand, stayed home, loved on my kids and got a surprise treat from the UPS guy. My Coastal Contacts optical order arrived and I was completely blown away. Keep in mind that I just ordered these a week ago, not counting the Thanksgiving holiday. The black and silver Kam Dhillon glasses are gorgeous! I paid a little more to have them made with black lenses
so I could wear them as sun glasses. Black Friday indeed.

These were shipped professionally and included all the cleaning cloth, little screw driver,
hard shell case and travel pouch- normally the cheapo optical shops nickel and dime you for the extras. To say I was thrilled would be the understatement of the century.

The Coastal Contacts frame and sun glass selection was impressive, the service was stellar, and best of all, the price was right. Keep in mind, I would have never even thought about buying new frames on line, because I did not imagine it would be this easy. I had never even heard of Kam Dhillon as a frame designer, but I love the look and the spring hinged feel of my new frames. CHA-CHING!

Obviously, this was a marketing and PR promotion designed to gain new customers. It worked! I am hooked. If the fine folks at Coastal Contacts designed this freebie promotion to gain exposure, find new customers and spread the good word about their on line optical shop, then they can consider this one a raging success story. This blog post serves as a testimonial to the concept of spreading the word. This was an awesome experience.

Don't worry guys, if you missed your chance to get a fabulous new pair of specs, I would be willing to bet, Coastal Contacts will do this again sometime. I will be sure to blog the promo as soon as I hear about it, so keep reading, and you never know- you might just get something for next to nothing.

To recap, this month, I have new sexy sun glasses, new hair, new baubles, and the same old sarcastic attitude- what is not to love? Next time you see me in my Black Blinging Tee shirt, (with the crystal martini glass and Mommy needs a Time Out) sporting my new sleek shades, and rocking it with my long locks of new hair, be sure to wink at me so I know you read the blog and are on to my antics. You can admit that you are in the know.

My Very Black Friday, it is a winner!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Thanksgiving Program

There is an old joke about a little Jewish boy that comes home from school and tells his mother that he auditioned and got a part in the school play. All excited the mother asks him, "So, nu? Tell me, my son, what role will you be playing?" When her son says, he will be playing the Jewish Father, she is crestfallen and disappointed. The mother then says, "I was hoping you would get a speaking part."

With that, I am pleased to report that the triplets got a singing part in this years Thanksgiving Program. I am kvelling. Should I reveal that all the kindergarten students got singing roles? Ehhhh, so yeah, they all did, but in my humble opinion, my kids stole the show. After all, there are THREE of them. They stole the show based on volume alone, right?

Here is the little performance for your own viewing pleasure. Be sure to pay close attention to the shit eating grin on CJ's face. Oy, I am so proud.

A hunting we will go all right, I am off to find some earplugs. After all of the practicing in the van, and sitting through 30 minutes of the lower school performances, I am just thankful for silence. Silence is golden, right?

So while the kids finish up the very short week at school, and as I prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday break, I need to get with my own program.

Turkey- check
Side Dishes- check
DVD's from the Library- check
Earplugs- check

Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Gluten Free Toffee Nut Bar Cookies

When you need a gluten free holiday snack, cookie, gift or nosh, these are the easiest, fastest and most delicious choice. Low fat they are not, but tasty and impressive, they are- pick your poison.

These are one of the semi-homemade sweets that can be made on the fly so long as you have the following pantry items in stock.

Gluten Free Graham Crackers
Almonds, and assorted nuts of your choice
(I like roughly chopped cashews and pistachios)
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 Sticks butter
parchment paper

Preheat oven to 350.

Melt the butter and brown sugar in a large saucepan until combined but not anywhere near boiling. Just dissolve the sugar into the butter.

Put most of the nuts into a ziplocand bang them with the back of a pan to get a rough chop. Add the chopped nuts (I leave the almonds almost all whole so they are pretty) into the sugar/butter mixture and stir to combine.

Spread the graham crackers (I break them into small squares) on a parchment paper covered cookie tray with a lip on the side.
Spread the warm butter/sugar/nut mixture onto the crackers. Place in oven for about 8-9 minutes until bubbling throughout.They spread a little bit when all gooey, so be sure to watch them baking to prevent an oven mishap.

Cool on the trayuntil you able to break into toffee like hunksor if you want to be all fancy, you can cut them with a pizza cutter into squares. Cool completely then store in an airtight container.

If you desire a store bought look, wrap the toffee in wax paper inside a take out crate and tie with a beautiful ribbon. I like these cellophane treat sackstied with wired ribbon, you know that Martha would be ever so proud. It is a good thing.

I would offer a calorie/fat content but do we really want to know? No, sorry, this is a special event recipe and let's leave it at that.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Florida's Festival Flea Market Finds

Florida has plenty of fabulous tourist spots, and when it comes to bargain shopping in South Florida you must experience the Festival Flea Market.

I made a trip to the Fort Lauderdale Flea Market, for some much needed retail therapy. I schlepped Jeff and Silvan along for the ride down the turnpike to Sample Road. The Festival Flea Market is a mecca for my people. If you are Jewish or like to nosh, shop and kibbutz with strangers, this place is poy-fect!As this sign states, there is lot of good dreck. Lot is an understatement.

I was in the process of buying some crystal studded tee shirts

for posh girlie gifts, when Jeff called my cellphone. He asked me if $59 is a good price for Zoom teeth whitening? When I said you could buy and do just about anything in this flea market, I was not kidding. I came to the booth and negotiated a two for one deal and I pushed Jeff and Silvan into the chairs for an hour. A, it bought me more time to shop, and B, it made Silvan more marketable on J-date. I met up with my men later in the afternoon and their teeth were visibly whiter. Thankfully, they were not day-glow bright white, like the belts and shoes on the old men in the food court.

I stopped for a gourmet latte as I strolled through the mall of booths. I had to try the daily special as depicted on this sign. I ordered it exactly to the specifications shown, but the cashier barely spoke English and did not understand what I was really asking for. Como se dice, Valium en Espanol? I settled on a caramel latte and kept on browsing the schlock and good dreck.

On my relaxing time off from normal, I was able to read a few magazines and see that big fancy cocktail rings are the rage this holiday season. I do love me some bling, so I set out to find a nice bauble for my right hand, keeping in mind that my birthday is right around the corner. The flea market was the idea spot to browse for such an item. I had quite the selection to choose from, there were all price ranges and styles, each bigger and bolder than the next. After spying a few similar items in TOWN & COUNTRY magazine for $47,455.00 from Bergdorf Goodman,
I decided to treat myself to a little indulgent splurge. I actually bought two rings since I could not make up my mind. I knew I would regret only taking one home.

At $4.38 each, I felt comfortable treating myself.

So when you see Jeff and I at a holiday affair this season, I will be sporting my new "IT" ring, and he will have milk white teeth. Thank you Festival Flea Market for all the fabulous fake finds from Florida.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pat Down and Catch Up

Edited to add TSA slogan parody stickers from my father.(see end of original post)

Oh what a crazy time of year. Thanksgiving is next week, and Hanukkah is the week after Thanksgiving. Can you say I am insane? I am, and I admit it. It is all aboard the crazy train, or crazy plane in my case.

The only way to escape the Central Ohio grey, get some rest, and enjoy being a married couple without kids, is to leave home. I did it. I snuck out of town with Jeff. I was in Florida with my husband, who was slaving away with work. With the fast paced "holiday season" ahead, it seemed logical to take advantage of this opportunity. I am glad I did. It is getting easier to fly the coop now that the kids are in school practically full time.

It is easier to fly the coop, but it is not easier to fly the "friendly" skies. The new TSA guidelines are as bogus as ever. I am unhappy to report that the regulations and new technology are still being interpreted differently in each terminal, with no consistency. Some things never change. In one airport I am asked to remove my jacket, in others I am not. In Columbus, I could go through the scanner with my cashmere cardigan sweater tied around my shoulders, but in Fort Lauderdale that was a no-no. Same agency, different rules. How about some consistency?

I think the full body scanners are necessary. I do not feel they are an invasion of privacy, unless the images are posted on the Internet with your name and contact information. With as much crap as I spew on this blog, do you really think I would give a rats' ass if my full frontal x-ray was leaked? Awww hell, I posted about vajazzling for crissakes.

I willingly walked through the TSA machine, placed my hands in a triangle above my head, smiled and hoped my crystal vajazzled lady parts did not set off the buzzers. I am pleased to report that a crystal embellished coochie does not call for additional screening. Whew, I dodged that proverbial bullet. Good to know, good to go.

Wouldn't it be genius for TSA and the Health Care Reform folks to co-brand the security check points, and offer MRI's and Mammogram screenings for an additional fee? Two birds, one stone? People could multi-task their way to a final destination. Talk about a huge time saver. As a nation we could detect tumors and time bombs in one quick pass through the open MRI.

As for the physical pat down, I am sure over time it will evolve. For now, there is a gloved TSA employee who checks your body for any signs of weapons or monkey business. It is a routine procedure and if you were molested as a child, or are adverse to being touched, I am sure this is an issue- FOR YOU. For most of the general public, I would ask this: Do you want to be patted down or do you just want to be a pain in the ass and make what you think is a valid point? Get over yourself, and get patted, get on the friggin plane and fly. If you prefer not to subject your body to a routine screening, drive yourself to your destination, but do not cause delays to those of us who just want to get home and hug our kids.

I have yet to hear any of the Homeland Security team say, we are doing the bare minimum it takes to provide a sense of security. C'mon guys, just let them do their jobs, and let the terrorists and threats to our safety realize that they can't spook us into turning on our own agencies. I would like to think that we are smarter than that, but then I am flooded with stories of Thanksgiving travelers willingly causing delays to make a stupid point. If you want to take a stand against terrorism do it on your own time, if you want to jam the airports and increase the irritation level of everyone, stay home.

I am sure the extremist groups are watching our news media exploit this story to no end. I am confident they are laughing their asses off at our stupidity. If the goal of Americans is to piss each other off, look like fools and object to our own security measures, then the terrorists win. It makes us losers.

The bottom line is that TSA has a job to do, and in the grand scheme of things, they will experiment with trial and error in ways to get the job done. Hopefully, all the trials and all the errors will keep America safer. That is the common goal.

There will be irregularities in the system just like there are now. There will be TSA personnel that are not implementing procedures correctly, there will be passengers who are not cooperative- it will be a work in progress. Will it keep us safer? That is the real question here. I believe that any acts of terrorism are planned to challenge any of our policies and there will always be loopholes.

Will all this insanity keep me from flying the coop in the future? No it will not. I need to get out of town for my own sanity. Taking a break from my own normal is what keeps me going. I will not let four kids age five and under break my spirit and I most certainly will not allow complete strangers to control me.

I am doing my own version of damage control now, and I will post all the latest and greatest after I love on my kids, snuggle my pooches, go through the mail, get to the grocery store, write some thank you notes, and unpack my luggage.

It is almost Thanksgiving- so thank you for reading my rant.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Free Glasses and BOGO holiday coffee at Starbucks

Ahhhhh, the glory days- Nov 18-21 from 2-5 at Starbucks, the holiday themed drinks are buy one, get one free for a friend. Or in my case, buy one, drink two. Ummmm, so good.

A facebook friend tipped me off to another little freebie today. The Coastal Contacts company is offering a free pair of eyeglasses to the first 10,000 customers who log into their site and use coupon code 10KUSA after 12 noon EST today. You pay for any upgrades to the lenses like tinting or speciality bifocals, shipping and other do dads, but basic frames and lenses are FREE. How bad can it be to get a back up pair of eyeglasses for around $20 shipped and complete?

I am ordering an alternative style sun glass with my prescription in it. It will be nice to be able to mix it up a little. New hair, new glasses, holy crap, I am reinventing myself over here.

All you need is access to the internet (DUH!) your current prescription including the pupil distance, which you can view on their site, and a method of payment. VOILA.

The frames that have the "no coupons disclaimer" on the description are excluded from this promotion, but there are gobs of other choices
and even some funky frames just for fun.

I will order my new shades, then cruise over to Starbucks for a jolt of Creme Brulee latte, and have myself one hell of an afternoon.

I am living la vida loca!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Going to Great Lengths

I have not been completely candid about my new hairstyle. I have literally gone to Great Lengths to disguise my hair loss. Up until a few weeks ago I was sporting a savvy sheitel, a beret, and on some windy days, I was rocking the sparse pony tail and baseball cap.

I knew I had to do something to improve my hair appearance, I just assumed I was already doing enough. My mother and sister were brutally honest about how much they detested my wig/beret combination. They went so far as to accuse me of looking too religious, as in Orthodox. GAH, the nerve- my children attend the Jewish Day school, I explained, I blend in there. I am Jewish so is it so weird that I just appear to be observant? What is the harm in covering two birds with one stone so to speak? Hair covered, Baldness covered- it is all good.

Or not.

My mom and sister treated me to an early birthday gift. They bought me new hair. Yes, I have truly become one of the Real Housewives- complete with fake hair. Well....longer, lush, flowing hair that is bonded to my original hair that is. Jeff's dig on me has blossomed- he is chomping at the bit to say. "My lovely wife, the one with real boobs and fake hair!"

Great Lengths is a product that allows folks like me to add more volume and style to their existing mane. I have bundles of hair that are bonded and attached to my real hair. It looks, feels and acts as if it were my own. I can blow it out straight and use a flat iron, or let it dry naturally and get the wavy, toussled look like the rich and famous. Ha! Kate Gosselin and Brittney Spears got nothing on me.

So when you are wondering how in the hell I was able to grow my hair out so quickly, you know the real deal. I have sprouted hair all right, in a few hours at the salon. I am the person who goes into get her hair cut, and comes out with longer, fuller hair. That is me.

I have gone to great lengths to solve the problem.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Disgusting Observations

After the post yesterday, I was compelled to run with another entry about some items that I have recently seen and observed. Sometimes it is the disgusting products and services that grab my attention, of course I have the blog to vent my frustrations and showcase my stuck up attitude. Ta Da!

Surprisingly (?) these gummy textured candies were on the clearance at Giant Eagle.I guess no one paid full retail for a box of booger candy at Halloween, so now, you can stock up. I took a photo of the box on the shelf, grossed myself out a little, and happily walked away knowing that there are real life boogers at home, and this is one item I would not buy at any price. Deeee-skusting!

I scored some navy blue uniform shorts for the boys last week at Marshall's. These were marked way down, and I know that the boys will need them again in the spring, so I grabbed a few pairs and was pleased that I could find them a season ahead. It was not until I got home
that I saw this cardboard insert in the rear pocket of the pants. Can I just ask the ridiculous question, what boy at age 5, in size 5 shorts, needs a cellphone pocket? This is wrong. I am not sure what is worse, the fact that the shorts are marketed with the feature, or that some parents would actually buy them intentionally for the feature. Regardless, I can honestly say and assure you, Eli and CJ will NEVER have a cell phone to place in that pocket so long as the size 5 fits them.

I try not to drink diet sodas, but since I am also trying to avoid carbs, my choices for beverages get old. There is only so much herbal tea, coffee, water and low carb drinks to choose from, so every once in a while I grab a diet soft drink. I happened to notice that Fresca contains an ingredient called glycerol ester of wood rosin. I never heard of it, and I wondered what it was, and why it was in my Fresca. Google is my friend, and I can now report that this substance is added to a wide variety of products-- as it is used to keep oil suspended in water, perhaps in the emulsification process of Fresca? It is a food additive generally used in beverages and chewing gum. It is also used in paints, varnishes and lacquers. Rosin acid, the base of ester gum, can be used for such purposes as caulking ships. When you stop and think about the choices you make in eating and drinking, maybe Fresca is not that delicious after all. Fresca and ester of wood rosin, is pretty disgusting. I will go back to being bored with iced tea and my caffeine coffee drinks until it is officially happy hour and then I can throw back a real drink.

I am not sure where all this crap is coming from lately, but I can firmly state, stupid is everywhere.

I will get back to sunshine, rainbows, fairy tales and vomit tomorrow. I have to go now, Eli just puked all over his Ralph Lauren down comforter. The question will be, do I deal with the disgusting mess, hose off the comforter and then take it to the dry cleaners, or should I ball up the disgusting mess, heave it into the trash and be done with it? Regardless of which way I go, I am sure to be disgusted.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Toys we won't be buying this year

I made a huge mistake. I took the triplets with me to Target this week under the guise of buying another Booster car seat for the van. We had a rain check on the third seat and it was finally back in stock. I had to go pick it up, and the timing made sense to stop after kindergarten pick up but before preschool pick up.

Of course I was high on cinnamon latte at the time, and did not realize the toy department at Target had been relocated near the aisles and front end of the store. Merry Effing Christmas to me, I have three, five year olds, a rain check and no patience. I had to forcibly restrain the kids inside a shopping cart in order to make my way to the car seats. It was like every single toy was calling their names- oooooh, we want this, we saw that on t.v., can we buy just this one? I had not a shred of guilt for saying NO, just the booster seat today guys, just the blasted booster seat.

Here are the examples of the crappy, Made in China toys that were tempting my tots. I can assure you, we won't be buying any of them this season, or next season, or ever.

Meet Totally Styling, Tattoo Barbie. This skanky doll comes with self adhesive tattoos for the trailer park look. She is $21.99 but looks like a ten dollar hoe, and really, what girl does not want to be a tacky tatted tart?
She has the ability to wear her KEN heart tramp stamp and daisy duke shorts. Ummmm, No thanks.

Introducing, Sugar’s Daddy Ken. He’s part of a douche bag line of Palm Beach style dolls.Mattel says the “Sugar” refers to the West Highland Terrier that comes with Barbie’s metrosexual boyfriend. Unfortunately, the play on words phrasing is not so funny if you have ever seen the real life Ken Dolls prancing around in Palm Beach with their 30 years younger, botox, boobie babes. Hello, I stay at the Breakers at least once a year, I know what I am talking about here. Regardless, poor Eli is already a bit gender confused, and buying him this boy doll will not be helping matters. Not that there is anything wrong with that! Again, we will pass on the Sugar's Daddy Ken Doll or whatever the hell you want to call him.

I am all for educational toys, and creative play. When it comes to helping my children learn about their futures, I am all for it. Natalie aspires to be a chef, and I have purchased kitchen toys, aprons and I encourage her to cook in our real kitchen. What mother wants her little girl to become a stripper? Do parents go out, buy this dolland hope that someday, little Susie will become a pole dancer, stripper, exotic dancer or work at a gentleman's club? I am horrified. Sadly, there are idiots making these sick products.

Speaking of dolls, this is one that we simply do not need around here. The Furreal a go go pup is an electronic dog that walks along any surface.
This seems to be a robotic, annoying pet. It is fifty bucks, and for that price you can adopt a for real fur real dog. Hells no, we have two living and breathing Jack Russell Terriers, do you think they would welcome a fifty dollar stuffed dog that walks? Sure they would, as they played tug of war with the thing and chewed it to bits. Oy, no way. No way in hell.

For a mere $69.99 you can buy an annoying stationery bike from Fisher Price. I am sorry, but what parent wants their kid to pedal round and round in the family room while watching some interactive bullshit on the television screen?
As if you have to encourage the little bastards to work out while playing video games? Isn't the whole point of buying a bike, so that the little freaks will go outside and play, get fresh air, and find other children to play with? I am not sure of the point of this contraption. If I really wanted the kids to work out and burn calories riding an indoor stationary bike, I would take the laundry off of Jeff's unused work out bike, and let them pedal away. Seriously, what kid would even want this contraption at any price? When kids ask for a bike, I doubt they want to use this. The obvious plus side is that you would not have to buy a bike lock and worry about anyone stealing this piece of crap. Ewww, not good.

As if sarcasm were not an issue, we saw the Crocodile Dentist toy.
For when real life meets play time we have a poor plastic old croc that has a tooth that's bothering him, so my kids can pretend to be a dentist-- when they press the wrong tooth the toy will surprise them, and chomp on their fingers, or perhaps this toy could be more realistic and surprise them with a bill for extractions, root canals, and sedation at Children's Hospital? This toy seemed a little too close for comfort in my humble opinion. Perhaps if they had a plastic surgery pony or a eye surgeon elephant I would get on board.

There are others too numerous to mention. My kids will not be getting any toys with more than 25 pieces. They won't be sporting any toys that require adult supervision either. Lord only knows we have enough real life items that should have, but do not get enough supervision. And as for toys that eat, crap or produce bodily fluids, ummmm, no go. We have enough of that already.

There is one "toy" that Jeff and I discovered in the lunchroom of the Chanel School. It is an electric traffic light that is used for noise control,aptly named the Yacker Tracker. The kids watch the illuminated stop light, and they adjust their voices accordingly. When the sound of the room is at the acceptable level, the light is green, but when the sound increases to a nearly naughty level, the light changes to yellow. No one wants the light to turn red, the kids of course, aim to please and keep their voices down to avoid the light turning red, which would indicate that they are out of control with the noise level. Whatever the cost, Jeff and I are getting one of these in our kitchen. It's a must have this holiday season!

Note to Papa, do not get any wild ideas about buying noise making toys, toys that make a huge mess, or any sets with a gazillion parts. Pay backs are hell, I am just saying.

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