Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The One With The World's Best Catfish Nuggets

YOU GUYS!  I have got the BEST recipe for you today!

Hubs and I have made these catfish nuggets 4 or 5 times this summer. We had them again for dinner last night {and maybe I had the leftovers for breakfast this morning.}

{MAYBE.}

{Ok, I DID eat fried fish for breakfast today...but you will too once you make this for dinner!}

Like all good recipes, this one happened totally by accident.  Hubs had picked up some catfish fillets at the grocery store one day, brought them home and asked me to fry them.  I didn't want to stink up the house with all of the oil and the fishy smell, so I suggested we fry them on the burner on the grill outside.  He agreed, so that's what we set out to do.

It wasn't long, though, until we figured out the burner didn't get hot enough to completely fry the nuggets.

I freaked out and insisted that the first batch was ruined.  I was sure they'd soaked up all the grease and would be totally inedible.  Hubs, however, was determined to prove me wrong.

He removed the nuggets from the pan and let them drain on a brown paper bag while he brought the pan into the house and heated the oil on the stove.  Once the oil was good and hot, he threw those nuggets back into the flour/cornmeal mixture and then into the hot oil.  He left them in until they turned a nice golden brown, then put them back onto the paper bag to drain a second time.  I salted them while they were hot and we literally high fived each other when we bit into the crispy little nuggets of heaven.

World's Best Catfish Nuggets
Ingredients:
2-3 lbs. catfish fillets, skin removed
Kosher salt
2 cups AP flour
2 1/2 cups cornmeal
oil for frying {I used canola}

1.  Heat a high sided skillet, filled with about 1-inch of oil, to hot but not smoking.  {350-ish.}
2.  Meanwhile, cut the fillets of catfish into 1-inch pieces.  Sprinkle with salt liberally and toss to coat evenly.
3.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour and cornmeal.  Dredge 1/4 of the catfish chunks in the cornmeal mixture, then into the hot oil.  Fry for 2 minutes, hot and fast.  This is your flash fry which will set the first coating of cornmeal.  After 2 minutes, flip the individual nuggets and fry for another 2 minutes.
4.   Remove the first batch of nuggets to a paper bag covered cookie pan; set aside.
5.  Continue dredging and flash frying batches of nuggets as needed, but don't forget to re-dredge the flash fried batches and finish frying another 5-7 minutes, flipping at the halfway point.
6.  Once you have batches that have been dredged and fried TWICE, put them on another paper bag lined cookie pan and sprinkle liberally with Kosher Salt again.  {While they're still hot!!}



Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The One Where We Went Camping




These screenshots from my Facebook page last week perfectly depict my feelings toward camping. 

Like grief, my camping feelings come in stages.
    
Stage 1:  Fear.  {Almost always directly related to bears.  Or mountain lions.  Or raccoons.}
    
Stage 2:  Dread.  {I dread the boredom.  I dread laying in the tent unable to fall asleep because I am so reliant on the noise of a TV to lull me into unconsciousness.  Most of all, I dread not having delicious, strong coffee to get me going in the mornings.  See Facebook screenshot #2.}
    
Stage 3:  Denial.  {This is the point in which I flat out refuse to go.  This trip, I packed for everyone EXCEPT myself and told Hubs that I was "feeling overwhelmed with the impending school year" and needed the weekend home alone to "prepare" for it.  His words of encouragement for me..."Suck it up, Buttercup.  You're going."
    
Stage 4:  Acceptance.  {Case and point:  Facebook screenshot #4.}

Speaking of screenshot #4, {more specifically those 4 comments.}  They were poking fun at me for camping where there was a pool.  One friend called me a "city girl" and another comment read, "Resort camping!  My fav!"  :( 

Hubs and I read them later that night after the girls had gone to bed.  We were sitting around the campfire, slapping bugs off of our legs because we'd forgotten the bug spray.  "Hubs, they think we're...GLAMPERS!"  I said, only a little offended that people thought we were such sissies. 

"What?!"  Alpha male Hubs exclaimed.  "Take pictures of the campsite and post them.  Here, I'll chop some wood--LIKE A MAN.  Post THAT!"  He said.

I looked around at our campsite and quickly decided against posting anymore pics. 

On the picnic table, for example, sat a bottle of champagne and some plastic champagne flutes.  {I'd seen the flutes on clearance and thought, oh cute!  They're like CAMPING champagne flutes.  And I bought them.  Then while grocery shopping for the weekend, I'd seen the champagne on sale and remembered the flutes, so I bought it, too.}  It was just a coincidence we had that stuff, but it was a coincidence that did not work in my favor... 

{Hubs would like me to let everyone know that he had no knowledge of any champagne packing.  He only found it when he had been putting his beer into the ice chest.  His MAN BEER.}

Then while setting up the tent we realized that we'd accidentally brought an air mattress that his parents had recently handed down to us.  It blows up to look like two air mattresses stacked on top of each other and hits you somewhere above the knee.  It's practically fit for royalty and any pictures I'd have taken would have only proved my friends' "city people" stereotype even more.

Lemme tell ya, though, it sure didn't FEEL like glamping.  Especially at 2 am when Smalls woke me up to tell me that she had to pee and I discovered that the air mattress had a leak.  We'd lost so much air that our butts had sunk thisclose to the ground and our feet and heads were still elevated.  We looked like a couple of bananas laying on an air mattress.
Hubs and I sleeping on the partially deflated air mattress.  Smalls tapped my face until I woke up then she stuck her face an inch from mine and whispered, "I have to PEE."

I started rocking myself toward the end of the bed.  {The wall of the tent was on my right.}  Notice Hubs has been rocked over and is teetering on the poof of air my rocking has created under him.

More rocking for me.  Now, I've also noticed Hubs' precarious balancing act upon the poof of air and I'm laughing.  A LOT!

I'm just about to the end of the bed {still laughing} and Hubs is now PISSED.  He's clinging for dear life to the edge of the air mattress which has thrown him around like he's a dinghy in the Great Bearing Sea.

I finally reached the end of the bed and Hubs has officially been thrown overboard.  My laughing is now a full blown laugh out loud belly laugh followed by my frantic whisper, "OH MY GOSH!!  I'M ABOUT TO PEE MY PANTS!!"  Smalls is just staring at us with a blank look on her face.  She is sucking her thumb.  I laugh even harder!

I continued to laugh until I too was on the floor of the tent.  Hubs {although it's not depicted with his banana stand in} is beyond mad and is pawing at the air mattress plug to just let the rest of the air out while a river of curse words pours from his mouth.
Smalls and I stumble out of the tent and into the pitch darkness.  I'm still laughing hysterically.  She is still stony faced with her thumb in her mouth.  Suddenly everything is funny all over again.

We get our shoes on and go to the bathroom where Smalls says, "just never mind.  I don't have to go anymore."

Needless to say, the next morning we were dragging.  It had taken a while to get back to sleep after the whole air mattress fiasco and we woke up sore from sleeping on the ground the last half of the night.  We both wanted nothing more than a couple good cups of coffee.  Thankfully, we were only about 15 minutes from home.  So while I threw breakfast on the fire...
See?  REAL camping!
literally, Hubs drove home, made a pot of coffee and brought it back!
Best Ever Breakfast Burritos
Camping food never tasted so good.

Monday, August 11, 2014

The One Where We Went To The County Fair

A couple of Thursdays ago I took the girls to the county fair. 

Then, because I didn't think that  would be stressful enough, I decided to take the city bus down there.

Guys...I have NEVER taken the bus anywhere...ever.

About 15 minutes before we were supposed to catch it, I thought I'd better tell Hubs what was going on.  You know, in case I was kidnapped off the bus and sold into a sex trafficking ring.

Or something.

Since he was at work I decided to send a quick text that he could read at his leisure.

"Hey.  Gonna take the girls to the fair.  Might need you to pick us up after work cause we're taking the bus.  K?"

My phone rang immediately.

"Your taking the kids to the fair?  By yourself?!"  He practically shrieked into the phone.

"Yeah.  We're walking to the bus stop at the end of the street right now."

"YOU'RE TAKING THE BUS?!"

"Ummm...yeah.  Didn't you read my text?"

"Kinda.  Do you even know HOW to take the bus?  I mean, do you have to switch buses or anything?  Do you even know where it's going to let you off?!"

"Well...the transit system has a little trip planner thing and it said we'd be let off .03 miles from the fair, so...And yes, we do have to switch buses a couple of times, but worst case scenario...we'll have to walk some or you'll have to come get us."  I said, breezily.

"Kim..."

"GOTTA GO!"  I interrupted.  "The bus is here."  And I hung up.

The bus wasn't there though.  In fact, the only bus I'd seen was one going in the other direction.  The bus I was waiting for was now a few minutes late...

Just as I was wondering how they could post schedules that they clearly didn't stick to, Bigs saw a bus headed in our direction.

Then it whizzed on past us.

What the heck?  I thought, checking the "schedule" again. 

"Weird," I said to the girls, "the schedule clearly says that the southbound bus is supposed to be here at 10:50.  It's after 11 now..."  There were a few other routes we could take.  If we caught the bus around the corner at 11:05, we'd still get to the fairgrounds around 1-ish.  We'd never make it to that stop in 3 minutes though.

That's when it occurred to me that maybe I was standing at the stop for the northbound bus rather than the southbound.  That would explain why we'd seen a bus go by in the wrong direction earlier.  I downloaded a compass app and found out that that WAS in fact what had happened.  {Why does life always have to be so hard???} 

Now that we'd figured out what we were doing wrong, I also figured out that we had about 15 extra minutes and of course, the girls had to pee. 

We walked back home, everyone peed and I filled up water bottles for the kids because while I waited for them to use the bathroom, I'd checked my weather app and saw that we were expecting a 90 degree day.

This oughtta be fun.  I thought as we walked BACK to the bus stop {this time crossing the street to catch the right bus.}  A 2 hour bus ride, 2 little girls and 40 oz. of water.  What could go wrong?

The bus showed up a few minutes later and as we boarded I asked the bus driver a hundred questions. 

"Is this the southbound bus?"

"Yes."
 
"How much does it cost for a 4 year old to ride?  A 7 year old?  An adult?"

After glancing at his watch, his response was basically, "just sit down, lady."  {I think I paid all of $1 for all of us...} {And...I guess they DO try to stick to those schedules.}
Riding the bus for the first time.
The important thing is we made it!  Then, at the very next stop our neighbors boarded the bus and they were going to the fair too!  I explained to her how we'd been trying to catch the bus for close to half an hour, so she suggested we just follow them.  I agreed and everything was great... 
...until someone licked the window...{GAG!}

Once we got there, we parted ways with our neighbors and got busy riding the rides!
They rode roller coasters... 
And airplanes... 
Then paused for yummy fair food. 
 In order to prevent any ugly barfing incidents, they rode the carousel next.
 Followed by this thing called Wipeout.  {I rode also and almost lost my lunch.  Fair rides aren't my thing!}
 I did get some really cute pictures since I rode with them though!
Then Smalls got adventurous and wanted to ride a scary ride called The Spider.  The rules were you had to be taller than the fence to ride, so she stood on her toes while waiting in line in the hopes that the ride operator would let her ride. 
It worked!  {Although, I almost made her get off when I saw how little and unsecured she looked on the actual ride.}
The last ride of the day was a miniature little Scrambler.  Bigs was too big for it and there were no other kids in line so Smalls had the whole thing to herself.  I died when I saw her throw her hands up in the air.  So cute!
 Hubs picked us up afterward and the girls couldn't even tell him about all the fun they had.  They fell asleep immediately.  It was a good day! 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Behind Closed Doors

Do you ever wonder what it's really like at some one's house?  Sure, you see their Facebook posts, their Instagram pictures, maybe even the stuff they pin to their Pinterest boards, but what's it REALLY  like at their house when they think no one is looking? 

Do they yell at their kids or are they the type to discuss poor behavioral choices with them?  Is their marriage really as great as it seems or does he hit her when dinner gets a little burnt?  Are those sweet little smiling faces you see in pictures telling the real story or just the story Mom and Dad want  to be told?

I've always loved driving through residential neighborhoods after dark just to see little snippits of real life through the windows.  I've seen people getting it on, on the couch while an old episode of Law and Order lit up the living room.

{True story.  We were stopped at a stop light in a residential part of Seattle.  I was gawking at a beautiful Tudor style house on the corner when suddenly a topless woman raised up from what I assume was a couch.  She was obviously engaged in some adult behavior, but if I'd had any questions they were quickly cleared up when the big, male hands reached up and grabbed her lady lumps at the same moment the light changed and we drove away.  I've never been so shocked and embarrassed in my life!} 

It isn't all rated R though.  I've also witnessed family game nights while walking through the streets looking at Christmas lights, and on the flip side, I've seen a woman get her face smashed through a half glass door while walking to my car after a concert.

If you were to look through my living room windows on any given night, you'd likely see me reading a book or scrolling through social media posts while the girls watch the latest episodes of their favorite Disney channel shows.  Hubs, beer in hand, usually watches the shows with them or, now that it's summertime, he sits out in the backyard watching the sun set and thinking about what a great life he has--a loving wife, 2 adorable little girls, a secure job and a house that we plan to live in forever.  I'm sure he thinks, "Man, could it get any better?" 

Yeah, right!  He's not thinking about that.  If I know my husband, he's thinking about boobs.  {He's always thinking about boobs...}

Tonight, however, I was lying down in my room with a killer headache.  I happened to look over at my phone at the exact moment that it lit up with an incoming call from my neighbor, three doors down.

"Hello?"

"Kim!  It's Rachel.  We've got a problem.  Send your man over with his pellet gun!"

"He's on his way!"  I told her before hanging up. 

I ran to the safe, grabbed his grandfather's antique pellet gun and a box of pellets, then ran out to Hubs on the deck.  "Rachel needs you."  I said handing over the goods to him and before I knew it, he slipped on his flip flops and was running out the door with his gun like a mercenary, with no questions.

20 minutes later, the front door opens and in walks Hubs, a little sweaty and slightly out of breath.

"What happened?!"

"Well...I didn't know what I was being called to do when I left, only that I needed a gun, so I figured it was a life and death situation.  I cut through the two neighbor's yards between our house and hers, but you know that new neighbor that just moved in?  The one next door to Rachel and Clint's house.  She was outside watering her lawn and I think I might have scared her.  I mean I was running through her yard with a gun, my ammo jingling in my pocket.  I waved and said hi but she just stared at me with big eyes.

When I got to Rachel's, she told me that they had a opossum on their back fence and she wanted it gone--like, dead.  We went out back and Clint was out there watching to make sure the thing didn't get away.  I shot it once in the butt and it didn't even flinch.  I aimed and shot again, this time in the shoulder area and again, the dumb thing didn't move.  Then, like five seconds later, it fell over on the other side of the fence.  We were all kinda shocked at it's delayed death, so we went to look over the fence and there it was, just laying on it's side in some one's backyard.  Clint thought it might be playing opossum so I put the gun over the fence and shot it again, this time at point blank range in the head.  We were all sure it was dead at this point so Clint grabbed some gloves and a garbage bag and once we had it tied up in the bag we decided to take it across the street to the nature reserve to bury it. 

The funny thing was that as we came out of his garage with the opossum corpse bagged in one hand and a shovel in the other, that new neighbor was still out watering her lawn.  She looked at us so Clint nodded to her and said, "how are ya?" but she still just stared at us with her eyes bugging out of her head.  I really do think we scared her.

Anyway, we dug the hole and buried the opossum, like two legit killers really would.  And now Clint and Rachel don't have to worry about it getting Don Juan {their Dachshund}.  I'm a mercenary, babe.  How's it feel to be married to a killa?"

The real question is what was that new neighbor thinking when she got a peek into "our windows" as they ran through her yard with guns, shovels and smiling faces?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The One Where I Was Intimidated By A 6 Year Old

Picture it.

1:30 pm.

Last Tuesday afternoon.

I'm home alone and had just sat down to watch a Lifetime movie.

{Let's pause for a minute and just remember how Lifetime movies USED to be.  Remember when you were about 15 or 16 and you'd be watching one movie and see a commercial for another.  You'd get so excited that you'd push your over sized, round glasses up on your nose and run to your room, your big, round bangs bouncing on your forehead.  You'd head straight to the calendar you used to track your periods and quickly jot down "Lifetime 9 pm" on the day they'd advertised because you just had  to see it.  It might have been about Candace Cameron being in an abusive relationship with Fred Savage or maybe Tori Spelling was a nerd who developed a murderous obsession with the prettiest, most popular girl at school.  One of my personal favorites was when Tiffani-Amber Thiessen was a young newlywed who'd just had her first baby when she found out that her husband was a serial rapist who snuck out at night after she'd fallen asleep to commit his crimes.  Ahhh, those were the days, right?}

Sadly, this Lifetime movie didn't suck you in like those ones did, but I decided to watch it anyway.  True to form, within 15 minutes I was sound asleep.  Apparently I had managed to get myself into a very deep sleep in a very short amount of time because at 1:30 I was startled awake by two loud bangs on my front door followed by the door bell ringing 3 times.

BANG!  BANG!  DING DONG!  DING DONG!  DING DONG!

I jumped off the couch, my heart pounding in my chest.  My first thought was, "Crap!  I fell asleep on the couch on the SAME NIGHT someone is busting in to kill us!

Then I realized it was daylight. 

My second thought was, "The SWAT team is here!"

Slowly the cobwebs started to clear from my brain.  Wait a minute, I thought.  Elinor, from down the street, knocks like that.  I started to go answer the door, but then realized that after I jumped up off the couch I had stood there for a good 90 seconds trying to figure out who was at my door; a crazed psycho killer or the poe-lice. 

She's probably gone by now, I told myself as I went into the kitchen to get some water.  {That didn't stop me from peeking around the corner just to make sure the blinds were all closed though.}

As I opened the fridge door to grab a bottle of water, Elinor knocked on the window next to the front door. 

"KIII-IIIM!  YOU-HOO, KIII-IIIM!!"

I slammed the fridge door and threw my body against it, flat as I could.  What the heck?  Can she see me?!

I took a step forward.  What am I doing?  I wondered as I headed toward the door.  Why am I flipping out because a 6 year old is knocking on my door?  I took a few more steps only to make a quick right and run as fast as I could up the stairs and into my bedroom.  I could hear Elinor say to the front door, "Well, I guess you're not here.  I'll just come back later..."

Later?  What does that mean?  Is she threatening me?!

I peeked out the blinds and watched Elinor get on her bike and head home.  The pink ribbon in her hair was flying in the wind behind her...

Monday, July 21, 2014

While The Kittens Are Away, The Mice Will Play...

Last week the girls went to California to spend some time with Hubs' family.  While they were gone, Hubs went to work and I was left at home--alone.

Don't get me wrong, it was nice, {some might even call it lovely} but it was also quiet, boring, quiet, weird and...quiet. 

The first day I didn't even leave the house.  I spent the day reading, napping, dinking around on the interwebs and catching up on mindless reality tv shows. 

It seemed like months had passed since Hubs had gone to work that morning, so when he got home I talked his ear off about Bruce Jenner's apparent sex change.  I showed him videos and stupid pictures {what are they called gifs?  Memes?} that I'd found on the world wide web and we fried up some FANTASTIC catfish for dinner.
It was more than fantastic, it was FREAKING fantastic!  {Recipe coming soon!}

Tuesday I was a little more adventurous--I mopped the kitchen floor AND went to Target.  {You know what's weird?  Going out in public without  your kids when you've always had a kid or two with you when you leave the house.}  I spent the whole time just wandering around, aimlessly, feeling like I'd forgotten something or the kids had wandered off and I should be looking for them.  I finally bought printer paper and hamburger buns, {you know, the essentials.} then went back home to wait for Hubs to be done with work. 

Once he was, it was much like the day before.  I talked his ear off about things he COULD NOT care less about, but like a good husband, he listened and nodded even if I noticed that his eyes glazed over with boredom when I started talking about how E's Botched is connected to Bravo's The Real Housewives of Orange County.  {By the Dubrows, of course.} 

It wasn't long after that when he suggested we go for a "walk."  It turned out to be a 2 1/2 mile jog--WITH HILLS.  {I'm not a jogger.}

Needless to say...I got blisters.

Wednesday, I decided to go run a couple of errands.  I went to Pier 1 to scope some new pillows for the living room.  I returned some movies.  {By the way, Labor Day with Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin is really good!}  And Hubs surprised me by telling me he had Thursday and Friday off.  Whoo hoo! 

Thursday we went to lunch.  I had a half of a Cranberry Bog sandwich, a cup of clam chowder and a raspberry mojito.  {Coincidentally, this was the exact same lunch that I discovered I didn't care for mint in my drinks.}
The picture doesn't do it justice.  There was A LOT of mint in that drink!
Later, we decided to go to the fair, down by the lake.  We decided against the rides opting for the games, but nothing really caught our attention.  We ended up walking from one side of the fair to the other where I waited in line for 45 minutes to pee.  On the way back to the car, I pointed out to Hubs all of the people eating corn on a stick.

{About a month ago, we were at a BBQ and Hubs' friend mentioned that one of his pet peeves was seeing someone eat corn on a stick at the fair.  I thought that was the weirdest thing since I had NEVER seen anyone eat corn on a stick.  Then of course, the next time we're at the fair it's all I can see.}

{I also TOTALLY get why it grosses him out so much.  All that greasy butter smeared around their mouths.  The cob moving around as it's being gnawed on. Then they go walking around and picking their teeth.  GAG!}
Us leaving the fair...which you can't see any of...
We had planned all along to do a little hike to "the waterfalls."  That's what Hubs told me anyway...Friday ended up being the day so we got up and headed out on our "5 mile hike to the waterfalls."


Here we are at the waterfalls.
 
Which was 3 miles from the starting point. 
 
Apparently Hubs thought my math was rusty because he continued to tell me that we were hiking for 5 miles right up until the minute at the waterfall that I saw how far we'd gone on our GPS.
 
So, to recap, we walked a total of 6 miles to see nothing more that a creek that had a slight drop in it's bed.
 
And my shoes were too tight.
 
And now my blisters had blisters.
 
That night we hit a late happy hour for dinner and went to see the second Purge movie.  
 
{Movie Review:  It was good, just not as good as the first one.}
 
{Also, we overhead some high school kids talking about making the God mask for their Halloween costumes.  So that's freaky...}
 
Then Saturday morning we got up and drove to Oregon to pick up the girlies from Nana and Papa.  We didn't get home until yesterday afternoon so today will be spent putting stuff away, buying groceries and running a couple more errands.
 
If I can consume enough coffee to get myself into the shower anyway...

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The One About The Last Day Of School Ambush

The last day of school was last Thursday.

It was only a 3 hour school day, but every kid in our neighborhood was dropped off just a little early cause us parents, we had a SECRET!

We'd spent the earlier part of the week conspiring planning via email. 

One stay at home dad was supplying Super Soakers.  Another mom filled a cooler with water balloons.  There were more water cannons than I'd ever seen.  We even filled a raft with water for refilling.

WE WERE PLANNING THE SINGLE GREATEST WATER AMBUSH THE CANTERBURY HILL KIDS HAD EVER SEEN!
School was scheduled to get out at 11:45 which meant the bus should stop at the bottom of Canterbury Hill around 12:15. 

The bus was late.

So there we were, a handful of grown adults standing around on the side of the road armed with water guns.
I wonder what the people driving by must have thought...We passed the time by sending Smalls and Little Boy up the hill a little ways to refill our refill buckets from the raft.
FINALLY someone yelled, "BUS!"  We all took our positions.
The bus just sat there, with it's doors closed for the longest time.  {Bigs told me later that the other kids on the bus were the first to see the water guns and started shouting things like, "Awesome!"  and "I'm getting off HERE today!"  They had to wait until the bus driver got them to calm down again.}

When the doors folded open, THE WAR WAS ON!


Then Bigs spotted ME!



And I'd never been so glad to tease, "You throw like a GIRL!" 

{She missed every time and I escaped without a drop of water on me.}

The kids played for a few hours then ate the potluck style lunch that the adults contributed to.

In the words of one of our little neighbor girls, it was "like, the BEST day ever!"