Monday, January 23, 2012


Mama's Chalupas Famosos

(olive oil fried mini-corn tortillas,
vegetarian refried beans,
spinach, tomatoes, avocadoes,
and cilantro)

Ok, enough, people! I'm sicksicksick of hearing how many pills my whole family is taking to manage their high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, and heart disease, and Lord knows what else.

And, yes, of course I get that most people don't wanna give up their meat completely.  And I get that vegetarians, in general, get a bad wrap.  And I get that vegans are pretty much a punchline. I get it, I do.  I'm from Texas, too. I love my ribs, and burgers, and fajitas, and menudo, and tamales, and bacon, and chorizo (mmm...) as much as the next girl.

But we're trying.


Sometimes one little change...

Just one small, almost imperceptible change, like...

Taking the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator when you go to the mall...

Or taking the kids for a walk around the block instead of a trip to the ice cream shop...

Or switching your ice cream to fat-free frozen yogurt...

Or cutting out [gasp!] caffeine...

Can end up making a HUGE difference in the long run.  And by long run I mean, of course, your LIFE, for crissakes, or the life of your mother or father or brother or sister.

So, in this new year, this year of the dragon, this year of great change and new energy and amazing progress, we challenge you to join us and pledge that every Monday for the next, um, 49 Mondays (is that right?) will be meatless.  Completely.  No cheating. 'Til the end of the year.

And, yes, I can already hear you bitching about how boring that's gonna be, and how awful everything is gonna taste, and how all you can think of to eat is salad.  But I promise you, it won't. If you just give it a chance -- give yourself a chance -- it really really won't.

We've posted a ton of yummy meals, many of which were completely plant-based, on our food site: The Monsters' Insides, so you can see for yourself.

But to make it even easier for you, if you'll just click here, there are a ton of regular Monday dinner menus all laid out for you on a website called, what else, Meatless Monday (thanks, Project Open Hand, for the great recommendation), so you don't even have to think.  And, yes, there are breakfast and lunch ones, too.

So, no, it's not a really big change, but it's a really significant step, and the difference it could make could be, without trying to sound too overly melodramatic, life-altering.

So...whadaya say? Don'tcha wanna be a Meatless Monday Monster, too? :)  I'd love it if you'd post your Meatless Monday dishes here so we can get through this one together.

YES, I DO! (click here to pledge)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Cleaning up downstairs this morning.  We have a basket into which all non-downstairs items are supposed to go so that they can be toted upstairs (theoretically) once a day and get put away.

So...this morning we've got:

- a peace scarf
- a houndstooth fedora
- a silver sparkly headband
- an old advanced white karate belt
- an aqua A&F hoodie
- a mini bop-it
- a Puss 'n Boots DSi game
- a wolf mask
- orange glow-in-the-dark vampire teeth
- and a Chicken Little book

What in the world were they playing yesterday??!? Seriously. This is worse than the bottom of my purse. And I didn't think there could BE anything worse than the bottom of my purse.

But, wow, the stories these daily bottom-of-the-stairs collections could tell. Maybe I need to start a children's book series called At The Bottom of The Stairs.  And then write a 200-word flash fiction story based on the contents of the basket as they rotate daily.  It's like a keyword randomizer. For the Amish.

Hmmm...I might actually be onto something here...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


So, he comes home last week and casually says that he passed a spelling bee test at school and has been selected as one of his 5 class representatives.

Wait. WHAT?!

What spelling bee?  Like, THE School Spelling Bee, all in title caps kinda spelling bee???

Yes, he replies nonchalantly, which is the way he replies to most things I find thrilling and awesome.

And then I read the crumpled piece of paper he pulls from the bottom of his backpack that explains how, yes, in fact, there was a competition within each class. Each student got an opportunity to spell words from the list that came home a few weeks ago (also found crumpled at the bottom of his backpack), and 5 students were selected from each class.

He was one of them.

These semi-finalists now have to go on to compete against all the other 3rd grade class representatives, from which only 8 will be selected to move on to the finalist round.

And, holy c-o-w, batman, we couldn't have been more proud!

And then...last night...he lost his sheet of spelling words somewhere between here and his Mommy's place.  For the competition -- TODAY.  Lost.  Just like that.

In my head I'd already strung him upside down by his toenails outside our second-story window.  This isn't just any old competition, boy! It's THE BEE, for crissakes!!!! THE BEEEEE!!! What in the world could you be thinking?!?!

But we played it cool, like it was no big deal, and agreed that it was his responsibility, and he now had to be accountable for his actions -- or inaction, as it were.  But inside, I was crushed.  Just crushed.

All my hopes and dreams for him to become a world-famous speller, to win the Nobel Prize for Spelling, to find the cure for cancer...through spelling, of course...were just gone, all g-o-n-e.

There he is, front row, second from left,
no doubt hoping he'll get to spell "vomit" or "flatulence"
And today...the semi-finals. On the way to school, he mentioned that he was a little nervous. And right then and there, I knew I couldn't go.  My excitement was just bubbling on the surface.  The tension was palpable.  The anticipation killing me.  And we hadn't even parked the truck yet.

So, I came home.  And started piddling around the house.  Looking up at the clock every few seconds.  8:30 came and went.  Surely he would've called if he hadn't made it. would've been utterly distraught -- curled into a fetal position in the office. They certainly would've called by now for me to come get him.

Except for the fact that he's oblivious to things like that and pretty much lets everything roll right off his back.

Except for that. Dammit.

And then the texts* started coming in...and...


So, next week all grades compete against one other. 3rd, 4th, and 5th.  And I will gag myself, wear dark shades, and stand outside the door, but, by God, I will be there for this one!

On to the school-wide finals, people...and then...the WORLD!!! Bwahahahahahaha! :)

*Big big big thanks to Rhonda and Antonella, whose little geniuses also made it to the Bee finals, for providing me with play-by-play updates and the photos above as I sat at home biting my nails to the beds.