Escape your life for a little while — come play in mine.

Posts Tagged ‘Adventures in domestication’

Where’s an aardvark when you need one??

Posted by Lissa on May 20, 2014


I kept noticing an ant here and an ant there in the baby bathroom (the one between Little Gronk and Bubber’s rooms, where Gronk bathes and brushes his teeth). We tried to figure out where they were coming from; they seemed to group around the light switch and medicine cabinet. Then we thought they were coming from behind the mirror, but Mike slid it out and there wasn’t a horde behind it. We finally just bought ant traps and put two in the cupboards and two in the windowsill (which I’d previously sprayed down with vinegar).

I checked the ant traps the next day and didn’t see any visible swarming. I shrugged and we went about our business.

I checked the traps again the day after (yesterday) and there were a few ants around the traps. Meh. Maybe the problem wasn’t as bad as we thought. Maybe they’d all died off already. Right?

Ha! I live in Florida; who are you kidding???

I noticed a swarm of ants by the toilet. Wrinkling my nose in distaste, I moved a trap from the windowsill directly into the thickest stream of ants.

Two hours later I peeked in to see how Killing the Ants was progressing. There were a few more ants around the toilet.

… oh, and a line of ants crawling down from the windowsill. Is that where they were coming from?

… and there’s a line of ants crawling down the side of the bathtub. Is that how they’re getting to the toilet?

… wow, that’s a rather heavy stream of ants. Like, a lot. And they seem to be disappearing … under the bath mat? Let’s move it aside and take a look-see . . .


This led directly to the following text from me to Mike:


I plopped an ant trap directly into the stream, whimpering under my breath. And then, out of curiosity, I flipped the mat over.

And SCREAMED at the HUNDREDS of ants thus revealed.


At this point I had to pack up the baby and the cat for Rajah’s annual checkup. I sprayed a vinegar barrier across the bathroom floor so they wouldn’t infest any other part of the house and ran for my life.

A few lessons:

– When you have hired a pest service for comprehensive control, don’t be afraid to call them.

– When said pest service tells you – on Monday – that they can come out at the end of the day on Thursday, politely losing your ever-loving sh*t at the operator will result in a visit from the branch manager at seven thirty in the evening.

– Don’t put out ant traps if you have professionals who you can call. All that did was sing the siren song of sweet succulent food to the horde of ants outside, all of whom invited their mothers and uncles and cousins and neighbors to come inside and partake. Gah!!!

P.S. Today most of the ants in the bathroom are dead. There are about 20 live ants – a great improvement over 200. They’re coming to spray again tomorrow. *spit*

P.P.S. Yes, I *know* it could have been spiders or snakes or roaches or the evil red bitey ants that infest Florida. These were relatively harmless. That doesn’t mean I have to like it. Nor does it mean I can’t do the Happy Dance upon their demise.

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What I’m Cooking – Braised Cabernet Chicken

Posted by Lissa on May 16, 2014

Happy Friday, all! You know how you never know what you’ve got ’till it’s gone? Well, you never know how easy it is to balance life tasks and your first kid until your second kid shows up.

It’s Friday, which means that Mike is going for a haircut after work. Little Gronk’s new preschool is about fifteen minutes from here, but Mike’s work is perhaps halfway there, so he’d normally pick up The Package. (Yes, we send each other texts that say “I have the package.” What?) However, since the barber shop is by the house, I’m going to head over and get him. Which means making sure Bubber is fed either before or after, getting him packed up, and juggling baby-in-a-popout-car seat along with Little Gronk. Who needs weight-lifting when you have two sons that both need to be carried?

The challenge here is that I’m cooking dinner (as opposed to serving leftovers) and that Little Gronk does NOT like when I cook. That is, he whines and fusses and begs to be picked up and can’t understand why I tell him he has to wait.

(Of course, sometimes he doesn’t like WHAT I cook, either. Child is a seriously picky eater, and like all toddlers we play the fun game of wondering whether his new “favorite food” will get devoured or violently rejected the next time I serve it.)

In tonight’s case, I’m making braised cabernet chicken (basic recipe below), which is one of the few grown-up dishes he’s consistently eaten. The challenge is that I can’t leave it bubbling on the stove while I go for the pickup; nor can I wait to start it until I get home from pickup. (It’s a bath night.) I’ve therefore adapted it for the crockpot and it’s heating up on the counter.

Is there anything that smells better than onions and garlic cooking in bacon fat?

P.S. I wonder if I should include a #firstworldproblems disclaimer with these posts. I assure you that I know how lucky I am that I have two wonderful, healthy children, a marvelous and healthy husband, and sufficient material comfort that I have childcare options and vehicular ability to juggle pickups. Does that go without saying? I don’t want anyone to think I’m complaining in earnest!

Braised Cabernet Chicken – Originally from the Pampered Chef and adapted for crockpot cooking

-2 packages boneless skinless chicken thighs (12 thighs total)
-4-6 slices of bacon (however many your biggest frying pan will comfortably hold)
-1 white onion
-4 cloves of garlic (your taste may vary; any recipe that calls for 2 cloves usually gets about 6 in my kitchen)
-8 oz mushrooms (white mushrooms is the default, but baby bellas will add a richer flavor)
-4 sprigs fresh thyme
-1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
-1 cup chicken broth
– 1/2 cup red wine (Cabernet is called for but I use whatever is left over)
– starch to serve – I recommend egg noodles

– Fry bacon over medium heat until crisp (slightly overdone is okay). Dice the onion while it’s cooking.
– Remove bacon to a plate. Use as much of the leftover fat as fits your diet. (I personally hate pouring fat out of a pan, as it inevitably gets down the side and the bottom; I’ll use a paper towel to sop it up instead.)
– Toss the onion into the fat and slice the garlic while it cooks. The onion needs four or five more minutes than the garlic does. (If it takes you longer than five minutes to slice five cloves of garlic then you need to practice your knife skills.) Add the garlic to the pan and cook 2-3 more minutes until you can smell the deliciousness.
– Plop the chicken thighs into the (large!) crock pot. Pour wine and broth over chicken. Add salt and pepper to taste (you can add more later if needed). Lay mushrooms on top and glug the Worcestershire sauce over it (I don’t measure; you don’t have to either). Lay the thyme down the side where it will definitely be covered by the liquid. Toss the hot onion, garlic and bacon fat mix over the top.

I’m not sure how long to cook it; usually I’d simmer it stovetop for a half hour or so. In this case, I’m putting it on high for four hours. If I’d started earlier in the day I’d have done six hours on low instead. We’ll see what level of doneness results.

Also? I cheat on the sauce. I like it to be thick and cling to the egg noodles, so I add a cornstarch slurry at the end and boil for two minutes.

Enjoy, and have a wonderful weekend!

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