Monday’s Mama is Fetch AF.

This Monday I am pleased to introduce Mary Catherine Awesome. She totally made those corn muffins like forty-seven seconds before that picture was taken but her food is so delicious that it disappears like she’s baking at Hogwarts. Mary Catherine is basically June Cleaver. Except PG-13.

Mary Catherine

This actual human woman cooks an actual edible dinner for her family of five every night. She sews things. She has eternal patience with her three children. She makes sourdough bread from scratch. She is always laughing and kind to everyone. Thank heaven her house isn’t spotless, or we wouldn’t be able to be friends. Perfection can be SO annoying.

You all read that, right? SHE FREAKING SEWS.

So. We are friends IRL but Mary Catherine is also a blogging newbie. She’s a super great writer so go check her out over at bingewatchinglife.blog. Although, she’s also crazy. She started the blog to chronicle her COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS decision to stop eating sugar. And to stop drinking booze. AT THE SAME TIME. I told her not to do it but she apparently just found out sugar was bad for her. Or something.

I’m kidding. Mary Catherine is once again being a badass while I’m bribing Babystar with our new game M&M Manicure in which I give her a chocolate candy for every fingernail she lets me trim. Mom of the Year over here, y’all.

Mary Catherine was awesome enough to answer some of my questions.

1. Wait, so Regina George was named after your high school? OMG WHAT?! Why??

Totally. OK, so I heard it as a rumor and it may be an urban legend, but I did go to Regina Dominican, an all-girls high school (or as they are called now, a college preparatory school for young women) near the north shore of Chicago–and I’m proud to be a Regina girl! It was SO much fun. But apparently Tina Fey didn’t find Regina girls fun? I think she thought they were bitches. Again, that’s what I’ve heard.

2. Ok, but like for real, HOW do you make sourdough bread from a starter?*

sourdough starter

This is a boring answer. Put starter in a bowl with flour, water or milk, and some honey or sugar. Hold your breath. And set out overnight. Next morning, add some salt and baking soda. Stir down with more flour until the batter forms a dough. Pretend you are making coffee so you can knead the sticky dough without “helpers.” Stretch and fold, stretch and fold, standing on one foot, for about ten minutes. Reluctantly let three-year-old in kitchen and have him wash his hands. (Later you will learn this was a decoy for the five-year-old who was stealing them raw dough to eat.) Roll into a rectangle. (The dough, not the child.) Fold into thirds and tuck the ends under. Set in a greased loaf pan. Slash the middle, just to let it know who’s boss. Set in a warm oven to rise for about two hours. Then, without moving the loaf, turn the oven on to 350 and bake for about 45 to 55 minutes. That’s basically how I do it, and it’s different every time. I started baking bread when I was in fourth grade and my mother abandoned me– I mean, got a part-time job and I had afternoons home alone. Using the oven, of course.

3. What is your favorite family holiday tradition? What is something that everyone else does but you skip?

Gosh, my favorite family holiday tradition? That’s really hard for me– I’m very much a traditionalist, so holding on to traditions until they are way past dead is like my life’s work. I love them ALL. But, for brevity, I love having an Advent wreath on our dinner table and singing “O Come O Come Emmanuel” as we light the candle every night until Christmas Eve. Everyone else seems to be really into Elf on the Shelf right now. I don’t get that. It’s way cheaper (and more effective, I find) to remind your kids that elves are visible to grown-ups only and are watching them. And every time they start to step out of line from Thanksgiving onward you get to spin your head around super fast and yell, “Was that an elf?!!” It’s part of the reward of parenting, isn’t it?

4. Itโ€™s the PTA Bakesale. Handmade, store-bought, or nope?

I think you know the answer to this one. I am a creature prone entirely to stupid flights of culinary heroism and terrible vanity. I will bend over backwards to make something spectacular from scratch, just to hear the chewers sing my praises. Once for a bake sale in high school I made authentic Shaker sugar cookies from an antique Shaker cookbook. But first, I made the butter.

Y’all. She MADE the butter.

*I totally slipped in this question because I was hoping she would ACTUALLY WRITE DOWN instructions for me but nope. What the hell is ‘some flour’? Is that metric??

 

July is for Ice Cream and Popsicles.

Babystar is ALL ABOUT POPSICLES. We bought the Popsicle brand (that’s a brand, right?) sugar-free version but then she was eating SO MANY of them that we were like, hold up, aspartame and food dyes are bad, right? (My husband pointed this out and I was a proud Crunchy Mama and also an embarrassed Crunchy Mama because I should have thought of this myself. But alas, I am forever a TIRED Crunchy Mama so I immediately forgave myself and then forgot what I forgave myself for.)

**Blogger’s Note: I learned at Wordcamp DC that you should avoid run-on sentences for better SEO so basically I’m fucked because run-on sentences are totally my bae. And so is (ironic) slang which is another SEO no-no. Um, whoops?

What was I talking about? Was it sleep? It is usually sleep. Oh! Popsicles.

I had previously purchased a pack of popsicle molds at Ikea and I had a bunch of Honest juice boxes left over from Babystar’s birthday party so I filled the popsicles molds with juice and crossed my fingers that she would like them. SHE LOVED THEM. And these are way better for her than the store-bought popsicles. I could make them even healthier by adding vegetable juices but I’m a bit too lazy for all that. I like having that option, though. I can pretend to be a much better mother than I actually am.

 

ALSO: One Honest juice box fills THREE Ikea size popsicle molds and a pack of forty juice boxes at Costco is $9.99 so these babies are less than nine cents each. I let Babystar have as many of these homemade popsicles as she wants, because she only ever drinks water otherwise. If she eats six popsicles in a day (honestly about average) but only eats half of each popsicle (her usual M.O.), she’s basically had one juice box. I am completely fine with that.

Since Babystar usually only eats about half of one before it is a drippy mess, we taught her to put the popsicle stick in the sink when she is finished. (Yay for independent toddlers!) Of course, the grown-ups in the house have to check the garbage disposal for the popsicle sticks and we have failed more than once. I was at Ikea shopping for Dorm Essential (SOB!) last week so I bought three more packs of the popsicle molds (only $1.99 now!) so that we never ever ever run out of popsicles.

We also bought some more food for Babystar in July. Though she really isn’t eating that much right now. And we rolled into July with a surplus (due to lots of family visiting).

  • Strawberries $3, $3, $1.29, $1.29, $1.29
  • Blueberries $3.99, $1.99, $3.12
  • Popsicles $3 (before the switch)
  • Apples $4.99, $3.99, $3.99
  • Honest juice boxes at Costco $9.99
  • Granola bars $1.99
  • Frozen french fries (we bought more but we share so only one on her tally) $3.59
  • Animal crackers $1.49, $1.49
  • Penguin crackers $1.49, $1.49, $1.49, $1.49
  • Pasta Snakes (Babystar’s name for penne) $1.39
  • Sea bass (spoiled baby) $12
  • Cod $4.50
  • Rotisserie chicken (half) $2.50
  • Tots $3, $1.65, $1.65
  • Haagen-Daas ice cream on a stick $3
  • Chick-fil-A kids meal $3.39, $3.39, $3.39, $3.39
  • McDonalds kids meal $2.99, $2.99
  • Cracker Barrel kids meal $4.99
  • La Cantina kids quesadilla $5.50
  • Pizza at food court $3.69
  • Haagen-Diaz cone with sprinkles (yes she had to have the sprinkle cone) $6.83
  • Peter Chang’s Spring Rolls and fried rice $3.50, $3.50, $3.50
  • Estimated overtipping for dining out with a toddler $15 (five meals out)

I’m also going to add in some boring things that do not deserve their own blog post but we totally bought so I need to add into the total somewhere and here is as good as anywhere.

  • Baby nail clippers two-pack (I briefly lost hers but of course I found them again) $4.55
  • Nook membership for May/June/July $360 ($120 per month and we love it; Nook is not boring but constantly posting about the monthly fee is boring. And they are discontinuing the monthly membership option as of today, which makes me sad but might mean cooler things are coming. We shall see.)
  • The train at Tyson’s Mall which is NOT boring but I forgot to post about it $10, $11 (They either charge more on weekends or less with cash but I need to investigate this discrepancy.)
  • White paper pads from Target $2.19 (x6).  Babystar looooves coloring so I have a special drawer for her with crayons and paper so she can color when the inspiration strikes which is every single second.
  • Giant pack of AA batteries from Costco $14.99. I realize that most of these batteries go into Babystar’s toys. (Toys that were gifts because what parent purchased battery-operated toys ON PURPOSE?)

RAISING BABYSTAR: $20,336.21