Monthly Archives: November 2018

Super Fancy Awesome Thanksgiving Recipes

Cheeseball appetizer

Call mom for recipe. Get annoyed because she’s going into super detail and you’ll never remember it. Ask her to just email it to you. Forget within two minutes that any of this ever happened, letting the recipe languish in email purgatory until the end of time.

The Turkey

For the brine:

Vegetable broth…all of it the store has (you may get into a fight with an old lady over the last remaining ones, but don’t worry, you can take her).



A bunch of herbs, it doesn’t matter which ones

Whatever allspice berries are

Totally forget about how you were supposed to brine the turkey until the morning of Thanksgiving.

For the turkey:

Proudly remove your 16-pound turkey from the fridge even though your spouse INSISTED it is too big for your family considering the kids refuse to even try it. Gently stroke it and tell it “don’t worry, Gerald, I’ll eat you.” You named the turkey Gerald. It’s not weird.

Be determined this year not to wuss out. Mentally give yourself a pep talk for five minutes. Then shove your hand into that turkey’s butt and pull out its innards like the Kali Ma guy pulling out the beating heart in that Indiana Jones movie.


Replace the innards with, like, an onion? Sure. And a cinnamon stick, for the smell. You didn’t really research this part.

Throw it in the oven at 350 and just naively assume it will be totally fine for the next three hours.

Sweet Potatoes

Open bag of sweet potatoes.

Realize sweet potatoes are garbage and run back out to the store to get the regular edible potatoes.

Alternative method: Send spouse to store and when they start to complain begin hurling cans of cranberry sauce at their head.

Mashed Potatoes

Peel 82 potatoes (even though there are only four of you), sustaining multiple scraping injuries in the process. Feel sorry for yourself. Peep into the living room to see if there is anyone in there who can witness just how much you are sacrificing for this stupid holiday. No one is. Pour glass of wine. Take long swig. Set down glass and promptly forget about it for the next 49 minutes.

Chop up the potatoes using no discernible method or standard unit of measurement for the pieces. Some will be a tiny sliver. Some will be a third of the potato. It’s fine.

Awkwardly throw them in a pot of hot water because you never learned how to properly drop things into a pot of hot water. Keep poking them with a fork to see if they are soft, but not too soft, because apparently that is a thing. Drain when they seem softy enough. Pour back into pot, spilling a fourth of them on the floor (where your dog will retain third degree mouth burns by immediately trying to eat them). Drop, oh, I don’t know, a giant ladle of butter in there and a pint(?) of milk and all. the. salt. Mash it together using that old-timey potato masher thing in your kitchen drawer that never lets you shut the drawer. Taste. Add more salt.

Vegetable Dish

Pick a vegetable. It doesn’t matter which one. No one is going to eat it. Chop it up using the potato method. Butter a casserole dish. Throw vegetables pieces in the casserole dish. Sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese. Add more. A little more. Eh, throw some Monterey Jack on there too. Sprinkle some bread crumbs on top. Smother with melted butter. Throw in the oven at…um…350, why not? For probably 30 minutes. When your house starts smelling like a disgusting cooked vegetable, it’s done.

Deep Fried Stuffing Balls

(This one is a legit recipe because it is a GAME CHANGER)

½ cup of flour

Salt and pepper to taste

2 eggs

2 tbsp milk

1 cup bread crumbs

½ cup Parmesan cheese

3 cups prepared stuffing (from a box, obviously…like you aren’t busy enough)

Get out three bowls. Put flour, salt and pepper in one. Beat the eggs and milk together in another. Mix the bread crumbs and cheese in the third. Scoop a ball of stuffing (about the size of a meatball) and cover it with the flour, dip it into the egg and milk bowl, and roll it around in the bread crumbs. Then carefully lower it into some hot oil in a large saucepan (or deep-fryer if you fancy) and fry until it is brown on all sides. DO NOT EAT IMMEDIATELY. You will regret it. Let it cool for five minutes, ya animal (not based a real experience I had three years ago).


Remove from plastic. Dump on plate.

Oh, and there’s your wine! You totally forgot. Start chugging.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

The Road Trip, Part Two: Even Trippier


Previously, on the “Chick Writes Stuff” blog…

Parent 1: “Hey, let’s take a road trip in our tiny car with two small children and an aging dog!”

Parent 2: “Brilliant!”

Thirty seconds after leaving the driveway…

Parent 1: “This is awful.”

Parent 2: “This is the worst idea we’ve ever had.”

One hour later…




(Read Part One here)

One week later…

Hello, everyone. How are you? Good. Good. Glad to hear it. …Oh, me? I’m…fine. Everything’s fine. Just sitting here calmly at my computer, typing industriously away. Because everything is fine…now.

Plus the doctors say the constant twitching of my left eye should taper off any day now so there’s that.


Of course, in hindsight, it wasn’t like our trip was ALL bad. There was a swimming pool at our hotel. That was fun. And I was smart enough to bring wine with us. That was REALLY fun. Yup. Really, really fun all the way until…bedtime.

Have you ever been unfortunate enough to sleep in the same bed as your child? What am I saying? Of course you have. You’re a parent. Which means that you already know that when children are small (and sometimes even the not-so-small ones), there is nothing they love more than sleeping with one foot up a parent’s nose and the other shoved in-between some parental ribs. They are also big fans of the game Musical Bed Positions. Because if they don’t move every three minutes while sleeping they die. At least that’s what I’m assuming based on the evidence.

And then there is the 2 a.m. stage whisper of “Momma! Is it morning yet?” Which wakes up their sibling, who also stage whispers “It’s morning! Can we get up? I need juice! And a cookie!” Which makes the other one go “I WANT A COOKIE TOO!” Which results in a dual meltdown after they are both informed by a gruff parent voice that NO ONE is getting a cookie and everyone needs to go back to sleep.

But it’s all worth it when you are forced awake again at 5 a.m. by your child’s creepy ghost face breathing heavily a mere half-inch from your face and then have to immediately deal with the fact they don’t understand live TV.

“Momma! Turn on the TV!”

(sleepily) mm-kay.”

“What is this?”

“A commercial.”

“Can you fast forward it?”


“Can we watch a different episode?”


“Can we watch a different show?”

“Only if you want to flip through 40 channels three times to find something else with no guarantee of finding something better.”

“Well, this isn’t fun.”

“You never would have survived the ‘80’s, kid.”

I really shouldn’t complain, though. The end result of all this was that we got to spend a wonderful week with my family in Ohio. Doing exotic things like napping while someone else kept our kids alive and eating homemade food someone else made and thoroughly enjoying those little moments where someone else yelled at our kids.

It was like a Norman Rockwell painting. But with more screaming and hitting.

Except I am going to complain. Because when it was all over…we had to come back.

I was determined though, DETERMINED, to make the best of it this time. Even with the awful snowstorm we drove through for three hours. And the windshield wipers that started malfunctioning. And the unsalted road before us that became a super fun slippery asphalt coil of death!

Hahahahaha! Road trips, man! Such a great American tradition! Right!? RIGHT!? They’re just the best! Hahahahaha!

The good news is that after what seemed like two hours past eternity, we finally arrived to our beloved home, with all our hearts and bladders full to bursting.

Only to find out that we did not currently have a toilet in said beloved home because the bathroom remodel the landlord scheduled while we were gone wasn’t finished yet.

But that, my dear friends, is a story I’m saving for my lawyer when I inevitably snap and start running naked through the streets laughing maniacally.


How to survive a road trip with your family (Part One)

Spoiler alert: You don’t.

Sure, you’re still alive. Technically. But you come back changed. Different. Hardened. You are not the same person who optimistically climbed into that tiny Hyundai Accent with your husband and two kids and elderly dog, all bright-eyed with dreams of adventure and bonding and Instagram-worthy shots of the highway.

You are now a survivor. You have been to hell and back. And let me tell you, Dante had it easy. He never had to help a toddler with diarrhea in a dirty rest stop bathroom. I can still hear the screams. “DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING…NO. STOP. WHAT ARE YOU DOING!? DID YOU JUST STICK YOUR HAND IN THE TOILET? NOOOOOOOO…”

And the torture isn’t just limited to the road. In fact, it begins long before the traditional road trip opening ceremony of stomping from room to room looking for the lost car keys. (Because why would the car keys be where you left them? That would be silly. Then you would actually leave on time.).

No, see, for every road trip there is a person who is designated as the Carrier of the Mental Load for the group. This is the unfortunate soul who is responsible for remembering everything that everyone could possibly need for every single possible eventuality. Clothes for every weather scenario. Favorite toys and blankets. Second favorite toys and blankets in case the first ones get lost. Swimsuits for the hotel pool. Sippy cups. Extra wipes. Extra diapers. Tissues. The night-night book. Dramamine because last time the back seat looked like a scene from “The Exorcist.” Two coats, per person, because it is likely to be 70 degrees one day and a blizzard the next. AND DON’T FORGET THE CHARGERS. ALL THE CHARGERS. DID YOU PACK YOUR CHARGER? WELL, CHECK AGAIN. WE ARE NOT BUYING ONE FROM A GAS STATION. YOU HEAR ME?

Even the dog gets his own bag. Dog food. Dog treats. Rawhide bones. A bottle of water and an empty bowl. His favorite toy, Lobstah Killah. His second favorite toy, Mr. Disemboweled Stuffed Squirrel. His arthritis medication that you can never get him to take but bring with you so that you can more confidently lie to the vet at his next visit.

Do NOT mistake this as a position of honor. It is not. It is the quickest way to destroy your brain without the help of illegal drugs.

But take heart. If this position falls to you, just know that someone else (hint: your significant other) will be designated as the Master of Luggage Tetris. This is the person who has to take the various shapes and lumps that all your Very Vital Vacation items have been stuffed into and fit them into a tiny car trunk. This is also not a position of honor, which is why cursing is allowed.

(Please note that the same person can’t do both jobs without permanent brain damage. Don’t be a hero and take it all on yourself.).

Once you are finally in the car, the typical rules that regulate our lives no longer apply. For example, you can never have enough snacks. Let me repeat that. YOU CAN NEVER HAVE ENOUGH SNACKS. Buy ALL the snacks. It doesn’t matter if they don’t all get eaten. They won’t. You will waste so much money on these snacks that never get eaten. Hundreds of dollars. Thousands, possibly. But it doesn’t matter. You would pay double, TRIPLE, that amount for any object that can stop multiple children who all decide to have meltdowns at the exact same moment. They will eat three Doritos out of that family-sized bag and then dump the rest on the floor and you will still spend the rest of your life thanking the God of Doritos for his divine intervention. You will get to a point where you are hurling SnoBalls like grenades into the backseat just for one moment of peace. You’ll let them snort straight sugar through a straw on the back of their Dr. Seuss book. And at every stop you will buy more snacks. Because snacks are the dam holding back the raging river of your kids’ “BIG FEELINGS” that you do not want unleashed in that tiny tin can you call a vehicle.

Naturally, as a result of this, your car will eventually become one of the scarier episodes of “Hoarders.” Half empty coffee cups as far as the eye can see. Happy Meal cartons that are breeding like rabbits under the seats. Chips and half eaten snack cakes littering the floor ankle-deep. Let it go. Do not worry about it. If it gets too bad, just ditch the car in a river a few miles from your destination and call an Uber to take you the rest of the way.

Of course, snacks does not mean liquids. Do not, under any circumstance, give liquids to anyone in that car. If you do, no one will be on the same pee schedule.

Actually, scratch that. Even if you purposely dehydrate everyone, giving out one capful of bottled water every four hours like you are stranded on a desert island, you will still have to stop every 14 minutes. Yup, that’s right. They can’t even make it 15 minutes. The good news is that this gives you plenty of opportunity to buy an overpriced charger on your way out (that, it will turn out, doesn’t work with your phone).

Luckily, all of this will be forgotten when you reach your first destination, the hotel right off the Interstate. Because that’s when the real nightmare begins.