A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Tag: lent

He is risen. I am bloated. Try the lamb.

Well we had a wonderful Easter, thank you for asking.

The Easter baskets were a big hit:

And the kids didn’t seem to mind at all that the Easter Bunny brought them things like dental floss and cleaning supplies!

Well, actually, one kid didn’t appreciate the cleaning supplies, at first…

"Mom. Seriously. It's not funny. Where's the damn candy?"

But once he realized he could combine everything into a funky dress-up costume, he was cool with it:

Those nets (in Mini-Me’s hands and on Bucket Head’s head) are from the “Dollar Spot” at Target. The kids are so excited to have their own nets to catch critters outside. They just love lizards and bugs. Bless their hearts.

So that was 6 AM.

Damn kids. I never thought I’d say this, but I’m actually looking forward to the teen years. Maybe then I’ll get to sleep past daybreak for once.

Thus, between the lack of sleep, the shit load of jelly beans/cake/Easter Bread/pineapple pie/sugar cookies, and the glorious end of my Lenten promise to abstain from alcohol, I’m a bit of a bloated grumpy hot mess today.

Oh what fun you can have with an iPhone and a free iFatFace app. I should print that out and tape it to my refrigerator to remind me to put the chocolate bunny down and make some raw kale salad. Sheesh.

As an added bonus, all three of my kids are home from school today terrorizing me with their outrageous demands that I feed and clothe them. The nerve.

But before I stick my babies in front of a SpongeBob marathon while I “rest my eyes,” I absolutely MUST share the grilled leg of lamb recipe my husband rocked yesterday. I don’t usually care for lamb, and now I know why. Yesterday was the first time in my life that I ever ate properly prepared lamb!

It was SO good, I went back for seconds. And you should know that this grilled lamb was competing with my sisters-in-law’s homemade ravioli and meatballs (our Italian family tradition for Easter). So the fact that I would choose seconds of lamb over that? See what I mean? It was THAT good.

Here is the recipe. The Gatekeeper prepared it by the book and it was amazing. I sure hope I don’t have to wait a whole year to eat this again! Truly magnificent!

Okay SpongeBob, here we come, honey.


© Copyright 2011, The (Bloated) Bearded Iris

The best, easiest, tastiest birthday cake EVER.

Did you hear it was my little guy’s birthday yesterday? You certainly did if you live anywhere within a 20 square mile radius of us, as Bucket Head told EVERYONE we met yesterday, “I the birthday boy. I four. Thanks Bob.” Purdy cute. He’s going through a phase where he calls everyone Bob. May all his phases be that entertaining.

Even Mini-Me, who is usually loathe to share any of the spotlight with either of her brothers, figured out that even though Bucket Head was the star of the day, cake and new toys for him equals cake and new toys for her. She ain’t no dummy.

"I four."

So look, let’s keep this brief. It’s Lent and I’m off the sauce, which pretty much sucks for both of us because all work and no play makes Iris a bit crankier than usual.

But it is Tuesday, and you know what that means… I have a tip to share with you!

Baking a birthday cake for each of your gazillions of children every time there is a birthday in the house can be a bit of a chore. Agreed? Especially if you are a spaz like me who tries to assuage an excessive amount of Mommy Guilt with over-the-top cakes at the 11th hour.

Breathe easy, Mommy friends. Courtesy of my friend Laura, I have the ace-of-cakes you need to be the hit of the party with a minimum amount of time or effort!

Introducing (drum roll please)….

The Krispy Kreme Doughnut Cake:

What, too plain, you say?


Aw, hell-to-the-yeah.

Two dozen Krispy Kremes, artfully arranged on a platter, and pimped out with a few Super Hero action figures on toothpicks. Any 4 year old boy’s dream come true. Plus, no utensils required. And no waiting for the cake to be cut and served. Just reach in and grab yourself some sugary love. Fabulous!

Happy baking! (I mean, buying!)


© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.

Day One of Lent… FAIL.

A haiku about my first day of Lent:

Geri brought trail mix
Bible Study, Ash Wednesday.
YUM! Forgot to fast.

I recognize that many people blow their Lenten promises at some point or another. Otherwise there wouldn’t be iPhone Apps like Lent Tracker and iConfess. But really, for me to fail by 10 in the morning, on day one, in front of my bible study group and our Director of Adult Faith Formation? Really? That’s impressive, even for me.

It’s not Geri’s fault. Poor thing is diabetic and over the age of 59… she doesn’t have to fast. She has an exemption. Geri was just trying to share her nutritious snack… she didn’t mean to play the role of evil temptress. But for me, having that trail mix on the table during bible study class was like seating Charlie Sheen in between two hookers at a titty bar: expect some grabbing, okay?

It wasn’t like I intentionally broke my fast out of weakness… I just plumb forgot. Damn fetal alcohol syndrome.

You’d have thought I would have noticed that Geri and I were the only ones eating the trail mix. But no. I didn’t.

You’d have thought that seeing all those black ashy crosses smeared on the foreheads of my teacher and peers would have been a constant reminder that “now is the appropriate time” for fasting and weeping and mourning. But nope. Nada.

That sure was some tasty trail mix! I nibbled on it throughout the entire class.

Not until later that day when The Gatekeeper was telling me what a great job he had done with his fasting did I make the connection and do the “I shoulda had a V8!” head thump. “OMG. I forgot to fast.”

And just like any diet, once I realized I had blown it, all bets were off. The rest of my Lenten promises went right out the window. I was eating Betty Crocker frosting out of the can with a spoon by the time the kids were in bed. Dammit.

Of course, making disparaging comments about the homoerotic and violent artwork in my children’s Catholic Picture Bible probably ain’t earning me any bonus points with God either. Sure hope He’s as merciful of a God as the Good Book says.

Luckily, I talked to one of my best bible buddies today and confessed my sins and she told me she didn’t even notice me going to town on the trail mix. Then she reminded me that the whole point of fasting is to be in solidarity with those who are hungry. “So what if you blew it on day one, just do it on day two, or three, or whenever!” No wonder I like that girl.

Alrighty then. Let’s try this again, shall we? Day two of Lent…

Is it 5:00 yet?


Bartender, another round please.


Sincerely and with apologies to my forbearing bible study sisters,


© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.

Five Great Books for Toddlers and Tired Parents

So today, the first day of Lent, I asked my two older kids if they understood the significance of the 40 days leading up to Easter.

My oldest said: “Yeah – that’s how long Jesus was in the desert. You know, when that naked Satan was pressed up against him from behind.”

Me: “WHAT?!!!”

Him: “The picture… in that white bible. The one where Jesus is in a robe and it looks like Satan is naked.”

Me: (OMG. WTF?)

Him: “He might not be naked though. You can’t see his wiener. He might be wearing a thong.”

Me: (Oh.  My.  God.  WTF? WTF???)

I raced for the Catholic Picture Bible Mini-Me received as a baptism present from her God Mother and sure enough:

Page 114: The Temptation of Jesus in the Desert

Just great.

Let’s create an image for our children of Satan as a nudist sodomite, shall we? Scared straight! Turn away from sin, kids, or naked Satan will bugger you! He looks like he’s totally reaching for a handful there, doesn’t he? Of course the disco era feathered headband isn’t helping. Is that Satan or one of the Village People?

And how does my 11 year old even know what a thong is?

That Catholic Picture Bible is just chalk full of goodies. My kids’ favorite (other than naked Satan) is the story about the beheading of John the Baptist. It’s a gruesome enough tale, unillustrated. But in a picture bible… oooh weee:

Page 150: The Beheading of John the Baptist

Why yes, that IS a decapitated head on a silver platter. Pass the salt and pepper, please.

I don’t know about you, but when my kids are reading books, I don’t like to see facial expressions like these:

Which brings me to this weeks Listography, brought to us by the lovely and talented Kate at Kate Takes 5.

This week’s topic: Books and Babies.  Specifically, five favorite books for toddlers, as opposed to books that frighten and disgust them like my Catholic Picture Bible.

Hmmm. I do loves me some books. How will I narrow it down to five?

Kate makes a great suggestion:

The one piece of advice I wish I had been given when I started buying my kids books was this: Not only does your child need to love the book – you do too – because you will probably be reading it to them six times a night for the next six months. ‘Again mummy, again’!

Kate, my darling, you are so right. But, I’ll take that one further and say that not only do you both have to love the book, but even better if the child can read it by themselves while you are “resting your eyes,” and trying to catch up on the sleep you missed while you were blogging into the wee hours.

So here it is, amigos… my five favorite books that toddlers can read all by themselves:

1. ) Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boynton.

Delightfully funny. Will help your child learn colors, clothing, and comedic timing. Your little ones will be reciting this by heart in no time, thus freeing you up to nap, check email on your iPhone, or paint your nails while they “read” to you.

2.) Cookie’s Week by Cindy Ward and Tomie dePaola

Learning the days of the week has never been more fun or easy… and all while Mommy is sleeping off her hangover. Great watercolor illustrations, adorable main character, one sentence per page. Spoiler alert: Cookie falls into a toilet… a gen-u-ine knee slapper for all.

3.) Good Dog, Carl by Alexandra Day

My favorite kind of board book for toddlers… there are only words on the first page and the last page… the rest of the pages are illustrations with no words. Therefore, it is a different story every time you (or your children) tell it! It sounds like more work, but it’s not. Trust me. After you read it twice, the kids knock themselves out trying to make it even funnier than you did. Refill your glass and sit back while the kids do all the work.  By the way, Carl is the best dog ever. He babysits! And he even cleans up before the mom gets home. Take some notes, my bad dog Ike… you suck.


4.) Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann

This might be my favorite of the lot. Again, an almost completely wordless book that is absolutely captivating. The illustrations alone are worth it, but the silliness of this book really captures kids’ (and their parents’) hearts. There is one scene, I swear to God, that is even worth staying awake for. If you or your kids can do a variety of animal impressions, even better. I frickin’ love this book.


5.) No, David! by David Shannon.

Nose-picking, playing with food, and toddler streaking… what’s not to like? But in addition, your kid will be able to read this back to you on day one. Funny illustrations and a great message of unconditional love. I always enjoy this one as a peace offering when I lose my cool and strain my vocal chords. Hey, it happens. Why not have a book on hand that helps you all survive it?

How about you? What are your favorite children’s books?

Sincerely yours,


© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.

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