Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Works for Me: Nothing

I thought I should mention that I haven't "quit" Works for me Wednesday - I just haven't been able to come up with anything brilliant that works for me, lately. Between having a house full of sick people, getting in arguments with people, and the general chaos that reigns in my house when it comes to housework, I haven't felt at all qualified to sit on high and make pronouncements about better ways to do things.

It must be going around, because Shannon couldn't think of anything today, either.

Don't get me wrong, I'm fine. We're fine. The kids are better (although Claire is still hoarse, and if she isn't over it by Monday I'm going to take her to the doctor - and I just wrote, and had to correct, "take her to the vet." I am an excellent mother). The house isn't really that bad, mainly because I haven't been cooking a whole lot, lately. It's too hot, and we've been too busy. The toys have spread out of the toy room, again, and it could use a vacuum, but it's not like the city is coming by to condemn my house any time soon.

I could use a few suggestions, though. For one thing, Claire has been climbing the chairs and sitting on the dining room table. The chairs are cheap (hooray Ikea) so she can actually pull them out and climb them. Does anyone have any good ideas for how to stop her? Preferably ideas that won't interfere too much with the normal use of the chairs. I'm not excited about, say, putting them upside down on top of the table, the way we had to do with our chairs at the end of the day in school, because she could pull them down on top of herself. BJ's thinking bungee cords, but that sounds like a pain in my neck. Maybe I'll just put a stack of books on each chair's seat, so that they're harder to pull out. Lord knows we have enough books!

MG loves the movie Monsters, Inc., she calls the music at the beginning, during the credits, the "door music" because of all the doors that open and close during the opening sequence. Well, we have a Disney book called "Family Story Collection Volume 2" which has a bunch (75 actually) of stories from the Disney movies, and yesterday she was excited to find that Mike and Sully from Monsters, Inc. are on the cover, and there are two Monsters, Inc. stories in the book. Hey, she's 2, it was a big thrill. Well, she just brought the book over to me, and said, "Look, Mommy. This book has door music!" She was pointing to the "bibliography" page at the end, where it says in fine, centered print which story came from which movie. Then she said, "Something must be wrong, it's not moving!" Apparently the credits in the book are supposed to roll like the credits in a movie. HA!

The other thing I need a suggestion on is kind of fun... Our friend, we'll call him Jacques because he gets all irritated when I put him "all over" the internet (as if anyone reads this!), has a cousin, we'll call her Justine, because that's her name, who is coming from France on Friday to stay with Jacques for a month and improve her English. She's going to spend a lot of time with the girls and I while Jacques and his girlfriend, Fran, are at work all day. He wants to bring her over this weekend to have a meal with us and let us all get to know each other.

When I went to France as a teenager, I was so excited to try the food. Our first night, we had dinner at a prix fixe place where everyone got the same thing. Steak frites. Steak and fries. I was so disappointed to be served something I could easily get at home! I still remember it, what, 17 years later? That's a disappointing meal.

So, I want to make the "All American Meal" for Justine. I was thinking meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and green bean casserole, but that's a pretty heavy meal for summer. It's more of a cool weather meal. Then I thought about burgers and hot dogs on the grill, with potato salad and baked beans, but that didn't seem very interesting, either. I also considered tuna noodle casserole (with crunched up chips on top) and Jello salad, but I don't want her to run screaming back to the airport.

What is the "All American Meal"?

Thanks for the help! I hope something works for me next week!


Heart of Wisdom said...

meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and green bean casserole is my vote....

I am actually hungry right now

Doesn't really matter that it is heavy, it is American Comfort Food and Yummy to the Tummy!

Charlotte said...

A summer version- and easy too-
slice and lightly brown sausage- we like to use chicken sausage with some spice in it- but smoked does fine too- and chunks of potato. Let the potato cook til almost done. Add canned green beans. Takes about 30 minutes.

ttelroc said...

American food in the summer is grilling outside - hamburgers, hotdogs (I got some awesome hot dogs at the Fresh Market last week) or BBQ ribs.

Have a great day!

Jen said...

Hubby says grill. Meatloaf is scary - and you are worried about jello? Get some nice ground beef, mix in onion soup, pat out some nice fat burgers, and have a plate of interesting toppings (fried onions, cheese, olives, bacon...). Do a burger extravaganza with potato salad, dogs and beans. Apple pie for dessert. With a nice French Burgundy... :)

Rob Monroe said...

MmmmMMMMmmm ribs. (excuse my "homer" drool on my desk.)

I would favor the outdoor theme of the American Meal, since it's summer. Ribs, burgers or hot dogs (or some combination). Cole Slaw, deviled eggs and potato salad. Get a little "crazy" for desert and do grilled pound cake (since the grill is already warmed up). It's delicious and wonderful.

New rule: no posting about food until after lunch time! Now I have to munch on the carrots and broccoli that I brought and just dream about the buttery goodness of pound cake.

Amy said...

OMG, I can't believe that I didn't even think of Apple Pie! DUH!

I can't actually be the only person on the planet who loves meatloaf, can I? Especially the next day, on a sandwich with mustard? MmmmmMmMmmm...


SAHMmy Says said...

My 21 month old climbs onto the dining table too, and our chairs are Heavy! so the book thing may not work. I've just had to be diligent about physically removing her from the table and setting her down on the hearth and walking away. She usually gets so mad that I'm walking away from her (instead of treating her to a lecture like her 4yr old brother would get) that she follows me around and forgets to climb on the table again for a few minutes.
I have no idea if they grill outside for fun in France, but to me, nothing says All-American like slapping meat onto the charcoal grill, sipping a beer, and getting out of the way when the kids aim a squirt gun at your head.

Jenn said...

OMG, I'm with Rob, and on the cake serve whip cream with strawberries! I like meatloaf and mashed potatoes too ,never tried it in a sandwich.

jennifer, playgroups are no place for children said...

Brats! Boiled in beer then grilled. Baked beans, potato salad, and cole slaw!

(We're having this tonight by the way.)

Goooo America!

di said...

I'm in 'simple mode' today.
1) climbing: toss chairs in garage until right B4 meal time.Toss some toys under table to keep C occupied
2) Am dinner: ask the Guest what foods they'd like to try ;)
PS> Brats and apple pie sound awesome
PS2 LUV MG's photos at gymnastics-right-a little girl now.

Brad & Shana said...

To me, hamburgers and hotdogs scream the all-american meal....especially with potato salad and baked beans. But, other than that, I would say BBQ with the same sides....and definitely apple pie.

I don't think it has to be "wow" to be can always "wow" with another meal.

(by the way, I got here from Rocks in my dryer.......loved the cry for help, it worked)


ttelroc said...

I had to add something else...

Strawberry shortcake

It was the pound cake that tipped me off - I cut up a pound cake and top it with the strawberries and whipped cream


(I love meatloaf, too)

The Momster said...

Could you take your traditional meatloaf recipe and make hamburger patties from it? This is something I'm thinking about trying this weekend. That way, it's everyone's favorite meatloaf but a lot neater. And anyway, my hubby always can't wait to slice it and make a sandwich - I'll be saving him a step.

Good luck!

Jess B said...

Meatloaf and mashed taters sounds so good, but I agree that it's a bit warm for that. If you grill burgers, try the sour cream burgers from They are TO DIE FOR! We've made them several times this summer and they are always so good....even the next day! Enjoy!

Nancy said...

It's gotta be some kind of BBQ (chicken, ribs?) with potato salad and whatever else.

Also be sure to introduce her to Hidden Valley Ranch dressing - the good kind in the packets that you have to mix yourself. My MIL was born and raised in Germany. Her best friend from there fell in LOVE with it when she was here. She brought some packets home in her suitcase. :)

My MIL's brother always want to hit a KFC at least once when he visits.


Mandy said...

BBQ all the way, man! No doubt! I think the brats sound divine. And potato/pasta salad. Don't forget lemonade! Oh, and corn on the cob!!! We ALWAYS have that with our cookouts! The kids LOVE it, and what's more american than corn from the corniest place!? :-D
Have fun!!!

3cookieday said...

You can't go wrong on the grill. I'd vote for the hamburgers. And you can certainly do Jell-o, too. Yum!

Beth C said...

I love meatloaf and mashed potatoes, (nothing beats a good meatloaf sandwich!) and you could do slaw instead of green beans to make it lighter...but burgers on the grill are great and all-american too!

Anonymous said...

My friends from out of country always ask for three things when they get here: pancakes and syrup, apple pie, and brownies.

Audra Krell said...

All American is in the table setting too, a red checked table cloth will make anything you serve an American treat! ha ha I love the door music, that is precious.

hannahbro5 said...

I would say go with the grill. Hamburgers/hot dogs OR pork chops with corn on the cob. Perhaps that's because I live in Iowa, but that's what I think of when I think of summer food. And maybe strawberry shortcake. :)

Willy-Nilly said...

Re: the chairs, I chose not to fight the battle, let her climb on the table, she'll get bored of it and find more dangerous things to do... Should she try it at someone elses house just tell her that's for home only. I know lazy, crazy and unacceptable; but it worked for me!

ahorne said...

I vote for BBQ -
chicken and/or ribs on the grill, potato salad or coleslaw, corn on the cob, etc. Angel food cake topped with strawberries or good ol' ice cream cones for dessert. :)