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Gingerbread House 101: How to stay sane while decorating with candy, gingerbread and a very willful four-year-old!

Despite the fact that Mrs. Yeti and I created an award-winning gingerbread house in 2008, this year’s casa de gingerbread was a totally different story. To start with, we had a very opinionated four-and-a-half year old at the helm and an even more opinionated construction crew helping her.

To complicate matters further, we started the project when we were all very hungry, for, you know, real food, which is never wise. And though the candy involved in the making of our house was tasty, one can only eat so many M&M’s and sour gummy worms before true holiday madness sets in. So, as you can imagine, the hunger-fueled sniping and arguing came on pretty fast and furious like.

Gingerbread house (2013)

Gingerbread house (2013)

Gingerbread house (2013)

Gingerbread House (2013)

Mrs. Yeti, who had already been baking all weekend, dropped out first, followed quickly by our master junior architect who got bored and left the table in a huff after assembling the roof. That left my mom and I to finish up the sides of the house and the yard. And despite some major artistic differences (I still say we need a wreath or something over that back window!), overall, I think we did a pretty good job. And as the pictures prove, we all came together again at the end to share in the glory of our crooked little candy house. So, there’s always that.

Gingerbread House (2013)

Gingerbread House (2013)

Anyway, if you’re interested in making a gingerbread house with your kids this season, I highly recommend using Trader Joe’s tasty Deep Dark Gingerbread Cake and Baking Mix (a house mold our size takes two boxes) and one of Nordic Ware’s amazing Gingerbread Cake Pans. Both will save you loads of time and heartache in the early stages of making your house.

And, trust me, anything that saves you time and heartache when you’re creating Christmas memories with a four-year-old is a very good thing. Enjoy!

Gingerbread House (2013)

Gingerbread House (2013)

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Filed under Daddy stuff, Food, Holidays, Mommy Stuff

Taco Bell’s Doritos Locos Taco

I know it sounds totally gross, but, trust me, I would not be writing about this strange Doritos chip/taco shell hybrid taco at this hour if it was. So, listen up, amigos, the new (or new-ish, I think it’s been around for a while now) Doritos Locos Taco at Taco Bell is kind of earth-shattering good. Seriously, on the freaky fast food items scale, with that nasty-ass Grilled Chicken at KFC being like, a one and the flaky-pastry gloriousness of McDonald’s Baked Cherry Pie being a ten, I’d say the Doritos Locos Taco would rate a solid 9. Yep, it’s that’s good.

But, like all good things, Taco Bell’s alliance with Doritos may not last long. So, if you’re a Doritos fan and you like tacos, you need to try this shit out, pronto. Unlike myself and Greta who recently declared Doritos to be “her favorite chip forever and ever” (which is a bit scary!) Mrs. Yeti is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a fan of Doritos and even she said she loved it. So, ladies like it too!

But, like I said, there has been no word on how long this promotion will last, so, I suggest you make a run for the border today and check out the Doritos Locos Taco (sorry, I just love typing that crazy name!) for yourself. Hell, if you really hate it, let me know and I’ll pay you back the $1.29 you wasted buying it. Yes, I just guaranteed your taco. Now git!

Doritos Locos Taco @ Taco Bell

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KLM Happy Holidays Flight!

In a season when most people complain about how badly the airlines and airports treated them on their travels, this sweet little clip from KLM Airlines totally made me smile. And it’s very seasonally-appropriate too. So, rock on, KLM!

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Going strapless…

Ever get the feeling that things are changing too fast for your taste? Urgh, try raising a toddler. I swear, by the time I’m used to one stage or routine, we’re already well onto another. It’s kind of insane, but, I guess the best thing that can be said about dealing with such rapid-fire change is that it makes me a little more flexible. A little. I mean, I still hate change, but, I’ve come to realize I am helpless in its wake…so, now I just kinda go with it.

So, it was with a very heavy heart that Mrs. Yeti and I removed the snap-tight safety straps from Greta’s Stokke highchair. The truth is, she hasn’t even worn them that often in the past few months, but, to me, those straps were a reminder of the tiny little baby we used to have to be so careful with.

It’s not that we’re not careful with her anymore, it’s just that she’s so fiercely-independent these days that the straps were simply not working for her. She actually threatened to remove them by herself if we didn’t get on it soon. So, last night, Mrs. Yeti and I pulled out the toolbox and removed the seat back and straps from her highchair and then put it back together.

I know it sounds crazy, but, just the act of disassembling that little chair brought back a flood of memories — baby Greta “test driving” the chair at the store before we bought it, the little blanket we used to have to wrap around her waist so she wouldn’t slide out of the seat, eating her first rice cereal, all those cute-ass bibs we used to have and the way she’d sit in her chair and laugh and smile at me while I danced around the kitchen making her food — man, it was intense.

And even today as I watched her push her newly, “big girl-ized” chair to the table and climb up in it to eat, I realized that someday, this too would be a sweet memory of simpler times. I know that “the only constant is change” and all that, but, jeez, does it all need to happen so quickly?

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Sick Day

Urgh…I dunno if it was all the dance recital craziness last week or the fact that it’s been hotter than hell outside, but I woke up in the middle of the night on Monday in a cold sweat. By morning, I was sweaty and achy all over with a headache that just would not die. Thankfully, no fluids were being expelled from anywhere, but, man, I have never felt more tired, thirsty, and just plain old worn out.

And as I lay there in bed with Greta kicking me to get up, all I could think of was that now I knew what movie stars and musicians talk about when they are hospitalized for “exhaustion” or “dehydration”. I was like: “Wow, that’s a real thing. And all this time I thought Lindsey Lohan was making that shit up!” Nope. It’s real. I’ve been there and, man, does it suck. Especially with a toddler.

Actually, Greta was very supportive. When I told her I was sick, the first thing she did was look at me all concerned-like and say: “You need medicine, Daddy?” I nodded, and then she got really excited and ran out of the room to get some of “Greta’s medicine!” I followed her to the kitchen where she was standing on her stool trying her best to reach the Disney Princess Gummy Vitamins on top of the fridge. It was terribly sweet, but, somehow I knew that chomping on a purple gummy Jasmine was not going to be enough to cure me.

So, I made Greta something to eat, somehow sold her on the idea of having a “picnic day” in daddy and mommy’s bed and popped a movie into her portable DVD player. And, as terrible as that sounds, that was how we got through most of the day. Me drifting in and out of feverish dreams and her sitting on a pillow beside me watching The Princess and the Frog for the sixteenth time. I know, nice parenting. But, seriously, what is a sick SAHD to do?

Luckily, for both of us, there is a Mrs. Yeti, and she came home early from work. And then she took Greta to IKEA for dinner and some play area fun upstairs while daddy slept off his movie star sickness amidst the crumbs and sweat in the picnic bed.

I’m feeling loads better now, but, I did learn three very valuable lessons during my brief stint in fevertown. The first is that two-parent households have it way easier. Honestly, I don’t know how single parents do this job alone. I just don’t. It’s way too hard. So, single parents of the world, consider yourselves saluted! God bless each and every one of you.

The second thing I learned is that kids eat free at IKEA on Tuesdays. Wow, who knew? And finally, the third and possibly most important lesson I learned this week is that picnic day in daddy and mommy’s bed is a horrible idea. Seriously, our bed look like a crime scene and we just did laundry. So, until we venture to the laundomat again, all I can do is close my eyes, plug my nose, and pray that those hideous brown streaks on my pillow are from Nutella.

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Daddy’s Night Out

When a buddy of mine from my SAHD Meetup group — not the group that dumped me, but, the other one — suggested that myself and another Dad in our group get together for a Daddy’s Night Out to see Prometheus, well, I kinda lept at the offer. I mean, a night out without Greta was rare enough, but, a night out without Mrs. Yeti too? Wow! Nothing at all against the lovely ladies in my life, but, seriously, I can’t remember the last time I went out without either of them.

Anyway, the big night came, we ordered all kinds of awesomely bad-for-you movie food — I’m sorry, but, even the creator of Project X knows that sometimes a man has to eat buttered popcorn and soda for dinner, dammit! — and spent the next two-and-a-half hours geeking out over the exploits of the poor, doomed crew of the Prometheus.

I don’t wanna give anything away, but, as another Dad I know wisely opined on Facebook: “I guess if you name your spaceship after a titan whom the gods condemned to have his liver eaten every day for all eternity, things are not going to end well.” Damn straight, amigo. But, oh, what a wonderful time we had watching everything go to hell onscreen. I’m not kidding, the movie ROCKED! I haven’t been that vocal in a theatre since Mrs. Yeti and I moonwalked in the aisles with a sleeping Greta at the Mommy & Me screening of This Is It. It was awesome!

And the post-screening nerdfest was even better. We actually sat at a table at a shuttered restaurant and talked about the movie and it’s place in the Alien universe for over an hour. Yep, we’re nerds. And when we finally thought we’d solved all the deep, underlying mysteries of the film, guess what we started talking about next? Our kids. Urgh…we’re such saps.

But, the inevitable baby banter aside, our first official Daddy’s Night Out was a rousing success. Can’t wait to do it again in a few weeks with the new Batman!

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Filed under Daddy stuff, Movie Stuff

Putting the “die” in diet…

Yikes, this week flew by. Where were we? Oh yeah, when last we talked, Mrs. Yeti and I were suffering through some major DT’s and drinking lots of hot liquids. Fun! Well, as much I’d like to say that Project X got better last week, it actually got ten times harder…for me, at least. Sorry, I guess I just got sick of eating the same shit all the time…

Oh yeah, and we did cheat a little too. Last Friday night Mrs. Yeti and I had a very rare date night out and went to see a pre-release screening of Dark Shadows followed by a Q&A with the screenwriter. The movie was cool and the discussion afterwards was even better, but, the fact that that was our first night out sans-Greta since January, well, that’s just plain crazy. Wow.

Anyway, being out alone made us totally hungry and we decided that since it was a date night we could eat whatever the hell we wanted. So, we cheated and went to In-N-Out burgers for what I have to say was one of the most spectacular fast food experiences of my life. Seriously, I wanted to stay in that moment forever…it was amazing.

And surprisingly, neither of us felt like hell the next day, so, we just jumped right back onto the Project X bandwagon and kept on trucking. And except for devouring a piece of fried chicken that my brother (our designated babysitter that night) had left behind in our fridge, I was pretty good. Actually, devour is a nice word for what I did to that deep-fried chicken tit. Yikes…I was not myself, amigos.

Anyway, after the fast food blowout and the poor, defiled chicken breast, I was really good for the rest of the weekend. So good, in fact, that when I hauled my fat ass to the cow scale at the laundry mat to weigh myself, I had actually lost a whopping 8.5 pounds! In seven days! Insanity! Seriously, I haven’t lost that much weight in years.

So, you’d think that would make the following week even easier to navigate, but, you’d be wrong. Last week sucked. It was long, I didn’t get nearly enough sleep, and pretty much every lame thing you can think of came to pass. Urgh…I felt like there was a little cartoon raincloud over my head all week, pouring down on me while the rest of the world was all happy and shiny and shit. It was no fun. And, honestly, it made Project X almost unbearable.

But, despite it all, we both stuck with it. Mrs Yeti lost a few mores pounds and I think is holding steady at six pounds lost so far, which is great! and I will find out how much more weight I lost (or, more likely, didn’t lose) tomorrow when I hit the cow scale again. Wish me luck!

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