The Fondue Dinner

When you move, you unearth all sorts of things you forgot you had.

Like a fondue pot.

We have actually used this (before we had kids) and we have fond memories of fondue nights with friends.

Now wait. When I say “fondue” I don’t mean the classic cheese fondue. That’s amazingly good (as well as the melted chocolate one for dessert) and those were always included with these fondue night themed dinners of the past.

What I’m talking about today is called fondue bourguignonne. Hot oil fondue.

This is where you have an electric pot of hot oil in the middle of the table and skewers and cut up veggies and meats and everyone dips their selection in a batter and then fries it in the hot oil. Then you have lots of dips to choose from! Repeat.

We realized that the kids are now old enough to have a fondue night!

Let’s do this!

We have cut veggies. We have cut meats. The oil is ready. The batter is ready. The dips are ready.

We all sit down.

I explain that you skewer a veggie or a meat onto your long fork, dip it into the batter and then put it in the hot oil to cook for a couple minutes. Then you take it out, put it on your plate and try it with the different dips. Then you do it again with another piece.

You get to cook your own dinner!

Everyone is excited. This is going to be awesome!

First, I need to go over some safety warnings. Oil is hot, etc.

Just as I’m about to start my speech, Crappy Baby jumps out of his chair and walks around the table.

But he is headed straight to the CORD that hangs precariously from the table to the wall and attaches to the hot oil pot.

So I explain about the cord.

I tell them to not go near this side of the table at all. Crappy Papa and I explain all about the dangers of hot oil and burns. The phrase “scarred for life” keeps surfacing.

Everyone understands. They are old enough and mature enough now.

We were smart to wait this long to do this.

Then my focus is once again on the pot of hot oil and the “how-to” of cooking in it. Safely.

I’m pointing at the pot and telling them not to touch it when my finger accidentally brushes up against the handle.

Wow, it really IS hot. We all laugh. At least they know I’m serious!

So we begin.

Everyone selects something, dips it in the batter and gently lowers it into the hot oil.

The hot oil bubbles over our selections. We sit and chat and joke while the first batch cooks.

This is fun already!

A couple minutes later, we take them out and slide our veggies off onto our plates.

But they are hot.

So I explain how to use another fork to get them off.

I taste it.

I do that thing where I make the H sound with my mouth open and my hand in front of my mouth.

Just then, Crappy Baby is skewering an onion and a mushroom at the same time and he uses his hand to push them both on.

And the sharp skewer pokes through and jabs his thumb.

Okay, so the cord is dangerous. The pot is dangerous. The oil is dangerous. The hot food is dangerous. The fork is dangerous.

Crappy Boy sums this up:

And slow. All of this happened after TWO rounds of cooking. Which means we’ve all eaten two tiny pieces of food.

And then!

It gets worse.

For my third round, I select a piece of chicken. I dip it in the batter, put it in the oil pot.

When I take it out, I cut it open to see if it is cooked enough.

It isn’t.

So I put it back in. Big mistake.

The water in the inside of the cut chicken piece makes the oil pot VERY angry.

It starts sputtering and bubbling and making scary noises.

Searing oil droplets are shooting out of the pot like fireworks.

We jump up.

And get out of there.

This is the first dinner where I’ve had to yell “Run away!” from the food.

After just a few seconds, the oil pot calms down. We return.

We are now onto round four of cooking.

Three tiny pieces of food have been cooked and eaten.

We’re scared, but we’re still hungry.

The rest of the dinner is more of the same.

More pain. More laughter.

More warnings of “burned for life” and jokes about “run away!” and counting how many times everyone has said “ouch”. (We lost count.)

After a few more rounds, the kids just start eating the vegetables raw.

Eventually, a bunch of hours later, dinner is over.

Crappy Papa removes the pot of danger and pain.

Once it’s gone, we realize we’re exhausted.

And we promise. Never again.

(We are redeeming fondue for the next generation by having the classic, authentic, much less dangerous fondue later this week. The kids are terrified.)


I don’t always make the best decisions (see above) but asking for your ideas for the Totally Non-Crappy Coloring Book was a rare good one.

It’s available to buy now! It’s charming and wonderful and I’m very proud of it! (And it will arrive before Christmas/the end of Hanukkah/Solstice/Etc. as of right now. Check the item page.)

It could be a holiday gift and it isn’t even made out of plastic that will break in three days.

The details: There are 56 pages to color. The images are printed on one side (the right side) of the pages only. Some pages are more detailed. Some pages are more simple. This is intended for children, but not annoyingly so. This means that you will like coloring in it too.

The best part: I incorporated many of your ideas! Some ideas were rather specific, like “a monster eating a hotdog” or “a t-rex riding a skateboard” and others were more general, like mermaids, unicorns, robots, cars, dinosaurs and fairies. There are quite a few animals wearing clothes. A goat in pajamas. A peacock at a tea party. Even the skateboarding t-rex has a slouchy, striped beanie on. Obviously. And there is much, much more!

The even better best part: This is why coloring books are powerful parenting tools:

Coloring books create quiet, stillness and the ability to drink my coffee while it is still hot. (Even in public places, like a coffee shop or a cafe. It’s true!)

This is a gift to yourself that you deserve. (I mean your kids. It’s a gift for your kids. Wink.)  Combine it with some new markers or colored pencils and you have an excellent gift that won’t make annoying noises, require batteries or puncture your foot when you step on it in the dark. This is truly an unplugged, analog, old-school activity.

Don’t delay! Buy your copy today!

(Did you notice my sales rhyme? I worked super hard on it.)



Thank you for your support! The purchase of this coloring book directly supports me and this blog. (As I mentioned, I do not want to plaster this space with ads. This is how I hope to keep this site going instead.) 

We use and love these colored pencils. These gel pens. These makers.

Disclosure: those are affiliate links. This is yet another small way I fund the work that goes into this blog. Thank you!

Posted in book, food | 53 Comments

The Magnifying Mirror

As I mentioned, we moved to a new state. This means we also moved to a new house.

Our new (to us) house was last decorated in the 1980s when pink and light blue were the only paint colors available.

We’ve slowly been painting, but there are several rooms that remain untouched.

Like our bathroom. It’s pink. And I don’t mean retro, cool, 1950s save-the-pink-bathrooms pink. I mean 1980s-goose-curtains pink.

The bathroom also came with a swing out magnifying mirror that is mounted on the wall.

I have not seen a magnifying mirror since my wedding day.

I had just finished getting ready, veil stapled to my head and all, and I bent down to look in my aunt’s magnifying mirror. (Technically, my husband’s aunt. My aunt-in-law? Is that what people say? Sounds weird.) 

She yelled at me in fear.

She said, “If you look in there you’ll never be ready!” and also, “Never look in those mirrors before something important!”

I looked anyway. Everything looked fine. Just closer. I shrugged. I was ready. Wedding level ready.

Fast forward more than a decade to today…

I take a step closer to the magic mirror. I carefully pull it out from the wall.

Mirror, mirror, on the wall…

I look in, expecting to see that everything was still fine, just closer.

Instead, I see:

An alien invasion.

My skin is the surface of a post-apocalyptic planet.

There are canyons and riverbeds and volcanoes!

I see nose hair sticking out like the bristly hairs of a caterpillar.

Who is that old woman staring back at me and what has she done with my face?

My face has been abducted by aliens. What the hell? This means war.

I pick. I poke. I pluck. I prod. I pop. I extract. I scrape. I squeeze.

I do every single thing you are not supposed to do to your skin according to Teen Magazine, which I read when I was 12.

After 20 minutes, my skin looks amazing in the mirror! All clean!

So satisfying!

I walk away, convinced that I’ve won the battle.

Only to get a glimpse of myself in the regular mirror on the way out of the bathroom.




Thankfully, this wasn’t before anything important so I have plenty of time to let my skin heal. 

Yes, I know it’s bad for my skin. I’ve known since I was 12, remember? I won’t do it again, Teen Magazine. (I was much more of a Sassy sort of girl anyway.) 

If you find gross skin stuff (blackheads, pimples, etc.) very satisfying (83% of the population does!) check out Dr. Pimple Popper on YouTube. I won’t link to it because the other 17% of you will probably barf. Only the brave should look this up. This is the sort of weirdness I find myself watching at 1AM and asking myself, “How did I get here?”  If you do it, at least you can blame me. 


Posted in life, mama blogging, Uncategorized | 50 Comments