So-Called Cooking Vlog

My god I am the worst at cooking. And if there are any moms out there that think they can challenge me for this title, I will battle you to the death. Because I truly am the worst at it and I am both willing to accept the title and also laugh at myself over it—while striving to improve. Because I am the queen of taking perfectly fresh and tasty salmon fillets, and turning them into paper weights.
This puts me in a tricky spot because I have 7 young mouths to feed. Four of which are teenagers and are ALWAYS hungry and never stop chirping for food from the time they get up until nightfall, when I’ve resorted to stacks of toast and butter to fill their bellies. Poor Pippin gets tired of cooking the same old thing and we all get tired of eating it. He cooks not because he enjoys it, but because if he didn’t, we’d all starve to death or go broke from takeout. We are busy parents, so being creative is complicated in the kitchen.
But that doesn’t mean moving to suburbia doesn’t have me wanting to scratch that domestic itch. This new neighborhood has me living a braver So-Called Mom life. As a result, I’m not about to let the oven get the better of me. So I have decided to turn this ship around, and with the help of your new captain (me), and a handful of library-based cook books, we’ll be sailing into unchartered territory in the hopes of a happy landing, nestled onto a bed of greens and vinaigrette dressing.
See for yourself 🙂

Julia Child would swoon,
So-Called Mom
PS, Don’t forget to subscribe and comment below, I’d love to hear from you and also discover new recipes and recommendations. Thank you!


Yesterday we gave 17 year old Jake the ultimate birthday present: A stolen car. 
so-called mom
There are several things wrong with that sentence aside from the obvious: the most important being that we purchased a car for a kid who has failed his permit test not once but twice, and that in doing so, mom and dad left their due diligence at home in exchange for a too-good-to-be-true situation.
I’ll give some context, and let the on-line games begin.
Spoiler alert: I get that we screwed up.  But spin-meister that I am, I found a silver lining.
I wanted Jake to have a car for his birthday because I hoped it would become an impetus to finally pass his drivers permit so he could learn to drive. (That would include studying for it).  I need him to take this next leap to get him to adulthood and since he has an (almost) girlfriend, and a nice big mother-in-law quarters to practice apartment life in, I figured a car would give him the drive to actually commit….and maybe even enjoy doing so.
Pippin found a great option on Craigslist and we met this kid and his girlfriend at their apartment complex (or so we thought) and took it for a test drive. We were in a hurry so we ignored any and all red flags and just handed over a wad of cash and he split—leaving us with a gorgeous BMW, a counterfeit title and a copy of (what we believe to be) his fake ID. I mean, a gorgeous BMW that now spews black smoke from it’s tailpipe, begging for a new expensive engine. Of course the kid’s phone number doesn’t work anymore.
Even though I’m still stewing over how that raw deal played out, I’m more impressed with how we handled the situation. This is the kind of thing that can easily pit husband against wife, leaving a bubbled over mess of resentment and anguish. Instead we said to each other: There are so many would’ves and could’ves —we took a gamble together and lost together. We have been so lucky and have done so well for ourselves, there’s bound to be a slip up like this in the mix somewhere. It was time, and this dig isn’t so bad. It could’ve been worse.
I mean, there was not one single fight or assertion—not a single rude word was said about this. It would’ve made the situation even worse and we knew it. But we chose the high road. Well, really it was me who did, since Pippin is the one who is always so damn cool. I’m usually the one raking us over the coals…but I just didn’t. Instead I kept telling myself: That kid is in a bad spot. It must be so hard to live like that. I hope we helped him out. And….I’m glad he’s not my son.
The funny thing is that the moral of the story isn’t to be more careful next time, but rather—shit happens and it’s most important to lean in and love each other through it. As such, I’m calling this situation a serious fucking score for the home team.
so called mom
The rest of the night ensued with birthday cake and watching Ghostbusters with Jake (his favorite movie) on a pile of new comforters and pillows because he is still unpacking and setting up his space in this house. And while we likely need to give the vehicle back, I still gained something. Jake texted me on his way to school: Mom, thank you so much for the car. I know it was such a headache, but I want to get my license now more than I ever have and I promise to work harder for that.
And after the dust of the night settled and the kids were in bed, Pippin and I danced in our living room, finally unpacked and settled, to a pile of records—most notably Smoky Robinson’s Cruisin’ and laughed and talked until there was nothing left to be said.

However, even though the love is still in the air, none of it makes the problem go away. So we’re weighing our options: put a lien on the vehicle and see if it can be ours (and then get expensive repairs), turn it in (to whomever it belongs) and cut our losses, drive the car downtown, park it in a high ticket area and walk away (yikes, but a good way to find the original owners quickly). Pippin has asked me not to worry about it. He’s got it, apparently. In any case, I’m inclined to look the other way on this one.

Would love to know: What would you do in this situation?
Hustled to hell and back,
So-Called Mom

How to Dress Your Husband

I hate the way my husband dresses. I know that’s mean to say, but I know I’m not alone here.  I could poke fun and just leave it at that, but hey…I’m choosing instead to give him a hand.  So you’re welcome.
Armed with some funds from our newly stocked bank account, I decided to let my fingers do the walking and comb the Internet. It felt a little reckless, but it also felt so damn solution oriented.
Thanks to my effort,  there are days now when his outfits are not so bad—but those days wear down quickly because once he catches on that I like something he has on, it gets a repeat performance until I’m bored to tears.
I will also add that I’m not a fan of the always sporty look. I know he doesn’t appreciate the forever yoga look I easily could have going on, so it seems fair game to enforce the same with him. I’m also a believer in mixing it up:  definitely shift up the genres. He’s not a suit guy; he’s a comfort guy. A breathability guy. Style is my thing but it’s going to become his…thanks to me.  
Again, you’re welcome.
I guess you could call this a Pippin Makeover, without his knowing it. Not that he would object – he’s just not that concerned with any of it except to please me.  And for me, it’s imperative that I look good. When I do, the world is an open book and I can write how it goes. Whenever we’re going somewhere, he invariably groans, I feel like I’m bringing your whole look down.  I think Pippin is stunning, and he ages like fine wine…so I’ve decided to quit thinking he will step it up and instead, just step it up for him.
Today his first order of clothes arrived. And I unboxed everything and showed him what I bought. As I held up one shirt I liked,  he exclaimed, Oh, this one isn’t bad. I could mow the yard wearing it. I quickly had to interrupt his thinking: Your whole wardrobe is mow-worthy. This is the shirt you can date me in. 
So from round one: He only has two send backs. Shorts that I agreed don’t look very him and a lavender linen shirt that I was sure he’d go gaga over. But the seersucker pants get to stay! As does everything else. The next line of order is shoes–and If I have it my way, his Adidas flip flops will find their way to the garage, right beside the mower.
Decked out,
So-Called Mom

My So-Called Friends

My last post was about my kids making friends, so it only feels natural to talk about how I’m making new friends too. Even though I should be on the lookout for some mom friends in our new suburban neighborhood, I’m actually not quite there yet. I’m not talking about face to face friends; my new pals have come via social media and my So-Called Mom message that I post out on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and Youtube and the blog itself.  When I started this a few months ago, I really had no expectations that anyone would follow me, much less respond.  The happy discovery is that I’m not alone in my insane life as a mom, who’s just figuring it out day by day and most of the time, rowing with one oar.  I’m finding myself in a daily dialogue with people I’ve never met, and slowly developing an unexpected and yet totally satisfying relationship with many of them.
so-called mom
Of course I’ll still always have my crazy girl group that I usually have a few too many cocktails with, albeit few and far between. But there is something magically honest (and somewhat addictive) about making friends with people who have watched you bawling in an empty tub with your clothes still on AND delivering a baby in a luxury hotel, and still want to converse with you.
One local mom reached out over the weekend and asked me out for coffee; another invited me to join her “mamapreneur” group; and of course, those invaluable moms that cheer me on and cheer me up: it’s all going to be OK, So-Called Mom—You got this! One asked where I was from: Portland, I said. And her response: I take it that means USA? How very So-Called American of me to assume she knew it was. I made a Craigslist joke, and she didn’t get it.  We don’t have Craigslist here. Apparently, my so-called humor doesn’t translate as well as my So-Called Mom breakdowns do.
One mom asked me what the purpose of my blog was. I had to think about this, but I now know the answer: I just want to be relatable. I told her. That seemed like a good enough answer for the both of us.
so-called mom
In some strange way, I’m realizing that much of this interaction gets to the heart of what friendship means.  And while I have certainly cursed the internet’s influence on my teens – and certainly see its dark side-  I’m seeing the flip side of its allure:  the honesty, the immediacy, the connections – the authenticity that social media invites.
I am discovering something about myself in this online mom blogging world: I love connecting with other moms. I don’t mind hearing I’m doing an OK job at momhood, and I also don’t mind hearing I’m doing it wrong. I’m not a women who needs to be told what she wants to hear. It keeps me real, both with myself and with my kids. It’s OK to fuck it all up and still wake up the next day and give it another go. Why the hell not? None of us is perfect. Knowing this alone makes me feel like I can take on the world.
Hitting it off,
So-Called Mom