The Breakdown.

It was a meltdown of epic proportions.

And I’m not talking about my sweet Baby J turned temperamental toddler who I am thinking already has raging hormones.

Nor am I talking about my six year old son who has an impeccable flair for the dramatic.

No, this time it was mama.

It was my own fault, really.

I mean as they say – too much of a good thing is bad? (or however the hell that saying goes).

Anyway. Yes. Kids have their limits.

So I decided to cram in one more social event in an already overly scheduled day. I dragged my completely worn out kids out to dinner with friends and their completely worn out kids.

Seriously? Did I REALLY think this could possibly end well?

eating out with toddlers

Really Mom?

Again, my naivety never ceases to astound me.

The day started off great – my friend Nan and I took Baby J and our two youngest boys to Nonni’s for a tour of their factory to learn how they make their to-die-for biscotti (thanks T-Town Moms!).

Yes, moms took off the hairnets for the pictures. Yes, we are vain.

The magic is done all right here in Tulsa, Oklahoma, people. Think Willy Wonka minus the creepy voice and the Oompa Loompas.

My Oompah Loompahs in training.

After 2 hours of learning how to make the heavenly twice-baked goodness (and chasing Baby J around the factory, trying to keep her hairnet on and keeping Nicholas out of the massive vat of chocolate) – most people would have called it a day.

Not a fan of the hairnet.

But we were just getting started.

Thank you for the yummy biscotti Chuck! You rock!

Lunch at Nan’s house.

Two hours at the pool in the 100 plus degree weather.

Seriously mom? It's freaking hot out here.

Another playdate at our house…four kids playing Survival Man while Baby J tried to sleep. You can imagine that scenario.

They might LOOK all cute and everything...

And of course I didn’t stop there. Because I’m an idiot.

Fast forward to our Super Fun Relaxing Dinner with Friends and All Their Kids. An Oxymoron at its best.

Nicholas cried the entire way to Elote (my favorite restaurant – in downtown Tulsa) because his friends left. Josie just cried.

Six tired kids. One unhappy baby. Four frazzled parents. You do the math.

I’m pretty sure our photo is posted to the hostess stand with the note: “Do Not Seat These People Under Any Circumstances.”

Josie was not interested in anything but fussing and pouring everyone’s drink on the floor. Nicholas kept disappearing to the bathroom, the bar, the kitchen – God knows where. I was sweating bullets from running up and down mopping up puddles of Josie’s mess and trying to track down my son.

The highlight. My friend Sandy’s youngest was trying to be helpful and tried to carry Josie across the restaurant. He is only a few inches taller than she. Yep. Dropped her right on her face on the concrete floor. You could hear her screams all the way to my hometown.

I rush outside with Baby J to calm her down. Not even five minutes later, Nan comes running out yelling at me to get back inside. Nicholas has it in his head that we have left him there. And he is letting everyone know it by sobbing hysterically in the middle of the wrestling ring.

I throw Baby J down and try to console Nicholas (to absolutely no avail). In the meantime Baby J has wandered off. Too the bar. (like mother, like daughter).

I’ll just take my wine to go – thank you. Got my sippy cup right here.

Nan’s oldest son was getting tired of the drama (as was the rest of the restaurant). He is practically pulling his mom out the door to escape the madness.

However, she sees me out of the corner of her eye, looking wild eyed trying to pawn my children off on Jeramy (the owner of the restaurant). In the meantime – Josie is trying to make drinks at the bar and Nicholas has sequestered himself in a corner (still crying) and refusing to leave.

Nan was not about to leave me alone – for fear she would wake up in the morning and read about me on the front page of the paper.

She is a good friend. Ranks right up there with Chardonnay.

My dear friend Nan. I love ya more than my luggage.

So on this note – mama is taking a break.  Headed to the mountains for family vacay.  Where I am not allowed to plan the day’s activities. 

Good bye my readers – wish us luck on the road and I’ll be back in a couple weeks!

Marnie’s Mommy Moment – Family Eating On the Cheap

Here’s my latest  Marnie’s MOmmy Moment on Fox23 – Baby J and I are giving you the rundown on how to feed your family for cheap!

Don’t forget to comment on my last blog post by tomorrow for a chance to win a GC from Elote…(puffy tacos are calling you…)

(Total sidebar:  Everyone keeps asking when the Man V. Food featuring Elote is going to air.  Soon my friends, soon.  They are supposed to give us a week or two’s notice.  Believe me – you will hear from us about this. 🙂 

In the meantime – happy eating!

Kids Eat Free

Dining Out With Kids without Breaking The Bank.

Okay.  I think everyone here knows me well enough to know that I’m pretty much no good in the kitchen.  That is an understatement.  And while my hubby does the lion’s share of the cooking (hey, I can handle microwave dinners and mac and cheese), even he gets tired of slaving over a stove.

And yet, the alternative is eating out…which when trying to feed a family of six can cost a small fortune. 

So, my friend, partner in crime and also frugal mom Nancy, gave me the brilliant idea of putting together a list of places where kids can either eat free or at a discount.  And since I am lazy and hate to do research – I just asked my awesome Facebook Friends (see Shane, Facebook IS good for something) for their input and voila!  I have a list.  And it’s a darn good one too.

So thanks to Nan and facebook – I can now pass the love onto you.  And for those of you in the Tulsa area – BONUS!  My fave restarant – Elote (who by the way has $2 puffy taco night on Wednesdays) is giving away a $25 gift certificate to one of my readers! (so that is a dozen puffy tacos for your family! Or, in my case – one puffy taco and 10 margaritas…but that is another blog entirely). 

Ummm. Puffy Tacos from Elote. My mouth is watering.

So my money saving friends who are sick of cooking and need a break – here you go!

Chain Restaurant Kid/FamilyDeals:

Steak n Shake – Kids eat free on weekends– one free meal for every $8 spent.  Dine in only.

Cosi – Kids eat free Monday – Wednesdays!

Qdoba – Kids eat for $1.50 on Sundays!

IHOP – Kids eat free from 4-8 p.m. everyday at IHOP.  Check location first to make sure they participate.

Denny’s – Kids eat free from 4-10 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays!

Chili’s – Kids eat free on most Tuesdays (with purchase of an adult entree). 

Mazzios –  Large one-topping pizza for $6.99 on Mondays (carry-out only)

Flying Burrito – Kids (12 and under)  eat free Monday – Wednesday (with purchase of adult entree).

Locally Owned Restaurant Kid/Family Deals:

Firehouse Subs on Memorial – Kids eat free on Friday’s with purchase of adult entree.

Leon’s – Kids eat free on Sundays from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m (with purchase of adult entree).

Whole Foods – On Wednesdays, buy one adult entree and get one kids meal free!

El Guapo’s – $1 carnitas on Tuesdays

Joe Mama’s Pizza – $5 one topping pizzas on Tuesdays

Elote Cafe – $2 puffy tacos on Wednesdays (evenings only).

Mod’s Gelato and Crepes – $2 gelato on Wednesdays (evenings only).

McNellie’s – $3 burgers on Wednesdays (evenings only).

Dilly Deli – Kids eat free on Thursdays (with adult paid entree)

Caz’s Chowhouse – Kids eat free on Wednesdays from 5-9 p.m. (with adult paid entree)

Ollie’s – Kids 10 and under eat free on Tuesdays (with adult paid entree)

Chimi’s – Kids eat free on Mondays (with adult paid entree)

Tin Star – Kids eat free on Wednesdays – 4-9 p.m. (with adult paid entree)

Senior Tequila – Kids 11 and under eat free on Tuesdays after 4 p.m.

Heavenly gelato from Mods. Great way to beat the heat. And only $2 on Wednesdays!

 And there are even more on facebook (see Shane??) – just “Like” the Kids Eat Free page and click on the discussion tab…even more free goodness!

So honey – we have our dinners planned out for the next month – no cooking for you.  I’ll take care of it. (oh, but I will need to borrow your wallet…).

Don’t forget to comment by Friday July 22 for a chance to win some puffy taco goodness from Elote Cafe!

(oh – and a belated congrats to the winners of Ding Bats and The Gadget Company gift certficiates – Maggie Pool and Wendy Haines!   Yay!  And thanks for reading!)

Happy eating AND saving money!  It just doesn’t get better than that.  Then that extra money can go towards wine…oops, I mean the kids’ college fund…

Hurricane Josie Has Arrived

So, I’m sad to say sweet Baby J is no longer. 😦  She has been replaced by a pint-size hurricane who no longer wants to be held, cuddled or restrained in a car seat (which STINKS for mama, since we live in our car). 

walking toddlers

Oh - it was just a few months ago - look at my Sweet Baby J!

Now I realize where hurricanes get their names.  They are all named after sweet little babies who have morphed into toddlers who now wreak havoc on their parent’s lives. 

I totally get it now.  Hurricane Alex – he was once a sweet baby boy.  Hurricane Susie – another unsuspecting baby turned maniacal toddler.

This hurricane season – Meet Josie.  I’m thinking she is an F5.

baby j toddler

Josie is quite pleased with her new found independence.

This storm has been brewing for a while now.  A few steps here, a few tantrums there.  And I was in NO hurry to see her walk because I knew life would end as we know it.

Then one day, the storm broke loose and Hurricane Josie showed up.

As in a full sprint across the room on Father’s Day Weekend. 

baby proofing house

No more sitting on the sidelines for Baby J. Here is her attempt to rock climb with the kiddos.

And she hasn’t stopped since.

NO more cuddles, no more snuggling, no more sitting in my lap – Josie is FAR too busy to be bothered with any of that nonsense.

Far too busy destroying the contents of our drawers, closets and cabinets and whatever else she can get her devious little hands on.  While running as fast as her fat stubby legs will carry her (think drunk sailor).   THe older kids no longer think she is their sweet baby sister – as they guard their possessions with their life – as she knocks down lego towers with an evil giggle and empties the contents of Jade’s purse with a demented smile.  She has found her calling – to torment her siblings. 

Bathing Baby J is now like an Olympic Sport. She is the tiny hiney on the left.

We bought out the store of baby safety gadgets.  But they are no match for Josie.  Bumper pads pulled off sharp corners, Baby gates knocked over.  I’m tellin ya – she may be small, but she is mighty.

Sniper-Survival Man Daddy has met his match.  He almost has an anxiety attack every night watching his newly mobile daughter dangerously teeter near stairs while laughing in his face.  His field and military training will be put to the test. 

PUT ME DOWN!

Not to mention I’ve already noticed several new gray hairs on his head.  Honey- it’s only just begun. 

The path of destruction. Nothing is safe.

Happy toddling to all!