Doing the impossible

27 01 2011

My annual Super Bowl post is coming very soon.  For an opening act I thought I’d showcase once again why this blog is called Mark Ruins Dinner.

If you’re like me (and why wouldn’t you be?) you purchase convenience food at the grocery store because it’s quick and impossible to ruin.  You may have even asked yourself “How could you possibly wreck a frozen pizza?”  Here’s your answer.

The boys had some friends over so I thought getting a couple frozen pizzas would be an easy dinner that everyone would eat.  So I got one cheese and one pepperoni and put them in the oven at the same time.  After 17 minutes we checked on them.  At this point Karen said to me “Why did you put one right above the other?  You’re supposed to stagger them so the crusts cook properly.”  She couldn’t have told me that at the beginning.  Besides, I’m the homemade pizza guy now.  Anyway, we moved them apart so that the top pizza crust would cook, but it wasn’t that easy.  You see, the crust on the top one had started sagging through the oven rack.  But we did our best and moved it over.  But then Karen decided it would be a good idea to turn it, so that it would stop sagging.  In the process she ripped a hole in the middle of the pizza:

That’s the cheese dripping through the middle of the pizza.  I quickly got it out before it opened up like a black hole.  We had a heck of a time getting it out of the oven, but the boys ate it just fine.  Karen said it looked like a belly button.  I don’t think that’s a good thing for a pizza.

This doesn’t bode well for my Super Bowl pick.





Battle Royale

24 03 2009

Nate and Ben have been battling it out over toys lately.  It’s a toss up who’s going to win each one, but Nathaniel has been winning more and more of them.  Ben, however, has a secret weapon.  Once the toy is gone, he often loses interest. 

Let the games begin

This wonderful activity table was a Christmas present to the little ones from their dear Auntie Dawn.  It’s very cool that they can both play with it at the same time.  Nate still wants to keep pulling it away from Ben, though.






The groundhog was right this year

15 03 2009

I’m not sure if I’ve done a “signs of spring” post in the past.  This is my third spring in the blogoshpere.  But I don’t care.  After months of cold and wind sucking the life force out of me I noticed three things this past week that that boon a change in the seasons.  

The birds have come back.

He looks delicious.  I'll bet he's lean from flying all that way.

The crocuses have sprouted.

It looks like they've sprouted, seeded, and died all while I was locked inside.

And the lilac bush is budding.  

Right next to the trash cans.  They make our garbage smell real nice.

So winter is on the decline and spring is speeding towards us.  You know what that means.  I’ll have to start cutting the grass again.





For my sister, whom I may have offended

17 02 2009

While I moved away from western PA after college, my sister moved BACK to western PA.  This has proven over the years to be beneficial for many reasons.  One of these is that occasionally she sends us items that are of a Black and Gold nature.  A delivery of that sort arrived less than a week after the Super Bowl.  T-shirts for everyone in the family (provided that I’m the same size as my 8-year-old) and that was way cool.  She asked me on the phone if they were going to feature in one of my now-famous Tuesday Twosday posts, and my reaction was something like “Oh, not this week.  It will be at least next week, if at all.”

Hmmm.  That may have been a little rude.  In my defense, two of my children and one of my wives were sick that weekend so I was a little preoccupied while on the phone.  

So this past weekend I decked out the little ones in their new shirts and Isaac helped me with the photo shoot.  It was fun, even if nobody smiled.

Look!  Daddy's doing something silly behind the camera!

Later I gave them a toy to fight over.  

back off buddy, don't make me use this

Taking these pictures is going to be very fun for a few months.





I’m Now Accepting Bids

2 02 2009

It wasn’t the refs, it wasn’t the crowd, it wasn’t the weather.  The difference in the game was my cooking and you know it.  Two years in a row now I’ve picked the Super Bowl winner correctly based solely on my cooking.  If any team would like my services I would be happy to start the bidding at two tickets to the game.

Ben was riveted by the game the whole time, honest.

And one other thing.  I can officially say that the most effective Super Bowl ad was the one for the Hyundai Genesis.  With all those people yelling “Hyundai!!!” a two-year-old in the room started yelling it too.





Table for six, please

27 01 2009

This past Saturday was the first time we actually asked for a table for six at a restaurant.  Nathaniel is just now learning how to sit up, and Ben is just now staying seated without trying to climb out.  Apparently an unexpected benefit of us spending all that time with Ben at the high chair at home is that he likes sitting at a table and playing with toys now.  So we sat them together and ate our lunch.

ben thought it was the wine list, nate thought it was onion rings

And Ben looks awesome in his new glasses.





Wookiee Cookies

24 01 2009

For his birthday last year Isaac received Wookiee Cookies: The Star Wars Cookbook.  It was apparently written by someone who, like me, is both a foodie and a Star Wars geek.  It’s complete with pictures of Star Wars action figures posing with each dish.  I thought this was an awesome birthday present.  Oh wait, it was for Isaac, wasn’t it?

They're called that because they're chewy.

I decided to make the title recipe from the cookbook and Jonathan wanted to help.  The Wookiee Cookies are basically chocolate chip cookies with cinnamon added.  Perhaps Wookiees like cinnamon, I don’t know.  I never could understand Chewbacca.  But the cookies turned out well and they were enjoyed by all.  In fact, they were made so late in the evening that I thought they’d go well with a relaxing cup of decaf.  

I cleaned the table just for this picture

They did.  But, like most things, I got impatient toward the end and the cookies got bigger and got squished together in the oven.

maybe I should just eat these now

Oh well.  I took a page from the cookbook and got out our LEGO Star Wars dudes for a quick photo shoot.

Han shot first you know

your cookies are weak old man

The cookies make for very realistic looking terrain, don’t you think?





My superpower

13 01 2009

Hi.  My name is Mark and here’s my superpower.  I can watch the Steelers in the playoffs and still keep quiet enough that two babies can fall asleep on my lap.  Ben hasn’t been feeling well and required a lap to sit on all day on Sunday.  And Nate was, well, he was being Nate.  

he can still wave the terrible towel while sleeping

So I had two babies on my lap while Karen made dinner and helped Jonathan glue candy fish to a cutout of a snowman for kindergarten.  Ask her about that one, I have no clue.

Some good did come out of it.  Nathaniel got his first lesson in waving a Terrible Towel.





Merry Christmas from us

24 12 2008

Dear Santa, all we want for Christmas is for Daddy to stop taking so many pictures.  

Nate says "Don't drop me!!!!"

the tonsils are still there...

Somebody help... he's choking me...





Homage to Christmas Past

22 12 2008

Crash Bandicoot was Isaac’s first video game addiction.  I can highly recommend it for children.  It’s very silly and the kids love them still.  Yes, I caught Isaac playing Crash Bandicoot Warped on my old PlayStation 1 last month.  And this first exposure to video games came with a lesson in marketing for Mom and Dad.  At the mall arcade Karen and a four-year-old Isaac noticed a plush Sonic Hedgehog as a prize for winning tickets.  Isaac was inspired and asked if he could have a stuffed Crash Bandicoot.  “Maybe Santa will bring one” says Mommy.  Later that evening a very worried Mommy looked on Ebay to see if such a thing existed.  It did, and Santa brought it for Christmas.  

That was four years ago, and Crash has seen better days.  As the boys get older they enjoy torturing plush toys, especially ones that are already starting to rip at the seams (You should what Isaac did to the Spiderman at my sister’s house).  One of Crash’s arms was starting to separate, so he became the latest victim of the fearsome Four Cousins of Destruction

CSI PlayStation

I’ve been given no details of the interrogation (and I have no idea what happened to his eyeball), but this is how Crash was found the day after Thanksgiving.  As “Mean Ole’ Auntie Dawn” was about to earn her title I informed her that Crash was not long for this world anyway.  She relented.  Crash is bound for the refuse, and it does make us a little sad because it reminds us of a different time in our lives.  Jonathan couldn’t talk yet.  MMmmmmmm………………