Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I Know This Much Is True

For my whole life I have been me. Good, bad, ugly, weird, I have been me. I never went along with the crowd, I was never easily swayed, I have always been exactly who I am at all times. Until now.

When you enter unfamiliar territory you put on your best face, your most outgoing personality and you may even act a little phony in order to let people get to know you before you let your freak flag fly. When we moved to New Mexico and I was slogging my way through trying to make new friends in a new environment, I may have done this. Now, after a year and a half all bets are off and people are going to have to take me or leave me, loud mouth, swears, opinions, tattoos, piercings and all. Those friends that I have made who like me because of me will still do so, those who don't...won't. I wouldn't want it any other way.

In high school I was considered weird by a lot of people. I dressed differently (think Clarissa from Nickelodeon's 'Clarissa Explains it All'). I had bright pink Doc Martens before they were cool, I wore platform shoes long before the wedge made it's triumphant return. I was me, totally and utterly me and I didn't care who knew it. I had the most amazing group of friends, all who loved me and didn't care what label was on my jeans. I wasn't an outcast or social pariah, and most people never gave me or my clothes a second thought.

We had a student voice mail system at school and each student was allowed to set up a voice mail box where friends or teachers could reach us and leave us messages (this was before the internet folks). One day a girl named Melissa accidentally left a message for her friend in my mail box. I called her back and let her know. We quickly started messaging back and forth and forming a friendship. I knew who she was, a year ahead of me and one of the "popular preppy kids"; she didn't know who I was. One day we were set to meet up and she didn't show. I got home that night and there was a message on my voice mail from her telling me that she saw me waiting where we were going to meet, took one look at my clothes, realized I was a freak and never wanted to talk to me again. Nice, right?

When Melissa only knew me by my voice on a phone she liked me and we were friends. When she saw me she changed her opinion of me based on how I was dressed. It wasn't devastating or anything like that, but it was typical and it was actually what I was expecting from one of the "popular preppy kids" (I guess I had preconceived - and later confirmed - notions too). Anyway, the point is, in this blogosphere, this arena of mommy bloggers, I don't think I am being myself and this blog isn't really the outlet I had hoped it would be because of that.

So, on to bigger and better things. A new blog where I can rant about my opinions on all subjects that are socially taboo: politics, religion, atheism, discrimination, abortion, corporate greed, feminism, and all things sure to alienate, incite and inflame. I may be a mama, but I still wear some outrageous things and Doc Martens every chance I get. Because if I'm not me then who the hell am I?

Thanks for reading...

Meg

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Time of Our Lives

Today my MOMS Club friends came over for our monthly book club meeting. We were discussing The Ten Year Nap by Meg Wolitzer, a book about women who have been out of the work force for about ten years to raise their children and are weighing their usefulness at home now that the kids are in school vs. returning to their dormant careers. The book was horrible and lacked continuity and plot, but the topic was an emotional one for me, and the conversation we had about the book was great.

In high school you think, “this is the time of my life, nothing will ever be greater than this moment, these friends and these memories”. Then you go to college and you think, “now this is it. Living away from my parents, becoming an adult, traveling, learning and meeting people from all walks of life, this is the time of my life.” Then you get married and you think, “this love, this person, this bond, this is the time of my life”. I’ve now come to realize that THIS moment right now, raising my children is truly the time of my life.

To be sure there are major sacrifices to be made when you have kids. Your marriage (at least in my case and that of some of my friends) isn’t the primary focus any more; the kids are. The things you experience with small children in the house is like nothing else on Earth and nothing can prepare you for how miraculous, mystifying, terrifying, stressful, emotional and wonderful it is. Children have a different agenda than adults; their agenda is to have fun, and to be happy. We could learn so much from them. Everything from potty training to learning to ride a bike they learn from you, and it is a chance for you to discover the world all over again.

On top of that you are raising the future of the universe. Will your children grow up to be compassionate, kind, gentle, fierce, angry, content? Will they be a professional athlete, a teacher, a nurse, a senator, a mother, a father, married, single, happy? So much of that depends on you and the job that you do as a parent. This is it folks, your one shot at creating the kind of person you want your child to be and I daresay there is no more important job on Earth.

I know when I am old and gray I will look back on this time as the time of my life. High School was fun, our days as a young married couple were special, but this, this is the time of my life, and I need to remember that and soak it all up. Because, once these days are gone, there is no getting them back, and I know I my only regret in life will be if I don’t do this right and I let it pass me by without enjoying every moment of it. To all you mommies and daddies out there, enjoy the time of your life, because that time is today!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Tumbleweeds Are Real


When we pulled up to our house upon our arrival in New Mexico I was delighted to find a small tumbleweed in our back yard! I immediately sent out a text to friends and family about what I always thought was little more than a western legend. I thought for sure that tumbleweeds only existed in Bugs Bunny cartoons.

“Do you really have tumbleweeds down there?” is probably the number one question I get asked about New Mexico. I am here to tell you tumbleweeds are very real, and very unpleasant. Spring in New Mexico means day after day of 30+ miles per hour winds, which pull massive tumbleweeds out of the ground and send them spinning through the city. For some reason tumbleweeds love our front porch and after a big storm we are often unable to leave the house through the front door because these prickly, vicious weeds have barricaded us in.
On the other hand, it is pretty cool to see a weed the size of a Volkswagen go tumbling down the street and you really do feel like you are in the wild, wild west. I’ve been thinking of starting a website selling this mythical creature to the curious and uninitiated. Let me know how many I can sign you up for, I’ve got plenty to share!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Comedy of Errors


Most people over the age of 30 will probably remember when Andrew Dice Clay was one of the filthiest and most controversial comics around. Even I remember him when I was just a little girl and blushing whenever someone said his name because he was supposed to be so dirty. I thought for sure I would get punished just for knowing his name. He’s probably pretty tame by today’s standards, but I digress.

My husband remembers Andrew Dice Clay’s whole “Nursery Rhyme” montage, and for some reason still chuckles about it (look, he grew up in a town of 4,000 people, he didn’t get out much). If you’re not familiar with what I am talking about you can check it out here, but I am warning you to clear the kids from the room before you watch it. Now, you probably have to be an adult to get most of the references, but if a child picks up on one of these lines and starts quoting it in mixed company you won’t be winning any parent of the year awards, which bring me to my point, finally.

My husband, in all his bumpkin good humor thought it would be funny to teach one of these gems to our seven year-old son. Now, as I’ve said before my husband really is a terrific dad and goes above and beyond the call, but sometimes he makes poor judgment calls, and this would be one of them.

The Honeybee has a memory like no other. This kid can watch a TV show once and quote every line from the show the next time it comes on. So, teaching him naughty little nursery rhymes that will quickly get repeated in school is not the most brilliant plan. The one Honeybee glommed onto was this lovely little ditty:

“Jack and Jill went up the hill, each with a buck and a quarter. Jill came down with $2.50. Ohh!”

Honeybee, being the seven year-old that he is, changed the characters in the rhyme to Squidward and SpongeBob, which of course makes it that much funnier. Honeybee has no idea what this means, his teachers, and his friend’s parents of course do. I’m expecting the phone to start ringing any minute now. Oh, and when it does, trust me, Buzzer is going to be answering that one.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Mmmmmmmm Monday: Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache


This cake is really flavorful and moist. I think it rivals any box mix, is just as easy to make, and doesn't require any "unusual" vegan ingredients like an egg replacer. The vinegar may seem strange to those not versed in vegan baking, but the vinegar combined with the baking soda gives some baked goods the lift and fluff that eggs would provide. I promise the cake won't taste tart or vinegary. The ganache is the perfect light frostingy topping for this cake, not too thick, or too sweet.

Chocolate Cake

The Must Haves:

* 1 1/2 cups flour (all-purpose, spelt or whole wheat pastry work best)
* 3/4 cup sugar
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 1 tsp baking soda
* 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
* 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
* 1/3 cup oil
* 1 TBSP vinegar (white distilled or apple cider)
* 1 cup cold water

The Choose It or Lose Its (choose one, two or none!):


* 1 recipe Chocolate Ganache (recipe follows)
* Confectioners' Sugar
* Fresh Berries
* Peanut Butter Frosting

How You Do It:

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly oil a Bundt pan, set aside.

2. Combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and cocoa powder in a bowl until thoroughly combined. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the vanilla, oil, vinegar and water. Mix until just combined.

3. Pour into the prepared pan and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

4. Cool on a wire rack. To remove the cake from the pan, run a sharp knife around the inside of the pan to loosen the cake. Cool completely before frosting. For a layer cake, double the recipe and use 9-inch pans.

5. Put on your string of pearls and serve to the family after a big Sunday dinner.

6. Get down with your bad June Cleaver self.

Rich Chocolate Ganache Topping

The Must Haves:

*1/4 cup soy milk
* 4 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped (I cheat and use chips)
* 2 TBSP pure maple syrup

How You Do It:

1. Bring the soymilk to a gentle boil in a small sauce pan. Immediately remove from heat and add the chocolate and maple syrup. Use a rubber heatproof spatula to mix the chocolate until it is fully melted and smooth. Set aside at room temperature until ready to use. (Wait until it is just warm to the touch for a drippy, pretty glaze on your cake, it will set up firm once cooled).

Yield: 1 hell of a cake

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Family That Shares Together...

gets every nasty germ imaginable. My kids love to share. It's true! They like to take turns with toys, share food right out of their mouths with one another, pick up any toothbrush they come across in the bathroom each night, they all cram into one chair together to watch TV, and they love to have sleepovers together. Really, so sweet, right?















No. They are like living, walking petri dishes with all this "sharing", and while I am glad for all the siblingly love here, having something wipe out all three kids at once is not so lovely. Right now, it's pink eye. Dani picked it up from preschool in one eye, today it has moved into the other, and into her brother Jooch's eyes too. The Honeybee decided he needed to do an eye exam on the Dani to see this "pink eye" we kept referring too, so it won't be long now until he is infected too.

I had big plans for next week since the kids are off for spring break. We had MOMS Club events to attend, and well planned mommy and me time spent individually with each kid. Instead it will be off to the doctor to take a look at my children's weeping eyes, and strict quarantine.

Oh, and did I mention Dani woke up with a crusty ear this morning? Apparently she had an ear infection, which she never complained about and we had no clue was going on, until she woke up with a gunk ear. Now the Jooch is complaining his ear hurts too. Thank god the Pediatrician has walk-in hours tomorrow morning. Enjoy your spring break everyone, I am in for some heavy duty spring cleaning and degermifying.

Friday, March 20, 2009

It's The End of the World as We Know It

The Jooch is approaching two and a half years-old and I am in no way ready to put him in a "big boy bed". He is a monkey; he loves to climb, he is fearless, and he is constantly getting in trouble. I fear that if he was in a big boy bed he would give up his nap and be up wandering the house in the middle of the night. The crib still seems like the safest place for him.

However, the Jooch is making his own rules and has figured out that he can easily scale the side of the bed and wreak havoc on his bedroom when he is supposed to be napping. The funny thing is that he still loves naps and still needs them, which he proved the other day.

I went up the stairs to check on him during his nap and as I crept into his room I noticed that his bed was empty, but he didn't come running to the door. I opened the door further and what should I see but this:


Sounds asleep, curled up in his favorite blanket, on the floor behind the door. While this was so heartwarmingly adorable, it was also the end of the world as we know it. Nap times will be coming to an end soon I fear. I guess I better enjoy every napping moment I can, while they still exist.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Where My Heart Lives


Since adopting our daughter, Maia Yordanos, from Ethiopia in 2005 our lives, hearts and minds have been forever changed. We think every day about the family she left behind and how they are fairing. We worry about the children there who have no one to feed them, protect them, educate them, and most of all...love them. Sometimes I look into my daughter's eyes and imagine her alone in a severely poverty and disease stricken country and it is more than I can bear. We decided we needed to do something to help those children who we left behind in Ethiopia, but carry in our hearts.

One of the things we do is sponsor a child through our adoption agency. For $420 a year we provide an education, 3 meals a day, school supplies, clean water and visits from a social worker to assist the family. Every penny of the $420 goes to the sponsored child and in cases where the child lives with family, that money helps to support everyone. Sponsored families receive counseling and financial training in the hopes of creating self-sufficiency.

For more details about the program, watch this slide show. I hope you have better success with getting through it without crying than I did.

If $420 isn't in your budget right now, there are many other sponsorship program options to choose from. Check it out.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Mmmmmmmm Monday : Vegan Truffles


The Must-Haves:

* 3/4 cup raw cashews
* 3/4 cup cold water
* 1 lb bittersweet chocolate
* cocoa powder

The Choose It or Lose Its:

*Nuts
*Coconut
*Sprinkles
*Crushed Peppermint Candies
*Use your imagination!

How You Do It:

1.Put cashews and cold water in a blender and blend at high speed for 1-2 minutes (yes a long time).

2. Scrape the sides down and blend again until the mixture is the consistency of heavy cream.

3. Meanwhile, in a double boiler heat the chocolate until it's all melted.

4. Cool the chocolate until it's comfortable to work with and fold in the cashew cream (making sure not to stir too fast or you'll create bubbles).

5. Cool in the fridge for 2 hours (to set).

6. Take out a small ball, roll in cocoa powder, or topping of your choice and store in fridge/freezer. I like to melt a little extra chocolate and put a dollop of it in the palm of my hand, then I roll the truffle in it, and dunk it in the cocoa powder. This creates a little shell of harder chocolate on the soft truffle center. I also like to bury a toasted hazelnut in the middle of each truffle.

7. Repeat until done.

8. Give as gifts to your friend or sweetheart, or bring them along to a girl’s nights out for a little naughty indulgence.


Yields: about 50 truffles, plenty to share!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Knitting Knoobie Giveaway!

My very best friend, Susie, is having a knitty giveaway on her blog. Susie began as a knitting knoobie but has quickly moved on to a knitting knot-so-knoobie.

Check out her blog for really cute knitty crafts and of course, her very first giveaway! She will be giving away two skeins of yarn and a book of knitting themed short stories to one lucky winner. As a native New Yorker Susie wants to know what you would do if you took a trip to the city.

Go, comment, win!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Barf, Barf Go Away


This morning my husband comes home from taking The Honeybee to school and announces that Honeybee is probably going to bring home another stomach bug tomorrow. Now, we have had a problem all winter with a stomach bug that keeps making the rounds in the house. We have Clorox wiped everything in the house and avoided some contact with the outside world hoping that intestinal goodies would leave us alone. It hasn’t worked. At least twice a month we are dealing with someone being sick all over again.

Today the parent’s of my son’s deskmate thought it a brilliant idea to send her to school, even though this child announced to the whole class that she was vomiting last night and this morning. She still wasn’t feeling well, her face pale and ashy, but her mom had somewhere to be this morning and needed her to go to school. We were assured her mom was going to come back and get her after her appointment. Lovely.

This is how it happens. Sending your kids to school when they have been vomiting in the last 24 hours is a huge no-no in the public health rulebook. This child was practically lying on her desk she was feeling so ill. But, hey, mom has somewhere to be so, fuck it, who cares if she makes the whole class sick, which in turn makes everyone in every houseshold sick.

I swear, if The Honeybee is vomiting tomorrow, or a stomach bug chooses to makes it’s home in our intestines again because of this, I will be mailing this mom our snotty Kleenex from our next bout of colds and runny noses.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Trouble With Two

Some days two-years-old is the greatest age that ever was. When The Jooch wakes up in a good mood and everything makes him smile and giggle, life is good. On those days he loves to give kisses, play together and listen to me read book after book while he snuggles on my lap.

Other days two is trouble. I won't say terrible, because that's a bit strong, but it's trouble for sure. Some days my two-year-old wakes up on the wrong side of the crib and the waterworks start before his tiny feet ever even hit the floor. On those days it seems nothing makes him happy, everything is worth crying over and we are both counting the minutes until nap time.

Either way though, I try to remember every moment, good and bad, because this is the last time I will have a two-year-old to enjoy. He is still experiencing new things every day, and this is the last time I will get to share this wonderment with one of my children. Pretty soon we will be done with diapers, temper tantrums, and strollers, and as strange as it seems, I know I will miss every bit of it. Diapers and all.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Crunchy Granola

My gal pal Katie is hosting another giveaway that even a vegan like me can get down with, crunchy granola! How perfect.

Check out Katie's blog and sign up for this make your own granola mix giveaway. Get to crunchin' yo!

Monday, March 2, 2009

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things


A week or so ago my real-life friend, and fellow blogger, Katie, told me about a blog at The Kitchn about ten favorite things from your kitchen. The author wrote about her ten favorite things and then asked readers to submit photos of their favorites from their own kitchens and they would choose several to feature over the next few weeks.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a girl who LOVES a retro inspired kitchen. Anything for the kitchen from 1920 - 1950 is right up my alley. I scour eBay and antique stores for vintage kitchen treasure. So, I snapped a few shots of some of my favorite things, and surprise, surprise, my kitchen is featured on The Kitchn today!

Go check out my kitchy kitchen. Thanks to Katie for the great tip!


Sunday, March 1, 2009

It's A Hard-Knock Life, Or Is It?

bitching

I don’t know about you, but I have always thought that the universe gives you back what you put out. If you are the kind of person who sees the positive in life and doesn’t complain too much about the little things, good things come your way. On the other hand, if you are the kind of person who feels like every sniffly nose, hectic day and poopy diaper is something to gnash your teeth and shake your fist at the heavens about, well, a lot more snot and shit will be coming your way.

I am a glass half-full kind of person, despite my sometimes prickly personality. I really do feel like things work themselves out in the end. I also keep a lot of my life’s little annoyances to myself, because we all have them and I don’t see the point of airing them to all and sundry, knowing full well they are going through the same things as me. Sometimes life is about sucking it up.

Recently my son lost the new Nintendo DS that “Santa” brought him for Christmas. Or, more accurately, my husband lost my son's Nintendo DS. At first I was annoyed that a $129 and $29 game were lost , but that passed in a second when I remembered that in the last year we had found two iPods whose owners could not be located and that my husband and son have since put to their personal use. So, their loss was our gain, and our loss someone else’s. It’s the balance of the universe.

I have been thinking more and more about this recently as a member of Facebook and formerly MySpace. Anyone who frequents these social “networking” sites knows that often times they are more of a social bitchfest. I am getting really sick and tired of reading about every runny nose, minor disappointment, and less-than-perfect spouse in passive-aggressive status updates.

It is at the point that for the sake of my good mood and positive outlook I want to block status updates from ever being posted on my page. It’s enough to make you depressed to read about every small misery day in and day out from hundreds of people. It seems that the posts that are fun, lighthearted and genuinely happy are few and far between. It's not like you get a choice about reading these posts either, because they just randomly show up on your page. It's not like a personal blog, which is like a diary, in my opinion, and something that someone has to make the choice to find and read.

In an effort to balance the universe I am making it my goal to only post updates that are positive and happy, unless of course something major happens. Otherwise, life is too short to let the mundane crud of life get you down.

If all else fails, I will start singing Annie, because noting should make you quit your bitchin’ faster than a an orphan who can still find the silver lining in every cloud. Who’s with me?

Friday, February 27, 2009

Dye Hard

I gave in. I always said I would go gray gracefully and just accept my new wiry silver hairs as a new milestone in my journey to the grave. Happy, right? Well, shit, you try and be happy about gray hair and tell me how that works out for ya.

Ok, anyway, so I was going gray gracefully, all was well, as long as my hair was short. When my hair was little more than short spikes the gray was fine. There were a few little salts in my pepper but because my hair was so short they didn’t really show up that much and they rarely bothered me. Now, however, I am growing that very short hair cut out to something a little longer and the gray is really, really bothering me. Like it’s not enough that my hair is going through all these hideously awkward stages as it grows out, now I have to have gray pipe cleaners poking out of my head too. I am making good use of lots of headbands, trying to contain the funk going on up there these days. A headband, apparently, shows off all the gray hiding underneath all the gray on top. It’s not cute.

So, off to the store today to bite the bullet and wash that gray right outta my hair. The gray is gone, a coppery brown is in and I can finally stop daydreaming about shaving every last hair, gray or otherwise, off my head.
Photobucket

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Check Her Out

My real life friend Katie has a gorgeous food blog that is like foodie porn. Everything sounds and looks so delicious I want to lick my computer screen. I recently made her orange chocolate muffins and they were so good I had to make a second batch just a few days later.

Katie is hosting her first blog giveaway and the lucky winner will win their choice of two bags of Al Dente brand pasta and a jar of sauce. Go check her out and throw your hat in the giveaway ring! I bet she becomes one of your favorite bloggers for recipes and new dinner ideas.
Photobucket

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Forget-Me-Not



I have a memory like an elephant and there is not much that I forget. This is both a blessing and a curse. I remember things like the birthdays of many friends from high school that I haven’t seen in years and I almost never forget a name. However, I also remember just about every embarrassing, stupid or terrible thing I have done. And, those memories aren’t dulled by time, oh no, they are still just as vivid as the day they happened and still have the ability to make my face burn. There are a even few foot in mouth moments that I am still beating myself up over, 10 years later!

The one that does make me laugh after all these years though is probably the most embarrassing. Growing up we lived in a house on the main street of our town. The street was the busiest street in town as it was lined with schools and businesses and was the route that most school buses and commuters took through town. My sophomore year of high school I walked to school down this main street, then through a side street to get to school. I would walk around to the side of the building and wait for my best friend’s bus to drop her off each morning.

One warm spring morning, dressed in a skirt and no coat, I made my way down the main drag to school. Suddenly a car zoomed by and some kids hung out the window whistling at me! Next a car drove by and honked it’s horn. On and on it went during my 10 minute walk through the middle of town. Horns were honking, people were whistling and cat calling. I guessed I must have looked pretty darn hot in that outfit, or else people were just being really strange that morning. I made my way to school and around the side of the building to wait.

A female janitor was outside the building cleaning up some litter and said to me, “Oh honey, the back of your skirt is a little ruffled.” I felt where the back of my skirt should have been and felt…only underwear! I had walked all the way to school, by dozens of passing buses and cars with my the back of my skirt COMPLETELY tucked into my underwear. Not a corner, not a smidge, the entire back crammed into my underwear.
Now, as bad as it was (and it was bad, I floated through the day feeling very dizzy) it could have been worse. I didn’t see any other students on campus that morning, and the janitor caught my error before any of the buses offloaded. I could have been standing there with my ass hanging out for all of the school to see if she hadn’t been there to help. God bless that janitor wherever she is!

Now when I wear a skirt I check and double check the back of it before I leave the house or bathroom. One good thing about being embarrassed, you rarely make the same embarrassing mistake twice. I can only hope that the people who saw me in all my glory that day don't have a memory as good as mine!

Photobucket

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I See Nice People

I am a northerner. I was born and raised in Massachusetts, and for the last nine years I lived in Michigan. I am used to being crotchety, snarky, bitter, curmudgeonly, uptight and sometimes down right bitchy. So, imagine my surprise upon moving to New Mexico that everyone here is sweetness and light. You would be hard pressed to find one nasty old soul here. It is disturbing.

I was in the grocery store shortly after we moved here and another shopper looked at me and smiled. WTF?? Then she says, "Hi, how are you today?" Well, it took me a few minutes to choke back my, "What are you looking at?", rearrange my sneer into a smile and politely respond, "Fine thanks, and you?".

These New Mexico folks seem down right chipper. It creeps me out. I have not heard a single horn honk, and believe me, I was driving like an idiot for a bit there until I got to know my way around. The people just sat politely and waited for me to do a 12-point u-turn across three lanes of traffic, like they don't have a care in the world. If I pulled that same crap in Boston people would be driving up on the sidewalk and mowing down pedestrians to get around me, all the while laying on the horn, screaming out the window and having their kids give me the finger. I kinda miss that.

red sox finger kid Pictures, Images and Photos

I guess it is going to take some getting used to. I just hope this sunshine, lollipops and rainbows attitude doesn't rub off on my impressionable young. They wouldn't want to break their rude old mama's heart, now would they?

Photobucket

Monday, February 9, 2009

Mmmmmmmm Monday: Chocolate Chip Cookies



As a chocolate lover and avid baker I am always searching for the perfect chocolate chip cookie. Chocolate chip cookies are one of those things that everyone has an opinion about. Some like them thin and crispy with little chip hills in them, other like them cakey, like a muffin top and others, like me, are looking for a super soft and chewy cookie. I tried this recipe and I have to say, right out of the oven they were the MOST delicious chocolate chip cookie I had ever had. Soft, chewy and very gooey. As they cooled they retained their chewiness, but they were quite firm and didn't stay as soft as I would have liked them. A few seconds in the microwave, however, transformed them back into fresh from the oven drool inducing goodness. One tip though, take them out before they seem done and before the bottom browns for the ultimate in soft baked loveliness.

What you need:

* 1 1/4 cups sugar
* 1 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
* 1 1/4 cups margarine or butter, softened
* 2 teaspoons vanilla
* 3 eggs or egg replacer
* 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 (12-24 ounce) package semi-sweet chocolate chips

What you do:

- Heat oven to 375*F.

- In large bowl, beat sugar, brown sugar and margarine until light and fluffy.

- Add vanilla and eggs; blend well.

- Add flour, baking soda and salt; mix well.

- Stir in chocolate chips.

- Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.

- Bake at 375*F for 5 to 7 minutes or until light golden brown.

I made mini cookies, little bite size goodies. Stored in a pink depression glass cookie jar they were the perfect little retro treat. Enjoy!
Photobucket

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Living in the Moment



Did you ever read something, or hear about something that made you really take stock of what you have and be thankful, oh so very thankful? This was one of those weeks. It seemed it was a week of sad stories, and it made me realize just how much I have and that I should really quit my bitching, because you know what, life is good!

Things that made me happy with my life this week:

- My MOMS Club friends. We got out to a few events last week and I have to say, those ladies really make me smile and laugh. Sometimes I need to be in a room full of fun women, and they are just that.

- My Jooch and his willingness to kiss me square on the lips at least ten times a day. I also appreciate the way he greets me like a hero every time I come home from even the smallest errand. His little legs pumping as he runs to the door yelling, "Ohhhh, Mommy!" and hurls himself at my legs.

- Honeybee and Dani's love for one another kills me. They have to do everything together, and nothing is enjoyed quite as well when done solo. Every Saturday they beg for a sleepover together and Honeybee reads bedtime stories, they wish on stars they see out the windows over his bed, then fall asleep face to face, arms and legs entwined. I dare you to witness it and not get choked up. We can't.

- My husband. Oh my husband. Dammit if he isn't the most wonderful and lovely man around. I sometimes forget just how much he does and how much he loves us. He has been home for almost two weeks straight and it has made me not want to leave the house because I just love being in the same vicinity as him. To know he is in the next room is so safe and comforting, and...sexy. I still love him like we are newlyweds instead of 14 years in. Oh, and he has done all the dishes, laundry and trips to the park the two weeks he was unexpectedly home. I, on the other hand, barely lifted a finger.

- Susie, who loves me grumpy, happy, silly, or sad. I know I can call her any time (well, anytime before 8:30pm!) and she will talk me down off whatever ledge I am currently perched on.

- My mother, who sent me HUGE Fiestaware mugs this week. She knows just what a retro girl needs.

- That all of my family is happy, healthy, no matter how far away they live, or how many messes they make. I'm glad they can make messes without a care in the world. Long live the mess makers.

- Pikes Place coffee from Starbucks.

I think I need to sit and do a post like this every time I get a little cabin fever because one can never be too grateful or have too many good things come their way, can they?
Photobucket

Friday, February 6, 2009

If I Only Knew Then What I NO Now


Have you ever had a problem just saying NO? I try to be a people pleaser (I know, you may not have gotten that vibe from my previous posts!), but I think sometimes in my efforts to please I turn into a doormat.

I think that if I say yes to everything and am a giver it will make people like me and want to be my friend because I am a good and kind person. In reality, it makes people see me as vulnerable and it makes it easy for them to take advantage of me. Really, it isn’t winning me any popularity contests and I am getting gray hair and ulcers in the meantime from wrestling with my conscience so damn often. I like helping people, I like saying yes, I like to be generous, but there comes a point in some relationships when the give far surpasses the take and you have to have the courage to create some boundaries.

So, I am trying on some big girl panties and practicing saying no with a smile in the mirror. I figure I have no problem telling my kids no, or my husband no, so telling others no shouldn’t be that much of a biggie right? And, if someone only wants to be my friend because of what I can give them instead of what I have to offer, well that’s not really a friendship I want to have, is it?

Hell NO!
Photobucket

Monday, February 2, 2009

Dream Date


Since February is all about Valentine’s Day a friend recently asked us to describe our perfect Valentine’s date. Mine wouldn’t be a date so much as a long weekend. A long weekend spent with just my husband; no kids, phones, televisions, computers or technology of any kind (other than electricity and running water of course) allowed. We would spend time talking, reading, walking, napping and just reconnecting and rediscovering who we were before we had kids. I dream about this long weekend so often I can practically taste it.

But, along with the dream of the perfect romantic get away weekend comes the nightmare of having to leave my kids in someone else’s care. I have never been good with that for even a night at the movies with my husband, never mind an entire three-day weekend! I know that in reality I would have a very difficult time enjoying myself while my kids were somewhere else without me. I would be a nervous wreck, and most likely beg my husband to bring me home early.

So, okay, romance may not be as easy to come by now with three young children at home. But, I have learned over the years that it also doesn’t need to be a day designated once a year for me to want to celebrate my sweetheart. I try to remember every day what I love about my husband and what it is that made me marry him. We try and set aside time once a week to have an in-house date. Even if it spent just watching silly reality shows on the couch together, it is our time and children are not welcome for those few moments we get to spend together.

Whatever your dream date, I hope you find the time to reconnect with your partner and take a break, for a few minutes, from being mom. We all deserve the opportunity to forget for just a moment who we have become and remember who we used to be.
Photobucket

Saturday, January 17, 2009

All Aboard the Fail Train



Photobucket

Friday, January 9, 2009

I'm It - White Trash Danish

I was tagged by Tiffany at Lattes and Life for this blog challenge. Here are the rules:

1.Go to your documents

2. Go to your 6th file.

3.Go to your 6th picture.

4. Blog about it.

5. Tag 6 friends to do the same.

So, here is my picture:




Which was convenient because I took this picture to blog this recipe anyway.

White Trash Cheese Danish
I am usually a fan of making everything from scratch, and somehow the idea of a tube of dinner rolls used as pastry seems trashy to me. However, this is a really, really yummy trashy, so whatever.

The must haves:
2 (10 ounce) cans refrigerated place and bake round crescent rolls
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, diced
3/4 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons sour cream

The choose it or lose its:
Jams of any favor, we tried raspberry and blueberry
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon butter, softened

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper

2. Separate the rolls into 8 individual rolls. Using your thumb, flatten the center of the roll, making a large indentation for the filling. Place each roll about 4 inches apart on parchment lined baking sheet.

3. In a large bowl, mix together cream cheese, white sugar, flour, lemon juice, vanilla extract and sour cream. If using the jams, spread a thin layer of jam in the middle of each roll. Spread cream cheese filling on top of rolls. Put a small dollop of jam on top of the filling so you can identify them when they are done baking.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Keep an eye on these and don’t let the bottoms get too dark.

5. In a small bowl, stir together confectioners' sugar, milk and butter. After Danish has cooled, drizzle with icing. Or, you can skip the icing and just sprinkle them with confectioners' sugar, which is what I chose to do.




*The filling makes a lot, you could probably make 2 or 3 dozen Danish with the filling, so you may want to buy more crescent rolls. Great for brunches, or lazy weekend breakfasts and a crossword puzzle.

Here's who I'm tagging:

1. Susie at Knitting Knoobie
2. Sharon at As Seen on the Bathroom Wall
3. Christina at Hippie Liberal Mom Chronicle
4. Kerri at Desperately Seeking Sanity
5. Katie at The Good Life
6. Colette at Jamerican Spice

Photobucket

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Out With the Old, In With the New

I hope that you all enjoyed a wonderful holiday season and are looking forward to the new year ahead. Each year on January 1st I wake up and wonder if I can do it all over again. The year stretching out ahead seems so long and daunting and fraught with so many possibilities, not all of them good, I can’t help but worry what the year will bring. Then I realize that a year is such an arbitrary time frame and life really is just one day at a time.

I thought it would be fun to look back on some of the one day at a time highlights of 2008.

Things I Don’t Want to Forget:

Jooch's first haircut

Honeybee losing his first tooth

Our first trip to Disneyland, with Gramma and Bub

Honeybee’s “graduation” and skipping a grade


My trip to NYC to visit my best pal Susie


Maia's first day of preschool


Our trip to Colorado


Gramma and Bub's visit in October


Buzzer running the La Luz and the Duke City Marathon

The election of Barack Obama

My Fiestaware Christmas



Other Stuff I Loved:
Honeybee’s note about his best friend Abbey
The way Jooch says his S’s
The way Dani says, “Darn It!”
Dani’s love of Princesses
Honeybee’s agendas and lists
Jooch’s little voice and big belly laughs

There are lots of things about 2008 I don’t want to remember as well (Sarah Palin anyone?), but I am going to focus on the good things and look forward to another year. Let’s hope this one is full of only good memories and happy times. Happy New Year!
Photobucket

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Fiestaware is a Retro Girl's Best Friend

I want to make sure I remember every detail of this Christmas, as I may not experience another one like it in this lifetime. I may not ever be as touched and blown away by another gift as long as I live. I may not cry big, fat, ploppy tears of heartfelt joy any Christmas Day ever again.

The kids were done opening their gifts and my husband told me it was my turn. We exchanged the few gifts we had for each other. He got jeans, I got slippers, he got gloves, so did I, he got a book, I got one too, he got some movies, I got a hat and scarf and some body butter. By my standards, this is a pretty good Christmas!

My husband is not a good gift giver. He pretty much hates Christmas, he pretty much does no shopping for me and there have been years I have swallowed the huge lump in my throat at his miserable attempts to buy me gifts. There was the Christmas that my main presents were a 4-pack of Virgil’s Rootbeer and a box of pretzel cookies (cookies shaped like pretzels). True story. So, I have come to expect to be majorly disappointed, or to not expect anything at all. He grew up in a home where birthdays and Christmas were no big deal, I did not. Even after 13 years together it has been hard to get him on board with my school of thought, not for lack of tears or trying though.

So, yay, I am actually pleasantly surprised with my thoughtful and well chosen gifts. They are nothing fancy, but sweet nonetheless, and really quite good considering Christmases past. I think we are done when he gives me two large, identically shaped wrapped boxes. He has a huge grin on his face and I am so worried it is something like 40lbs. of sugar. But no, it is Fiestaware dinnerware! One box in Scarlet and one in Tangerine. I am just thinking to myself how thoughtful he is that he started my Fiestaware collection for me, when he drags in two huge Macy’s bags containing 6 more place settings! A whole cabinet’s worth of Fiestaware for me!?! No cookies? No soda? No biography of Dick Cheney (I kid you not)? No financial planning book by Suze Orman? Surely this must be a mistake.

I can’t help it, I cried. I sobbed like he asked me to marry him and presented me with a huge rock to go with that proposal. Anyone who knows me knows I would prefer Fiestaware to a diamond any day, but still, for the husband to know that and actually make it happen is momentous. Then he tells me I can take back some and exchange for different colors if I want, he just wanted to make sure he got 8 for me to open. So now I have 4 beautiful colors of Fiestaware in my kitchen cabinet: Tangerine, Scarlet, Turquoise and Peacock. It is Fiesta heaven.



My only fear is now the standard has been set so high that he can not possibly surprise and delight me in such a way ever again. Although, any year I don’t get a case of soda will still be a pretty good year to me.

Photobucket