Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Me: "What would you like to be for Halloween this year?"
Me: "You can dress up as a princess, or a doct..."
Me: "Are you sure? You can be anything you want. You can be Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty or a doctor or a Power Ranger or..."
L: "A pink Power Ranger!!"
Me: "Ok, so do you want to be Cinderella or a pink Power Ranger?"
L: (pause) "Pink Cinderella Power Ranger!"
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
I apparently got the baking gene from my mother, who got it from her mother, who got it from her mother and father (he was a candy maker). Vicious cycle, I tell you. My mom inherited the beautiful marble slab my great-grandfather would use to cool the hard candies he would make. Hubby and I have tried to steal it on more than one occasion, but since it weighs about 400 pounds, we’ve never been able to make a quiet or speedy exit.
Some of my earliest memories are sitting in the kitchen with my mom watching her bake. Her in her pristine white apron, all of her pre-measured ingredients lined up just so, gently mixing everything in a bright and shiny bowl. Everyone happy and smiling, my mom humming softly as she stirs, the counter uncluttered…much like the professional chefs on Food Network. YEAH RIGHT! My mom was the one with flour smeared all over her face, hair, the front of her shirt, yelling ‘Shit!’ because she got egg shell in the bowl, constantly elbowing all the used measuring cups and spoons out of the way so she could find an 8x8in area on the counter that she could work on that wasn’t coated in flour and sugar and my sister and I arguing over who got to lick the bowl and who got to lick the spoon. Despite the chaos that would sometimes ensue with the baking, it is a tradition in my family and one that I’m eager to expose my kids to.
As I mentioned before, L is 3. Well, actually 3 and a half. She has her days where she’ll roll with the changes to her normal routine and other times, she acts as if the world is coming to an end and nothing will ever be right again and why why why would we be so cruel as to drag her to grandma’s when she was right in the middle of a very intense session of twirly girl*! So on this particular day, we were in a hurry and I had to do some quick thinking to help coax L into going to Grandma’s. A sure fire way to ensure that L will want to go and stay at grandma’s and not BEG to be with us, is if I promise that she’ll get to bake cookies while she’s there.
I personally have difficulty baking with L. Every task is met with her yelling, ‘Let ME do it!’ (Please tell me this bossy, whiney, fiercely independent phase will pass quickly and everything that needs to be done isn’t matched with ‘I wanna do it! Let me! No, I wanna do it by mySELF!) Fortunately, my mom has more patience than I do when it comes to baking with a pre-schooler (however I don’t remember her having as much patience for me and my sister as she does for her grandkids, but I digress). She will let L dump and stir all the ingredients. She has miniature rolling pins, cookie cutters, spatulas and sprinkles. We can’t forget the sprinkles. Sprinkles, you see go on everything. Sugar cookies frosted or unfrosted, chocolate chip cookies, play-doh, you name it. ‘We need all the flavors, grandma!’ she says as she carefully distributes the toppings on each individual cookie. Her hand held high above the counter wiggling her fingers as the sprinkles land like she’s gently garnishing a dish with chopped parsley.
*Twirly girl is the name I use when she stands in the kitchen and turns around in circles over and over and over again until she’s so dizzy she crashes and falls into the cupboards, onto the floor, or into her sister’s high chair. She LOVES to be twirly girl. Why do kids find so much enjoyment in getting dizzy?
Monday, August 11, 2008
Hubby dragged me kicking and screaming and crying to the Emergency Room. I was very proud at how well I handled the situation. On the way to the hospital, I only yelled, “Don’t do this to me!” while slamming my fist on the armrest twenty times. Far fewer times than a spoiled brat like me would typically scream when Hubby was being far too irrational and unreasonable. Ok, perhaps he wasn’t being THAT irrational but I thought so at the time.
I have a few posts I’ve been writing in my head. I’m determined to get them posted soon. I just have to get the pictures off of my camera so I can include them in the posts. In the meantime, I’m busy trying to catch up on all the blogs I’ve been missing while I was recouping. I can’t believe the world didn’t stop revolving while I was healing. The people I work with sure made it seem as if it had! Oh well, job security, right?
Anyway, I’ll do my best to formulate more posts quickly and keep you all entertained with my wit and sarcasm!! Stay tuned!
Monday, July 21, 2008
Now, it often occurs to me, that my children could be taken away in an instant. I know it happens all the time. But I'm still trying to learn how to live my life and live with the fear. The fear does fade into the background of my mind getting covered by the monotony of my everyday life, but it doesn’t ever seem to go away. I watch E sleep with her legs tucked beneath her, her round, little bottom up in the air, her cheeks rosy and pink — or L running and jumping and leaping and laughing, so full of spirit, so full of life. Those are the moments I’m so overcome by the intensity of the love tangled with the fear of loss. The possibility of a loss so incomprehensible it’s enough to drive any parent to the edge. Instead of giving into the fear, of obsessing over things I have absolutely no control over, I try to live in the moment, to count my blessings, to truly appreciate how unbelievably lucky I am to have such healthy children. Am I just being neurotic or is this just part of being a parent?
This is a rhetorical question by the way, I’m fully aware of how neurotic I am.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
She does have these moments of tenderness though. She snuggles so well. She’ll be cradled in my arms as she sleeps and suddenly she’ll burst out into a deep, heartfelt belly laugh and wake herself up. She’ll look up at me, lift her arm and stroke my cheek as her eyelids grow heavy and she drifts off again. I’ll lean down and kiss her pouty lips and remind myself that it’s worth it. It’s worth the battle scars (aka: stretch marks) that cover my abdomen, hips and thighs. It’s worth the sleepless nights, the dealing with temper tantrums in public places, the $100+ every 4-6 weeks I pay my hairdresser to cover the gray hair they’ve caused. It’s worth the pain – physical, emotional, mental - to have these beautiful gifts that are our children. I am so grateful for my girls, so grateful that someone felt we were worthy enough to be blessed with them.
So please remind me of this post the next time I’m on my hands and knees with peanut butter trying to remove play-doh from the carpet or the next time I’m pre-treating and scrubbing a white shirt that I was wearing while feeding E and she decided to sneeze with a spoonful of sweet potatoes in her mouth.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
It’s obvious I’m sure, that I have no clue what I’m doing around here. I realized that so many of the blogs out there have such wonderful and warm designs, what with the fluffy pillows and the warm crackling fireplaces and the comfy couches where I could sit and drink wine. Mine however, reminded me of the pictures of my parent’s first apartment, with the old turn table that skipped, the huge wooden cable spool used as a table and the naked walls.
Fortunately, hubby is incredibly computer savvy and has been very helpful in setting up my place. So throw the tomatoes at him if you don’t like it! I probably could have figured it out, but I grow increasingly agitated when I can’t figure things out as quickly as I’d like. If I feel it's taking too long, I just throw up my arms and walk away. It’s a very fine line with me. If it’s too elementary, I get bored and lose interest, if it’s too difficult, I get frustrated and lose interest. Hubby gets irritated with me when I get all whiney when it comes to figuring out computer stuff. He truly wants to explain things to me because he knows I’m perfectly capable of learning and understanding but then he starts talking about profiles and directories and gigabytes and RAM and my eyes start to glaze over and I start to drool all over his keyboard and he gets all irritated again, so it’s really no use. Trouble is, I work with computers all day everyday, and I’m sure it would be extremely beneficial for me to know more about them, but for now, I’m happy knowing just enough to get by. Ignorance is bliss!!
Friday, July 11, 2008
I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that I have no life outside of hubby, my 3-year-old daughter ‘L’ and my other daughter, 8-month-old ‘E’. I no longer have time for real hobbies, like mountain climbing, or scuba diving, or cross country skiing (nor do I have the muscle tone, stamina, desire, or love of the outdoors to perform said activities). So, for now, my life revolves around my girls. And I’m ok with that.
I do however, have a passion for baking. I don’t think ‘passion’ even does my feelings justice. Perusing cookbooks is my secret pleasure. My perfect Saturday afternoon would be spent sipping lemonade with a stack of dessert cookbooks. I would lazily read through every recipe, ooo’ing and ah’ing, dog-earing and bookmarking my favorites, imagining what party or occasion would warrant such a delicious dish. I don’t really like to ‘cook’. I like to ‘bake’. And yes, there is a very distinct difference, at least in my house. Hubby cooks, I bake. I am one of the incredibly lucky women who has a husband who not only enjoys to cook, who not only is fantastic at it, but also does 95% of the meal preparation in our house! That alone is reason to marry someone, no?
You may have noticed that my blog title mentions Bundt Cakes. So you would rightly assume that I would be including a recipe for a delicious Bundt Cake, and you couldn’t be more wrong. See, I’ve never made a bundt cake before, but ‘Babies and Bundt Cakes’ was just too cute not to use (thanks again, Danielle)! I promise I’ll find a wonderful bundt cake recipe and share it with you. BUT…so you don’t feel as if you left empty-handed, I do have a fantastic recipe for a pound cake that I baked in a bundt pan! So it’s close enough, right?
I’ll provide for you the original recipe in all its buttery goodness, but I altered it a bit just for grins. I wanted more of a vanilla-y flavor to it so I threw in an entire vanilla bean with the sugar and blended it in the food processor (yes, that is an entire vanilla bean in addition to the 3 tablespoons of vanilla extract the recipe calls for). I sifted the sugar and poured it in my mixing bowl. I love the little flecks of vanilla bean in each piece. A tell-tale sign of real vanilla, if you ask me. However, it didn’t give it the intense vanilla flavor I was going for. I know, sounds crazy, but it’s true. It was still delicious though!
Oh, and hubby had a great idea. He suggested I use the Tahitian Vanilla extract that was brought back for us from Tahiti (from friends I’m still miffed at because they wouldn’t agree to purchase tickets for us to attend the wedding of their family member in Tahiti – whom we’ve never met - totally unreasonable people, and I’m still contemplating staying in contact with them), since they do produce some of the most phenomenal vanilla. Brilliant idea hubby! But perhaps that idea should have been provided PRIOR to the measuring, mixing and baking processes. Ah well. So, if you happen to try this recipe and happen to have any Tahitian vanilla on hand, be sure to use it and tell me all about it!
Butter Pound Cake
8 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
3 sticks butter, softened
3 Cups sugar
3 Cups Cake Flour
3 Tbsp Vanilla
Cream together cream cheese, butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, incorporating completely. Add flour and vanilla.
Pour into a greased and floured bundt pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1.25 hours.