Friday, July 27, 2012

Homemade Friday: Pumpkin muffins, because why the hell not?

I am a stress baker.  It makes sense, right?  As I am also a stress-baked-goods eater. 

If I’m feeling overwhelmed or anxious about something I usually bring out the flour and sugar. 

The kids were being their usual cranky selves, which hasn’t been helped by the fact that since Sebastian has started coming downstairs by himself in the morning, it has always been at 6 a.m., no matter what time he went to bed the night before.

So we were all tired and for some reason I decided to make muffins.  I'm blaming hormones and sleep-deprivation-temporary-insanity.

I don't allow the kids to help bake anymore because when they stand at the counter to ‘help’ they usually end up fighting and screaming at each other.  So instead they just stand at my feet, hang onto my pants and fight and scream with each other.

It’s better?  Maybe?

So anyway, around snack time this morning, even though everyone was already hungry and whiny, I decided to look for a muffin recipe that didn’t include milk, as I was completely out.  I happened on this recipe, scanned through it, and figured it would work.  It looked quick, which was all I needed at this point.

But I didn’t have all the ingredients.  Of course.  I did have pumpkin, though.  Don't ask me why.

(Who keeps Greek yogurt on hand?  People who are fancier than me, I guess.  They probably also always have mimosas for breakfast and only buy imported cheeses.)

Giant, unnecessary tub of sour cream.
But it's totally 'pure & natural.'
So I decided to substitute the low fat Greek yogurt for my full-fat, giant tub of sour cream I bought a couple of weeks ago for Sebastian’s birthday cake.  Apparently I only needed about two cups.  Not a thousand.  (I promise I’ll show you his birthday party.  One day.)

It totally worked.  The muffins were airy, and this is going to sound totally corny and almost ‘explosion of flavor’ annoying, but they sort of melted in your mouth.  That doesn’t happen with muffins usually.  The kids were finally satisfied and stopped complaining and fighting long enough to eat, and Adele only threw a few pieces on the floor.

I’m calling it a win.

I took this recipe from Cooking With My Kid, but just added a couple of changes.  I have no idea if this is legal.  Don’t sue me.  I’m poor.

They only take about 5 minutes to put together, but longer if you have children who stick their fingers in the batter as you’re trying to put it in the little muffin cups.

Pumpkin Muffins Without Milk But With Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt, If You’re Fancy

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 can 100% pure pumpkin
2 large eggs lightly beaten
1/2 cup canola oil or vegetable oil
1/3 cup lowfat Greek yogurt (or sour cream!)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray mini muffin tins with cooking spray. Mix flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and salt in large bowl. In a separate bowl whisk together pumpkin, eggs, oil, and yogurt. Combine wet and dry ingredients until just blended. Spoon batter into muffin tins. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Transfer muffins to rack to cool.  I got 24 mini muffins and 6 regular ones.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Motherhood & More: Life gets in the way of summer plans

I had lots of plans for the summer.

I was going to take the kids to every amusement-type place we could find that was close and not outrageously expensive. We were going to play at the park multiple times a week. We were going to be creative every day, with lots of coloring and gluing and cutting. The TV was going to be a once-in-a-while concept, not an everyday, multiple-times-a-day thing.

After being in this parenting gig for four years, and a stay-at-home mom for almost two, you’d think I wouldn’t still be as delusional as I am.

And yet there it is, all written down for you.

Summer vacation is winding down and my oldest will be starting back at preschool in a couple weeks. We’ll no longer have the days stretched out in front of us needing filling.

I’m looking forward to it, as you can imagine. I don’t seem to have the hang of this parenting two children thing. I’m not sure if it will come later, when my youngest isn’t so needy and challenging, or if it’s just not in my personality.

And I hate to point blame, but the almost-2-year-old slowly is draining every ounce of energy I may have at one time possessed. I’m wondering if, as her brother was in day care at this age, maybe I just didn’t realize how exhausting these toddlers can be on a daily basis. There’s so much desire and force and emotion with them. She goes from extremely happy to extremely mad at you for taking her down off the middle of the kitchen table, where she was standing up and yelling at the top of her lungs. She runs full speed most of the time and doesn’t like it when she’s not allowed to do something.

So we don’t take her out in public much.

However, one thing that all of us can enjoy is the pool. The kids absolutely love the water and the youngest is big enough that though we have to be ready to catch her in case she goes under, which she does because she’s so exuberant in her water play, we don’t have to hold on to her the whole time. Not that she’d let us, anyway. So we were able to go once or twice a week, and my oldest learned to snorkel, which he’s really excited about. And my youngest got used to having water on her face so it’s a little bit easier to rinse her off in the bathtub now.

So now, I wasn’t able to do most of what was on my list, probably because of poor planning on my part. But also because I just couldn’t stomach taking both of my kids out in public for an extended amount of time by myself. I mean, we tried the park but the youngest sprinted for the exit after about 10 minutes. Continually. So I spent my time there alternating between chasing her down and encouraging the oldest to attempt the climbing wall. Chasing and encouraging. Rinse and repeat.

I have high hopes for next summer. The youngest will be older and possibly, hopefully able to listen a little better and not be such a danger to herself. The oldest will be even more excited to go places and experience things.

I’m already starting on my list.

*This column originally published in The News-Enterprise on July 25, 2012. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Random Monday: In which I discuss clingy children and drunken debauchery. Except not together cause that'd be bad.

1. I haven’t really felt like myself lately.  Lots of dramatic conversations in my head with myself and not nearly enough funny.

2. Wait.  If it was in my head then naturally it was with myself.  Yet I still felt the need to clarify.  And also to clarify my clarification.

3. Maybe I should start over.

4. I’ve felt weird. 

5. The end.

6. Okay, not really.

7. Last week kicked my ass, what with all the sickness and whining. 

8. And that was just from me.  The kids were on a whole new level of sick suffering.

9. But thankfully everyone seems to be feeling better. 

10. I was actually able to get Sebastian outside to play.

11. The summer has been weird because he’s usually such an outside boy, but it’s been a struggle to get him to do anything but lay around and complain about not being allowed to watch tv.

12. Honestly I was a little worried.  He had spent so much time in the past playing outside, and was perfectly content to dig in the dirt by himself.

13. But all the sudden he’s attached to my hip and won’t let me out of his sight unless there’s a tv show on, and still he wants me to sit and watch it with him.

14. I was about to lose my mind.

15. But today seemed to be better so I’m hoping maybe we’ve turned a corner.


17. So I’ve got some friends coming to visit next weekend.

18. I am beyond thrilled as my children will not be here.

19. I’m planning a night of drunken debauchery. 

20. Or maybe just drunken talking about all the stuff Chris doesn’t want me talking about with other people.

21. (Sex.  I’m talking about sex.  Just don’t tell him I’m talking about it.)

22. And lots of chips and cookies and maybe a movie or two that Chris won’t watch with me.

23. It’s gonna be awesome.

24. I’m almost guaranteed to embarrass myself at least twice.

25. So basically it’s like every other day of my life, except with more alcohol and girl movies.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Will now by stock in antibiotics

Still a bat.  Still sick.  Still not being still.

Someone should tell my children that when they are sick they need to sit still and calm and possibly cuddle with their mother, who is also sick.

Strep throat is back, ya’ll.  And it still suuuuuucccckkks.

I mean, I’m just assuming that I have strep throat as well since both my children think it’s okay to blow air raspberries right in my face, thus sharing all of their germs and possibly whatever food they have in their mouths at the time.

(I’m not sorry for that disgusting image.  I’m too tired to come up with something else.)

Adele had a fever Saturday night after we had some friends over, including all of their kids, so we also unknowingly spread the germs to all of them.

You’re welcome.  Come back anytime!

I waited all Sunday for her fever to just go away so I could put my head back in the sand and pretend like none of it was happening, but that didn’t work, so to the doctor we went on Monday.  I hadn’t made an appointment for Sebastian because I was also thinking that if I ignored it, he wouldn’t actually be sick.  Even though he had a small fever and was super whiny and whatnot. 

But then Adele was positive and the doctor asked if we wanted to test him, too.  So I figured I didn’t want to look like a bad parent in front of her so I said yes.

And he’s sick, too.

I’ve got a fever and feel like someone is stomping on my head and shoulders continually and also trying to pull my eyelids closed, but the thought of taking both children to the doctor with me is enough to keep me self-medicating with ibuprofen and wine.  Except I don’t drink wine during the week, which is even more of a bummer.  So it’s ibuprofen and hot tea.  Boring, no?

I had plans to go to the gym today but can’t decide if I would make myself feel better or worse.  I like running and I usually feel great afterward.  But I also like sleeping and not passing out on a treadmill at the gym.  Who’s got advice on this?

(I’ve been going to the gym so much recently, like 3-4 times a week, that I actually miss it.  Crazy, right?)

I don’t really have a clever way to end this so I’m going to complain about my children again.  Seriously, why won’t they be still?  They insist on playing and want me to do it with them, but they are both grumpy because they don’t feel well, so it’s been nonstop fun at my house the past couple of days.

So while Adele is napping and Sebastian is occupied with TV I think I’m going to lie down.  Although every time he sees me lying down he feels the need to jump on my head.  

Friday, July 13, 2012

Homemade Friday: Sweet Sebastian, 4 years

Oh you guys.  He’s 4.  My first baby is 4 and I can hardly believe it.  

I know, I know.  I am a mass of clich├ęs but I can’t help it.

This past year has been a hard one on me.  It seems the more mentally independent Adele becomes, the harder and harder it is for me to take care of two children.  I no longer have as much time to devote to Sebastian as I’d like, but I also don’t have the time to devote to Adele.  It’s a battle I face daily, and even more so as Sebastian grows up.  Because he’s more aware now.  

He’s so, so grown up.  I look at him as a person now, his own self, and not just an extension of me.  He’s got a life of his own, interests of his own.

He loves to build things, working with a hammer and being so proud of himself for completing the task.  He loves construction sites and when we pass the one that is forever there, right down the road, we have to name all of the trucks and tractors that we see.

Look Mom!  It’s Excavator!  Look at Dump Truck!  CRANE TRUCK IS SO COOL!

Yesterday he asked me if one day he could have a hard hat and go to a construction site. 

Of course, baby.  One day.

Everything now is ‘one day.’

Can you buy me a Spiderman costume one day?  With boots and a mask?

One day can we go to Dinosaur World?

Will it be my birthday again one day?

 He got a ton of lego sets for his birthday, the small ones, and Chris and I spend a lot of time putting them all together.  We insisted he keep them in his room because I knew that as soon as Adele saw him playing with them she’d grab them out of his hands and throw them on the floor.  So he’s spent a lot of time in his room lately.  I noticed last night that most of the sets we painstakingly put together have been taken apart, which isn’t surprising at all.  

He seems to have a need to know how things work, to take them apart just to see.  Part of me is worried we’ll never find all the pieces to put the sets back together, which would kill me because I’m particular about that sort of thing, and I know Sebastian is, too, despite his penchant for tearing everything up.

 He’s still a stickler for routines, and still loves TV, even though if he watches too much of it he becomes glassy-eyed and combative. 

He loves superheroes and saving everyone from bad guys.  He still loves water and has learned to snorkel, which has opened up a whole other world to him.  

 He’s a fantastic big brother.  He tolerates a lot from Adele, mostly lots of smacks to the face and back.  It happens multiple times a day, but he’s only retaliated twice.  His patience is inspiring.  He will share most of the time, but sometimes, usually when he’s tired, he doesn’t.  

 Whenever Adele is fussing and crying, he will try to make her feel better by singing ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.’  It works, and I’m grateful.  He will pick her up and hug her to make her feel better if she’s hurt herself.  He’s starting to see her as more of a playmate and less of a nuisance, though of course there’s that.

 He’s learning to write his name, and can’t wait to show his preschool teachers his ‘homework’ that he’s done over the summer.

 He loves dinosaurs and his ‘dinosaur bones’ which are the large landscape rocks we’ve placed around our garden beds in the back yard.  He’s been known to take some inside, upstairs, and into his closet to add to his collection.  He’ll take the same rocks and lay them out in a pattern to make a dinosaur skeleton.  And I’ll be damned if it doesn’t look exactly like one.

 He’s so much a boy.  He loves to be outside and still refuses shoes, even though his feet look like jungle feet, full of scratches and bruises and broken toenails.  He barely feels pain, it seems like, and almost any kind of pretend play now involves fighting. 

Play dinosaurs?  There’s a good and bad one and I’m always the bad one and he has to take me down.

Kung Fu Panda?  Same thing.

Spies?  Yep.

It’s not in my personality to play like this, but I’m trying, even if I have to remind him continually that it’s probably not the best idea to kick his mother in the shins as hard as he can, even though she’s a bad dinosaur.

 He talks about poop all day long, and threatens to poop on everyone, then will giggle uncontrollable.  Passing gas also warrants a guffaw and a “Did you hear that?”

 He’s so tough that it still surprises me.  He won’t tell me when he hurts himself, unless I see him do it.  And will more often than not refuse my comfort, unless he’s really hurt himself, in which case he will allow me to let him lean into me for two seconds.  

Yesterday I spotted a huge, bruised knot on his forehead.  I still haven’t figured out where it came from.

 He’s so sweet, so very sweet, and his hugs and kisses are so forceful that they almost hurt.  He loves his family and he loves to do ‘man work.’ 

 He listens so well, and really wants to make you happy.  If he’s getting in trouble, which seems to happen more as he wants more independence than I’m willing to give him just yet, he will make a funny face and a funny noise to throw you off so you’ll laugh at him instead of fuss at him. 

He’s so handsome and he looks so old, so mature.  So much not like a little boy.

He still wants me to carry him up to bed every night.  He still waits for me to say ‘Sleep well my sweet boy,’ when I turn out his light just so he can say “Sleep good, Mommy.’

This morning was the first time he came downstairs by himself, without waiting for Chris or me to get him.  It was as if he said “I’m 4.  I’m big enough now.”

Yes you are, baby.  Yes you are.

(Last year's birthday post is here.)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Dirty boys do it better

So I've found a new dirty boy crush and I had to share.  I mean, he's no Opie with his angsty angst that makes me want to soothe him.

But holy hell, this man makes me tingle.

You're welcome, ladies.

Also, a special shout out (Woop! Woop!) to my friend, Lauren, who shared this lovely, lovely website where I found this photo.

Shirtless Daily, ladies.

I may never look away from my computer.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

31 is the new 25. At least in my mind.

This picture has nothing to do with anything, other than
I felt like I needed something to break up all of the words.
It's from mine and Chris' first anniversary backpacking
trip.  Five years ago.
So today is my birthday.

To celebrate I had an almost-stale lemon cupcake left over from Sebastian's party.

And while I normally don't feel as old as super old dirt, today I do. 

That doesn't really have anything to do with the fact that I turned 31, and so am well 'in my 30s' now. It's because I woke up at 2:30 last night and couldn't go back to sleep because as I've said before, my brain is an asshole. 

But whatever.

Today I am trying hard to keep my eyes open and at least pretend to have a small amount of energy to keep up with the wild heathens I call my children.

It's not working so well.

So if you'll excuse me, I think I'm going to go lie down while the youngest is napping and the oldest is occupied by television.

As a consolation for me not writing anything even remotely funny or even possibly coherent, here's the post I wrote last year for my birthday. 

I had a Cougar Party.  It was magnificent.  I'd love to have another party like that but we don't have a specific reason other than Chris graduating school in a month, but he says it's too much work to throw a party so he doesn't want to do it.

For being six months older than me, he's really old, you know?

(If you read this, Chris, I didn't mean it!)

(I totally did.)

Monday, July 9, 2012

You guys, it's getting harder and harder to come up with these fake names

So.  Apparently I took a blogging vacation.  Although I think 'vacation' is an entirely inappropriate word for what I went through last week, nevertheless I wasn't in this space.  Instead I was attempting to plan a birthday party for Sebastian.  It was exausting and probably the best party I've ever done, which may not be saying much.

But still.

He had a blast and the entire day repeatedly shouted "This is the best birthday ever!"

Totally worth the lack of sleep and extra alcohol I drank to dull the wrist pain from cutting out a million tiny clouds and trees by hand for homemade garland because I am a giant jack ass.

Anyway, more on that another day.

Today I am taking a short, 10 minute break from some freelance work I was asked to do for the newspaper (woop woop!).  My kids are only gone for a few hours and I'm not entirely sure how much I'm going to be able to get done, but at least I've got something started.

So to reward you for your patience with me as I don't write silly words here on this blog, I've got a couple of journal entries for you.  Somehow I skipped last month all together. 

The rest of them can be found here.


July 3, 1991 (almost 10 years old)

In the day time all I did was sit around awhile after my mom got home we went to my grandparents house and then to Piggly Wiggly store.  After supper me and my sister danced around.  What a wierdo my sister is!

(What up, Piggly Wiggly?!)


March 24, 1992 (almost 11 years old)

I got in trouble in gym today.  I said "Well that's real nice." because Mr. Ford said that if one person cut corners we all have to run more laps.  Tallulah got hit with a soccer ball in gym.  I hope she is okay.


 Friday, March 27, 1992

I am so glad its Friday.  I am sick of school.  It seemed like today would never come. 

I want to have a boyfriend but I don't think anyone likes me.  Calypso might.  I kind of like him.  He's really cute.  I wish he would ask me to go with him.

Sally got Kadenza mad at her.  Kadenza is really, really, really, really mad.  I don't blame her Sally can be a brat sometimes.

Macaria and Tallulah are my best friends.  It's okay to have 2 best friends I think.  I hope so.

Today in School we watched a movie.  It was called "Yearling".  It was kind of boring but it was okay.

The Spring Fling is tomorrow.  Mom is setting up a booth there selling crafts.  Jeane is going to be there.

I get out of school on May 21st.

Well, that was my Friday.