Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I have nothing post-worthy tonight. But I need to update my blog. So here are two pics of Beta with her birthday presents.

This is her princess towel. It is hooded and the hood looks like a crown. She LOVES it!







This is Beta on her brand-new, very own scooter! Alpha got one when she turned 4 so I figured Beta needed one, too. Plus, Alpha still uses hers so it's not ready to be handed down yet.









And a bonus one! Here is Beta in her Barbie fairy dress that mom's friend, Greg, got her for Christmas. She's trying to make a scary face, I believe.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Elixir Fixer

Ok, you foodies. Here's a question for ya. Have you ever had a recipe that was just bad? That you followed to the letter and it was just......yucky? Well, I had one of those tonight.

Every Wednesday, the AR Democrat-Gazette publishes its Food Section. Most of the time I pay no attention to the main article. It's usually something I don't care for. Well, this week's was all about Hot Chocolate! Or hot cocoa, as the case may be.

One of the recipes they published was for something called "Hot Chocolate Elixir". Yummmm, I thought. The notes even said it was so substantial, you could serve it for dessert.

I won't retype the whole recipe. I'll just hit the highlights.

You start by making a ganache with bittersweet chocolate and heavy cream.
While that is making its way to a boil, you start another pot with 2 cups whole milk, 1/2 cup cream, and 2 tablespoons cocoa. (Yes, TABLE spoons)
After this second pot comes to a boil, you remove it from the heat and stir in the ganache and a little vanilla.

And voila! You have..........

THE MOST DISGUSTING STUFF KNOWN TO MAN!!!!!!!

Did anyone notice what is missing? I don't know if they left off an ingredient or if it's just not supposed to be in there, but there's NO SUGAR in the entire thing! Now class, does anyone know what happens when you combine cocoa, BITTERsweet chocolate, and plain cream without sugar? You get two girls going, "Mommy, this isn't yummy" and one mother forcefully spitting her sip back into her cup. (puh puh!)

So, is it supposed to taste this way? I followed the recipe to the letter. If it's supposed to be this way, then I'm with Jim when he asked, "Who on earth would drink this stuff?"

Salvaging the Sludge

As Mary Poppins sang, "Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down..." We added some sugar to each of our cups. That helped. Then, not wanting to waste 2 cups of heavy cream, whole milk, and chocolate, I added 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar to the pot and put it back on the stove. I let it get hot so the sugar could dissolve. That helped TREMENDOUSLY! It now tastes like hot fudge sauce or chocolate sauce you'd have on a sundae.

I think tomorrow I'll have it over some ice cream. I could even heat some up in some milk and have my "hot chocolate" that I was after. I could eat it cold with a spoon as a dessert. Whatever I decide, I know I will NEVER have it the way it was intended.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Today is Beta's Birthday! She turned 4 years old today. I honestly don't know where the time has gone. I remember having another newborn and wishing that she was already a year old and could walk and talk. Now, I wish I could have her back as a little baby again. WAAHHHHHHH!!!!

Ok. That's enough. Here's some birthday pictures from tonight:

She got her baby that swims by itself! She and Alpha tried it out in the bathtub tonight. Easiest bath I've ever given.







Her very own scooter! Now she won't have to borrow her sister's or make us take her tricycle on a walk around the block.










Her Build-a-Bear, Toodle, got some new clothes! She has a pretty Valentine's dress complete with red shoes and bloomers. Notice Jim in the background not taking too kindly to the "bloomers". Haha!









Here is her mini-cake. Since we had a big party at Grandmother's last Saturday, I didn't want to do a whole other cake. She loves seeing these little ones at Wal-Mart so I let her pick one out for today.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A (semi-snow) day in the life of a working mom.

Part 1
1:30 am Take scared child back to her own bed. Reassure child with lots of hugs, kisses, and stuffed animals.

1:35 am Return scared child to her bed a second time. Suggest hiding under covers.

1:40 am Return scared child to her bed a third time. Think happy thoughts!

2:15 ish Tell child she will probably not be scared if DADDY takes her back.

2:16 Make husband get up and take child back.

Part 2
5:45 Alarm goes off. Hope it has snowed.

6:00 Realize I have to get up whether it snowed or not.

6:05 Look out window. Barely 1/2 inch of snow. Darn.

7:35 Leave for school and work. No one crying! Awesome!

7:45 Head to freeway. Noticing all cars are stopped.

7:50 Enter freeway.

8:00 Reach next mile marker. (1 mile in 10 minutes)

8:20 Take second mile exit and get stuck behind other cars doing the same darn thing.

8:40 FINALLY get to work.

8:40-2:30 WORK

Part 3
3:00 Pick child up from school. All is well.

3:15 Pick other child up from day care. Fulfill request to go to "Happy Hour" at Sonic.

5:15 Previously scared child decides she wants to cook us dinner.

5:20 Said child picks out corn and rotel to combine.

5:30 Start laundry and try to find suitable meal replacement.

6:30 EAT!

Part 4
6:45 Older child says "My ear really HURTS!"

6:50 Call after hours clinic. Appt at 9:10 pm. WHAT? Yes. 9:10.

7:30 Give kids bath.

8:15 Hurry and dry hair so we can make dr. appt.

8:20 Phone call from mother detailing tragic news. :(

8:25 While listening to tragic news, have youngest child hanging on my leg, wanting to go to dr. with us. Older child is happy b/c she gets to take the Nintendo DS and play it. Husband is trying to fold clothes, pick up towels, and whisper threateningly "Hush! She's on the phone!"

8:30 Call waiting beeps.

8:30:02 Call waiting beeps again. Thank goodness for voice mail.

8:45 Arrive at dr. office. Plan to stay awhile.

8:47 Pleasant surprise! They call our name.

9:10 Leave dr. office with two prescriptions and a massive ear infection.

9:30 Tuck girls in bed.

9:40 Get self ready for bed.

10:00 Call mom back.

10:30 Help husband wake deep-sleeper child, without waking light-sleeper child, to deliver much-needed antibiotics.

11:00 Collapse!

Monday, January 14, 2008

You won't believe what the girls are doing here. They are washing dishes! YES! And liking it!

They each got a baking kit from Santa for Christmas. It comes with a cookie sheet, small mixing bowl, whisk, wooden spoon, measuring spoons, and an apron.

This particular day, they used some Easy Bake Oven mixes that Santa had brought them with their new baking kits. They LOVED it! However, as we all know, after the fun part comes CLEAN UP! For some unknown reason, Alpha wanted to wash her own stuff! Well, not to be outdone, Beta decides that SHE will wash her own stuff as well. (she can't be outdone by big sis...)

It was a win-win. They got to bake and wash dishes. I got to eat treats and not clean up! Well, not clean up as much. There was the whole flour on the counter thing....

Here are two more pictures of Christmas gifts in use:

This is a neat piece of cookware that mom got me. You're supposed to be able to bake, broil, freeze, & serve from it. I haven't tried cooking with it yet, but it looks beautiful on top of my stove! I love looking at it. It makes the kitchen feel more homey for some reason. Thank you, mom!





This was actually a birthday gift from Aunt Robin, not a Christmas gift. And I haven't quite used it for its intended purpose. You are supposed to bake cupcakes in it and then decorate them to form a snowman. Well, time being what it is, I haven't been able to pull out my cake decorating kit lately. However, it did help make some Sunday morning muffins more special! The girls loved figuring out who would eat his hands and feet! Thank you, Robin!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Kid-time!

When I was a stay-at-home mom, I used to long for ME-time. Time alone. With no interruptions. No one hanging on me, crying, or needing to be fed. I would CRAVE me-time. I never seemed to have enough of it.

Well, now that I work, I do have me-time. Of a sort, anyway. I work with adults, talk with adults, and have to ACT like an adult. I speak in full, coherent sentences. I am responsible for things. It's everything I dreamed it would be!

Except that now, I want some KID-time! I'm actually tired of adults and their serious conversations.

(Women are never satisfied, I swear.)

So tonight, I think we're headed to McDonald's for supper. One with a play-place. Then, we may go pick out kid birthday party supplies! Whee!!!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Odds and Ends

I made fried chicken the other night. Like, for real. ACTUALLY FRIED chicken. For the first time in my 10 1/2 years of domestic life.

I remember the first time I tried it. Jim, me, our apartment! How sweet! The years BC were filled with new experiences and plenty of time to savor them. So I thought I'd fry chicken. We'd been married about 2 months or so. I thought I had the hang of that "cooking" thing.

My chicken was crispy and golden brown. Mouthwatering! Glorious!

Until we bit into it.

It was stone cold and RAW on the inside.

Fast forward to Jim's birthday a few years ago. I'm trying to fry chicken for us and his family. I KNEW it would work. I'd been reading, this time. 1 hour and 1 bucket of KFC later, dinner was done.

So when I tried to fry chicken the other night, I truly didn't think it would turn out. I almost browned it in the skillet and then put it in the oven. (cheating!!!!) But I got a new pan with some Christmas money that was labeled a "jumbo fryer" and mentioned chicken ON THE BOX.

Anyway, it turned out GREAT! I mean, it was actually cooked! And the outside was crispy! Not as crispy as I like, but it LOOKED and TASTED like fried chicken!

HAAAAAALLELUJAH!!!!!!!!!

Anyone want to come over for supper?

Saturday, January 5, 2008

My bargain guardian angel

Those of you who know me best, will know that I LOVE getting good deals on things. I not only search them out, hunt them down, and spear them, I won't rest until I FIND them! Whenever I've found a good deal without looking for it, I've always said I had a "bargain guardian angel" watching out for me.

Well, I must have offended her. Or something.

Mistake #1 - iTunes
My wonderful brother-in-law, Collin, got me a gift card to iTunes for Christmas. Thank you, Collin! My wonderful husband, Jim, got me a NEW Macbook for Christmas. Thank you, Jim! Well, the folks at Apple found it in their infinite wisdom to turn on a feature in iTunes called "one-click ordering". Which means that as soon as you click on "buy album", the music downloads IMMEDIATELY! And with a new computer, it downloads, FAST!

So fast, that you don't have time to read the BACK of the giftcard. Which informs you that you are supposed to "redeem" the gift card BEFORE you purchase any music. So I now have a new album in my itunes, a charge on my bank account, and PLENTY of credit at itunes that shall remain unused, at least for now.

Mistake #2 - Dining out
As a small perk of my new job, one of our clients gave all of us (even those he didn't know or hadn't met) gift certificates to his restaurant! Last night, Jim and I got a babysitter and headed out for our first date in a LONG time. As we are waiting on our food, which was taking forever to get there, Jim looks over at the gift certificate. He says, "uh, honey, we can't use this." I'm like, why? He points out that the certificate says "Valid only at springdale location". AAAAHHHHH!!!!

So, I'm 0 for 2 in the gift card department. Well, that's not entirely true. I got a JCPenney gift card from Jim's parents for my birthday, and I used that on some new shoes. I also got a Sonic gift card at our office Christmas party and used it for Happy Hour drinks the other day. So I guess I'm running at a 50% success rate. Maybe now, I'll READ these things before attempting to use them.

Any one else have a bad gift card experience?

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!!!!!

Happy New Year, everybody! Yes, I realize the new year is nearly 24 hours old. But this is my first chance I've had to post today.

Our new year started at exactly 12:00 am with Alpha waking up crying. I thought she was having a bad dream. Nope. She said her ear was hurting. BAD! I gave her some tylenol and rubbed her back. She was back asleep in about 10 minutes.

So our first task of the day, besides breakfast, was finding a doctor's office OPEN on a holiday! RediClinic to the rescue! There is a RediClinic in one of our local Wal-Marts, and it was open! YAY! No emergency room visit or huge bill! (Although, our insurance considers RediClinic a "specialist" (???) so we had to pay a $40 copay instead of $20. Ugh.)

After you sign in, you can take a beeper, go do your shopping , and they'll beep you when it's your turn. How cool is that????

Anyway, long story short. Alpha has ear infections in both ears and is now on antibiotics. I hope they work.

As for our New Year's Eve festivities, I have uploaded a video of the McCafferty School of Irish Dance. These dancers performed at First Night, a new year's eve celebration. The girls LOVED watching them! Beta couldn't take her eyes off them. By the way, this video was filmed BY ALPHA!

Enjoy!



video