Friday, August 30, 2013

Over It

I feel bad about neglecting my blog, but I think I'm just going to enjoy the lull.  That's what it is - it's a lull.  Just like life has ups & downs, so does blogging, and after 6 and 1/2 years of blogging, it had to come sometime, right?

And honestly, I sort of hit what I'm calling "internet saturation".

Also known as "I'm over it".

You see, a few weeks ago I was on Pinterest and I saw a pin for a spray bottle cozy.


I just couldn't take it anymore.  I know there is Pinterest fatigue, and Pinterest pressure, yes, there are totally a ton of great Pinterest ideas out there, but I think the cozy just put me over the edge.

I mean, are we doing this?  Are we really making little aprons to pretty up our cleaning supplies?  I thought I was doing OK by finding an all-purpose cleaner that I looked forward to using (bonus for it being non-toxic!), but apparently that's not good enough, and the sleek, well-designed yet functional bottle now must be cloaked in a handstitched cover, too.

I.  just.  can't.

I like to craft.  Make no mistake about that.  But this is just beyond the realm of my understanding.  Maybe someone had a ton of extra time and fabric on her hands.  And it is unique, I'll give you that.  But in addition to the pressure to be well-groomed, fit, competent at all things, on time, a financial whiz, document your unique style with a quirky personal flair, be a cleaning machine, have a nutritious cooked-from-scratch meal on the table at 5pm sharp, and whip up themed parties for 12-50 people within 24 hours, now I have to ponder if my naked bottles are an offense to momkind?


I'm over it.  I'm going to soldier on in my bottle-cozy-less life, and hope for the best.  Wish me luck.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

BTS 2013

The long awaited day finally arrived!  

This girl hardly slept at all the night before.  
4th grade is a very exciting year, ya know. 

This guy was a little apprehensive, but suuuuuper excited for his first day.  

Outside his classroom.  

Getting off the bus at the end of a loooong day.  
There were hugs & smiles all around.  

Things to remember:
  1. A special breakfast of donuts, which Daddy brought home after his all-night shift.  
  2. While waiting to go inside the school, I watched a small boy climb out of a car, clutching his plastic Walmart bag of school supplies.  I caught a glimpse of a scrapbook page inside his bag, so I knew he must be a kindergartner, too.  He was all smiles, and waved to the driver, then turned and spotted the crowd of kids & parents waiting for the morning bell.  His face fell as he took in all the strange-to-him people, and I was so glad to see the principal spot him right away, and guide him on where to wait & what to do.  Poor little guy! 
  3. Walking into the house after work & soaking in the SILENCE that greeted me.  Even the dog was acting like it was weird.  
  4. J talking about the Jitter Bug Juice they had as their end-of-day snack.  Sprite, Crystal Light, and rainbow sherbert.  "Mama, you HAVE TO keep this recipe".    
Thanks to Grandma & Grandpa for the new outfits!  

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Birthday "Cake"

This year's birthday was a mixed bag of meh, ugh, and YES.

The meh: It was mostly "just another day".  I worked, M worked late, I didn't sleep well, and I made my own cake.

The ugh: The kids fought most of the day.  There was some yelling, a few tears, and a couple of time outs.

The YES: I didn't cook, I bought new jeans, I received a number of birthday texts and emails, we had pizza for dinner (and for a change, I ordered the kind I wanted), and the "cake" was awesome.

So let's talk about cake.

Technically, it wasn't a cake, but a dessert.   I made a recipe that I had Pinned over a year ago.  It's titled Brownie-bottom Coconut Chocolate Cream Cake.  I've been on a coconut kick lately, so this sounded amazing.... and it lived up to its delicious title. I won't include the recipe, because it is not mine to share.  I will say this is probably one of the most complex recipe I've ever attempted.  It wasn't difficult, but it was time consuming.  I made the brownies one day, the coconut & chocolate layers another (about 6 hours apart), and the whipped cream the day it was served.

Layer 1: Brownie.  Any recipe will do.  I used the Hershey's Ultimate Brownie Recipe.  Of all the fancy brownie recipes I've tried, it's my favorite.  Next time I would omit the chocolate chips.... it just seemed like a bit much.  

Layer 2: Coconut cream.  Y.U.M.  I went the extra mile and ground down the coconut in the food processor.  It makes it a little more fine and less stringy.  Worth the extra 3 minutes.  Sprinkled between the brownie & the coconut cream are bittersweet and semi-sweet chocolate chips.  A-mazing. 

Layer 3: Chocolate cream (it's a mousse).  Essentially this is a ganache with whipped cream folded into it.  I never knew that was how you made chocolate mousse.  This may be very dangerous knowledge.  

Layer 4: Whipped cream topped with toasted coconut.  The one thing I did not like about this recipe was using gelatin to "stabilize" the whipped cream.  I think it was too warm when it was time to add it to the partially whipped cream, and I ended up with bits of unflavored gelatin floating in the whipped cream.  Not horrible, but it randomly ruined the mouthfeel of the dessert.  

Pros: Amazing taste, not too chocolate-y or coconut-y, looks fancy. 
Cons: Takes a long time to make, gelatin bits in the whipped cream, and the brownie layer was pretty heavy.  

Verdict: I would absolutely make this again.  Next time I would leave out the chocolate chips in the brownie, halve the amount of brownie in the bottom layer, and possibly leave out the gelatin from the whipped cream.  

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Is This Thing On?

After not posting for over a month, I guess it's time to face up to the fact that I DO still have a blog.  Poor neglected blog.  Like so many other things this summer, I have not been giving you enough attention.  I'll try to remedy that in August.

July recap:  Although there is a lot to say, I'm not sure how much is worth sharing.

Mostly, I struggled in July.

I finally took my Boot off and started Physical Therapy.  After just a few weeks, all was well enough that the doc told me I could stop.  I - and my wallet - were happy.  But I was also frustrated at the slow, slow progress I was (am) making.

I realize I was much too optimistic about my recovery.  That there is no way I am ready to run, despite being 3 1/2 months out from surgery.  That I can't even do a jumping jack yet.  That I will most likely take the next 6 months to rebuild the muscle I lost during recovery.

It has been humbling.

But I am trying hard to get back to my normal physical activity.  I'm on the spin bike.  I'm walking the neighborhood.  And best of all, I find that I can strength train again - specifically that I can squat.  It seems silly to be so relieved about being able to bend down, but I am.  I really am.  I'm doing the Basic 4 workout found on Go Kaleo and I am eager to regain some muscle tone.  Overall, gentle activity is making the biggest difference and I am hopeful that if I am consistent in August, I may be able to break into a slow jog in September.

Despite these struggles, I've enjoyed this summer.  After the craziness of school, sports, dance, choir, church, and work, the slower pace has been a relief.  And I think I have savored everything a little more just knowing that J will start Kindergarten in a few short weeks.  I am excited (mostly about not writing any more checks to preschool) but it's bittersweet too.  He's my baby boy and although he is more than ready for K (despite having sudden, uncharacteristic anxiety about it), it is yet another signal of life moving on & continuing to speed up.  It also feels incredibly selfish to say, but the start of school also means a few hours of alone time, too.  I've had little shadows for the last 9 years and now that they will both be in school full time, I will (hopefully) have 2-3 hours to myself each weekday.  Honestly, it's hard to fathom right now.  I can watch what I want on TV?  I can read a book without interruption?  I can clean without tiny tornadoes descending behind me? I can get in a workout without having to stop to regulate a dispute, refill a cup of milk, or answer 4,612 questions?  Inconceivable!

Other events in July:  I sold my jogging stroller, we updated the downstairs bathroom, Mega Sports & Art Camp for M (she did soccer), she also lost another tooth (#9), I signed up for Instagram - mostly to keep up with a friend who no longer blogs (you know who you are), we went to the pool a few times, found out a good friend is expecting her first baby, passed through the first step in getting M's medical license, attended our first recruiting dinner (that was an eye-opener!), and ..... that's about it.

Yep, that is a BLUE bathroom.  It looks amazing with the (newly) white trim. 

Soccer Star!

The Tooth Fairy came.