Archive | May, 2010

Five for Friday

27 May

Whine: Constructing zebra cupcakes takes longer than one might think. I didn’t realize this until I was two hours in and only halfway done. At midnight. A 2 am bedtime makes for one sleepy mommy.

Cheese: Zebra cupcakes require black licorice. And since I’m the only one in the house who likes it, I don’t have to share the leftovers.

This new baby thing is finally catching up with me.

My house is hovering at a mess-level somewhere between ‘hovel’ and ‘Hurricane Rita.’ The other day I was in such a hurry that I ate peanut m&ms and a slice of bread for breakfast. Showering every single day seems like a waste of precious alone time.

And so my dear, sweet little blog has gotten shoved to the side along with that stack of overdue library books and unopened mail.

I miss my blog. It’s one of the few ways I’ve found to deal with the incredible weirdness that is my life. My brain feels cluttered by the stack of unwritten posts. Just because I don’t have time to write doesn’t mean they don’t have time to give me more “material.”

It’s late now and I’m nursing a serious overachiever hangover from making all those zebras, so for today’s post you will get five pictures of my most recent baking adventures.

Don't you love the little chocolate bees? I know I did.

Honeybee Pie: Big Sis and I made this together a few months ago. It’s a cookie tart crust with lemon chiffon filling with an apricot glaze. The beehive effect is achieved through. . .bubble wrap! And I was so obsessed with doing it just perfectly that I hand shaved the almonds to make the wings on those chocolate bees. (Recipe from The Pie and Pastry Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum, whom I adore.)

Fancy schmancy.

Apple Tarts: Apples filled with butter, cinnamon and sugar then covered in pastry and brushed with, you guessed it, butter cinnamon and sugar. Seems a little redundant, but I promise you, it’s not. I made these for our romantic Valentine’s Day dinner. (Recipe again courtesy of RLB’s Pie and Pastry Bible. I so want to be her when I grow up.)


Barnyard Cake: My lil’ sis and I made this for Lil’ Sis’ birthday. She liked it so much she kept singing “e-i-o moo moo dere.” My favorites are the little mini-cupcake chicks. (Recipe from Betty Crocker, design from Family Fun magazine.)

That's cake sushi on the top, which is my favorite kind.

Cherry Blossom Sushi Cake: This is a golden almond cake (also RLB’s recipe from The Cake Bible) with a rasberry buttercream between the layers and a vanilla buttercream on the top. And I hand piped all 40 of those cherry blossoms (and a few hundred more, actually), then ate the remaining icing. I designed it myself for my friend Ted’s sushi-inspired birthday soirée.

I stayed up until 2am for this? Totally worth it.

Zebra Cupcakes: I made these for Sophie’s last day of preschool. Her class this year was the Zebra class, so I thought it’d be fun. At midnight when I was only halfway done, Mr. Dad took pity on me and offered his zebra-making expertise. Now THAT is a good husband. (Cake made from a box, designed by me. Photo courtesy of my friend Tina.)

I hope this post didn’t make you as hungry for buttercream icing and black licorice as it did me because I’m not sharing.

Oh, Canada: Guest Post by Rachelle

19 May

Whine: How may Canadians does it take to clear an overpriced package of diapers through customs? Too many.

Cheese: Somehow Lizzie Rabbit (my two-year old) understood just how imperative it was that she use the potty chair this week.

So I’m just back from Canada, eh.

I followed my loving husband (aka Go Daddy, due to his uncanny resemblance to the Energizer Bunny) here on a business trip.  It all went surprisingly well. At first.  The girls and I spent a relaxing day at the park and the art museum, followed by naps just before Go Daddy arrived back at the hotel after a long day of meetings. (He’s partly responsible for that ominous sounding “One World Alliance.”)

Once Go Daddy finished with his business making alliances with the world, he was itching to get out and do something (hence his name). So we gathered our two little darlings (two years old and 3 months old) and headed to the aquarium.  We took a cab there no problem. Unfortunately, after a loooooong day of smudging up the glass trying to get to the fishies, we discovered, much to our dismay, it was not quite so easy to get one back to the hotel.

So we walked back. Four miles. During nap time. It was all I could do not to join in the yelling and screaming that was coming from the exhausted kiddos. We finally arrived back only to have Go Daddy decide that we should take a water taxi to the nearby island for dinner.  After a surprisingly pleasant dinner, we got home around 11pm. Pacific time, my friends.  I only tell you this to let you know how tired we were before things got really ugly.

The next day we went through customs to our standby flight, taking care to mark our bags properly, crossing our t’s and dotting our i’s. Well, two cancelled flights later we were still in Canada and the bags were on their way home — wait for it — with the diapers. We went back through customs to another hotel and began to seriously dig into our resources.  “Lizzie Rabbit you must only use the potty from here on out”  “Tiny Tura,  no pooping, okay?”  We all ended up in various states of nudity because that’s all we had left.  But, you know, it’s Canada, so it was alright, right?

Once we handwashed a few items and made it to the airport I had to walk aboot a kilometer to the domestic terminal to the only pharmacy in the whole airport, only to find out it was closed on Sundays. Then I found a 7-11 nearby sure they would have diapers becaise I saw them there when I was desperately searching for wipes earlier in the week.  By the way, homemade wipes are awful, or at least I am not very good at it.  Well, irony of ironies, this 7-11 had lots of wipes, but no diapers. Of course.

I finally prayed, literally, for a miracle.  I randomly stopped in a magazine stand to cheer myself up with something trashy to read (there’s no therapy quite like that of Star! Magazine), and low and behold- diapers!   “Yay!”  I actually yelled that, out loud, and the cashier said “Congratulations, that’s our last pack.”  We finally did make it on the plane, but we had a very hard time trying to explain to the customs officials why we had no luggage and only a bag of diapers to our name.

Rachelle is married to Go Daddy (who is Mr. Dad’s “little” brother) and a very full-time mother to two little darlings. She spends her “free time” rearranging the eye shadows in her Caboodle and would love to work as a frappuccino tester for Starbucks when she grows up.

Private Eyes, They’re Watchin’ You

12 May

Whine: You know you have a problem when you’re straining your cold Diet Coke through a sieve to see if it’s still drinkable after your two-year-old takes a sip with a mouthful of half-chewed peanut m&ms. It’s not, by the way.

Cheese: I have a new blog design. For Mother’s Day I gave myself the gift of letting Mr. Dad do the dishes while I monkeyed around with Photoshop to make my very own Whine and Cheese picture header. And it’s darn cute, if I do say so myself, although it kind of makes it look like I have twelve kids. Yikes, even I’m not that crazy.

That video was fun, wasn’t it? What’s not fun about an ironic 80s mullet and shoulder pads?

I recently made the mistake of taking inventory of my post-Brother-Bear physique. (Can you still call it a physique if it’s made of 97.25% JELL-O?). The highly scientific process of pinching my ample muffin-top and other related squishy parts revealed that it was high time to get off this couch that I’ve been sitting on so long I’m actually not sure where it begins and I end. Afraid to brave The Gym with The Children, I settled for getting verbally slapped around by a woman who has abs that look like they were built by the third little piggy and his bricks. Mine look more like the abs of the actual little piggy himself. Although in my defense, my abs have had to accommodate whole other human beings and whatnot, but Jillian sure does not care when she’s yelling at me to DO. MORE. CRUNCHES.

Anyway, what was I saying? I get easily distracted when I’ve had to dump most of my Diet Coke down the drain. Ah, yes, my helpers. So I was huffing and puffing (can you tell what book we’ve been reading around here lately?), doing pathetic girl pushups and Lil’ Sis was climbing on my back. You know, like you see in those movie montages about people getting all buff and having other people sit on their back to demonstrate their buffness. Except in my case I can’t even support my own weight, so adding hers really didn’t do much because I was basically just lying flat on the floor anyway. I thought maybe Jillian would give me an A for effort. But then again she would probably just kick me in the head, but I’m not sure.

Then Big Sis stripped down to her “workout attire” which was a pair of blue tights with strawberries on it and not a whole lot else. So we were all in the living room doing jumping jacks and crunches and hip circles with varying degrees of success and grace, and I was doing my best not to jump, crunch or circle on top of anyone. We all managed to survive the workout somehow, although my trek to the shower was slow and agonizing. Did you know that lunges hurt even worse after you stop doing them and try to walk?

I got in the shower. Have I told you about my new shower?? It’s like my own personal sanctuary. It’s the nicest room in my house, actually, designed and built for me by Mr. Dad, the Michaelangelo of tile design. It has pretty new fixtures that aren’t chipped and rusty, little custom insets for my shampoo and a bench. It’s glorious. Our water bill is really going to be awful now, because I’m going to set up a permanent residence in there. Sorry, I told you I was distracted today. . . I was sudsing up when I heard a tiny voice paging me from other side of the shower curtain. Since I was halfway through shaving my leg (which is so much easier in my new shower, have I told you about my new shower? with the bench? for leg shaving?), I had no other option but to let my tiny interloper hop into the shower with me. Which meant answering lots of questions about exactly what I was doing, and how exactly do you explain leg shaving to a two-year old who imitates everything you do? I could see exactly how the gory reenactment would go. So I tried my best to be surreptitious and get out of the shower before her internal danger-magnet fixed itself on my razor.

My exercise and leg-shaving exploits got me thinking about motherhood. Right now I spend much of my life as I imagine the people who train monkeys do: “Sit here, eat this, don’t pee on that, wave on cue, please don’t stick that in your mouth.” But what my chronic lack of personal space, property and privacy has shown me is that motherhood is about a whole lot more than telling people to eat their peas, which is a good thing because they rarely do.  For me, motherhood is about shaping people with values, and not just the ones you can get at Wendy’s for 99 cents.

But values don’t come around just because I try to do the right thing in front of my kids. I can eat my peas and drink my water to try and trick my kids into eating a decent meal, but eventually one of them is going to catch me squirting the whipped cream directly into my mouth and then the jig is up. I’m busted. (No, seriously. I got off the phone with someone the other day so she wouldn’t have to listen to the hissing of the aerosol can as I gulped down that creamy goodness. Did I mention my gelatinous physique? I wonder if there’s a correlation.)  I can also tell my kids that in our house we use a kind voice and we don’t dissolve into hysterics just because our sister decided she also likes the color red and if you don’t stop yelling you’re going to time out. But if I throw a conniption fit when they dump a cup full (or ten) of water onto my bathroom floor, I’m pretty sure I’ve negated the whole “we use a kind voice” baloney I was trying to feed them.

I’m not saying I have to be perfect. I mean, I’d really, really like to be perfect, but that’s not the point. The point is that I can say the right thing most of the time and I can do the right thing lots of times while my kids are looking, but in the end, what I really care about is going to show up and ooze out, and I just hope it’s not whipped cream. I’d love them to pick up on the fact that I think the book is always better than the movie and helping a friend matters more than almost anything else. I hope what they see when I think they aren’t looking is that I think their Dad hung the moon even if I once and a while slug him in the shoulder. And that even if I sometimes lose my cool over bathwater, I really believe that they are the Most Amazing Kids in the Universe.  So as long as that’s who I am and what’s inside of me, I think that’s what they’ll see because, believe me, those little eyes don’t miss much, especially if you’re trying to hide your m&ms.

Through the Looking Glass

6 May

Whine: I am living in the Poop Years. Every day I clean up poop. Off bottoms, out of clothes, off the floor of the public restroom stall. Some sweet day I will look around and realize that I have not cleaned up anybody’s business all day long, and that will be a very good day. But for now I arm myself with Resolve carpet cleaner and lots and lots of SoftSoap.

Cheese: Angsty teens doing melodramatic ballet to my favorite 80s uber-cheesy love ballad? Yes, please.

Yesterday it happened. I have always wondered when the day would come when one of my kids would figure out that they could turn the deadbolt and lock me out of my own house.

Well, yesterday was that day.

I unloaded Lil’ Sis from the car, unlocked the front door, tossed my keys down, and turned to retrieve Brother Bear from the car.  Then I turned to discover Lil’ Sis smiling at me from the other side of my front door glass. I tried the handle. Nothing. I banged on the door and shouted encouragingly for Lil’ Sis to turn the lock and she made a few feeble attempts. Nothing.

Then my little imp, who looked concerned about the situation for all of one nanosecond, turned tail and wandered off to explore the empty house Home Alone-style. I watched helplessly from the driveway as she toddled over to the table, still replete with unwashed breakfast dishes. My cries of horror went unheeded as she reached up to take a big drink of the milk that had been sitting out since breakfast.

I frantically called Mr. Dad who suggested I try the windows and see if any were unlocked. I was glad when there weren’t any, as we all know how it goes when I try the window approach to home entry. By that time Lil’ Sis had wandered back to smile and wave at me through the double-paned glass of the front door. Then she ran off to the far reaches of the house, probably to scald herself with hot water or pull bookshelves on top of herself.

No, of course I didn’t panic or freak out or think about calling 9-1-1.  Ok, maybe I did. But then I moved on to more productive behavior. I managed my internal near-hysteria by doing the following:

1) Thanking GOD that Brother Bear was not locked inside with his doting older sister, who would surely have suffocated him with kisses and hugs and pillows or bitten his toes off (she actually tried that the other day).

2) Running through all of the possible window-breaking scenarios to see which one would be least likely to cost me lots of pain and/or money.

3) Thinking what a HILARIOUS blog post this would make once I got Lil’ Sis out of there without drinking all my household cleaners or cutting her own hair.

4) Praying.

And miraculously, after I rang the doorbell about seven hundred times, Lil’ Sis walked back over and turned that lock.

I pushed open the door and scooped up that little sweetie, repeating over and over what a good job she did and how much I loved her as I squeezed her as hard as I could. Then I gave her guardian angel the rest of the day off. Heaven knows he needed it.

Home Alone 4: Revenge of Lil' Sis