my quote of the moment: "if you can attain repose and calm, believe that you have seized happiness." ~julie-jeanne-eleonore de lespinasse

September 28, 2012

bread is the best distraction

yesterday, i baked something. shocking i know. ok, really that's not the shocking part, because i bake all the time. it's like cheap and delicious therapy for me. but, the difference between yesterday's oven fun and most other times is that what i baked wasn't a sugar laden dessert. see, i told you it was shocking.

this week has been a crazy week of craziness. and i really needed something fun and delicious to take my mind off of things. something that was on the healthier, less sugary side of things. and i needed something to occupy not only my mind but also my hands. what's better for that than kneading bread? and so i searched my archives of recipes and found the perfect one. this one in fact, though slightly modified.

side note: if you haven't noticed, i love joy the baker, that lady is amazingly fantastic. i've linked to her a bunch of times here, but if you have any interest in cooking and baking, you should follow her yourself. she's down to earth real, plus her recipes are so yum. i know, weird plug, but i'm realizing this is like the tenth time i've linked her, so i figured it bears mentioning how much i respect her. plus, she has her own cookbook, just in case you want to get me a random present for being so awesome or something.

anyway, i followed the recipe as closely as i could. i don't have bread flour, so i just used all purpose. for those that don't know, bread flour has a higher protein content, so it is more glutenous and produces a chewier bread. the other small problem i had was that my yeast was very old. i was able to bloom it, but after adding the water/yeast mixture to the flour, the dough didn't raise as much as it should have. because of that, the end result was very dense. i also changed up the spices called for in the original recipe. i used extra garlic and dried thyme, skipped the pepper flakes, and sprinkled coarse salt and cracked pepper on the top before i baked it.

in the end, i was successful in baking a loaf of bread to go along with the soup i made for supper. it was dense, and because of the olive oil in the pot, the bottom got very crispy. the flavor was very nice. i think it'll go better next time if i have more lively yeast. also, i'm thinking that if i throw a handful or so of parmesan cheese in the dough, it'll be even better. but it was nice to find out that i can make a loaf of bread from start to finish in less than three hours, it's definitely something that i'll attempt again.

September 27, 2012

"worst mom ever"

like most parents, i sometimes doubt my abilities to comfort and care for my children. i wonder if i have the skills and patience necessary to handle all the major and minor events in my kids' lives that they will need help coping with.

what i'd like to talk about now is not one of those times.

since we moved into our new house, my boys have made friends in the neighborhood that they go and play with. in all of the places we've lived before, they didn't get much contact with other kids beyond school and scouts, so this is all new to them and to me. we never really had ground rules about how late they could stay out, how far down the block they could go, and into who's house they could enter. we also never had to worry about other kids randomly ringing our doorbell, asking if my boys could come out and play. or my boys randomly bringing other kids into our house.

and because we never had to have these discussions on rules and boundaries, i never really thought about my stance on such topics. and i definitely wasn't prepared to have these talks with my boys, especially with an audience of their friends right in front of me. it's all kind of thrown me for a loop.

the other thing about being totally unprepared is that sometimes i make rules, we set boundaries, we talk about what the protocol is for certain activities, and then i find that it doesn't work. so we need to change how we do things. honestly, i think that as kids grow, rules will constantly be changing because kids are constantly different. as they grow they want more freedom to explore. and sometimes the easiest punishment is to revoke some of that freedom they previously earned.

the thing is, my boys don't deal with change well. like at all. routines are their favorite. they like to know what to expect and what will happen next. so to change things on them is to stress them out. which, according to them, makes me a bad mom. and to punish them by not letting them play with their friends as much as they'd like also makes me extremely uncool. but the fact that, even on their best behaved days, they have less freedom then the rest of the kids in the whole neighborhood makes me the worst mom ever.

but i can handle their hate, because i know it's not universal. they're kids, testing their boundaries, seeing what they can get away with, hoping for all fun and no work. and as their mom, i know that they need to do their homework first before they go and play. and that it's not safe to run around after dark or to go into everyone and anyone's house, especially if i don't know where they're going to be. so even though they might not understand now that i really have their best interests in mind when i make these rules, one day, they'll see.

and until then, we still have to get through high school years. and at that point their sister will be a teenager. may the fates be kind for the next ten years.

September 26, 2012

righteous indignation and martyrdom

i love my husband for so many reasons, more than i will list here and now. but one of the main qualities that drew me to him in the very beginning is that i knew he was what i was lacking. like puzzle pieces fitting together, he complimented my personality, filling in parts that weren't there. and he still does, sometimes to excess.

i don't get mad. or if i do, i don't really show it. i learned that, in most cases, there is no point in getting mad. just because somebody does something that upsets me, showing that i am angered doesn't help to resolve the situation. at certain times, it would escalate things, with them knowing that they had upset me. there was nothing i could do to improve things, because i was not in control of the situation. if they knew that they could make me feel bad, it just gave them more control and power and sadistic delight. forcing me to endure horrible experiences was fun for some. yes, i was surrounded by real assholes in my past.

from those humble (horrible) beginnings, i learned that getting angry serves no purpose. if i can change the situation, i will try. if i can improve things or up and leave, i will. but railing against the cruelty of the world does nothing but tempt the fates to show me what they can really do. and yes, sometimes i might give up too easily, thinking i can't change things, i just accept them and move along. in those cases, a little anger might serve to motivate me.

in those cases, that is where my dear husband steps in. he gets angry, a lot. he shouts his fury to the heavens, he yells back at the storms. he is quick to anger, seeing unfairness in so many places. but then, too, his anger leads him to want to rage quit. in this way, in dealing with the stresses of life, we are opposites. opposites that compliment each other.

where he feels anger, i feel patience. where he is moved to furious activity, i attempt understanding. but then too, i make excuses, not allowing myself to believe that people are truly cruel, just that there must be extenuating circumstances that drive their actions. and then also, he is willing to fight for us and for our rights, he is willing to stand up and work for just treatment. i am willing, in most things, to make myself subservient to others, to be accommodating, to be unselfish to the point of sacrifice.

still, even though i am not moved to anger, i think his furies are excessive at times. sometimes people have good reasons for their actions, though he thinks of it more like excuses than explanations. and sometimes he gets angry on my behalf. things happen, and he feels like i should be upset by the whole situation, and i'm not. or not upset enough. and so he rails against those that have wronged me. or there are times where life is just not fair. with school and bills and work and all the normal demands of life, he gets upset. but there is nothing we can do to change certain things, life is just unfair sometimes, as much as it sucks to admit. we need to accept that fact and just keep swimming, and eventually we will get through.

and so, there are times where i wish my husband would be more even tempered. just like i know there are times where he wishes i would be more excitable. but together we balance each other, and i thank my lucky stars for that.

September 25, 2012

a place holder for better things

some days i don't feel like i have much to say. i don't have anything interesting going on, i don't have anything i'm making or baking or cooking. i'm running errands and doing all the normal mom stuff, which doesn't seem like it would be very interesting to share with the world.

there are days, too, where i do have things to say. things i want to say, or wish i could say, or think i need to say. and then i step back and realize it's not really something i want to share with everyone. it's times like this that i remember where i came from, in my blogging life. an important lesson i was forced to learn was that the internet is forever. and that sometimes some people who you didn't think would are actually reading your words and paying attention to the things you say. i was forced to learn that i should only post the things i was willing to tell everyone i know, because there is a chance they'll find out eventually. and it's a lesson i don't ever want to learn again.

and so, i'm kind of at a loss for words. my life doesn't seem that entertaining or interesting. and the things that are going on in my head are not things that are appropriate to share. and my day to day real life actions seems boring.

life has ups and downs. and because of that true fact, it follows that there are times that we are stuck in the middle of a hill. i'm not sure if i'm going up or down, if there will be great excitement or horrible tragedy. but right now is what i've got, is all i've got. changes will come swift and soon, with topics to discuss and points of interest to talk about. until then, there is this, a place holder to remind me not to forget.

September 23, 2012

forgive and forget

*a post from my archives. something that was written and never got published, but i just didn't have the heart to delete it. so here it is, in all it's crazy glory.*

i have been hurt in the past. really hurt really badly by people that i trusted. maybe i was just an easy target, maybe i had it coming, maybe i did something wrong. or maybe i'm just making excuses for them, and they really are just jerks. whatever the case, i know that i am damaged, and i am fighting to overcome that every day.

the problem i'm really having now is that i still have some of these people in my life. or rather, they have re-entered my life. and things are different now, we are different now. i am not the scared little girl i once was. they are not the vindictive people they were either. so now, we're trying to get along, trying to move past all the hurt and the pain and the damage.

there are two big problems with that though, two things standing in the way of moving on. or rather, of me moving on. the first is that, though they don't act like they once did and they don't dothe things they used to do and treat me how they used to treat me, i still get no sense from them that they are sorry for what they had done. i really don't believe that they think they did anything wrong in treating me how they did. just because it's not how they treat me now, doesn't mean that i'm ok with how they treated me then.

i almost feel like i want them to apologize for how they acted. and i know i could tell them i want them to apologize, but i just don't think that would do any good. they don't think they did wrong, so i doubt they'd apologize. also, part of me doesn't want to ask for an apology because i really don't want to have to explain why i want one. i don't want to have to bring up the past, i don't want to relive all those awful things. i would rather bury those memories deep down inside and pretend none of it ever happened and just move on. because it really seems like they've forgotten everything that went on, and i feel like i should too.

the other problem is that i can't forget. i can't just pretend it never happened. well, i can pretend, but there are times when i look at them and it all comes back. so i'm on edge in their presence. i am alert and ready to bolt. so being around them is a stressful experience. even though i'm trying my hardest not to let it affect me, it is.

i guess, when these two issues combine, them not feeling like they did anything wrong and me feeling nervous around them, it makes me wonder if i'm nervous for no reason. i remember what they did, but those memories are clouded by time and space and so many other experiences. maybe i'm not remembering things correctly. maybe i'm confusing some of their actions with somebody else. maybe it never really happened at all. it would explain why they don't act at all remorseful for their previous actions, because there really is nothing for them to feel bad about.

and so we're at the point where i continue to try and pretend it never happened, because maybe that's exactly what they're doing. or it really never happened, and i'm truly the crazy one. either way, i don't think i'll be saying anything. i'd much rather suppress than confront, it's just my way. i need to try to forgive and just move on, accept that i can't change my past and let it be. they are different, i am different, and it won't happen again. this time, i won't allow it.

September 22, 2012

wedding cookies, part B

i'm making cookies for my sister's wedding. i've already started testing recipes. the whole shindig has a fall theme going for it, so i started out with pumpkin cookies.

they were a hit. even with the chunky pieces of oatmeal in them, i was told that the texture was good. i had baked them, iced some of them, and then stored them in the fridge overnight, and i have to say that i liked the texture and flavor much better the next day. somehow, they tasted even more pumpkin-y, and it almost made the maple cream cheese frosting unnecessary. almost.

the same time i made the pumpkin cookies, i broke out a recipe that i've had for years, but never actually tried. they're called walnut acorn cookies, because the finished product looks like acorns and is filled with walnuts. in fact, the recipe is very close to the brown sugar shortbread cookies we always make at christmas time. it's mostly flour, brown sugar, and melted butter all mixed together. finely chopped walnuts are added to the dough, and then it's rolled into small egg shapes and baked. after they're cool, the tops are dipped in chocolate and then rolled in more finely chopped walnuts, and i also added a slivered almond, attached with melted chocolate, for a stem at the top.

they turned out adorable, everybody knew they were supposed to be acorns. and the taste was very good. they spread a lot more than i thought they would, but i can prevent that next time by chilling the trays before baking. that should help them to keep they're cute little shape and not spread into big cookies. i also need to figure out a better way to attach the almond stem, because i thought it was very cute with it, but it didn't stay on some of the cookies. also, i stored them in the fridge with the pumpkin cookies, because i didn't want the chocolate to melt, but i liked the flavor of them much better when they were at room temperature. i'm realizing, though, that cold cookies won't be a problem, because they'll be set out on trays and readied for the guests to show up, so there will be plenty of time to come to room temperature.

the other fun thing about making these cookies is that i had a bunch of melted chocolate left over after dipping all the cookies. which of course meant that i got to dip all sorts of other things. like pretzel sticks. and ice cream cones, which were then rolled in sprinkles. making cookies is hard work, but somebody has to do it.

September 21, 2012

a mother knows

so today i was going to talk about something personal and embarassing. but i can't really concentrate because, at the moment, i have a screaming two year old flailing on my couch.

on top of that, i am tired. like really crazy tired. because little miss stinky pants (aka my dear fish), has decided that if people in the house are awake when she wakes up in the middle of the night, then she needs to be awake too. or, like she did last night, if she wakes up and no one is awake, she needs to come and wake me up.

usually i can plunk her back in bed and she'll stay there and go back to sleep. and that's kind of sort of what happened last night. only we got to repeat the routine like ten times. and the way it usually goes is that i get her back in bed and then i go back to bed, and when i'm just about asleep, she wakes back up.

she wasn't always like this. just mostly like this. but she's had good stretches where she'll sleep through the night. but then she has a few bad days, or weeks, where sleeping at night isn't her thing. and the worst part is that i know there is something wrong. because it's like it was last summer, when things were getting worse and worse and worse, and we went through all sorts of tests to figure out what was going on. they preformed surgery to help her breathe, and then things were much better. for a while.

now it's gotten to the point where things are really bad again. and we're going through all the "fun" tests again. she had a sleep study done monday night. some of my family asked if they told me any of the results, and no, they didn't tell me anything. i have to wait to talk results until mid october. not that i was really concerned with knowing how little she was breathing, sleeping next to her i can hear how many times she stops and for how long. and even if i knew the numbers, i know it's not anything i can fix on my own anyway.

so i'm not sure what our plan of attack will be this time. i know i'd like to have her tested for allergies, to see if it's just a seasonal reaction in her body, and that maybe some prescription strength meds might help. though if she's anything like lumpy, it won't matter what allergy test they do, he never had a positive reaction to anything, but he still needs the allergy meds to help him get through the day.

like i said, i'm not sure what treatment the doctors will come up with. unfortunately, like both her brothers, there is something wrong. i know there is something wrong. it's not easily definable or diagnosable. and in the case of lumpy, it's not easily treatable. as much as i don't want to admit it, my kids have issues, medical, physical, emotional. and even if i can't always get their doctors to believe me, a mother knows when something is wrong. like now.

September 20, 2012

wedding cookies, part one (probably)

i've started testing recipes for the cookies i'm planning on making for my sister's wedding at the end of october. she's doing a fancy fall theme, so i wanted to try out a few fun, new recipes, more than just my standard chocolate chip or peanut butter. because while those are great cookies, this is a chance to do something fancy and extra special.

not that i'm going super fancy and fiddly. like those sugar cookies that are covered with royal icing. like these or these. the fantastic ladies that make those cookies have skills i could only dream of. i have a feeling they also might have a bit more free time and counter space then i have.

instead of going crazy and trying something that i believe is out of my skill set, i am going to try and stick to cookies that are pretty and taste good, instead of just looking fantastic and tasting so-so (have you tried royal icing? it's like fondant, gorgeous and gross). and in keeping with the fall theme, i've been researching pumpkin flavored cookies. and because i'm going to be making tons of cookies, i've not only been looking for yummy recipes, but also easy ones that will make a lot at a time.

oddly enough, the first pumpkin cookie i decided to try really isn't a pumpkin cookie, the recipe is technically for banana cookies. but reading over the recipe made me realize that the cookies would be soft like banana bread, which made me realize that banana bread and pumpkin bread are very similar recipes. and so, instead of using banana, i used a can of pumpkin. the cookies came out soft and chewy, and making them with my small cookie scoop i got five dozen out of one batch. they're also covered with a yummy and totally necessary maple cream cheese frosting. seriously, i tried them plain and then frosted, and they really need the frosting. the only thing i don't like is that the recipe uses oatmeal as a binder, and i only had old fashion oats. because the pieces are so big, it's almost the consistency of an oatmeal cookie, which is not what i was going for. i think if i make them again, i'll use quick cook oats, which are smaller pieces.

i've already tried out other recipes, and researched tons more. over the next few weeks, i'll be discussing them. if anybody out there has any ideas for improving or suggestions for fall flavored cookies i can try, please let me know.

September 19, 2012

breakfast for dinner

my kids love breakfast for dinner. in fact, most people i know love breakfast for dinner. it's quick, cheap, and easy. really, we'd do it once a week if my hubby didn't hate it so much. and the crazy thing about him hating breakfast for dinner is that, working nights, he gets up and eats dinner as his breakfast. try and wrap your head around his dislike of such an awesome concept given the facts, because it boggles my mind.

lucky for the kids and i, with hubby working nights and going to school in the afternoon, there are sometimes days where i pack him food to take because he doesn't have time to eat dinner at home with us. ok, it's not lucky, honestly it sucks not having him home, but i make it up to them with food that gets covered in syrup, and then they're ok with it.

my favorite go-to is a french toast casserole. basically, it's layers of bread lined in a greased pan, covered with a mix of eggs and milk and sugar, all of which can be assembled in advance. it's so much easy to bake in the oven, instead of dredging each individual piece of bread through the custard mix and then frying or grilling on a griddle. i have recipes that are labeled as "over night french toast," but it works to just do it a few hours before and let it sit. sometimes i mix in nuts or raisins, and sometimes, if i'm feeling crazy, i cover it with a crunchy crumble topping.

the kids also like baked oatmeal. it's like eating a bowl of oatmeal with a fork. or eating a warm and mushy granola bar. i think it's strange they like it so much, because lumpy and fish aren't really fans of a regular bowl of oatmeal, but baked up and cut into squares make it taste better i guess.

the great thing about those dishes, besides being easy and make-ahead, is that they are endlessly adaptable. i can throw all sorts of random bits in and my kids will eat it up. it's especially nice because not only can i use up what i have laying around, i can change it for the season. and it's fall now, so that means apples! still, my absolute favorite breakfast/apple creation has to be pancakes, because it's ridiculously easy.

i start with complete pancake mix, the kind that you only have to add water to. but instead of just water, i also add applesauce and cinnamon. and if i'm feeling really crazy, i'll add a little bit of molasses, ground ginger, and ground cloves, because then it tastes like a cross between apple pie and gingerbread. and if my kids have been especially good, or they're having an especially alexander type day, i'll mix some apple juice and cinnamon and powder sugar together, and let them use that instead of plain old maple syrup.

honestly, those pancakes are so quick and easy, i'll even consider making them for breakfast. though eating them for dinner is much more fun.

September 18, 2012

my life at the moment

so much is going on in my life right now, and all of it is boring. or rather, not boring to me, just boring to write about. and so, i've been at a loss of words for this space, which makes me feel bad and neglectful. and so here is a run down of my life at the moment, until i think of something more clever to share.

i've been carting kids to random doctors for things. last night i got to stay with fish for her sleep study. she had one done last summer, and then because she stopped breathing for minutes at a time, which is supposedly really bad or something (sarcasm!), they took her tonsils and adenoids when they put the tubes in her ears. the tubes weren't because she was sleeping poorly, it was because when she got an ear infection, it swelled and burst through her ear drum. so pussy, bloody drainage made me think something might be a little off. and then to go through hearing tests and fail them all and be considered clinically deaf, that was super fun too. but now, after getting tubes, she can hear, and better than her doctors thought. you know, because it's super awesome when you take your kid in for a follow-up visit and the doctor is so surprised that there was no permanent damage or deafness, not that they told you it was a possibility. anyway, now we get to wait a month before we go back to hear the results of this latest sleep study. because i'm not really sure what the plan of action will be, but sleeping beside her last night made me realize how many times she stops breathing again.

so, to tide us over until we can go back to the doctor for dear fish, tomorrow i get to take my clan to bumble's nine year check up. there, i get to hear all about how he's off the chart for his height and his weight from a brand new doctor, because the guy we had been seeing decided to leave the practice and go teach pediatric medicine at the hospital where lumpy and fish see their specialists. i keep hoping to run into him so i can say hi. and beg him to come back. and also, because it's fall, it can only mean one special thing. that's right, flu shots for all! here's hoping for no adverse reaction.

besides getting good use out of our health insurance, i've also been thinking fun fall recipes. because it's apple time again. and pumpkin time. and i love fall so much. it's my favorite food season of all. fresh in summer is nice, and cozy in winter is good, and the delicate flavors of spring are ok, but i live for cinnamon and cloves and sage, roast chickens and pies and caramel. thinking about everything just makes me smile.

what's even better this year is that i'm thinking fall cookies. my lovely sister is getting married, and she asked me to make cookies for the reception, because she knows i'm kind of into that sort of thing. i have about six weeks to figure it all out, but already i've got a list of recipes i want to try. thankfully, i know enough willing test tasters who will give me their honest opinions.

so yeah, that's what i've got going on. plus all three of my boys are back in school. and cub scouts started back up. and then there's always the normal cooking and cleaning and laundry to be done. so while it's all exciting (or necessary) to me, it's not much to talk about. i promise, though, i'll try harder to find topics to fill this space.

September 11, 2012

cupcakes and birthday guilt

so i might have mentioned last week that on saturday was my dear bumble's birthday. we had a busy weekend of fun planned, including an awesome party. so even though i wouldn't be able to personally make a cake for him, i thought he'd still have a good birthday. and then the fates conspired against us.

he wanted an angry bird's themed party, which i hadn't been able to find in any of the stores, so i ordered the supplies online. i used the same site that i've used for years, like since bumble turned four, and usually everything goes perfectly. this time, though, things went all wonky. we moved and i put in our new address, but they still had the old one on file, and their system got all confused and said it couldn't verify our address. so i had to call and get things straightened out, and they promised that i would get the supplies by friday, because that's when we were leaving. but i didn't get them. i didn't get the box until monday, when it was way too late.

so, we went up town anyway, figuring that we would be able to find something that would work for the party. the plan was that my father-in-law was going to take my boys out quad riding saturday, and then i would have all day to prepare for the party that was taking place that evening. then it stormed, and they couldn't go. now, part of the fun of riding is that they get all messy and muddy, but we had to draw the line at thunder and lightening. honestly, i think lumpy was more upset then bumble, but still, it wasn't the fun day they were supposed to have.

in the end, the party came together well enough. i tried to make up for the fact that we didn't have angry birds by decorating with every balloon and streamer we had. and he said he loved his cake, even though it came from the store.

when we came home, we had another small party with my family for bumble. he got chinese food and a lovely cake made by my sister. still, it was more like all of us hanging out together then a real party, in my mind at least. again, he said he had a good time, but then he's also not one to complain.

honestly, it's one of those crazy things that i build up in my mind. everybody said that everything went well. and the birthday boy himself was happy. so why did i think that i failed somehow? i kept thinking that, because things went wrong, i had to keep making things up to him. but no matter what i did, it didn't seem like it was good enough. still, that's a problem i have with so many things in regards to my kids. i always want to give them more and do better, and when i can't live up to the ridiculously high standards i set for myself, i feel like i'm not worthy or good enough. it's an issue i have that i'm working on, and maybe one day i'll be better.

not yet though. because i feel like i failed over the weekend, i decided to try and make it up to him by making cupcakes that he was able to share at his first cub scout meeting on monday. and because one of the boys in his den isn't a fan of chocolate, i made funfetti cupcakes with extra sprinkles. and for something extra fun and different, i made blue cotton candy flavored frosting (which isn't hard when all i had to do was make standard butter cream and add this). with extra sprinkles on top, of course.

September 6, 2012

it's cookies AND candy... and birthday thoughts

i have a lot going on in my life right now. my dear bumble turns nine on saturday, and life has gotten so busy that i won't be able to make his cake. which is a big deal for me. the worst part is that he is having two parties, and i am so busy in the next couple of days that i don't have time to make a cake for either of them.

i feel awful. this is a huge fail for me. though it's not like i haven't bought him a cake from the store before. honestly, as long as there is cake, i don't think he really care where it comes from. but i care. and i know. and i keep records.

and so, to try and make myself feel better for this coming fail, and a host of others that are currently happening, i have decided to sooth my family's troubles with something sweet. or, more accurately, i have decided to sooth my own conscience and assuage my guilt with chocolate.

looking through my recipe stacks, i've settled on trying something new. it involves melting chocolate and mixing it with a whole package of crushed oreos, and a can of sweetened condensed milk. after you let it cool a bit so they don't melt right away, you mix in chocolate chips. then you press the whole mess in a foil lined pan, cool in the fridge, and eat.

i've never made these bars before, but i imagine that they won't set completely hard, like a chocolate bar. the reason is because the ridiculously easy fudge recipe i have is just chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk melted together and cooled. so even those these bars use less melted chocolate and have crushed cookies in them, i feel they'll have a fudgey consistency. which also means that i can cut the pieces smaller to make them last longer. it also means they'll probably be very sweet. and that i'll need to keep them in the fridge. however they turn out, i know that these bars will be a hit with my family. we like all of the ingredients separately, so mixed together means it should be even better.

and whether i make these bars or not, i do understand that my dear bumble is not worried about his birthday. he's happy to know there will be cake and quad riding and games at one party and chinese buffet dinner at the other, so he's content with the fact that he'll get to do so many of his favorite things. it's more that i am trying to make myself feel better because i think i let him down then that he feels bad, because he doesn't think i've done anything wrong. i blame the mommy-guilt, but that's a topic for another time.

September 4, 2012


i did many interesting things this weekend, but the most surprisingly fun thing happened on saturday. the family and i went to this picnic party thing at the house of a fellow cubby parent, and everything went so much better than expected.

let me back up a bit and explain that i wasn't expecting the get together to be bad or anything. no, i knew from who the hostess was and some of who were going to be there, it would be a good time. i was more worried about me, and how i deal, and how absolutely bonkers i can be.

like really, most people have no idea. poor hubby does. but then he's at a loss as to how to help and what to do when i start going off about such things. so he asks what he can do, and i have no answer for him. because seriously, unless he can help me step out of my own head or magically make some xanax appear, there's not much to do but step back and let me be crazy for a bit.

and i do hate this about myself. like absolutely wish i wasn't like this. and it's hard to talk about sometimes. but then, i feel like, if this is who i am, then maybe it's best to put it out there, you know, as a warning. so that way all the normal people i meet and greet on a regular basis won't be caught off guard. and yes, i know there's therapy and doctors that help and stuff. i did that for many years, for other issues. but this social anxiety stuff, i know i can kick its butt.

because i wasn't always like this. i never liked to be the center of attention, but i knew how to handle social situations. there was always proper etiquette to fall back on, to help me know what to say and what to do. i just had to take the first step out and i was ok.

and then for a while, it was easy. i liked to be in the limelight. and i think it was because i didn't care what people thought of me. i had a close group of friends, and we loved each other, faults and all. so it didn't matter if random people thought i was a little off, because those who mattered most to me were there.

slowly, though, things and life happened. i lost touch with those i was closest to. the years slipped by and i moved and changed and adopted the role of a wife and mother. and then it wasn't so much me but we, my hubby and i.

still, for whatever reason, my brain never quite settled down. and i looked at the friends we had as his mostly and mine by association. and so i was on edge. because i was afraid i would do something or say something, and then everyone would look down on me. or i would embarrass him, which is something i never wanted to do. so i found it easier to withdraw from social situations then join in them. because if i said or did something stupid and foolish, it wasn't me that people would look at, it was him. and the very last thing i want to do in this world is make more trouble and stress for my dearest hubby. he has quite enough on his own without my help at getting more.

and so i made the brilliant realization that if i never entered into social situations, there would be no way that i could shame myself, and my family by association. so i stopped going out and doing things, which was easy enough to accomplish with the excuse that i had little ones at home to take care of. and i know there was fun i missed out on, i was regaled with stories of the adventures that happened. i didn't experience the good times, but i also didn't have to experience the stress and worry and paranoia that went along with those times either. so i was content to stay at home and "miss out."

the problem, though, is that after years of staying home and avoiding as much human contact as possible, i am out of practice. i don't know how to make small talk or deal with others or simply act in social situations any more. in avoiding the small stresses of society for years, things have gotten to the point of dizzying panic attacks when now i am forced out into the world. and i am forced out, because the boys are older and my husband is busy, so i have to pick up the slack and go and do things.

and it's my fault for avoiding this for so many years. had i just continued to subject myself to company continually, then i would have gotten used to people by now, like i used to be. instead, i chose the hermit life, which didn't last, and now i have to re-acclimate myself all over again. and though i don't like, i know i can do it, i just need people to be patient with me and my little quirks. and overlook the fact that i'll probably be over in the corner hyperventilating into a paper bag.

September 1, 2012

chocolate and peanut butter and pretzels, oh my

everybody has different ways of coping with stress. if you've read this blog for any length of time, you'd know that how i cope is with sugar. candy and cookies and cakes are all great stress relievers for me. and i don't just mean eating, though that helps. for me, it's more the process of making that helps me get back in a more stable frame of mind.

the problem, at the moment, is that my family and i are trying to eat healthier. and it's hard to be healthy with tempting treats hanging around. so to help make things easier on everybody, i haven't been making many sweets. but sometimes i feel like i just have to. because my mind gets whirling and worried, and i just don't know what to do with myself. and even though most of what worries me is stuff that most more stable people wouldn't be bothered by, i just can't help it. i'm told to just stop freaking out, but that's definitely easier said than done.

and so, i've decided to get more creative with the sweets and treats i make. some recipes are easier to adapt than others. like the one i made yesterday.

i started by making a pretzel crust, which is exactly like a graham cracker crust, only using pretzels instead of crackers. so i mixed crushed pretzels, melted butter, and a little sugar, then baked and cooled it completely. then came the filling. the first layer was a mix of chocolate pudding (i used the sugar free kind), peanut butter, a little milk, and cool whip (which was fat free). the next layer was a little more peanut butter and the rest of the cool whip tub. the layers were spread over the crust, and then the pan went into the fridge to set.

it tasted really nice, with the salty crunch of the crust complimenting the sweet smoothness of the filling. and i'm not sure if it was the peanut butter or that i used so little milk, but the pudding layer held together so well that i was able to cut nice, clean squares, something that usually doesn't happen when i make pudding desserts. my hubby especially loved it, and was super thrilled to find that it wasn't too bad for him, with the butter in the crust being the worst component. if i make it again, i'll probably omit the sugar, because everything was so sweet, i don't think i needed it.

so everyone in the family was happy. they all got something yummy to eat, and i got a bit of stress relief. after this weekend it over, i know we'll be closer to a set schedule, and things will be more normal around here. and i know i just need to hold on and make it through the next couple of days without a major freak-out. if nothing else, i'll go back to my old ways and make some caramel and burn my tongue by licking the spoon. i am contant if nothing else.