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

October 17, 2012

one banana, two banana, three banana, bunch!

my dear hubby is weird. he doesn't really like cream cheese, but he likes cheese cake. and he likes mustard and honey, but he hates honey mustard. also, he's not a fan of coffee, but likes chocolate cake better when i add some in. and he hates mayo, but loves macaroni salad that is made with mayonnaise. like i said, he is weird.

something else he doesn't really like is vanilla pudding. but he's told me he likes banana pudding. the kind with bananas and nilla waffers and vanilla pudding all mixed together. i don't really get it, but a few days ago we had some very ripe bananas, so i figured i'd surprise him with some banana pudding.

honestly, i had no idea what i was doing, because i'd never really had banana pudding before. i tried it once, when we went out to a buffet, but it just tasted like vanilla pudding with banana slices mixed in. i had asked him about it while i was eating it, and he said it wasn't banana-y enough.

so when i made him his surprise banana cream pie, using a premade pie shell (which was much cheaper than a box of nilla waffers, weird right?), i decided to make it extra banana flavored, which i thought he'd like. so not only did i layer sliced bananas on the bottom crust, i also smushed extra bananas and mixed them into the vanilla pudding that i spread into the crust next. and then of course i spread whipped cream on top.

well, when he tried it, he was confused by my execution, because he said there was too much banana in it. turns out out he didn't remember talking about the bad banana pudding at the restaurant, and that the vanilla pudding, to be authentic, should have remained plain. also, it didn't really set up like i thought it would, and i had to use a spoon to get it out. and, the next day, the pudding started to separate, which i think might have had something to do with all the banana in it.

so though it tasted ok the first day, it got really strange looking the next day. if i ever try to make it again, i think i'll try using an actual recipe. who ever would have thought that making banana pudding too banana-y would be a bad thing.

wedding cookies, part 3

so my dear sister's wedding is fast approaching. and i am tasked with making many cookies for the reception. unfortunately, she hasn't been very specific with the kinds or amounts, and i am a person that needs a lot of specific direction. and so, with the lack of specifics, i have been trying many different recipes. because though i am creative, with a task like this i get overwhelmed by all the possible options.

the latest test run for possible cookie candidates was something my sister had told me about awhile ago. there had been a bake sale at her job, and one of the ladies made brownies in cupcake papers. and inside of those brownies, she stuck oreo cookies. now this is not a new concept to me, i had read about this a few months ago when oreo had their 100th birthday. there were many celebratory recipes that used oreos floating around on the foodie blogs i follow. i had never tired to make them, though, because honestly, i'm not a big fan of oreos.

still, because it's for her wedding and she said she liked them, i figured i'd try. and being that there are little mini oreos on the market, i figured i can try making them in mini muffin cups, so they're smaller and cuter and bite-sized. plus then you can eat a few and not feel bad.

though i had settled on the kind of baked good i was going to attempt, i realized that my mini muffin tins were at my mom's house, where i had forgotten them. still, i wanted to try this recipe ahead of time, just to see how it bakes up, and how long it last before going stale. and so, i just used a 9x13 pan.

honestly, i think they came out ok. fishie helped stick the oreos in the pan after i poured half the brownie batter. then we carefully spread the rest of the batter over top of the oreos and baked it according to the package directions. they took longer to bake than i thought they would, and the cookies seemed to have almost dissolved into the baked brownies. still, my kids liked them well enough. and i think they will definitely work for the cookie trays. especially since i can do many at one time, and they stay fresh tasting for a few days. so bonus points all around.

i also think that these oreo brownie bites are going to be the last trial cookie that i make. the rest of the tray will be filled out with tried and true recipes that i know work well. now all i have to do is create a shopping list so i can get all the ingredients that i need, starting with fifty pounds of flour and ten pounds of butter.

October 3, 2012


it's late and i can't sleep. thoughts keep running around my head, and my mind just won't turn off. and the worst part is that there really isn't much that i can do about any of the things i'm actually worried about.

and yet knowing that doesn't help. and quietness and meditation and all the usual tricks don't help. so i figured i'd share my more pointless worries, in hopes of at least quelling some of the riot.

my dearest fish is doing great with her potty training. that is not my worry. it is more my annoyance. because though she rocks the potty, she won't go by herself. and when she has to go, she has to go. so i have to drop everything and stop whatever i'm doing to go and help her potty. and i know, eventually, she'll not only be awesome at going, but she'll be able to go all by herself. it's just getting her to that stage that is driving me bonkers.

the other part of potty training that i'm worrying about is that we are going on vacation as a family this weekend. to canada. so we'll be out and about in unfamiliar territory. and staying in a hotel all weekend. i don't know how she'll do with the changes, but i am already very much aware about how much i'll be missing out on because i'm the one that'll have to take her. you know, because my dear hubby can't exactly go into the women's bathroom, and fish would be one to point and ask "what's that" when walking by urinals in the men's room. and i know this is just fact and a reality of being a mom, but it still sucks big time.

the other sucky reality is that bumble is up against one of his greatest weaknesses in school right now and i can't help him. or don't know how. in his old school, spelling was taught by memorizing lists of words, and then getting tested on those words. in this new school, they have a short list of "trick words," ones that don't follow rules or patterns, and they're tests are on two or four words from the list. the rest of the spelling test isn't really spelling like we're used to studying for, it's more like a phonics test. in addition to getting a list of like eight trick words, he's expected to learn three or four phonics rules, like how certain letters work together to make sounds, and then he's tested on random words that follow those specific rules. the rest of the kids in his class of learned this stuff since 1st grade and it's all new for him. needless to say, he got a 45% on his first test. and i've talked with his teacher on how to better prepare him, and all she could say is he needs to practice the example words she sent home, or any other words we can think of that are examples of the rules. i really feel out of my depth with this.

the other part to this phonics stuff, kind of a kick him while he's down thing, is that the rules he's supposed to learn and master and be able to use for the second test are all suffix rules. like knowing when plurals end in -s or -es by knowing which sound they end in (anything that ends in -ch or -sh with end in -es, single consonants will end in -s). or hearing a word and knowing if it ends in -ed or -er or -est or -ing. yeah, guess who is in a specialized speech and language program because he can't hear or pronounce the ending sounds of words, in addition to not knowing the different between -ch and -th sometimes? so how is he supposed to pass these phonics tests? and how am i supposed to help him?

maybe if i had gotten him help sooner. or even realized he needed help. or read to him more. maybe if his previous teachers listened to me when i said i think he was falling behind. or if we hadn't been in a school where they could only see him for 30 minutes every two weeks because the speech teacher was stretched between four schools. maybe if i had the money to have gotten him private help over the summer, we would have been able to start this school year off ahead of the curve.

i guess the other, bigger "maybe" that keeps me up is that i wonder if maybe my kids had a better mother than me, there wouldn't be any of these issues. if i had been paying attention, i could have gotten bumble early intervention and then he could be rocking school right now. just like, if i had really seen what was going on all those years ago, i would have realized how sick lumpy was and maybe we could have avoided the hospital stays and years of medication. and if i was able to take control of things better, maybe fish would be a more well mannered child. unfortunately, my kids are stuck with me.