Friday, July 27, 2012

Cinnamon Buns and Floor Spaghetti.

D and Bugs have only been gone a few hours at this point, and it already looks like a platoon bivouacked in my living room.

The girls look like they haven't been bathed in months (in reality one had a bath last night, and one this morning). Monster is sitting on the far side of the room, shouting "Don't" and Brat has found some spaghetti in the fridge and is eating it cold.

Seriously, having a bum hip sucks.

To make myself feel better, I am going to make cinnamon buns tonight

And THERE IT IS. Right there. As I was typing about cinnamon buns, Brat decided she didn't like cold spaghetti and sauce after all, and proceeded to microwave it. For two minutes. Then she tried to pick it up, stumbled because she's a klutz, and slopped hot noodles and sauce all over the floor and the baby.

By the time I grabbed my crutches (or crotches as Brat calls them), and hobbled across the room to assess the damage, both Brat and Monster were eating noodles off the floor and each other. Brat was crying- because she wasn't getting all the noodles as the baby is sneaky fast.

So, I only have to survive TWO MORE DAYS like this. Unable to walk freely, carry anything or stand for long periods of time. Awesome to the power of time cubed.

I know it's only 6:30, but I am either selling them on Kijiji, or leaving them at a fire station while I go drink beer. Putting them to bed early sounds like it might be a better solution.


EDIT: Now that the day is done and the girls are both back into their beds (where I truly wish they'd stay for the next two days), I can do what I intended to do in the first place, I can post my recipe for cinnamon buns. Read through the entire recipe before starting, because my brain feels all fucky and most likely this won't come out in order.  Consider it like a bit of a jigsaw puzzle recipe, it'll make you smarter to have to figure it out on your own.

4 cups AP flour
1 cup milk
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter (melted)
2 pkgs of instant yeast (or 4.5 tsps if you are using loose yeast)
1 egg

1. Take 2 cups of the flour, and all the other dry goods and mix them up (save the other two cups of flour for later).

2. Warm the milk, beat in the egg and the melted butter, stir into the dry goods, it will form a very soft dough.

3. Add the last two cups of flour and knead for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is very smooth and stretchified. Let rise until doubled.

4. Roll out into a large rectangle, 1/4 inch thick. Cover with the filling and raisins (if you like raisins). Roll into a log and pinch the seam shut. Slice into 1.5 " slices and place in the prepared pan or tray. Allow enough space for the buns to double in size during another rising session (about an hour and a half).

1/3 cup soft butter (not melted, just softened)
1 cup brown sugar
2-3 tablespoons of cinnamon

1. Mix them up. Spread over the dough.

Cinnamon Sugar Caramel:
1 cup brown sugar, packed 
1/2 cup butter 
1/4 cup corn syrup
1 tsp cinnamon

1. Melt the butter, add sugar, syrup and cinnamon. Spread in the bottom of the baking pan before placing slices of cinnamon roll into it.

Bake the rolls at 350 F for 40- 50 minutes or until golden on top. Invert immediately after removing from oven onto a large rectangle of parchment paper or waxed paper.

If you leave these fucking things sitting in the pan, the caramel hardens and you have to chisel the shit out of it to even get a half of one out. Experience speaking.

 That pissed me off more than the day I opened a box of ice cream from the deep freezer, only to find a bunch of beans had been poured in, frozen and a note left on top that said, "Aw, beans." Which seriously pissed me off. Bad. I'm still angry about it.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Brand New Kind of Meat Market

Because my hip was hurting me about a month ago, I went to see my GP, who suggested I'd strained my hip flexor and should ice it, take anti-inflammatory drugs and stay off it a bit (yes, I laughed directly in her face and said, "I have three kids and work 30 hours a week. I'm not staying off anything, anytime soon"). She also said I should go back in a couple weeks if it hadn't improved.

Well, not only has it NOT improved, it's gotten worse. Before, it only hurt the first couple steps I took, now, every single step I take is actual agony. It's not a pulled muscle, or tendon. It hurts when I transfer my weight to my left side. I don't know what that DOES mean, but I know it means "OW". I called the office and got an appointment tomorrow. But I felt like chopping my leg off today, so I thought going and getting an xray would be prudent, to take to her for tomorrow.

So off I went today to the Pan Am Sports Injury Clinic. I got there at about 8:10 am. I was #48. After ten minutes, they had a line up of 48 people.

Oh, that bodes well for my chances of sticking around long enough to see a doctor.

And the posted wait time was 5-6 hours. Hours. As in increments of time that are large enough that we accept our wages based on them.

Hours. So I waited. Quietly, patiently, and for a long, long time.

I admit, it wasn't so bad waiting. Plenty of things to look at. Like men. This was my first visit to Pan Am. I won't go back anytime soon for an injury; but, if I'm ever in the market for a new husband, I know now where to find one. All the good looking men in Winnipeg apparently have unanimously decided to hang out at Pan Am.

The ratio of good looking, well toned men -under 60- compared to the grocery store average was HIGH. I mean, every third seat had a smokin' hot looker in it. And I got hit on twice, wearing pj's, having bed hair and probably looking as snarky as I felt.

I bailed after 6 hours (yes, I actually stayed for 6 hours). I'd have left five hours sooner, but the guys were just too good looking. Except for one guy who picked his nose when he thought no one was looking at him- him, I could have done without.

So, I realized/ learned two things today: having an owwie sucks; and, finding a man at Pan Am would be like finding ice cream in my freezer- highly probable. I recommend my single lady friends (who are looking for a date) try hanging out at a nearby sports injury clinic, that place is loaded with testosterone and muscles.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Flourless Chocolate Caramel Cake

Now, one of my favourite cook books (I have several, I don't know where they come from, I swear, they just keep turning up), is called "Chocolate".

Yes. That's the whole title. I think it's perfect.

Today is a friend's birthday, so I made a cake for her (she can have it tomorrow, even though tomorrow will not be her birthday anymore).

I made a "Flourless Chocolate Caramel Cake with Walnut Chocolate Glaze".

Oh, yes. Yes I did.

It's so delicious and nutritious (not a bit, but I'm making the claim anyways because of the 2 1/4 cups dark chocolate).

Here's the recipe:

Flourless Chocolate Caramel Cake

3/4 oz (1/4 cups) unsweetened Dutch processed cocoa, sifted. Extra for pan.

12 oz (2 1/4 cups) chopped bittersweet or dark chocolate

6 oz (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into about 6 pieces for faster melting

5 large eggs

1 cup white sugar

1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/4 tsp salt and two tablespoons of water.

2-3 caramel filled chocolate bars (I use Caramilk, because they are my favourite caramel filling)

1. Preheat oven to 300 F. Butter, parchment, rebutter and dust with cocoa a 9 inch round or 8 inch square pan.

2. Melt butter in a large bowl (I used the microwave for this whole bit, if you don't like using a mic, then do this in a bain marie) in the microwave for about 1 minute or until completely melted. Dump the chopped chocolate in and stir until the majority of chocolate is completely melted. This keeps the chocolate from seizing or scorching. If all the chocolate doesn't melt, toss the bowl back in the mic for another 10 seconds. If you don't use a microwave, I have no words for you. Either you're awesomeness squared or a total douche. Yes, it's an either/ or situation.

3. With a stand (or hand) mixer, beat the eggs, sugar, water, vanilla and salt on med high until completely foamy, doubled in size and a pale yellow colour (it takes about two minutes). Now reduce the speed to low (or don't, but this will splatter like a MOFO if you don't), and slowly pour the chocolate butter mixture into the egg/ sugar crap. Increase speed to med high again for 30 seconds. Now, dump in the sifted cocoa powder and mix on LOW (again you don't have to- I didn't and got a snoot full of cocoa for my trouble. And if you think doing a rail of cocoa powder might be a good thing for chocoholics, think again, it hurts like the bejeezus) for about 20 seconds or just until blended.

4. Pour 1/2 the batter into your prepared pan. Now, use as many caramel filled chocolate bars as you need to make a decent layer all across the pan. Top with remaining batter (fill right to 1/4 inch from top, it doesn't rise and flop out usually).

5. Oven at 300 for 40-50 minutes. Bake only until a pick inserted in the middle comes out with gooey clumps (sounds good eh?). You don't want to over bake, because it sets up all fudgy- like if you do it properly and like a dry piece of shit if you don't.

6. Let the cake cool IN PAN on wire rack for 30 minutes before attempting to flop it out onto a serving platter. Run a small knife around the edges just to release them before you do flip it over. Let the cake cool completely. Cover and refrigerate until it's very cold, at least 6 hours.

Walnut Chocolate Glaze

1/4 cup toasted walnuts (I just buy regular walnuts and dry heat them in a pan for a few minutes for toastiness).
1/4 lb (3/4 cups) chopped bittersweet chocolate
1 1/2 oz (3 tablespoons) butter

1. Melt butter in microwave, add chocolate, stir about until smooth. Exactly like you did the night before.

2. Lay the crushed, toasted walnuts on top of the cake, then pour that glaze over everything. If you don't like walnuts (my husband is stupid and doesn't like walnuts), you can skip the nuts and get some coarse kosher salt and give a VERY LIGHT sprinkle of salt over the top of the chocolate glaze. VERY LIGHT. Seriously, I shouldn't need to explain "very light"- but I will, just in case. Very light is so that you only get a smidge of salt into each bite to compliment the caramel. VERY EFFIN' LIGHT WITH THE DAMNED SALT.

TIP: When you are cutting a really dense cake, heat the knife up before cutting, by either holding it under a hot faucet or in a tall glass of hot water, WIPE the knife dry before slicing. Rinse and repeat this several times to keep the cake from sticking. A creme brulee torch works too, but no one will let me have one of those.

Friday, July 20, 2012

I Look At Kim Kardashian's Arse.

Had my eyelashes "extended" for the first time today.

I have to say, I didn't know how I'd feel about them- I mean, gluing stuff to my eyelid/ eyeball? Not really my bag baby.

But, I kept hearing about it.

Okay, I only heard about it because I watch too much TMZ; but really, who doesn't (if you've never watched it, don't start, there are so many things you never, ever, wanted to think about)?

I decided if I did this, I could cut maybe seventeen seconds out of my daily routine. Not exactly a significant deciding factor. I could look super fancy pants like Kim Kardashian (I don't actually know what her eyes look like- that arse hypnotizes me). Also not a huge deciding factor.

So I didn't actually have any 'need' to get this done. Other than the fact that I've never done it before, and I'm always game to try something new.

So, I decided to give it a go for my wedding anniversary. And I REALLY, really like. And my husband likes it too. So, thanks again to Olivia Fu, from The Lash Addiction for doing this for me (especially on such short notice).

I never thought I'd enjoy having falsies- lashes that is. But for the last five hours it's been fun. I'll definitely get this done again.

So, here's a poorly taken, overly pixelated picture of my new eyes, WITHOUT makeup on.
See, worth the time and money.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Murder Free For Over A Decade.

This is going to be a quick rant about being stupid (me, that is).

Okay, so I know I said in an earlier post that I loved summer.

I am clearly delusional. Clearly.

I do NOT love summer. Well, I don't hate it. When I wake up, I'm like, "Oooh, it's summer! YEAH BABY." Then it's 35 bloody degrees Celcius plus humidity (around 105 for my American friends), the baby is whiny, the AC craps out and I have to try to keep kids from killing each other. For some random reason, I scheduled us 'visits' all over the damned place, on different weekends (which is the only chance I have to relax for a minute or two with the kids by myself), all the way into Sept. What? Why? What was I thinking? Oh, right, forethought isn't my strongest ability.

Clearly delusional about my ability to cope with this shit again.

Before I realized what summer would be like, I signed the girls up for swim lessons. Every day. From 10-11 am. Which, luckily enough, over laps naptime, so none of that. We don't need no stinking naps. Really? Why did I think that?!?!?!? I need naps.

Then, when that didn't seem like it would be hectic enough, Brat wanted to do "Zumbatomic" (kids zumba) with her little friend for an hour every day. Yeah, I enjoy taking a baby to a class where she isn't allowed to run about (I strained a hip flexor a couple weeks ago, and running after her is just the stupidest thing anyone has ever seen).

And now, I'm taking two children on a picnic and to a splash pad after zumba tomorrow. Not both those children are mine, I'm doing a friend a favour, and at least I won't have to chase the baby about- that's sort of like a 'break'.

Thankful. I am thankful that tomorrow is a day when Monster is going to the sitter for a few hours, and I can relax my guard- even if it's only a couple hours.

Saturday, D and I are celebrating our wedding anniversary ("celebrating"= dinner and an early bed these days). I am thankful for that. Thankful that I haven't killed him this year, and hopeful that I'll keep my streak up for the next year, "Sarah: Spousal murder free for over a decade!"

And Bugs starts full blown football practice next week, and his first games are only a few days behind that.

So, all this and I'm grateful.

I am. We're happy, we're healthy (except for my hip), we're capable of finding things to keep us both busy and entertained. Mostly I'm grateful that tomorrow night marks one night closer to a night off.

As my priest asked the congregation (and now I find myself drawn back to this idea over and over),

"If you woke up with tomorrow, only the things you were grateful for today- what would YOU have?"

I'd have frozen malted milk ice pops; blue corn tostitos; diet coke; a night off coming up; a cousin who doesn't hate my children (that's why she'll babysit for me); and a healthy, happy family.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Bugs' Essay on Agenda Signing.

So, for the last three months of the school year, Bugs has not been bringing his daily agenda home to be signed everyday (which is school policy). Now, this is not a new problem. This has been ongoing since Gr. 3, we've chased, asked, reminded, used posters, and post it notes, and a schedule and every single thing I can think of to encourage him to remember his agenda.

This year I said to myself, "Fuck it." I literally used those words exactly.

Because he was in Gr 6. And if by Gr 6 you can't remember to do something you're supposed to be doing everyday- well, nothing I say or do will help you remember. But natural consequences might....

So, I stopped reminding him. And several times over the year he remembered, then had to deal with losing computer and TV privileges for the same number of days he hadn't gotten it signed for.

Even this didn't seem to make it stick. So, I went with the old, "You owe me a 500 word essay by Thursday. For every day it's late, you'll owe me another 100 words. Get it done at your leisure."

So, here are some snippets of the essay that I found the most amusing:

This last bit was far and away my very favourite.

"You might just get in a whole heap of trouble for not signing it for three and a half months like I did. That sucked because I had to write a five hundred word essay. Guess what? This is it."

Seriously, I laughed so hard. Way to fill in some of those words boyo.

Monday, July 2, 2012

I Told My Mom Everything. Because She'd Catch Me Anyways.

So, let me preface this post by saying, without reservations, I have the best kids ever.

Monster, 1.5 years old, is a smart, funny, loving toddler exhibiting many totally incredible problem solving skills.
Brat, soon to be 6 years old, is charming, sweet, smart, funny, clever, with a penchant for total chaos and devilry.
Bugs, soon to be 12 years old, is awesome. He is helpful, smart, funny, loving, charming and clever. Maybe too clever. Not for me, no child is too clever for me. He's too clever for his own good.

He spent the first couple days of summer vacation with his nana and grampa. They had a good time, and a lovely visit.

The girls and I went to my sister in laws' house for the weekend. I'd spoken with nana, and asked her to have Bugs home at 3pm on Sunday, in time for the Canada Day celebration and fireworks. No problem.

At around noon on Sunday, Bugs refused lunch from his nana, she offered to make something else, and he refused. So he convinced nana and grampa to take him home. That he wasn't hungry, didn't want what she was making, and grampa could take him home.

He was "old enough to know and have my keys to get in. Plus, dad is home."

What he neglected to tell them is that I wasn't home, and dad sleeps in ear plugs.

So, nana said, THREE times that she was going to give me a call and let me know that grampa was dropping him off. Bugs said, "No, don't call her" over and over again. And nana trusted our wonderful boy, and did as he asked, and didn't call us.

So, grampa took Bugs out for lunch, and dropped him off at home.

He didn't have his keys (he knew when he left on Friday that he didn't have keys because I asked him then if he had them). So, his plan was to play outside by himself, and get dad to let him in when he got bored with playing outside.

Only his plan backfired because dad sleeps so heavily. Bugs couldn't get in.  He knocked, and knocked and couldn't get in.

And it was +30 degrees outside, plus 35 with humidity. It was HOT. Hot, hot, hot.

So, eventually, Bugs made his way across to his other grampa's house, and hoped that his grampa would be there to let him in (luckily for him, his grampa WAS home). Bugs implied to that grampa that his nana and grampa had dropped him off, willy nilly. Of their own accord.

He neglected to tell grampa #2 that he INSISTED on being taken home at that time. Knowing full well that I wasn't going to be home until 2 pm.

He omitted, thereby lying, that it was his own choice to be left outside. That he pretended to find keys that weren't there, so that grampa #1 would drive off and leave him there.

So, when I spoke with nana, to find out exactly what had happened, from their point of view that caused my child to be left outside (potentially for 3 hours), that is when I found out that Bugs had told them he had keys. Told them he could get in. Told them it was fine with me, and begged her not to call me to double check.

So, I pointed out to nana that Bugs saying, "NO! Don't call mom. Trust me, I know what is okay, and I have my keys, and I'm old enough (BLAH BLAH BLAH)" should have sent up HUGE red flags.

If there is nothing to worry about, then nana calling me shouldn't have been an issue. And I pointed out to nana that Bugs is quickly becoming a teenager, and NO TEENAGERS SHOULD BE TRUSTED.

Not to say that they are all bad, or even that they are all liars. But what's the harm in double checking their stories? What's the cost of letting them know that while we trust them, we are still going to verify what they tell us with someone else- someone older and possibly someone wiser?

I see no harm in letting my kids know that while I love them; would die or kill for them; when it comes to the little stuff- like whether or not a friend's parent said, "Yes, I'll pick them up and drop them off".
Or,  "No, I don't have homework this year".
Or,  "Don't call my mom, I can get in"- I will spend the two minutes to corroborate their story.

I call that good parenting. Because teenagers lie. Not necessarily to be 'bad' or to do something underhanded, sometimes they lie because it's expedient, and there is something they want.

I remember my own mother double checking EVERYTHING I said. It never bothered me- unless I was doing something I shouldn't have been doing. And yes, we went through a thousand hoops to make our stories more believable. But mom knew anyways. Because she bothered to check. And just KNOWING that she would check kept me from doing a thousand WORSE things- just in case.

Because that's what a good mother does. They double check everything a teenager tells them- until the teen is so convinced of being caught that they stop trying to lie. I told my mom just about everything, because I was firmly convinced she'd catch me anyways. I believed, and still do, that she is omnipotent, omnipresent, and all powerful: all knowing, all loving and all seeing. That's what I think a good mother should be.

And my momma is. In fact, I'm pretty sure she can see me right now. Fine. I put the crackers away. Happy?

EDIT: Bugs' punishment for this little episode was having to call grampa #2, admit that it was his own lie that got him into the scrape (and he did call, albeit bawling his eyes out the entire time) and write a letter of apology to his nana and grampa for intentionally misleading them into a precarious situation (where I could have placed the entire blame on them and been a complete bitch about it).
And the best part, the absolute best, was the part where I told him, had nana called me, I'd have given the okay for him to play outside- I'd have simply come home earlier. He was gobsmacked that he could have done what he'd wanted to do in the first place, simply by asking permission.