Saturday, June 2, 2012

An Agglomeration of Sorts

A real photo of the random shit I accumulate.  Nicor bill, nail file, computer software, baby clothes, birthday cards, the deed to our know, the usual.
If you've ever watched an episode of Hoarders (or similar) then you can probably summarize most of the episodes.  In fact, you probably can't talk about a specific episode without covering the details of another.

Oh, that crazy (insert man/woman) with all that shit?! The one that (insert that terrible experience or dark happening)?!  They are fucking crazy, man!  Can you believe they found a dead (insert animal) in that stuff?! That will never happen to me!

And you are probably right.  Unless you are me.  Then you are only half right.

I am the most imperfect combination of an extreme purger with hoarding tendencies.  My problem, well at least one of them, is time.  I don't have time to read the abundance of magazines that come in the mail, so they go into a pile.  I don't have time to coupon, but I'd like to, so the coupons from the paper go into their own pile.  See, I ran out of time when I was painting my nails so that's why the polish, top coat, and other accessories are in a different pile.  90% of the time one of the kids will need something while I am smack dab in the middle of something, and I'll have to run and take care of something else.  And 90% of the time, I'll start something else before I go back to that original task.  It's a vicious cycle of mess and chaos.  But you know what?  About a week of this goes by and I get batty and then throw everything in the garbage.  It's a toxic combination but the latter leaves me with a de-cluttered, clean house...and who doesn't love that?!

Today was one of those purging days.  I started with Baby 2.0's room.  I talked to myself like a real class-act, making jokes and laughing at them while three pairs of eyes stared blankly at me wondering what the hell was going on and why I was evicting five year old bath toys.  With one room done, I fiercely moved on to the bigger room, belonging to the boy who has more toys than anyone I've ever met.

I made a deal with said child.  I told him to find as many toys as he could that he doesn't play with anymore, and each toy will count as $1.00.  At the end of the process, however many toydollars he has, that is what he has to spend on ONE new super toy.  Child 1.0 was ecstatic until he realized that these toys were leaving forever.  I told him that the toys were going to kids who will play with them and treat them really nice.  Not working.  I told him that the toys were going to kids who has a mom that isn't fucking nuts and doesn't buy them something new every week might not have any toys.  Not working.  Finally I realized this wasn't going to work and I just started grabbing shit and asking him, "WHICH ONE DO YOU WANT TO KEEP!?!"  Obviously I raised my child right, because he responded with, "Both."  "Bitch."  Kidding on that last part.  For at least a few more years at least...

It quickly dawned on me that a four year old was not able to make such a decision.  All of these toys were appealing, especially considering that they'd been under the bed, in the back of the closet, etc. for the last two years.  They were practically new!  I decided to use my best judgement and exile these toys myself.  Whilst occupied by toys he actually plays with, I was able to stealthily bag up the old toys that I'm sure he won't even miss; that is, until he finds them.  And I'm pretty sure he forgot about the toydollars, so that's more money I have that will probably buy new toys anyway.

Now both of the kids have immaculate rooms.  For today.  Unfortunately it took five hours to clean/purge both rooms and all the while, the papers I had stacked on the record player blew all over the house because my stupid ass had the screen door wide open.  Tomorrow is another day.

Clean room.  I'm seriously timing how long this lasts.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Bitchin' in the Kitchen

So against my better judgement, I committed to doing another dessert swap.  See, it's not that I don't love me some desserts, it's just that I always overlook how much work it is.  I do this with my friends around Christmas with cookies and it's always fabulous.  Well maybe not fabulous for the fit of my pants, but alas, it's a great time that yields some delicious cookies.  Last month I decided I would do another swap, this time the focus would be cupcakes.  Each person makes X amount of cupcakes based on the number attending, we display them and bitch about how much work they were, then everyone takes their allotted amount and eats as many as possible so they don't have to share with their children or husbands.

This evening was my first attempt at baking anything in mass quantity since the birth of Baby 2.0.  I give you:
Vanilla rainbow cupcakes with nutella cream cheese frosting
(approximately 100,001 calories per bite)

FOR ZE CAKE I used a William Sonoma cake recipe and then made them rainbow:
3 eggs, 1.5 tsp vanilla, 1.5 cups cake flour, 3/4 tsp. baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt, 12 tbs unsalted butter, 1 cup sugar, 1/3 cup milk.

  1. Start with all of the ingredients room temperature.  Preheat the oven to 350.  Since you didn't plan ahead of time, you now have about an hour or so to kill before you can even start since your ingredients are ice cold.  I turned off my oven because I had a long time before it was going to be used.  Welcome to the club.  If you are responsible, hang out with your kids, play with your dog, do some laundry.  If you are me, get a beer and get on Pintrest...tell husband you are balancing the checkbook.  He won't know.
  2.  When the ingredients are finally at the proper temp, whick together the eggs and vanilla until blended.  In another bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.  Take a sip of your beer; you deserve it after all the whisking and sifting.  Whew.
  3.  Beat the butter on medium-high speed until light and creamy...this takes about three minutes.  I used my Kitchenaid, so I had three more minutes to drink my beer and do some pinning. 
  4. Gradually add the sugar and beat until fluffy...another three minutes or so.  More beer.  More pinning.
  5. Add egg mixture and beat until well combined...about a minute.  Finish your beer.  Get another if time permits.  I'm dieting so I switched to water with lime.  I'm jealous of you.
  6. Turn your beater down to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour.  Mix until juuuuust incorporated.  Don't overmix.   
To make them rainbowlicious, separate the mix into different bowls.  I used  Wilton icing tints to dye the batter different colors.  Using a spoon, add dollops of the different colors into muffin cups.  Swirl them around poke them, or just leave it alone if you are in a hurry.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Enjoy the ride.

Because nothing says "acid trip" like rainbow cupcakes.

Raw.  Although tempting, do not treat these as if they are Trix yogurt cups.

Cooked and cooling.  And my sweet Christmas potholder from 1987 is peaking out to say "hey!"

The innards.
I'm too tired to ice these bad boys tonight, so my nutella cream cheese frosting post (and the results of the cupcake swap) will be another post.  These cupcakes, sans icing, are very very good and very moist.  They will go very good with my breakfast of coffee and paczkis tomorrow.

Now I have to go load three days worth of dirty dishes into my not-high-capacity dishwasher. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

No, not least not literally.

Although right now I am sitting in my house with every light off and even a blanket over my kitchen window, I'm not in hiding.  You see, I had Baby 2.0 in early January and about two days ago she decided she hates to sleep.  Hates it.  Even right now I have her wrapped into a little J-baby burrito, all cozy in a chair, and she simply stares into the darkness...probably trying to put a hex on me.

It all started with January 2, when I dragged my half-ton ass into my OB's office and stared at him miserably.  He made the right choice to start with, "Do you have any questions for me?"  If he had started with "how are you?" or "how are you feeling?" I would have died.  My answer was, "Yeah, can we schedule something?" And so it began.  I decided J-baby's birthday would be January 6.  Child 1.0 was an induction as well, so clearly I am super Type-A and get to pick when I will have a baby.  I am a planner and a control freak.  So we showed up at the hospital at 5:00 am (WTF) and started prepping to evict a baby from Wombland.  I'll spare you all the nitty gritty (poor you) but she was born at 3:51 pm and this bitch right here only had to push twice.  To say I had an easy labor would be an understatement.  I waited as long as possible for the epidural (with Child 1.0 I got it right away) and although she had to do it THREE TIMES (WTF!?), this time it took.  (With Child 1.0 it never took)  We got to leave the hospital 36 hours later.  Jbaby has her momma's black hair and no-nonsense demeanor.  She is just as high strung as me---nothing like the lax baby that was her predecessor.  

The first few nights were typical---I was a mess because every little peep made me jump through the ceiling.  However, each night she slept more than the last.  We got to a good little routine where she'd go down at about 11pm and sleep til 5am.  And then she'd sleep til 7am.  This was after sleeping 95% of the day.  As of two nights ago, she has changed her mind about this whole sleep thing, because she must think Child 1.0 and I have all kinds of cool stuff going on during the day.  She is what my friend calls a "Sleep Ninja."  She "sleeps" in short little bursts and most of the time has one eye open (and no joke, it's shifts...shifty-eyed sleep ninja...).  She doesn't really cry per se, but she does do what us in Mommyland refer to as Baby Bitching.  She makes these pissed off sounding grunts just so you know she is pissed.  About nothing.  So we bounce, we sing, we burp, we swaddle, we rock, and sometimes I do magic.  But today is different.  You see, last night she did her baby bitching ALL NIGHT.  Even when her eyes were closed, she was bitching (just like her mother...)  I got a cumulative total of one hour of sleep on top of the fact I am in deficit of three weeks "good night rest."  Today I don't have it in me to bounce, sing, etc. so I made the house completely dark.  For realz.  It looks like night time in here.  I wrapped her up super cozy and laid her in her soother chair.  Although she is not sleeping, she isn't baby bitching either. 

I have searched for the cause of this and have not come up with a damn thing.  See, she isn't crying however she stops doing "it" when you bounce, burp, or rock her.  She doesn't seem to be miserable about anything, just grumpy.  As soon as you get her to stop, she likes to just look around  or pretend to sleep.  I say pretend because as soon as you set her down, she's at it again.  I am really out of my element here because 1.) I am used to a toddler and 2.) My toddler as a baby was NOTHING like this.

So I continue to look like a hermit.  And I continue to tell myself to cherish these days (as tiring as they are) because before I know it, Jbaby will be toddler sized and I'll be crying into my Lucky Charms. 

Photo by Andrea Keaveney