Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday Foto

Peeps this, yo. I'm totally cheating today and just throwin' up some old pictures or "fotos" if you will. Major work PC drama don't tell my bosses, but I think we lost our complete customer database.
Anyshway, these pics were taken in December of 2007 as a gift for The Dude. I have a link to the photographer's blog and website over on the sidebar somewhere. ->
These are my absolute, all-time favorite pictures of my little people.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Please, DON'T help me.

Me no good mood today. I've been up since 5am, so that right there puts me off. I don't sleep much later than that, but still! I tried to fall back to sleep after Pickles woke up but The Dude was snoring so friggen loud I just couldn't. So I got up, ground the coffee beans, put the pot on to brew and hopped in the shower. Yay! A shower! I haven't had one of those in FOREVER!
I wake up the still snoring Dude, hand him his coffee and let him know the shower is all his. I head to the kitchen to finish any lingering dishes from the previous night, switch the clothes in the washer to the dryer, pull out the clothes from the dryer and fold those bad boys. It's about then that I hear the twins arguing (6:30ish). Twin B is demanding that Twin A get up and open the door for her. Twin B still hasn't mastered that little skill, so she's at the whim of her sister. Twin A refuses and there is a fierce fight going on. Finally, I hear the door swing open and Twin B appears...all smiles.
I meet their demands of milk, vitamins and a waffle and head back to the kitchen to fix The Dude a breakfast quesadilla. I barely get a thank you before he sits down and pulls out MY laptop. I'm not being a biotch here. It is my laptop. Our bosses bought it for me so I could work at home during my maternity leave with Pickles, and for those days that I'm without a sitter. Currently, my desktop at work is out of commission so the laptop is my only computer. I had it packed up and ready to go, then HE takes it out to play games.
"Please make sure that gets packed up before I'm ready to leave." I even said that nicely.
"It's only 7:30. Chill out," he groggily tells me.
I rolled my eyes because I can already see how this morning will play out.
By the time Pickles rolls out of bed I'm ready for everyone to be dressed and ready to head out. The Dude picks up Pickles and sets him on his lap. He offers to screw up the process help, by dressing Pickles himself. GREAT. This will slow me down by at least 10 minutes.
Twin A rocked this morning. She got herself dressed, socks, shoes and all, AND was ready to go without any complaints. Twin B would NOT get shoes on, no matter how much I begged.
As I ushered Pickles and Twin A to the car, The Dude breezes by me, muttering something about being late for work. I take a step back into the house to holler at Twin B when I see it. Surprise, surprise, my laptop is sitting on the table next to The Dude's chair. Of course he's long gone by this point so I have to get all the kids buckled in AND re-pack my laptop. Is he trying to make my mornings more difficult?! I swear!
After lots of tears over Twin B's missing blue cape we discover the cape was actually IN the car already. Geez.
I made it to work, only 9 minutes late today (new record). Oh, special treat, FIL's dogs are here this morning. Lovely. I just LOVE my office smelling like a combination of feet, Frito's, and vomit (one of the dogs has this allergy that makes her stink SOOOOO badly). Stellar day I tell you, stellar.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Least productive work week in Louisiana

I'm thinking the rest of this work week will be fairly non-productive here in Louisiana. Now that carnival season has come to a close, it's back to real life. Bahahahahaha! Crawfish season just started! People down here LOVE crawfish and having crawfish boils! Just another excuse to invite people over and drink beer. So, all being good Catholics, they'll abstain from meat on Fridays, instead opting for massive amounts of boiled seafood and beer. Not really a sacrifice as most of them would choose boiled seafood over meat most days.
Not me man. No seafood for this little chick. Ewww! I'll just munch on the other items thrown in the boil: potatoes, corn, mushrooms so spicy your lips burn, garlic, etc. Hmmm, not much of a meal there is it? Crap, I lose again.

Lemmie show ya some pics of our paradin'.
Does anyone else think my breastestes look stupidly big in this picture? I swear, looks bigger than Pickle's head! THIS is why I want a reduction people!Shortly after this picture was snapped, Twin B pulled back and declared, "Ok, that's enough. No more kisses or hugs." Ah, the love was short lived.
I know of two, yes TWO people that broke their jaw at parades. One poor little baby (2 yr old) fell out of the back of a pickup that he was watching the parade from. No, the truck wasn't moving. He's already had surgery to insert a metal plate in his jaw as it was broken in 3 places. Poor kid. Another lady knew someone on a float and caught their attention. It's common practice to "bomb" any parade watchers you're friends with. This entails throwing ridiculous amounts of beads and other throws at your friends. Beads are packaged in plastic bags in a gross (12 dozen necklaces). Those bags easily weigh several pounds and are what you're "bombed" with. I've seen children in tears after getting struck, people knocked down, you get the idea. This unlucky lady took several bags to the face, followed by a full beer can. Yes, you read that right. They threw her a beer. Not at all unheard of. When The Dude rode in a parade several years ago (pre-children) he tossed me a beer or two as he rode by. Anyway, the beer struck her square in the jaw, breaking it. Yipes!
I am SOOOOOOO happy my husband is one of those fix it type guys. My washing machine decided to just quit working mid cycle (full tub and all!). Thankfully he had the door switch changed out and the load finished within an hour. Sweet! Later, when talking with an acquaintance, I realized how luck I am when the guy said, "Oh no. Dude, when a washing machine quits working, I'd just throw it out and buy a new one." Wow, seriously? Yes, seriously.
It came out in discussion last night that my boss a.k.a. my father in law is kinda holding The Dude back at work because, get this, he's scared that if he sends The Dude to out of town things that I won't be able to "handle the kids" by myself, and I'll complain to him. Um, what? A.) I can handle my children on my own just fine, thanks; 2.) FIL is the LAST person I would ever complain to if I were having a hard time caring for the kids. Here's a thought: if you (FIL) think that I might be having a hard time with the kids, how 'bout you and Mamma In Law take your grandkids every now and then. Novel idea huh? Or, just make the 1 minute trip over to our house to help out. Oh I'm sorry, that would probably interrupt your social life. My bad.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

King Cake is SOOOO Last Year!

The How To:

So, the cake was a huge hit and was yummy too! The cake part was SUPER easy but made a huge impact once cut.

I took two boxed white cake mixes and mixed them up according to package directions with the addition of two boxes of white chocolate flavored pudding.

Once mixed up, I divided the batter into three bowls and colored them in the traditional Mardi Gras colors of purple, gold, and green. I baked three 9 inch cakes. Cool and trim the tops. Now let's make the almond cream filling!

The ingredients:

1 Cup half and half

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

1/3 Cup sugar

1/4 Cup all purpose flour

2 large eggs

1/2 of a 7 oz. roll almond paste, diced

6 ounces white chocolate

2 T unsalted butter

2/3 Cup heavy whipping cream

Mmmmmm, vanilla beans. They came two per package so I took the other bean and popped it in my coffee sugar canister. Yum! Vanilla sugar for my coffee! The Dude even noticed the slight vanilla-y flavor.
Pour half and half into medium saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean, add them and the bean. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat, steep 15 mins. Combine sugar and flour in bowl. Whisk in eggs, then warm half and half mixture; return to pan. Add almond paste. Whisk over med. heat until paste dissolves (10-ish minutes). Remove from heat. Add white chocolate and butter, whisking until smooth.
Press plastic wrap onto custard (we don't want a skin, yuck!). Chill for a few hours (the custard, not you).
Remove the vanilla bean and toss it. Beat the cream to stiff peaks (we need it stiff so it can withstand the weight of the cakes). Fold the whipped cream into custard. Cover and chill.
For the icing, I made a cream cheese frosting. I added about 3/4 Cup of the almond cream into it to give it a little kick of almond.
I placed the green cake layer on a cake board and piped a ring of frosting around the cake to act as a kind of dam, then spread the almond cream on.
On top of that, I placed the yellow cake layer. I did the frosting ring again, but this time spread raspberry preserves. I would say I used about a cup.
Mmmmmm, layers!
I took a bit of the (still) white frosting and did a crumb coat on the cake.
I colored most of the frosting a deep golden yellow with a small amount colored purple and gold. I used a large star tip to pipe purple rosettes and green....ummm....I don't know what you'd call those.

Not sure if you noticed this part, but look at that last picture. Look to the left of the cut. Oh yes, those are little finger swipes, courtesy of my little munchkins.

A Preview

We're about to head out to the big pre-parade parties, but I wanted to pop up a couple of pictures of the cake I'm bringing
The inspiration for this cake came from a magazine that the hostess of the party brought to me. We're a tad sick of King Cakes at this point, so we thought this would be a nice change. Still festive, but different.
It's a triple layer white cake (well the layers are dyed purple gold and green), with a rasberry filling in one layer and an almond cream layer on the other. The icing is an almond cream cheese. Yum!
There will be several little kids, so with some extra batter and frosting I made some mini cupcakes for them.
Recipes to follow!

Friday, February 20, 2009

You Made Fries Outta What??!

That was The Dude's response to my eggplant fries. My mother in law had seen a recipe for baked eggplant fries in the local paper. This recipe is similar, but as we all know, I can't leave well enough alone.
You'll need:
1 large eggplant, peeled and sliced into sticks about the size of your finger

1T salt
pinch cayenne pepper
Italian seasoned panko bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten well

1 tsp oil

bowl full of water

Dissolve 1T salt in about 1/4 cup warm water, then pour into large bowl filled with cool water. Add your eggplant sticks to the bowl and weigh them down with a heavy plate.

That didn't photograph too well did it? Fear not, my new camera arrived! No more crappy pictures...well, no more pictures that are crappy because I don't have a lens on the camera!

After they have soaked for about 30 minutes, take them out and dry thoroughly. Prepare two bowls for breading the sticks: one for the egg, and one for the bread crumbs. Combine the bread crumbs and cayenne pepper, add oil and mix.

Dip the sticks, first in the egg, then in the bread crumbs. Place breaded sticks on well oiled baking pan. Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Serve with marinara sauce for dipping.
Really, these are super delicious. Cut the cayenne pepper if you want, but it really doesn't add that much heat. If you use plain bread crumbs, you'll obviously need to add salt and pepper.

I can't help myself! Here are some pictures I snapped with the new camera! These are from the Mardi Gras parade they had at the preschool. Note: despite the fact that the Pecan Street Preschool Mafia led me to believe that EVERYONE was going and NONE of them showed up, I enjoyed myself. Take THAT Alpha Beauty Queen Mom!!

Waiting for the parade to start.

This hat is goofy.

I think I have more shots of this kid from this angle than any other. Why is that?

Ok, I'm no child psyche expert or anything, but I'm pretty sure that unless you want to scare the living crap out of your students, you shouldn't dress like this if you're a preschool teacher.






I know, I'm sorry. The nightmares. Can't sleep, the clowns will eat me!!!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

My Kid Looks Like Angelina Jolie

Check out those lips! Ok, but how she got it is not so pleasant.

Imagine my horror, seeing Twin A topple down the stairs. End over end she fell, smashing her head and face on the way down. I actually caught her mid fall before she hit the bottom.
"What happened?!" I yelped at her, but mostly at Twin B.

"Lay-lay pushed me," she said in between sobs. Lay-lay is what Twin A calls Twin B. It sounds nothing like Twin B's actual name. That's just what she's always called her sister.

The look of death was shot in Twin B's direction. She burst into tears, then Pickles burst into tears. Lord have mercy. The Dude swoops in and starts being, well, a man about it. Overreacting and scaring the kids more. In my calmest, yet freaked out voice I tell him to call his mother and get his shoes on, we were going to urgent care.

Like a friggen chicken with it's head cut off, The Dude runs around the living room, not knowing what to do. "Urgent care? Are they open? I think they're closed. Oh man, we're gonna be in the ER all night!"

A quick check of my urgent care pamphlet reveals that they are NOT closed, which I had already told him, but he didn't believe me. I carry Twin A to the car, her mouth full of blood. She had stopped crying by this point and was excited about going to the doctor. The Dude takes one look at the still crying Twin B and Pickles and declares that he will take Twin A and that I should stay home with the others. Fine. Whatever. A few minutes later his mother pulls up, hops in our truck and they pull off. WHOA! What the hell? Why am I the one left behind? I'm the MOTHER for cripes sakes!

I calm the kids down and bathe them. Twin B starts to ask if Twin A will get a sucker and if she might get one too. Seriously kid??

Anyway, in less than an hour, Twin A was seen and discharged. Sent home with ONE sucker and a scrip for antibiotics. She damn near bit through her lip. It looks gnarly dude.

Looks about a brazillion times worse this morning. She's alright though. She came home, gave her sister her sucker (she's a better person than I am!) and asked for TWO hot dogs. I've never seen this kid eat that much....ever. yes, I feed my children hot dogs. Yes, I know what they're made of.

I honestly don't think Twin B was trying to hurt her sister. I think she wanted her to move and they just so happened to be on the stairs at the time.


On a side note: when I went to Walgreen's to get her prescription I discovered that the store brand children's Tylenol and Motrin were on sale two for one! Sweet deal dude. A quick glance around revealed A LOT of the Walgreen's brand meds were on sale two for one. Check it out and stock up!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I'm sorry, have you lost your mind?

My sister in law is getting married in a couple of months. I cannot wait until the whole process is over. She is basically completely disinterested in the whole planning process, which is fine except that her father (aka my boss) is planning the whole thing. It is stressing ME out. Today, I spent the morning figuring out the correct postage for her wedding invitations. She is The Dude's only sibling and neither of us are in the wedding (despite a large wedding party), so I guess I'm just helping out the family. I won't hold my breath for a thank you.

The groomsmen have been trying to plan the big bachelor party. Unbeknownst to me, bachelor parties are no longer single night trips to the strip club with a bunch of alcohol. Oh, no, no, no. They want to take this show on the road! The plan is to go to Houston (a 4-5 hr drive) on a Friday (translation: must take a day off of work), stay at some swanky hotel, golf on Saturday morning, then party like rock stars Saturday night, finally returning home on Sunday. The cost, per guy, for the hotel and limo (for partying Saturday night) is about $250! That's not even including the greens fees for golfing Saturday (which by the way will run about $110). That is also not including food or alcohol. A little note was tacked on to the end of the email (The Dude let me read it) which read, "Plus, we expect everyone to kick in a little extra for the groom's drinks and lap dances." The Dude has stated that there is about a snowball's chance in hell that he's paying for his future brother in law to get a lap dance. Awwwe, I raised him right. Let it be known that built into the price is the suite they're getting for the groom-to-be to have for himself.

Do they think money grows on trees?

Even if it did, mine would probably look a little more like thisSeriously man. Talk about not thinking about anyone else. How ridiculous is it to ask that people throw down this kind of money to partake in the celebration? Not to mention the numerous gifts we have to buy for the showerS and wedding. Oh oh, and lets not forget the $350 we have to shell out for two nights at the hotel where the wedding is being held. The money we're throwing out for this wedding is more than we spent when we got married (granted, we eloped, but still!).

I apparently need to head to the bank and secure a loan to pay for all this crap. God help me if she invites me to the bachelorette party. I may have to sell one of my kids to pay for that! I'm kidding, I would never sell my children. The Dude, on the other hand...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

And, I'm out.

Short lived, eh? Leave it to me to ruin my newly found "in" status with the Pecan Street Preschool Mafia. This is how it all went down...
I pull in to the pick-up line and have a good spot: not the first Mom there, but not the last either, very middle of the pack. I sometimes forget that my Tahoe stands out because of what I have on the back. The most any other mommy-wagon around there has is a "My Child Made Honor Roll at..." bumper sticker. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the stuff on the back. Won't take it off till it cracks and peels. It just sets me apart...more.

Anyway, I roll the windows down and set out to try my new Nic's Sticks by OPI.

By the way, these things are friggen awesome! I bought it for two reasons: A.) it was on sale at Walgreens, and 2.) I thought it would make painting the twincesses nails easier. Ya just pump it and paint. It dries super quick too. Anyway, the color I bought was a very bright hot pink (ya know, for the kids) and probably NOT the color of choice for prim and proper mommies.

The Dude had last changed my radio station. I usually keep it fairly low cuz the kiddos prefer Mommy's singing to the radio. Anyway, I notice he had left it on the alternative rock station which isn't a big deal. In fact, they were playing one of my fav Incubus songs (Incubus reminds me of California and the dating days with The Dude). Next song was a Bush song followed by old STP, so I left it. I turned it low as I approached the school. As I hopped out of the car to help my girlies into the car I bumped the volume knob and BLASTED the rather sacrilegious chorus to Alice In Chains' "Man in The Box." Not familiar with that one? Go ahead and Google it. Oh, did I forget to mention that the preschool is at a church? Hmmmm, yeah.

As I fumbled (with my wet hot pink nails) to turn the volume down, my bright, lime green phone slides out of my pocked and smashes into the ground. I try to quickly scoop up the pieces and usher the girls to their seats, begging them to put their seat belts on so we can get the heck outta there. As I drive away, I notice that the Alpha Beauty Queen Mom had been watching the whole thing as she leaned against her SUV...nice.

Oh well, easy come, easy go. I had even dressed to impress in my fancy new rust colored leather jacket I had gotten during that shopping experience from hell. I'll be honest, I feel a little Fancy Nancy wearing it, although, the Afflack salesmen that just left complimented me on it. Hmmm, perhaps I fit into their little clique.

P.S. Boyz II Men's "End of the Road" is playing on the station here in the office, ah, takes me back.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Boy Did I Pull the Wool Over HER Eyes!

I'm kidding, of course. Penz gave me this fabulous award yesterday. THANKS!!

I shall be passing it along to 5 other awesome Mommies (NOTE: you're all awesome in my book. No really, I could show you the book if you'd like).

1. My Shasty. She is an awesome Mamma and I'm honored to know her in "real life."

2. My Rambler (yes, I saw that Penz gave it to you , but I wanted to give it to you too because that's how I roll)

3. Sarah, aka Thrifty Decor Chick; I love when she talks about her son and step daughter, very sweet.

4. Trish, at The Kobialka Family. She makes me want to strive to be the best Mommy possible.

5. Not Your Typical Mommy. Just read her "all about me" section. I love it.

Here are some rules:

1) Admit that ONE thing you feel awful about involving being a mom. Get it off your shoulders. Once you've written it down, you are NO LONGER allowed to feel bad. It's over with, it's in the past. Remember, you're a good mom!

~When I was sick a while back, I forgot to get the twins from school. I just went home and lay down. The school called and asked if I was on the way yet. I felt horrible. Blegh.

2)To remind yourself that you ARE a good mom, list SEVEN things you love about your kids, you love doing with your kids, or that your kids love about you. These are the things to remind yourself of EVERY DAY that you rock!

1. I LOVE how affection the kids are. Yes, they can beat the crap out of each other at times, but they genuinely love each other and love giving hugs and kisses.

2. I LOVE breakfast on the weekends. I get to cook huge breakfasts and make a big mess. They're always so grateful.

3. I LOVE that the girls now come and crawl into bed with us in the mornings before we start our day.

4. I LOVE taking the kids to the park. They just love it. They could stay there all day long.

5. I LOVE the looks on the girls' faces as they see my car pull into the pick up line at school.

6. I LOVE watching Pickles drift off to sleep.

7. I LOVE letting the kids help me cook or bake.

3)Send this to FIVE other Moms of the Year that deserve forgiveness and a reminder that they, too, are the best moms they can be!!! Remember to send them a note to let them know you've selected them, and add a link to the person who nominated you!"

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I'm In!!!

I'm in with the in-crowd! I go where the in-crowd go-o-oes! Kudos to you if you can sing along with that AND a big "I'm sorry," if you now have that song stuck in your head.
Not sure if I've mentioned this, but I'm a bit of an outsider 'round these here parts. See, I'm an out of towner...worse yet, and out of STATER. Not sure what it is about me (perhaps the tongue piercing and penchant for wearing my hair in pig-tailed knots), but I stick out. The other Mom's at the preschool routinely forget to notify me of upcoming parties and events that I should attend.
I'll be honest with ya, I don't really care to actually BE friends with these people so much as I just don't want to be left out of semi-important events at the school.
So, on to how I got IN. One of the little little girls in the Twinster's class had a birthday party coming up and I knew exactly what I wanted to take. I had seen this little project here, and having just emptied the twins' school bags of eleventy-million art projects, knew this would be the perfect gift to display all of these masterpieces.
I trotted over to the lumber yard where my girlfriend works and described my project. She went out to the lumber and brought me a piece of wood, a 1 x 6 with a slight lip in the bottom (which I adored, gave it that little something extra), and it was about 5ft long. I also picked up some colored chipboard letters at the Walmart, and some alligator clips (ok, first I bought the wrong kind, which is why they are crossed out in the pic).
The Dude cut my board down to roughly two feet. I didn't measure, I just eyeballed it and said "cut here."
Then I started to Kilz the thing.
I had that feeling. You know, where you feel like someone is watching you. So I look up.

He was supervising, see. He declared that I was doing it all wrong and promptly took over.

After he finished, I stepped back and decided I didn't like it plain white, so I went to scrounge through my scrapbook papers and pulled out these.
The Dude protested, "Wait! Why did I just paint this thing then?!" I don't know, why did you?! Sheesh.
I tore the papers to the desired widths (again, no measuring involved, just eyeballed it), got out the Mod Podge and set to work. When the Mod Podge had set a little, I laid out my letters and fiddled with the arrangement for a while before finally gluing those puppies down with craft glue.
When it was completely dry, I sanded the edges cuz they looked like this:
Here's a close up of the clips I ended up using. I also tied a little ribbon on them, ya know, to jazz it up. The clips were attached with a roofing nail. Why a roofing nail you ask? Well, because the heads were big enough to keep the clips from falling off. On the site I linked you to, they used smaller nails and just made the clip hole smaller by tying ribbon around it. Your choice.
At the party, when the presents were opened, my gift got the biggest response from the mothers. Lots of "Where did you get that?! I need one of those!!" Picture the smug grin on my face as I proclaimed that I had made it. "How do you have time for that?" "Oh you're so creative!" "You should sell those! I would absolutely buy one!"
I left that party with a huge smile on my face. The Dude offered me a high five on the way out and said, "Awesome job on the gift. I think it went over well."