Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Completely Outnumbered.


I would love to say "as taken from my iPhone" like all those other fancy blogs, but it's an old flip from like 2003. It's how we roll.
 Tonight I was at wrestling practice. Wrestling practice. It was everything I would have imagined it to be. The small room on the second floor of the local high school that housed 30+ rambunctious boys was hot and smelly. And all those boys? Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure they loved it.

All at once a light bulb flashed right above my head. As I watched all these little guys practicing all their crazy little moves, I suddenly became aware of my place as mother, as a keeper of our home, and above all...a woman.

You guys, in just a few short months I am going to be completely outnumbered in a house WITH 5 DUDES. Right now all but the one who caused this, one is little (and they're all so adorable), so I can still control most things, but one day I am going to wake up and my four little babies are going to be half-way grown men that smell and make weird noises and eat whole large pizzas by themselves.

I am already arguing with my 6-year old most mornings as to why he has to take a shower every day. I am constantly reminding to flush. the. toilet. already. and not to throw the football in the house. And in just the last month suddenly the amount of food I cook is never enough.

Deep Breath.

So, in conclusion, what I'm trying to say is I am really important. I mean, it's my job, to make men out of these little crazies. And in the meantime, while they are still offering, I am going to relish in all the kisses, all the lap-wrangling and arguments over who gets to sit by me, and all the marriage proposals. Because if you didn't know....little boys realllly love their mothers. And that is why I love being outnumbered. I mean, you know, for now.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Have You Had One Of These Lately?



A Nestle Tollhouse Cookie.


My father-in-law made original tollhouse cookies a few weeks ago and hello! I had forgotten how good this simple recipe is. Like, seriously good. And I also forgot that when I get stressed I go after anything that has chocolate in it. In two days I had eaten seven of the cookies. And I kind of feel bad about it, but not that bad. Here's the recipe
And while we're talking about eating too many cookies, here is my latest belly shot. At 6 1/2 months, I look like this:




At my doctor's appointment last week, he mentioned I've gained 17 pounds, and maybe that really isn't great given how much farther I have to go, but I honestly thought it would be closer to 50, and I keep asking myself where the heck the rest of it going to go. So, needless to say, I was happy. Baby is good, so we're good.

Friday, January 21, 2011

My Favorite Room in the House.



Our formal living room. The light that comes in from that bay window is infectious, especially during this time of  year. The picture is a little dark, but our house is one that soaks up the sun and passes it along to me via the big open windows, which is why I love it so. I spend most of my free time in that bare little room, often laying in the rays and just listening to my children talk about the funny stuff that comes out of their mouths.

I have big plans for this room. The bay window had these big fluffy custom curtains, circa 1990 that I had to remove. So, as of now it is bare and I am not sure what to do with it. Some panels on either side? The couch and two chairs I have in there are all different majorly uncoordinating fabrics, so I will be slip-covering something as soon as I find the right one. And a piano! I desperately want a piano in this room, even though I have no idea how to play. Triston shows interest, so he will be my golden ticket to beautiful live piano music in my home, I suppose. And then we'll add a few side tables** and some art on the walls and my perfect room will be complete. Let's make a bet on how long it will take to achieve this.

**I want side tables instead of coffee tables for this reason:


 The big open area is a hot spot for my boys to wrestle and play, which I love to watch them do. Here, they are playing Man vs. Ghost, Jackson playing the ghost, respectively. Jackson is always the creature, Triston is always the man, and Bryce is always the terrorizer. (Their words, not mine)

After taking down the few Christmas decorations that I decided to put up last minute, my family room was bare. Like uncomfortably bare. So I made a few V-Day decorations that spiced it up a bit..just until I find permenant pieces for the fireplace and walls.







Thursday, January 20, 2011

Impending Doom.

I painted my nails bright pink yesterday in an effort to thwart off the forcasted snow. I even put on a bright yellow and white striped maternity tee from the Spring line at Old Navy and paired it with sky blue sweatpants. I doused myself with Black Raspberry Vanilla spray and pretended it was already April.

But I crashed back to reality bright and early this morning when buckets of snow started falling from the sky and school got canceled. It. Is. Still. January. And in defeat, I put my grays back on and am planning on spending the day sulking.

It's a mystery as to why the snow affects me so. It turns my mood inward and all I can think about is impending doom. Of what, I am not sure, but that is the feeling that accompanies the fluff on the ground.

So what is a girl to do?

Well, I haven't figured it out yet. But I am hoping it involves a good book and good baked goods. And children that act perfect all day long. And the good feeling I get when the carpet is vaccumed just right and all the beds are made and all the laundry is put away. Oh! And a husband that brings me home an ice cold coke on his lunch break.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Oatmeal at Mickey D's?

One morning in the midst of our 12th move in 8 years, I ran to McDonald's to grab breakfast, for just the night before I had packed up the entirety of our kitchen, not leaving even a single spoon.

While ordering the breakfast usuals, bacon-egg-cheese muffin for myself and Mcgriddles for everyone else, my eyes landed upon the word oatmeal within the contents of the menu.

"Oatmeal"? I thought to myself. "I love oatmeal". And the picture was right before me so I knew it was true. So I ordered it, too.

And it is seriously delicious. It consists of apples and golden raisins swimming in a sea of rolled oats with (or without) brown sugar to sweeten it up. And you know I went with the brown sugar. But, its completely optional.

Now.

This morning, I am eagerly waiting on a plumber to come rescue my 2nd bathroom woes of the toilet not flushing properly. We have 3 bathrooms, so it's not a dire situation, per se, but the boys have been using our bathroom for a week and sometimes they forget to flush. Which makes it kind of dire. Boys are gross, you remember.

I woke up thinking about the commercial I had seen the night before advertising McDonald's new oatmeal, but of course, I am not missing the plumber. So, I made my own. It was good.

I use Quick-Cook Steel Cut Oats, which I prefer unless we are making chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, then I am over the moon with the rolled kind.

I topped it off with half of a finely chopped apple and some raisins, along with just a dusting of brown sugar and it totally hit the spot.

In other news, I also ate a bad blueberry this morning. Who knew blueberries could make one gag? It was was G. R. O. S. S.

And in more other news, I completely fell out of my chair and landed on my face struggling with the remote control. I only wanted to see the Today Show, what the hell happened? It's a mystery. One that I'm pretty sure has to do with my gestational situation.

Have a happy day...and as Bert would surely say, "Don't forget the oatmeal".

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Real Hot Chocolate.


My motherly obligation has been fulfilled. We went outside today in this "feels like 5 degrees" weather and played until their little hearts were content, which was about 9 minutes. Jackson even sat on the patio and cried, which I totally understood, because I, too, hate the snow and cold.

We made snow angels and tried to make a snowman, had a snowball fight and a few races around the house (which I won, by the way). And I took a few pictures to stash away as proof that I do things I don't want to do, too. 

The best part came at the end: Hot Chocolate. I am fancy and use a CocoMotion, but this recipe works just as well on the stove with a whisk. And just so you know, once you make this hot chocolate, Swiss Miss will never do the trick again.

4 c. milk
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla
shake of salt

Place all ingredients in medium sauce pan and start whisking over medium heat. The cocoa powder can be tricky because it will clump a little, but if you take the time to really whisk it while its on the stove, it will blend in nice and smooth. Once it is of desired hotness, you can pour it in a mug and drink it up.


Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

So I Made an Apple Pie and Other Randoms.



Every year for Christmas my Grandparents give Travis and I a huge bag of the biggest, sweetest apples I have ever eaten from a local orchard. Truth be told, every Christmas I look most forward to that bag of apples. And truth be told, I usually have that bag of apples gone within a few days time. This year, several of the apples were going bad quicker than usual and I just couldn't put them away as fast as I wanted to.

Travis suggested apple pie. And I am not really a pie fan, but I like to please my man. Most of the time. You know, if he's been good. I scoured the Internet for an apple pie recipe that wouldn't take something like two days and this is what I found.

Source: Good Housekeeping

  • 1 frozen deep-dish pie crust
  • 1/2 C. chopped pecans
  • 1/4 C. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 C. packed brown sugar
  • 2 T.  butter
  • 1 lg. egg white
  • 1/4 C. sugar
  • 2 T. cornstarch
  • 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
  • 3 lbs. Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, and/or Gala apples, each cored, peeled, and cut into 8 wedges
  • 1 T. fresh lemon juice


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. While crust is thawing at room temperature for 15 minutes, mix pecans, flour, and brown sugar in bowl. Work in butter with fingertips until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.


Prick bottom and sides of crust with fork. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly golden. Immediately brush bottom and sides of hot crust with light coating of egg white. Reset oven to 425 degrees F.

In large bowl, combine granulated sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon. Toss in apples and lemon juice. I should note here that I didn't have lemon juice anywhere in my kitchen which is indicative of the state of my cupboards right now. I substituted Apple Cider Vinegar and it worked just fine. Score!

Cover with waxed paper and microwave on High 12 minutes, stirring halfway through. Spoon filling into crust. Sprinkle pecan topping over filling and bake 10-12 minutes until topping is golden brown. Vanilla ice cream would be a marvelous addition, I just didn't have any. It was good anyway. I'm still not a pie person, but I can bake one.

Now, if anyone was concerned about my little Triston and his first day at a new school, be comforted. He is fine and this is what happened.

I took him to his old school and he told his teacher that it was the best vacation he had ever had. I was thinking "Yeah because he scored mad presents", but when his teacher asked him why, he retorted, "Because I got to spend a lot of time with my Mom". Sniff. He's a doll, that one.

Next, we went to the gym so he could say goodbye to his friends, who were sitting quietly in a row waiting patiently for their teacher to come get them (amazing). While I chatted with the teacher's assistant, he went down the row and shook hands with each kid and told him he enjoyed playing with them! Ha Ha Ha ha ha ha. That just cracks  me up.

Next we went to Triston's new school and while we were welcomed with open arms, I could sense the trepidation in Triston. Probably because I experienced the very same thing when I was a first grader and it scarred me for life.

I had to go to a new school when I was in first grade. My mom took me the first day, a little late, and when we got to the classroom, things were already in order. ALL OF THE KIDS started staring at me when the teacher made a big deal about the new student. I lost it and cried and begged my mom not to leave me. I even told her I would go the next day with no problems, but she left me anyway and I still haven't forgiven her for it to this day.

So when we walked in to Triston's new classroom and the teacher (who is fabulous, by the way) was excited to see Triston and made a big deal about him being there and ALL OF THE KIDS started staring at him, I completely understood when he tried to bolt out the door. When he came back in he had a little sad look on his face and I promised not to leave him until he was comfortable. If he would have asked me to take him home so he could come back the next day, I would have happily obliged, but my friends he is braver than I and was just fine in a matter of minutes.

My boy is awesome. And today when I asked him if he liked his new school compared to his old one, he said, "NO!" I asked him why and he replied, "The toilets at [first school] are way better"! Ha Ha Ha Ha ha ha! You know, that kind of stuff is important to a guy, right?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Everyone's Favorite Dip.



It is known in our family as Texas Caviar, but secretly I like to call it Cowboy Caviar.

We have it at nearly every celebration or get-together on the Clowers' side and most recently I made it for our New Year's Eve thing. It's good and never lasts long.

  • 2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cans of corn, drained and rinsed
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced (Don't throw out those seeds!)
  • 1-2 fresh tomatoes or 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 medium purple onion, diced
  • 1 bottle of regular Italian salad dressing
Mix all ingredients together in large bowl and pour salad dressing to cover. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. (This isn't necessary, but it tastes better cold, I think) Serve with tortilla chips.

**Have you ever seeded a jalapeno? One time I decided to makes these little jalapeno appetizer things from Pioneer Woman and didn't read the part about seeding. My hands were on F I R E for hours. I had to soak them in milk and it didn't even help that much and I learned a valuable lesson that day. So, if you are going to seed the jalapeno, be careful. The seeds hold all the heat, you know. Wear gloves or just be careful handling it. I throw about a quarter of the seeds into the bowl with the rest of the ingredients to add a little kick, but this is optional, of course.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Seriously.


Items of Business
1.I have said to my lovely children 400 billion times today to stop wrestling in our family room. The brick fireplace is simply biding its time for bloodshed. Mark my words on this one.

2. I hate Mt. Dew. Even so, I drank a Blue Raspberry? one yesterday that was labeled "voltage". Needless to say, the bebe got his energy out, like River Dance style, right in the center of my abdomen.

3. I can see the light at the end of this tunnel called "SICK". Everyone has had this weird cough/fever/fiery chest and the antibiotics that we usually refuse are working! They are finally working and I think tomorrow will be the day I seize. Translation: Totally kick house-cleaning A.

4. Right before I became "Super Mom of the Year" by deciding it would be okay to take just a little Nyquil, my husband suggested raw honey. Raw honey! I completely forgot about honey and all it's natural healing properties. I always say honey is proof that God loves us. The pro: My cough improved pretty quickly. The con: I took it before bed and couldn't sleep. Also, don't judge with the Nyquil thing. My coughs were so violent I was peeing my pants each time I had an episode, which was like 500 times in one day.

5. I have the bravest son, ever. Triston L. Clowers, age 6, has agreed to attend yet another school. It's the 4th school of his little career and if you break that down it's a new school each semester since Kindergarten. Tomorrow marks the occasion and I have agreed to take him to his old school first so he makes sure to get his "blue scissors and glue stick" (but unbeknown to him really it's for his reading and math books so I don't have to buy them again) and to "tell his friends good-bye". That sounds really sad, but the truth is he will still see most of his friends because of sports and lego club at the library. Does your library have lego club? All the cool boys ages 6-10 are doing it.

6. One more thing. In December, right before Christmas, our little town put on a Christmas parade that was supposed to be really awesome and bring the community together. Well, it poured rain and was freezing outside, so I think some of the parade entries opted out, and even more attendants opted out. We went anyway and it was the best parade ever. The high school dance team came by first all bundled up with candy canes for the kids. Then, the high school band came walking by all decked out in their clear plasic ponchos, get this: playing a jazzed up version of Oh Come All Ye Faithful! And last was a huge firetruck with Santa at the head waving and being all jolly-like. If I am being honest, parades always get me a little bit, but I started to tear up as we headed back to the car and then I started weeping. Weeping! The boys were concerned and I tried to choke out, "They...played...a...religious...Christmas....song....". They totally didn't get it, but you probably do. Not very many places will even say Merry Christmas publicly for fear of liberal agenda. It would have been more common to hear "Jingle Bells" at our "Holiday Parade", but in my community the people welcome it and I would go so far as to say they expect Christmas festivities to be about our Savior. And that, is awesome. I am really happy to be a resident of this county.

That is all.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Let's Make Whoopie.



My SIL Danielle and I got all crazy right before Christmas and made Whoopie Pies. Not just any Whoopie Pies, but chocolate ones with mint filling and chocolate ganache to top it off. The recipe estimated 20 pies, so I bought enough ingredients for 3 batches. But, hello! Have you ever made Whoopie Pies? They take F-O-R-E-V-E-R to make and the 5 kids running around our house were starting to get cranky. It was like they wanted attention or something. Needless to say, we stuck to just one batch.

And they were good! Oh, they were so good! I gently wrapped the baking sheet with plastic so they would stay moist and placed them lovingly in the oven so they wouldn't be poked or prodded by little fingers. And then disaster struck. I pre-heated the oven for lunch the next day, completely forgetting about our little love cookies and ruined them. I ruined my baking sheet, too, even though it was on it's last leg anyway and my hair smelled of plastic for the whole day. Awesome.

Here's the recipe, just don't burn them up like I did.

Source: Bon Appetit

Cookies:

•2 cups all purpose flour
•5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
•1 1/8 teaspoons baking powder
•1 teaspoon baking soda
•1/2 cup nonhydrogenated solid vegetable shortening or unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature (I used butter)
•1 cup sugar
•2 large egg yolks
•1 tablespoon vanilla extract
•1 cup whole milk

Mint Filling:

•1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons nonhydrogenated solid vegetable shortening or unsalted butter, room temperature (I used butter)
•1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
•1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
•2 cups plus 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
•1/4 cup egg whites (from about 2 large eggs)
•3 to 4 drops green food coloring

Chocolate Ganache:

•3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
•1/2 cup bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips

Start with the cookies:

•Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat shortening, sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla in large bowl until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with milk in 2 additions, beating until blended after each addition.

•Drop dough by very rounded tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets, spacing 3 inches apart. Bake 1 sheet at a time until cookies are slightly puffed and spread but are still soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on sheets 10 minutes. Carefully transfer cookies to racks and cool completely. Repeat with remaining cookie dough. DO AHEAD Cookies can be made 1 day ahead. Store airtight in single layer at room temperature.

Go for the mint filling

•Using electric mixer, beat shortening, peppermint extract, and vanilla in large metal bowl until blended. Add powdered sugar, egg whites, and pinch of salt; beat until light and fluffy. Add food coloring drop by drop for desired shade of green; beat until well blended. If mixture looks curdled, place bowl over low heat several seconds and beat until smooth. Repeat as necessary until smooth.

Top it off like a pro: make a ganache

•Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Bring cream to simmer in heavy small saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chocolate; whisk until smooth. Cool until lukewarm but spreadable, about 15 minutes.

•Spoon 1 teaspoon ganache onto bottom (flat side) of half of cookies. Place cookies, ganache side up, on prepared baking sheet.

•Spoon mint filling into pastry bag fitted with medium star tip (or spoon filling into resealable plastic bag, squeezing filling into 1 corner of bag, then cut off 1/4 inch of plastic bag corner to allow for piping). Starting at outer edge of bottom (flat side) of remaining cookies and working toward center, pipe mint filling in spiral. Place 1 mint-filled cookie, mint side down, atop each ganache-topped cookie, pressing slightly to adhere. Store airtight at room temperature.

*And just in case your New Year's Resolutions included weight loss or healthier eating, just one of these cookies has 368 calories. I'd save them for a special occasion, wouldn't you?!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

Simplification.

I am looking for ways to make our lives simpler. The first is to eliminate Wal-Mart. We always have quite the experience in that store, but after my Jackson stepped in someone's puke outside our car door and then trampled into our car before anybody realized what had happened, I snapped. And I may have said a few curse words and maybe even cursed Sam Walton, himself.

The point is: it is never a simple trip to Wal-Mart and so I am boycotting. With a little time and effort I think I can stay on our current budget by shopping elsewhere. Besides, I have a theory that sick people who might possibly throw-up in a parking lot usually stay home unless they are one of the characters I see frequenting that place.

Know what I mean?


iPhone Dump 2019

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