Thursday, December 25, 2008

Santa Shuffle

There are a lot of things that happen in life, and a lot of them make me think about how that particular event was for my parents- like, when I learned to drive. We lived in a super small town of 15,000 and so teaching me to drive wasn't nearly as bad (stressful? scary?) as I can imagine it will be for me when I teach daughter and then son to drive in a town that is topping a million plus people now. Oh, geeze.
Another one that comes to mind is Christmas and the whole Santa deal. And now also with daughter, the tooth fairy. She lost her second tooth today and so tonight we not only had to tiptoe around as Santa, but also the Tooth Fairy. I tried desperately to get her to pull the tooth last night, with this big convincing story about how if they both came at once, they may bump into each other and knock each other out, and no one would get their presents or money. But daughter just giggled and said that that would get her in the newspaper, and maybe even jail for ruining Christmas. I hope jail isn't still cool in about 10 more years. Yikes!
So anyhow, wrapping presents is never a problem.I just find a bedroom and lock myself in it. Sometimes if I am behind I do it on Christmas Eve, but normally (and especially now with 2 kids), that leaves me completely exhausted. So I wrapped my presents a few weeks ago.
Given the fact that we are serial movers (move #6 in 6 years), we've spent each Christmas in a different house, so with each year comes finding a new Santa routine. This year now that we are in FL, people obviously don't have basements with the whole hurricane thing, and thus we were forced to hide the presents in a very prominent non-locking closet. It was enough torture to make sure the kids didn't open that closet for the last oh, two months or so.
So tonight husband digs out all of the presents, and starts putting them under the tree. I wrap a few that weren't wrapped, and all is well. It then leads me to start thinking about how my parents did it. I wonder if they were as careful as I am, tip toeing through the house, not leaving a shred of wrapping paper behind and disposing of all wrapping paper after wards, even the unused rolls as to not leave any incriminating evidence.Checking the stairs every 10 seconds to make sure no one is up and coming down them. Did they have other ways of going about it, better secrets? Common sense would say to ask them these things, but it's more fun to imagine. Obviously they did something right because I was way too old to still believe in Santa and my parents finally broke the news to me. I'm actually not really sure why they spoiled the fun when it wasn't causing any harm, as I fully intend to let my kids believe for as long as they want. Who knows how long that is in this day and age.
Daughter is a very heavy sleeper (thank goodness), and son is not. So having him in his crib for now is helpful, and I'm contemplating keeping him in it until he no longer believes in Santa, so that I don't ever risk him sneaking down to find me "being Santa". Of course, if he is as old as I was then he may be a bit too big for his crib.
Little snippets of time like that are fun for me, when I think of how it was for my parents and how different things are now.
We're headed to Orlando tomorrow to start what is sure to be a movie-worthy trip. If I weren't so tired already, I just might would document it and pitch it to Lifetime hahaha. I'll be gone for about a week and a couple of days, at which point I am sure to update with some interesting stories.
Merry Christmas and happy all other holidays to everyone who celebrates anything special to them (did that possibly cover everyone?). May you all be blessed and have a wonderful rest of the year and safe New year!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A list

I've found my next recipe to attempt, which includes pounding chicken and rolling it out to stuff it with some odd strange mixture. This is sure to be an adventure, and I think I may save it until after the new year!
Things are moving along quickly towards our holiday travel. Looking back, I can't believe how fast this year has gone and how many things have changed. Nursing school was by far THE worst year of my life, but this year has been the most trying and testing for me. It hasn't been a bad year, but it's been a different year. I have learned that I am capable of so much more than most people give me credit for, and I've also learned that sometimes you just have to step up and let people know that. My family certainly didn't expect us to last in FL longer than 6 months (heard from their own mouths), and as our 7 month mark approaches at the end of this month, I am feeling somewhat accomplished (or maybe spiteful? I don't know).
I know that there are a lot of changes that need to be made in the new year. I need to get more active and lose some weight, start exercising and just get moving a lot more. Chasing after son and keeping the house clean are quite a god bit of exercise, but it's not enough. I am hoping that the new Wii Fit that we are getting to go with our Wii for Christmas will give me a jump start on that.
When the new year comes, husband will start his new position at work, and I will need to start thinking more about my own career. Getting my RN is proving to be increasingly difficult with son not in daycare or preschool, and being a bit of driving distance from most schools. My plan right now is to get my license back at the beginning of the year and just try to work for a couple of years and maybe go back at it. There's so much other stuff going on that I am not able to completely focus on my classes. Why can't they make a degree in Common Sense? I could honestly earn a Masters In Common Sense, but for normal academics, I am not so great. Ugh.

To switch it up a little, I was thinking the other day of things that annoy me, as I often do ;) And so in no particular order, I am going to list things that annoy me, for your reading pleasure . You can thank me later ;)

1. Overdoing it on clothing. Do you ever just find that one absolutely perfect piece of clothing? You know, you see it on the rack, you pick it up and it looks wonderful. You try it on, and it's like they had your exact body double when they made it. It was made just for you. Then you do a spin in the dressing room mirror, and there's this hideously placed button on the back, or one too many pieces of fabric, etc etc? I never understand this, and I think it's part of the reason why I wanted to be a fashion designer. I never understood why designers and companies couldn't understand that some people like simple pieces! I don't like 10 million ruffles on my sleeves, and sometimes I don't want a gold button in the middle of the elbow for pete's sake! I don't know how many times I have picked up a shirt and almost bought it, and then some hideously out of place thing makes an appearance, once again ruining my perfect find. Ugh.

2. Saying X-Mas. honestly , I just can't get that one. Are people so rushed that they can't type out Christ instead of using an x? And if in fact they don't believe in Jesus, then why are they celebrating Christmas? Flame me if you will.

3.People who run you over in the "slow lane". You quickly learn in a town of a million people, that even on a 5 lane interstate, there is no slow lane. Sometimes I don't want to go 85, ok? I think that's my right as an American, to not always want to go 15 over the speed limit.

4. People who stare. I never get that one. Do you honestly not know that it makes people uncomfortable? Sheesh! This one goes along with nosy neighbors. We have one. It sucks.

5. When I go to the store and come home and realize that I forgot to put about 10 things on my list. which is part of the reason I hate grocery shopping. Due to my lack of being able to make a complete list, I end up going about 3 times a week. Seriously.

6. Selective hearing. Damn you, selective hearing. And whoever made up that term sucks, because it gives people an "out". You cannot physically turn off your hearing, unless it comes from a Bell Tone. Why not just admit that sometimes you listen, sometimes you don't?

7. Chicken. Yes, the meat. I don't eat any red meat or fish, so my meat source comes only from chicken and the occasional turkey. And yes, please spare me how they are they dirtiest of the animals, or I will have to revert back to not eating any meat at all which has proven to be bad in the past given my detest for most vegetables. Anyhow, why is that chicken is almost always rotten at Walmart? no matter what date is on it, I open it up to cook it and it smells, well, dead. But rotten too. Thus, I can only get my meat from Publix, and they are so expensive on everything else. Then the 3x a week trip to the store becomes 4 so that I can get most things at Walmart and meat at Publix.

8.Ticket scalping or jacking up prices. Do you know that I love football? Love it. Dallas Cowboys are my team. Do you also know that the Superbowl is just 3 short hours from my house and you can't find a ticket less than $1000 per person. Robbery, it is.

I'll spare you from other things for the time being, mainly because I can't think of a lot of them. There are so many times that things happen and I say, "add that to my list". There isn't an actual list anywhere, but it lies in my head, and many things (and some people hehe) are on it ;)

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Ok, so being over the hormonal hump for the month, I feel like I can come back here and talk as a human now instead of a two-headed monster.
This time 6 years ago, hubby and I were married. It's been a LONG, rocky, fun, trying, tiring, exciting 6 years! 6 houses, 2 kids, and 1 dog later, we're still plugging along :)
Of course, we have been in the anniversary slump for 5 years now. We've had some interesting ones. Our first anniversary was nice, but then on our second anniversary we were not even in the same town- husband was on disaster duty for severe floods, and I was packing our house- alone- in subzero temperatures and moving it myself. Yes, not fun. Our 3rd anniversary was spent arguing for 3 days in the nation's capital, our 4th anniversary was spent in town because I was hugely pregnant and in nursing school, then we come to last year- the 5th anniversary in which we had a fabulous caribbean cruise planned and we were all sidelined with the dreaded stomach virus, which caused us to cancel our cruise- mind you, husband was cheap and didn't purchase the trip insurance. Thankfully, Carnival was nice enough to give us credit towards a future cruise, but we used it to take the kids so it wasn't exactly what we originally planned.
This year we aren't doing anything, we're here in a new-ish town, and have no babysitter, and daughter has once again brought illness into the house as she did to us last year on our anniversary. Only this time it's strep throat, and I would MUCH rather have strep throat in the house than the stomach virus. Of course I wouldn't want anyone to be sick, but I prefer anything over barf.
Husband got me a pretty pair of black diamond earrings, and I got him a mix of things such as golf shirt, hat, movie, and black panties (not for him LoL).

Other than that, nothing much exciting has happened. Husband was offered a better job position in his same office building, which would give him a little more of that raise that we were screwed out of, but still nowhere near the original promise. Any bit helps though.

He hasn't made his decision yet, so we'll see what comes of it.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

One of THOSE days..

Today is one of those days where there may be humor all around, but I am surely not in the mood to see it. Yep, that lovely witch is here for her visit for the month. Of course that means I didn't immaculately conceive the twins that Discover Card guy wished for me, so that's always a plus.

Husband and I will celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary Sunday. I finally finished up my shopping for that last night, along with about 80% of the Christmas shopping. Then I remembered 3 more people who will be present at Christmas, so yeah, more shopping.

Husband got his raise today, and out of the $30K we were promised, he got $2K. No, that isn't a typo.

I'm grateful for any increase in funds because yes, it could be much worse, etc etc. However, we moved to FL on the assumption that his salary wouldn't be an issue. We took a huge jump in cost of living compared to where we were, so it's going to be rough now. There will have to be some major adjustments made for sure.

BLAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. On to figuring out a new course of action, whether it be that I get a job or a new career or....ah, who knows. It's one of those days!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


The more I write this blog, the more I am thinking that maybe life is more interesting that I had originally thought. Either that, or the most random things seem to happen to me.

A couple weeks ago a representative from Discover card calls us and says that they have had some hack into their system, accounts have been compromised and that they have reason to believe ours may have been one of them. She calls the Tuesday before Thanksgiving to tell me this, and says they are going to cancel our cards immediately and send us new ones- unless I need to keep it to use to go shopping on Black Friday.

I had to laugh because
A) I do NOT go out on Black Friday. We may be strapped for cash this year, but no amount of savings will lure me out of my bed at 5am to go out with a bunch of people who are (mostly) greed driven, and likely have not showered. It's humid, it's crowded, and I will be beyond angry if someone pushes me or repeatedly bumps into me. It's nearly impossible to navigate a stroller on Black Friday, and all courtesy to women with strollers gets thrown out the window on that day. You are seen as an obstacle. The last Black Friday I went out on was when I was in high school and worked at the toy store, people were fist fighting over Furby's and that was enough for me to know that I am not doing that again.
B) there is like $130 left available to spend, so even if someone does steal the account number, they are going to be somewhat disappointed when they try to use it to buy a new 8 million inch plasma tv.

So even though I said I wouldn't be using it, they were still nice enough to UPS the new cards to us which arrived on Black Friday. As I said, we weren't going to be using them and hadn't even bothered to activate them.

Since we're doing so much traveling for Christmas and it costs $30 PER suitcase (seriously what is that?!) on our airline, the majority of people are getting gift cards, and the rest are getting photo books and calendars of the kids- things that travel flat in my suitcase. Upon checking the Discover bill online yesterday I see that they are having a "deal" on their gift cards. $2 off each gift card (which brings it down to $1.95 service fee per each), and free shipping. We had some cash back bonus and so I got all of the gift cards for the cousins that were getting them, for a small service fee but saved $20 in free money (or money they gave us for spending a fortune with them, depends on how you look at it).

I go through all of the fun stuff- choosing the design, the amount, the recipient, etc etc. I get to the final page and it won't take the card-- oh yeah, forgot to activate it. Crap. So I call Discover and get the operator to activate it. He does his usual spiel about do I want the insurance, you know, you can delay a payment in the event of moving, being laid off, etc, and about that time son comes running down the hall crying over something. I'll have to give him credit for using that as a good transition because he said "If you have more kids, you can also delay payments". To which I responded "No more kids!!! " He laughed and said "Oh, come on, it could even be twins, I'll pray for you to have twins!"

You know, that's all it took. I've been cursed. Or blessed, depending on your view. We don't have any plans on having any more kids, ever. But twins run in my family and I've avoided it twice. Now some credit card representative has spoken it to be true, and I am fairly certain that if I am ever to get pregnant again, it will be twins. I told him that there are MANY MANY things that I would appreciate him praying for me for, but twins is not it! LoL

Sure the novelty of saying "We had twins!" would be great- for like 2 days. Then you would come home from the hospital and have two screaming messes who constantly need everything at the same time, until they start doing completely different things at completely different times which I am convinced would be even worse. I always said I would love to have twins. But I meant as my first and second children, and then snip husband and be done. I never meant that if I ever got the nerve to have a 3rd, that I would want it to be accompanied by a 4th.

Thanks a lot Discover guy, thanks a lot. Probably not so much from me, but from husband. I am sure he will be frustrated to know that he is never allowed to touch me again for fear of multiple babies resulting from it hahaha.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The wrong place at the right time

This may be another one of those "you had to be there" type things. I tend to have a lot of those. Upon getting smacked in the head with a plastic pumpkin last night and husband commenting about I was in the wrong place and the wrong time, it brought back a memory of the wrong place at the RIGHT time. Or at least I think so.

Which went down in history, and will forever be known as "The Lady Who Got Shrek'd". And yes, I mean like Shrek from the movie.

It was summer of I think 2005. We take a family vacation to the beach every year, and this year we talked my parents into going. They detest the beach in the summer- yeah, I find it weird too. But, they went. It was a great time, great weather, we really had a lot of fun! But, that isn't the point of my story.

The beach was about a 6 1/2 hr drive from where we lived at the time. We were all tired of being in the car when we got there, and so when we checked in, my mom went ahead and took daughter to the room while we unloaded all of our stuff.

Between the 3 of us and a luggage cart, we get it all in about one load. I get to the room and go to open the door and it won't open, so I start knocking. My mom opens the door just a crack, with a pale face and a look of almost terror on it. Daughter is sitting by the closed balcony door crying "I want my Shrek!!!"

There are many things that someone could have thought, but I just went ahead and asked what was going on. My mom opens the door like she is a felon, and my daughter is crying, and we haven't been there but about 20 minutes.

"What is going on?" I ask.

To which my mom responds quickly but quietly "She (daughter) threw her Shrek off of the balcony and hit some lady in the head and now she's down there laying on the concrete by the pool."

I'm sorry, but this is already funny.

After my mom quickly rushes us into the room (I am assuming she thought the knocking from me was the hotel staff or an angry family member seeking revenge), she says that they got in the room and daughter wanted to see the ocean. So mom opened the balcony door. Daughter was really into Shrek at this time, and had a small one that she carried around. When she went to grab the rail on the balcony, she dropped Shrek. He had a very soft body, but a very plastic head and the horns didn't feel that great! He was only about 3-4" tall, but I assume from the 3rd floor balcony, that he quickly goes head-down and gains speed.

Yeah it couldn't have felt good at all.

Shrek comes plummeting from the 3rd floor, and at just the right (or wrong, depending on your sense of humor) time, a lady is walking in that very spot, and Shrek hits her right on the head. She promptly falls to the ground, I am assuming from being startled, and people gather around her. No, she isn't unconscious, and we later spotted her at several different occasions getting drunk (or possibly nursing a migraine? HA- ok, sorry), so she wasn't actually injured.

Daughter cries multiple times for her Shrek throughout the vacation, which everyone refuses to go try to find because this day and age, you never know who might sue you, and we need gas money to get back home. The lady was fine, and yes if she was visibly injured we would have went down there. There are just some times that you need to remain anonymous.

A few days later we are in the kiddie pool, and this boy has a Shrek. It is the exact one that daughter had, so we ask him where he got it from. He tried to make up this big story about how he brought it with him, but we knew he was lying, and thus Shrek (otherwise known as evidence) was returned to his rightful owner. My mom promptly runs over to the beach chair with Shrek and wraps him up in multiple layers of towels. Yeah, she spent the majority of the vacation being paranoid after said incident, and giving us scowling looks when we laughed about it until we cried. I guess she would have been deemed the accomplice, and so she never really found the humor in it.

We spent a good bit of the rest of vacation time peeking over the balcony for anyone who looked like a potential witness before going out there, and my dad and husband would just burst into laughter at random times when they thought of the woman who got Shrek'd. The first night after the incident, they were laughing so hard at dinner that the drinks were sloshing out of the glasses. Thankfully we were in a loud restaurant, and so they didn't stand out too much with their fits of hysterical laughter.

After I got "Shrek'd" with the plastic pumpkin last night, it made me think of that day and how that lady -I am sure- talked about how she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Except that it was just too funny not to laugh, and so in my opinion she was in the wrong place at just the exact right time. At least from our vantage point. Yeah, we have that crude sense of humor.

I brought the Shrek back home and still have him to this day. He lives in daughters baby keepsake box, I am sure a first in the history of keepsake boxes- at least for the same reasons as us. I don't think he'll make any more trips to hotels- unless we're staying on the ground level of course.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Pumpkin to the head

I think I forgot to mention that due to either
A: selective hearing
B: a miscommunication
C: an honest misunderstanding

that I didn't get to go to the girl's night out on Friday. Husband thought I said one time, and I actually said another, point of the story, it was too late when he got home with son and so I went to Publix instead.
Well after the cookie experiment gone terribly wrong, I didn't exactly want to take them to the girls night out, but I didn't necessarily want to just put them in the trash either. My guess was that I would do the usual, I would let them sit, untouched, on the counter, until they were quite old and hard as a rock. Then I would open them and comment about their consistency and how there was no possible way anyone could eat them. Though no one ever intended to eat them to begin with, at least I then felt like I had a justified reason for trashing them.
So I laughed when husband suggested that he take them to work. There are a bunch of "well rounded" (in the midsection) people that work there, and he says they will eat anything (gee,thanks). But it was fine with me, we obviously weren't going to eat them and that was our best option. He came back home this evening with an empty bowl, and said they were gone in 20 minutes. He says that they were all actually enjoying them and said for him to tell me thank you LOL. I kind of feel like I need to make something that actually tastes good to make up for them having to suffer through those, but apparently they enjoyed them and so I think I will spare myself from another cooking adventure at least until the new year.
There wasn't any other excitement in the house this evening, except that for some reason, husband hit me in the head with a plastic pumpkin. More like a mixture of foam and plastic, so I don't know what that is. I took down my fall decorations long ago, except these 4 pumpkins that sit at the top of the stairs. I walk past them 100 times a day, and never pick them up. The dog carries them back down the hall 100 times a day, and I yell at him. There is no real reason for them to be there, and they *should* be put up with the other fall stuff. Yet I never do this. Tomorrow I will (I just decided that).
Anyhow. Husband gets the idea that he is going to "help" me out by getting those decorations downstairs. Then I will stop fussing about them, the dog will quit chewing them, and son will leave them alone. Yet rather than take them all downstairs (hey, not criticizing because I haven't taken them down either), he decided to *throw* them down. They aren't heavy ,they won't break, in fact they probably would have bounced. But, true to the usual fashion of the oddest things always happening to me, I came around the corner *just* as he is releasing pumpkin #1 into the stairwell and it promptly smacks me right on top of the head. I obviously am startled, as I usually don't look for things flying at my head when I go upstairs- though I might start now! It was an accident, right place wrong time I suppose, and thankfully it didn't hurt, or else I may have had to hurt him.

70 in December

Following my baking experiment gone wrong, and the parade that never was, we had a relatively calm rest of the weekend. I went on to take two tests, which I am certain that I failed, but still somehow find this comforting because it means the classes are over and I didn't need those grades to pass anyhow. All that matters is that I will never see College Algebra again, and this is the best Christmas gift ever!! The weather here is in the 70's while our old hometown is getting pelted by snow. I can say that I don't miss that! Driving with kids, or driving at all, in the snow is just so inconvenient. The slipping, the sliding, the 800 layers of clothes that you have to put on the kids, only to turn around and take it off for them to go pee and start all over, it's not something I miss.
Husband's friend couldn't make it to watch the game Saturday night, so we had some
"spare time" (though there is no such thing after having kids), to put up the Christmas tree. Only that it's pre-lit, and the upper 1/4 of it was no longer lit up. Rather than feel the need to exchange it, husband steals lights from one of our outside trees to fix it. I am certain that we will have ALL of our Christmas decorations complete once it's time to put them up until next year. For now, we have 7 out of 8 front windows with a candle in them (#8 is in the car, along with the mailbox decorations), and 2 out of 3 trees in lights but no extension cord to plug them into since ours all seemed to have shorted out in the move. yes, moving seems to single out your most used and needed things to ruin, that you would never think to check until it's just the last minute.
Aside from that, we are in full-on travel preparation mode. We are making our first flight as a family from here in FL to WV. Anyone who knows me knows that I HATE to fly, and I won't even go into the huge inconvenience that it is causing us. Next year I have already volunteered us to come in for Thanksgiving instead.
Ok, I am off to brainstorm. It's our 6th wedding anniversary Sunday and I have to think of something to buy/cook/build/make that won't break the already fragile bank. Wish me luck as my brain is mush these days and creativity is at it's minimum!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The "parade"

Do you ever find yourself wondering just HOW you always seem to get involved into the strangest things, or how "it" (whatever it may be) always happens to you (or it feels that way)? I do, for sure. Some of the times, it's things that just come in streaks, making me feel like I constantly have bad luck. That was how it felt when we moved to FL, one bad thing happening after another. It was getting to the point that I couldn't even clean the shower in the bathroom in the guest bedroom without the curtain rod falling on my head- seriously!
I'll spare you all of the long and drawn out stories about how we endured about 2 months of constant bad luck- nothing was ever major and the most important thing was that we were all still safe and healthy, but it does wear on a mind. So rather than go into all of the sad stuff, we'll take a different turn.
At some point, FL decided to let up on us, and now and then there are things that turn comical. Take today for instance. Daughter is supposed to participate in a parade for her dance school. It was completely optional, but I thought it would be fun and help us to get into the holiday spirit. I'll admit I was a bit nervous because I am not one to trod down the street waving at thousands of people and hurling candy at them - at least not on a normal basis. But hey, I'm doing it for the kid, as if she doesn't have enough to do already, and as if I don't have two finals to take at the school today (in about an hour-YIKES).
Of course the parade is optional as I said, but if you participate you do have to buy the hoodie and pink santa hat- which after all was said and done for 2 hats and 1 hoodie cost us about $40. As the date nears for the parade, I am contemplating backing out because we have SO much to do this weekend, and I am disgusted that I don't have my Chritsmas tree even up yet!
So the day-today-comes, and we are supposed to meet at 9:30. It's roughly a 25min drive there, and I wake up at 8:45. CRAP. I imagine 9:30 rolling around and they say "Oh, they aren't here but they will be, they are ALWAYS late", cause well, we are. I hate it, but I cannot be on time for dance or anything dance related it seems! I take a quick shower and get her ready, and off we go.
So we pull out of the house for our 25 min drive, at 9:25. Yeah, we are LATE. Not to mention that I have lost my directions, and have barely a general idea of where I should be going. I put what I think is right in my GPS and haul arse up the road.
We arrive at the road to turn off, and it's where I thought it was- in a really busy part of town. Yet I see no one lining the streets for said parade. Then I see signs (thank goodness), and continue to follow them for at least 2 miles. I wonder if we're going to be walking that whole route, as I can imagine daughter will be tired, cold, cranky, and ineveitably she will have to pee at the worst time where there is no place, and leave us running alone at the end of the parade to catch up and nearing heart attack status.
I cut into the road where the signs lead and all of the sudden it is strictly residential, and sparsely populated at that. We go another 1/2 mile and there is the "festival".
I won't go into all of the details, but when it's time to line up, only the dance school is standing there, and it quickly becomes apparent that what I assumed was a huge Christmas parade, is in fact me, daughter, and about 15 other people walking down the sidewalk, singing Christmas carols to the vendors at the festival, following a hugely jacked up go cart painted in FL Gator colors, and being fumigated from the gas smell from it. We are tossing candy canes in the grass to no one in particular, and I am beyond embarrassed. Yeah, it was like that. The entire "parade" lasted about 10 minutes, cost us $40, but definitely game me something to laugh about for the rest of the day if not longer. Maybe it's one of those things where you had to be there, but I surely will be laughing about that one for a long time to come!!
Moral of the story for me is, I apparently have a very different idea of a parade than some people, so next time I need to be sure to check that out before I am all gung ho in participating LOL
I at least thank FL for giving me something to laugh about instead of cry,I only hope I don't burst out laughing during my tests.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Light & Fluffy??

Those who know me, know that I am not a fabulous cook. It will be edible, presentation does not count, and that's about it.
So I was invited tonight to a Girls Night Out/Holiday Cookie Exchange tonight, and figured I would try something new. Anyone can go and buy the pre-cut chocolate chip cookies from the store and make them look home made. I'm up for a challenge ,so I decide on Ginger cookies- which I thought were the same as gingerbread cookies, but I am not sure. Plus money is tight and it was one of few recipes that I had most of the ingredients already in the cabinet. Except baking soda, and molasses.
We take daughter to gymnastics last night and I stop on the way home to buy said molasses and baking soda. Much to my worry that I would NEVER find the molasses (since I had to look up what it even was to begin with- hey, I said I don't cook.), it was right there on a display at the very front of Publix. Score! I head to the aisle to find baking soda, at which I am faced with at least 3 different choices. I see the traditional baking soda that usually comes to mind- Arm and Hammer. At this point I become concerned, because even though it does clearly say baking soda on the box, nowhere do I see one of it's uses listed as actual baking. I am *quite* turned off by using it in something that will be eaten when it's first claim to fame on the box is scratchless cleaning of pots and pans, so I settle with baking powder instead, and hope that they are the same thing or similar.
I planned on doing my actual baking today, while son is napping. He is the lightest sleeper in the world, and sounds carry like none other in this house, go figure. So he is finally asleep, I catch my shower and head soooo quietly downstairs to get started.
I gather all of my ingredients and set them on the counter, and naively put some lunch in the microwave. The recipe does say 10 minute prep time, and so I assume that I can whip these puppies up and head back upstairs in no time.
For starters, the recipe basically has you make it in 3 separate parts, and then at some point combine them all into one. At no particular point does it tell you where to combine parts 2 & 3, nor does it say it in literally the 1300+ comments from people who are raving at how wonderful said cookies are.
So I make the first part, which consists of just putting together lots of flour and spices and sifting them. No, chef Chantelle does not own a sifter, and so hand mix with a wisk it is.
Part two calls to beat an egg (did it), and at some point add the molasses and water (or someone suggested using Orange Juice for more kick, and so I do), which creates a nasty and smelly mess.
Let me start by saying that nowhere on the bottle of molasses do they warn you that this stuff smells like dog food and beef jerkey, neither of which do I eat. And so I find myself glad that I am not pregnant, because otherwise that is a smell that surely would have sent me running and the whole cookie operation would have been aborted.
So all systems are go, and I'm feeling rather proud despite the mess in my kitchen, which I do not have time to clean, and company is coming tomorrow along with a Christmas parade, anatomy exam, and Math final. Yeah, it's that kind of weekend and I'm baking cookies.

Then we get to the final step. With parts 1 & 2 set aside, I am supposed to cream the butter and sugar until it's light and fluffy. ..........Excuse me?
I can only assume that this is done by mixing those two things (again I tell you, I do not cook, and if I do it comes with very simple instructions), and beating them with a mixer, and so I do. Only my butter was melted and not softened, and nothing light nor fluffy about it.

Time to regroup. I head back upstairs and find out how to soften butter (duh on that one!) and cream the mixture. Armed with my new wealth of information, I head back to the kitchen.

I put the new softened butter in it's bowl, and add the sugar. I put the mixer in and go to town. According to my research, this may take anywhere from 2-10 minutes, at which point it will no longer be a mess, and will be almost like Cool Whip (and then I contemplate using Cool Whip instead, because it would honestly have been a lot easier!). At about the 3 minute mark, I am nowhere near light and fluffy, I have entered a sugar pellets stage. Pieces are flying and the mixture is looking smaller and smaller. At the 5 minute mark, it appears that I have made mashed potatoes, so I'm good enough with that and cut off the mixer.
The last step is of course rolling the dough into balls, rolling it into the sugar, and putting it on the cookie sheet. This is where it all really falls apart. Instead of the dough being sticky AND runny like the reviews have stated, it is of paste- like consistency. I repeatedly have to wash my hands, leaving me to wonder why I felt the need to shower before doing this. This recipe supposedly yields 24 cookies, and all of the sudden the once small mixture seems to have quadrupled and is never-ending. At 24 cookies, I am over this all and I dump the rest of the batter in the sink.
Finally long after the supposed 10 minute prep time has passed, my cookies are in the oven. And 12 minutes later they are out. My kitchen is trashed, but they look decent and they no longer smell like dog food. The only problem left is that they resemble an extremely old sidewalk- in other words, cracked all to pieces along the top. It kind of gives character, but leaves me wishing that my coolest gadget ever- the ultimate chopper- were still in service so that I could turn my regular sugar into confectioner's sugar, and make the vanilla glaze to creatively cover said cracks.
But now the challenge is over and I have completed my first (and only!) batch of ginger cookies, which look like a jigsaw puzzle, but do not taste like Pedigree. I still don't think I will put my name to them, and when someone asks which ones I brought, I will give a very grand wave towards the cookies and say "Oh, you know, those right there", and then disappear to somewhere else when they turn to see. This is my plan. Let's hope it works!