Tuesday, May 26, 2009

So Proud

It's the little moments that make me so proud to be the mother to my children.  


I blame the boys.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Goin' to the dogs

Yes, life is all about the dog right now.  

When we adopted our little Sophie a little over a month ago, we knew there was a chance she kinda, sorta, possibly, maybe, might be just a little big pregnant.  That's cool.  I was good with that.  And I was super grateful that her previous family actually told us all of that before we made our decision so that it wasn't a big shock after we had made up our minds.  

Since this hadn't been a purposeful breeding, we weren't clamoring to go spend hundreds on ultrasounds to settle the whole "is she or isn't she" thing, we chose to just wait it out and see if it progressed or if it was a false pregnancy.  Very slowly we saw a little bit of growth and swelling, but still not enough to be obvious.  

Until about two weeks ago.  

There is no mistaking the fact that this dog is indeed very pregnant.  

I swear she is growing by the day, and lately it seems she is expanding by the hour!  I measured her belly tonight, just for fun.  21 inches.  WOW!  That is one big belly for this little dog!

Look at this-she's fully stretched and she's still huge!  

When she sits she looks like a turkey.  Our little furry turkey.  

We are now anxiously awaiting the arrival of a litter from Sophie.  I am such a dog person-I love having a dog again.  I also have always wanted the opportunity to have puppies.  

Uh, have a dog that has puppies.  I have no desire to have puppies myself.   

I think the whole process is a great learning experience for kids.  Are they old enough to appreciate it?  Probably not.  Maybe the oldest two or three.  Oh well.  This wasn't the time we originally planned for this experience anyway, but we are sure looking forward to it now!  

Look how cute she was as a puppy:


We were thinking that she might be in labor last night/early this morning;  She had a temp drop (one way to monitor impending labor), and has been acting kind of weird.  But today she regained her appetite and her temp has not stayed down or bottomed out, so it looks like we may be in for a few more days.  

I have never had a desire to take a dog's temp.  Now that I am doing it more than once a day, I still do not have any desire to take a dog's temp.  Almost as not fun for me as for her.  Ok, not quite.  She wins the awkward factor in this one.  But still.  

Since we don't have an exact date of the breeding, we are guessing on her due date, but it should be any day now.

And while we wait, I am thoroughly enjoying just sitting with her and watching all those little puppies squirming around inside her.  It is amazing to feel them jumping around in there!  

Kinda makes me miss that experience.  It almost makes me want to be pregnant again.  


But no I'm not.  So quit asking.  

Sweet Tooth Sunday

Ok, so technically it's already Monday since it's 12:04, but hey I haven't gone to bed yet so I call that it's still Sunday night.

This week, to quote LL, "you had me at cream cheese".  And while we're at it, LL, get ready to slap yo mama, 'cause this one is worth it.  You may even slap her twice.  Or heck, just slap all the kids and anyone else in range.  It's that good.

Movin' on!

This is another super rich recipe, next week I've got something else in store that is much lighter and perfect for the summer (still tweaking a couple of things in it, so it has to wait another week).  

Time for a confession;  this was the first time I've made this.  Typically I stick with tried and true recipes, but this little beauty comes from a trusted source (thanks Jen B!), and I've been eyeing it for a while.  I had narrowed down this STS to four things and had Aaron pick just by title.  Bless him for picking this.  Because of his good judgement, I spared him the slap and just slapped myself!  

Cream Cheese Brownies

This is an amazingly fudgy (fudgey?) brownie and a cheesecake all married up together.  And trust me, they live very happily ever after.  Oh boy, do they ever.  

Dear heaven, hang on, I need to go take another bite.

(honey, I'm sorry if the keyboard is sticky and chocolatey now)

First I'm going to give you the recipe in it's originally given form, then if you want to read a tad bit further I'll tell you the few minor things I will tweak next time I make this.  They are mostly a convenience thing, and won't detract from the amazing taste of this.  I promise.  

Brownie Layer:
1/2 cup butter, cut into pieces
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/4 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 c flour
1/4 tsp salt

Cream Cheese Layer:
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg

Preheat oven to 325.  (make sure rack is in the center)  

Ready a 9x9 baking pan by lining with foil across the bottom and up two opposite sides of the pan.  Set aside.

In stainless steel (heatproof) bowl placed over pan of simmering water (or use a double boiler), melt the butter and chocolate (I used cocoa powder-see end of post). 

 Remove from heat and stir in the sugar and vanilla.  

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well (with wooden spoon-or plastic spoon in my kitchen) after each addition.  Stir in the flour and salt and beat with spoon until the batter is smooth and glossy and comes away from the sides of the pan (about one minute).  

Remove 1/2 cup of the brownie batter and set aside.  Place the remainder of the brownie batter evenly into prepared pan.  
Using a food processor or hand mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth.  Add the sugar, vanilla, and egg and beat until creamy and smooth.  

Spread the cream cheese filling over the brownie layer.   Spoon small dollops of the reserved brownie batter evenly on top of the cream cheese filling.  

Then with a table knife or wooden skewer, swirl the two batters without mixing them.  
(All right-so I mixed them a bit much-and used a bit much batter on top, but it still worked!)  

Bake in the preheated oven for about 25min, or until the brownies start to pull away from the sides of the pan and the edges of the brownies are just beginning to brown.  Remove from oven ad place on a wire rack to cool.  Refrigerate the brownies until they are firm enough to cut into squares (at least 2 hours).  Once chilled, remove the brownies from the pan by lifting with the ends of the foil and transfer to a cutting board. With a sharp knife, cut into 16 squares.  It is a good idea to have a damp cloth nearby to wipe the knife between cuts.  These can be stored in the refrigerator for several days.  

(if you don't refrigerate them as long, they are gooey like this.  Mmmm....gooey.......)

**My Little Tweaking**
-if you don't have unsweetened chocolate, you can use 3 Tbsp baking cocoa + 1 Tbsp water for each ounce of chocolate
-ALWAYS double vanilla in a recipe.  any recipe.  Always.  Trust me.  Just do.  
-Pre-baking the brownie layer before topping it with the cream cheese layer provides a nice foundation.  Only bake for it for about 5 min though.
-I'm sure there is a great reason to only put foil up two sides of the pan, but I had some seepage under the foil making it harder to remove, so next time I will foil the whole pan.  

Also, I may double the cream cheese layer next time I make these.  Just to give it a little more height and swirling effect.  Although that just might cause me to water at the mouth for days, which would make my floor slippery, and you know how accident prone my #5 is, so.....apparently I'll need to invest in some bibs for myself before I do that.  


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Learn to Embrace the Smack in the Face

With a house full of little mouths, I don't make exotic food very often.  

Ok, let's be honest, I don't like a lot of exotic things either.  
Because of this, I usually stick to pretty basic foods, and pretty basic spices.  

But there are a couple of things I like to make that have a little bit of kick to them.  

When food has a kick, we use my husband as the scale for just how much heat something has.  This is one benefit to being married to a bald guy.  If a bite or two of whatever he's eating makes his head sweat, take heed.  One would think this wouldn't be a very reliable indicator (so many variables), but with regular doses of Tobasco and Smokin' Viablo, we've come to find that the sweat glands in his noggin are pretty reliable.  

Dinner last night turned into dinner and a shower.  

Wow.  Look at that man's head.


It wasn't even hot in the house, this is all due to food.

The interesting part was watching the kids eat.  While I'll admit, I tried more cayenne in this little dish than I typically do (it was still less than called for), it wasn't THAT bad.  Yet we had Dallin crying, yes CRYING after two bites.  No, I'm not that mean, he didn't have to finish.  A couple of the kids wolfed it down, and a couple complained after every bite.  When someone started whining that it was too hot, Aaron would reply with "Learn to embrace the smack in the face!"  We heard that a lot last night.  The kids sure tried, and did a great job at it.  I think two of them burned off their tastebuds, but hey, they'll grow back.  And even Charlotte happily held her own, although I did wipe off much of the sauce before feeding her any of it.   

Should you ever have one of those days when you need a smack in the face, I highly recommend this:

Chicken Enchilada Dip.

Horrible picture, yummy food.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

This, the 20th of May

Is Eliza Doolittle Day.

But it's late, so move your bloomin' ascot and get to bed!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Well, at least it didn't involve scissors this time



Could #5 be any more accident prone?  I mean, c'mon!


Two youngest boys playing happily (yay!) in the backyard.

I hear them occasionally near the window well covers.  That's fine, they're sturdy.

Then it gets quiet for a minute.  

Then I hear the window well falling shut.  Crud.  I knew what was coming next.

And....there it is!  Dallin screaming!  

Cue visual of severed or seriously broken fingers/hand/arm/leg/foot/something. 

(I was very impressed with my sprint time to the backyard.  Less than 3 seconds.)

And there is Dallin, with his foot stuck under the edge of the window well cover.  Which is a good sign.  This means his toe has not been severed.  But it was stuck.  Under a very heavy metal cover.  And upon lifting the cover to release him, there were two unbelievably smashed toes.  


Straight to the sink for a wash and icing down of the foot.  

It is nothing short of miraculous that this boy still has his toes.  Slightly swollen, not even broken.  Amazing.  Had he been just an inch closer, it would have been the emergency room for us.  

I think I may just duct tape him to his bed.  And pad his walls.   And his ceiling.  And wrap him in a sumo suit.  And then some bubble wrap.  And never let him near anything hard/heavy/sharp again.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Triathlon Accomplished!

I did not die.  

I did not come in last.  

It was good.  Very good.

I honestly can't believe how good it felt.  Running across the finish line was entirely too fun.  

I highly recommend this Tri to anyone considering it next year.  This was an all women tri which made it like a big group of girlfriends all just on one big long workout.  Before I got in the pool I had three new friends to hang out with on the pool deck.  It felt great to jump in the pool and know that there were plenty of other, um, not so strong  swimmers in there too.  
(let's face it, as one of my new friends put it, "I know how to not drown.  Actual 'swimming', not so much."  That sums up my pool portion really well)  Everyone that passed you passed with a "keep it up!", "you're doing great!", or some other kind, happy, encouraging statement.  
It was lovely.  

The amazing range of ages, sizes, and athletic ability were so fun to see.  It was an all-around inspiring day.  
There were some very serious athletes, they were in crazy good shape!  (the winners finished in 1hr 2sec.  Holy smokes!  The top three were separated by just seconds!)  There were a bunch of first timers like myself, and some ladies there just to be there and try to make it to the end.  Truly a wonderful experience!  

And now for your viewing pleasure:  Me.  

Lucky you!  

No, seriously not just me, but here is my first triathlon in all it's glory.  
(and me and my love handles making it to the finish line!)

On to June where I'll have Tri number 2, and hopefully number 3 as well to give me three races (with three events), for my three decades.  30 feels good! 

Wednesday, May 13, 2009



Moment of truth rapidly approaching.

Hopefully this means that the butterflies that are showing up today WON'T show up Friday night/Saturday morning.

I know many people have done much bigger things that I'm doing in a couple of days.  Huge props to you!!!  My goal is to not die.  Ok, well, technically it's to finish (hopefully not dead last), but to finish requires not dying.

To get over the nervousness plaguing me today, I signed up for a 5K.  Maybe I'll really go crazy and sign up for the other triathlon that's in June that I've been eyeing.  

Hopefully throwing the focus somewhere else, a little run and a nice swim will help.

We'll see.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Life according to an 8 year old boy

My lovely husband and oldest testosterone-laden child have been working on the beloved Pinewood Derby car. The Pinewood Derby is on Saturday.
(along with every other event in the world! Side note, can we PLEASE never do it on a Saturday again? Can we do it as a regular Pack Meeting like every other troop in the world? I'm begging you, please???)

Anyway, this whole male bonding time has given way to some serious reflection and interesting conversation between my husband and oldest son.

Today I was called to the front porch where wheels were being feverishly sanded and then painted,
and bb's were being melted in a mini skillet with a blow torch.
(all apparently very conducive to male bonding)

The conversation needed immediate passing on to my ears, lest it be forgotten or misrepresented.

What was so unbelievably important?

Please take note:

"Girls have an easier life. Easier than guys. Girls just have to clean and cook and take care of stuff and sleep. Guys have to fight and work at a desk all day and make Pinewood derby cars with their sons. And sometimes stay up all night."

Well ok then. Good to know.
(what the heck is with the "fight" bit? Ya got me.)

I'm guessing that my sweet wonderful husband made my son repeat this comment to me because he feared doing it himself.

Smart guy.

My kids must think I'm an idiot

Or just totally oblivious.  

Or completely BLIND.

Why you ask?  

This is why:

I'm fairly certain that the following ran through the perpetrator's head:
"Oh darn, I ate the whole thing.  Hmmm....how to cover that up.....  Mom will probably notice that a dish of her mousse is missing from the fridge.  Maybe if I just leave the dish in the fridge she won't notice.  Maybe she'll think that SHE is the one who snuck in here and emptied the dish with her finger!  Yah, that's it!  Just leave the dish there.....she'll never know the difference....."



Then there is this:

Good heavens children.  Last time I give you big Sundae dishes of mousse for dessert.  It's the little paper bathroom cups for you!  Take that!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Making a Happy Home Monday

Heeeeeeeere's Monday!  

(cue the corny music, and thank you Ed McMahon)

Once again it's that lovely blog carnival hosted by LL, my mom friend who understands my woes of testosterone overload since she also has birthed 4 boys.  It's good to have another who understands.  Misery loves company.  Wait, I'm not miserable, so more appropriately, moms with many little boys like those who understand how bad little boys make bathrooms look.  

Check out her blog here for the lovely details.

Today, sorry folks, no pictures.  

I know-not quite as exciting without them.  Instead you just get to hear me blab about what I did to hopefully feel productive.  

But really, you did not want to see befores or even durings today.  

My bathroom is now super-sparkly-you could eat off the floor-it even smells good-not a speck of anything left in there- clean.  Hallelujah.  

And my kids clothing has finally been changed out for the summer!  Yahoo!  I was going to do that back in April, but then it kept snowing.  And we keep getting mornings that start out in the mid-30s.  Mid-30s mornings be danged.  The pants and sweaters are put away!  Everyone has enough summer clothes that fit, and I only have to do about eleventeen more loads of laundry to get the rest of the cold weather clothes clean so that I can finish putting them away. 

But the best part of this is that shorter leg lengths and sleeve lengths + less layering = less laundry.  
And that deserves another helping of chocolate mousse in celebration.  

Happy Monday.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sweet Tooth Sunday

Look at me!  Sticking with the plan!  Yay me!

This week is......(drum roll please)...... Chocolate Mousse.

This isn't for you chocolate woosies out there, this is the real deal.  And be forewarned that if you happen to refer to this as pudding, or scarf this down as you would a cheap box mix of pudding, you will be smacked.  

This is NOT pudding.  Thankyouverymuch.

This recipe comes from my mom-it was always a huge treat for me to get a spoonful of this on those occasions when she whipped this up for a dinner party.  Love it.  She tried a new recipe recently.  While it was good, it was super time consuming and labor intensive.  This one works out just as well in a fraction of the time.  (and also tastes yummy piped into and onto dark chocolate cupcakes as seen in that one cupcake post)

 A few things before I get started;  
#1-you can make this darker than this recipe dictates (by altering the chocolate)
#2-you can omit the sugar for a dark chocolate taste
#3-you can also decrease the cream a little for a richer taste
#4-this is a VERY basic and simple recipe.  Takes less than a half hour (not including setting in the fridge), and if you have everything out and ready to go, it will only take about 10min.  I'll do a big fancy complicated one another day.
#5-Also if you are a raw egg freak-out person, you can use the pasteurized egg stuff.

Let's get started then!

Only 6 simple ingredients:

6 eggs
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 pint whipping cream
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla
12 oz semi-sweet chocolate
(while I love Ghiradelli or even Baker's bars, chocolate chips work out pretty well too!)

Separate eggs, add cream of tartar to egg whites and beat until stiff.  Set aside.
Melt chocolate in double boiler (or in heavy pan over low heat).  Cool.  Beat egg yolks into cooled chocolate.  Whip cream until stiff, add sugar and vanilla.  Fold beaten egg white mixture into whipped cream.  With mixer, add melted chocolate slowly to whipped cream/egg white mixture and beat until smooth and creamy.  Spoon into serving dishes and chill 3-4hrs.  Makes 10-12 small servings.

In photo instructions that would look like this:  

(just pretend those eggs are your kids arguing.  Again.)

When you start beating the egg whites/cream of tartar, it gets foamy.  This is not stiff.  Keep beating it until it is actually stiff!

While you are doing that, get that chocolate started-just remember, low heat!  You do not want to scald the chocolate.

And while the chocolate is melting, whip that cream too!  When that is done, fold everything together so that it is ready and waiting for the chocolate.

Make sure you let the chocolate COOL before adding the yolks; if you don't, they instantly cook and the chocolate gets all lumpy and stiff.  It still works out of, but you have little lumps and chunks in the mousse.  Still tastes good, the texture is just off.  

Add that chocolate in, beat it all up together, then dole it out into what ever little serving dishes tickle your fancy.  
There are also a number of fun ways to present this.  Presentation is everything!!  (sorry, too many years with the hotel chains)

Spoon it up to set in something fancy.  

If you like a little extra, cream on top is always good (wait until the mousse is set of course).

Get all fancy-schmancy in something fancy! (but don't try layering with kids pulling and/or climbing on you.  Doesn't work so well. Dang.)

Go for the plain old custard cup.

Or the sundae cup.

Or if you're feeling stingy you can dole out the kids' portions into those little tiny bathroom paper cups.  Take that kids.  (I don't actually have any of those, so just picture it in your mind)

If you want to pipe it into some sort of design or use it as a garnish on something (like with the cupcakes), it pipes really well after chilling for about an hour or so.  

Personally I think this is a nice serving size for myself: 

What a lovely follow up to a lovely Mother's Day!  


(whoops, sorry, I think I just drooled on the keyboard.)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

I Expected Injuries.....but this?

This breaches the creativity threshold for injuries, even with 4 young boys.  

I'm going to warn you now that this made my stomach turn last night.  

And now you've been warned.  But the pictures are at the end (and not too bad) just to give you another chance.

We headed back to the Instacare last night.  Yet again.  Although at least this time it wasn't for  obviously needed stitches, more for the possibility and the sheer lack of knowing what to do about this one on my part.  Quite frankly, I was dumbfounded.   What does one do for a serious nose laceration?  

Let's back up a moment and set the stage, shall we?  

It's growing late in the afternoon.  Charlotte and Lincoln are napping, Alaina, Jacob and Dallin are playing in the back yard, Malia has just arrived home from school and I'm in the office with Taylor battling long division again.  Apparently the light bulb that went off above his head the day before suddenly making the whole process so easy and understandable has quickly burned out.  Thus we were pretty involved.  Again.   Aaron is on his way home from work.  

As we're battling the evil that is long division I hear crying, whining and screaming from the backyard.  Great.  Dallin tends to be a whiny kid, so I headed outside to tell him to knock it off yet again.  On my way out Alaina flies past me on her way into the house as she heads for the linen closet.  As she runs by me I ask her what is wrong this time.  She says "don't worry mom!  He's justified in crying this time because he just cut his nose with the scissors!"

Excuse me?  

My sauntering turns into sprinting as Dallin heads in to find me, blood pouring from his nose.  After getting him to the bathroom and starting the clean up process I begin my attempts at getting an explanation from someone.  
And I try to figure out just what is bleeding and how badly.

I do some considerable mopping up of his face and see where the lines are.  I notice a deep scratch on the side of his nose.  It's just barely bleeding though so I can't tell if it's fresh, and I try to think back to the past few days and whether or not he's had a scratch there already that may have scabbed over (and has now had the scab removed).  That leaves my mind though as I realize he has a decent cut at the bottom of his nose.  

And then I realized that I need to find out just how decent of a cut this is.  So I suck it up and push the tip of his nose upward.  Then I find myself grateful for adrenaline because if it wasn't pumping through me I probably would have thrown up on my son.  While it wasn't irreversibly deep, and thankfully he didn't cut all the way through his septum, the thought of how it happened, combined with the sight and feel of what I was doing kind of hit me.

I still can't quite figure out what exactly was going on, but Alaina had scissors outside so she could cut the string that she was using to make a leash for a stuffed animal.  Dallin picked up the scissors and somehow caught his nose in them.  Imagine opening a pair of scissors, pointing them upward and putting your nose right down in the center of the scissors.  Then closing them.  Yah.  Try explaining that to the Dr. 

So what exactly does that look like?  


(you can see the cuts on the outside of his nose from where the scissors cut there as well)

Every time I looked at the kid last night my stomach did a little flip.  

Thankfully this did not require stitches, since it was in an awkward place, and with the natural shape of the face it was holding itself together pretty well.  The dr suggested just letting it be, but thankfully Aaron mentioned dermabond (over and over) and the dr finally got the hint.  A 4yr old needs all the help he can get to hold his nose together!  

I still have  hard time looking at his nose, but mostly because I know what happened.  Otherwise I guess it just looks like he was playing with a red pen or scratched himself pretty well.  

Is it bad that part of me wishes I would have taken a picture of what the whole thing looked like when I was pulling his nose apart?

Another "million pictures of my baby" post

'Cause she's so stinkin' cute.  

This child eats like me.  Mmmmm.....Food.......

She's adventurous in here tastes, especially for a 9 month old, preferring things with a little kick to the bland baby food that one bribes into a little chubby face one spoonful at a time.  

She seems to particularly favor two meals; Chicken Enchiladas in green sauce (with a little Spanish rice on the side), and Taco Salad-which is more affectionately termed "Taco Slop" in this house.  Maybe this is why we call it that:

And of course with that kind of mess clean up is easier in the tub than in the high chair.

(Why is dimply bum so cute on a baby??)

(Mmmm.....thinking back on dinner.....)

"Tubbed and scrubbed, and adequately fed" makes for one happy girl!