Monday, October 24, 2011

Things I love about the new place

So I haven't written in an eternity and part of the reason is because we've been moving for what seems like an eternity! But we're now 90% moved in and starting to settle. It was a tough process but I couldn't be happier that we chose to do this.

So, here is my list of things I love about the new house!

1. The room! Our old place was pretty cramped. It was on the small side when we moved in and, as we added a husband and several pets since then, it was SUPER small by the time we left. But now there are enough bedrooms for the kids to each have their own and, as a result, the amount of morning and bedtime arguments are greatly reduced. It also means we have a sudden return of closet space, cabinet space, and general floor space.

2. The yard. The old place was much more apartment like so there was little yard, except out front where all we could do was hook the doggers up on a lead to give them some exploring time. Now we have a fenced back yard (especially since Not-So-Ex fixed the fence so that it actually can contain the doggers after a first day of them getting out of both their kennel and the fence repeatedly leaving me in a state of insanity rarely seen) and on beautiful days like today I can leave the back doors open and let the dogs go in and out as they wish while I carry out my normal work. This option has made Lucy much less of a black sheep, which is always good. Even Jaker loves the freedom.

3. The sunroom. We have a front room that is mostly windows and which makes it possible to bring my dwarf trees and other sensitive plants inside and keep them going through the winter. Or at least it will in theory. I do have two dogs with the run of the place. They best not eat my dwarf pomegranate tree again.

4. The kitchen and bathroom. While neither room is perfect (hopefully yet), they are VAST improvements over the last place. The kitchen has an oven that will actually hold two cookie sheets side by side (the last oven wouldn't). As if that wasn't enough, the oven even has a correct temp (old one was 50 degrees off) AND a timer! As for the bathroom, it has storage space in form of a closet AND a cabinet (old place had NADA) and some actual floor space. Probably the best part is that I can fall and not hit my head on the toilet. I know that sounds crazy, but I am tremendously clumsy and my fall at the old place scared the crap out of me!

5. The basement. Our old house had a VERY leaky basement. And I really mean it when I say VERY. One time it was up to my calves because even the drain backed up. The new house will probably have some water issues, I don't expect it to be perfectly watertight, but so far, so good. It's also a bit less perfect of a horror movie scene, which makes me quite happy. We've got our washer and dryer all set up now, so I'm sure we'll be spending plenty of time down there and I'll be happy to not expect a stabbing every time I go to change the loads over. LOL

Ok... that'll do for now I guess. While there's plenty to love, I also have to say I really hate boxes and will be thrilled when they are all gone! I'd better get back to doing my dishes now!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Why today is awesome!

So I'm sick. I have some sort of cold/allergy/crud thing and it knocked me on my butt-butt. Yesterday was one of the worst days I've had in a while because I managed - all in one day - to lock myself out of the house (while my phone was, of course, in the house), accidentally let Lucy the Asthmatic Demon Dog loose on the world for about 5 minutes, and get called into work very briefly while feeling like a sniffly zombie.

But, while yesterday was horrific, I am determined that today will be superb. And why would I expect that? Because we just got the call that my beautiful little car is finished and we can pick it up from the body shop!
My poor little baby - after the attack
Now for those of you that are out of the loop, my car that we bought not even 6 months ago was brutally attacked. She was sitting, parked, on the road by our house - minding her own business - when a big ole ambulance smashed into her. As a result, she has spent most of September in the car hospital being put back together. And, while she's been hospitalized, I've been forced to drive a rental car that, while being much like my girl on the surface, I am convinced is a male car. The rental has been fine, and is much better than having to share a car with Not-So-Ex, but it's just not my girl.

So the goal for today is to keep myself hopped up on cold meds so that I can function, rather than returning to my sniffly zombie status, pick up my baby, get myself to work for a bit, get my kiddos after school, and then have a relaxing evening. Tomorrow is one of my early mornings at work so I definitely have to get myself feeling better by the end of today! Wish me luck!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Pittsburgh wrap-up

So it's been almost a week since we headed to Pittsburgh for the U2 concert and I realized that I hadn't written a thing about it. To sum up the experience in as few words as possible, it was quite the tragicomedy.

We arrived in Pittsburgh to find out that we had no hotel room. And, since we had planned on showering and cleaning up before the show, that was quite a blow. We had also planned on parking at the hotel, so that became another issue. The hotel (a Hyatt Place) was incredibly condescending and cruel, which only ensured that we will never stay at a Hyatt again. I spent a few minutes in full on break down mode, but eventually shook it and decided we could make the best of it.

So we found a parking place close to the stadium and set out to find food and a bathroom where I could change clothes. We found a packed restaurant, where they were so busy that they couldn't even promise we would get a seat before the concert started (which was about 4 hours away at that point). So, while we couldn't get food, we could get into the bathroom.

We then decided to go back to the stadium and wonder around a bit, find a place in the shade, and chill for a bit. So we got huge containers of lemonade and a bench and watched the crowd for a while. Then we eventually returned to the car to soak up some ac and charge our phones and ipods before the show.

Once we went in to the show, we got some stadium food and actually found a nice, breezy place to sit and eat. Then we found our seats and got ready for a great show.

And it was one heck of a show.

The kids loved it and Hunt realized that he really did like concerts. We sat and sang, with me leaning over to Hunt so he could hear me sing the words and would know what the songs were. Unfortunately, Rena started feeling sick to her stomach during the encores and we had to leave a couple songs before the show actually ended.

After we got out of there, I was determined to just drive on home but, of course, that just wasn't possible. We made it about an hour out of town and I decided to stop and at least see about getting a room. The hotel I tried had a lovely, very southern woman at the desk and she set us up in their very last room.

The next morning, we all woke up feeling better. We lazed around in the room and all gradually took our showers and got ready. Our mood was so much better that we decided to head back into Pittsburgh where we had a nice lunch at a little diner, got our favorite popcorn, and then went to buy massive quantities of the best BBQ ever (Pittsburgh BBQ Co.). We headed home then and got back just in time to have a BBQ dinner with Not-So-Ex.

So, while things definitely didn't go as planned, we pulled through in the end.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The countdown begins...

In one week and one day, this is where I'll be:

I love U2. I love old U2 most, but I will love them till the day after I die. I love Bono. I loved early "I'm too cool to care that I'm awesome" Bono best, but I still love "I'm a super rockstar" Bono. Even when he humps the camera (which, as I explained to Not-So-Ex a very long time ago, is acceptable behavior only because he's Bono).
I mean, seriously, I even love the mullet.

I've seen them once before. I was seriously, scarily pregnant with my son. And standing and singing for two hours did not agree with my extremely pregnant status and I almost ended up in the ER. But, luckily, I made it home and had a nice, if emergency, c-section a matter of weeks later.
One of my favorite new songs during the Elevation tour.

That time, it was just after the release of their incredible All That You Can't Leave Behind album (the Elevation Tour). It was a return to their old lyricism and was kinda between the chaos of the ZooTV tour and their early, simple concerts. I was thrilled to be seeing them at just that point in time.

This time will be a little different. This time it will be me and my two kiddos. It's their first real concert and I'm so incredibly happy that I get to be the one to take them AND that its to see a band that means so much to me. It's also in the city that should probably be our second home, Pittsburgh. So, in addition to the incredible concert and a great hotel within really easy walking distance, I know where to get a great dinner and breakfast, where to find killer cupcakes, and where we will be stopping just before we leave town for BBQ. And we may even check out a new museum, if we so choose.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Where would you haunt?

So I haven't written in forever! I'm so sorry! To be honest, life has fallen into a lovely, simple rhythm. Not too much to talk about. LOL

But anyway, my beautiful geek girl and I had a much needed TV marathon the other day. It's always been one of our favorite things to do but we hadn't had anything new to watch for a while. But then one day we discovered that we both love Ghost Hunters. That's right, two of the biggest wimps in the world love watching people sit in dark haunted rooms. How bizarro!

But, since our marathons are generally provided via Netflix (and Ghost Hunters isn't available instantly on Netflix), we had to look for a similar show that we could watch. And so we found Paranormal State. Now don't get me wrong, I know this show is suspicious at best and, some would say, fake. But they're still creepy fun.

According to the show, there are two kinds of spirits. Of course there's the mean demonic kind, but there are also harmless spirits that haven't crossed over because they're holding on to something on earth. Sis and I just couldn't help but discuss where we would haunt if we were stuck. In the end, while there are all kinds of exotic locales, I chose here.

I never thought I would be so attached to this place. It's an old, not particularly well maintained apartment with a minuscule kitchen and an even smaller bathroom. And there have been some tough times here as well. But, overall, the years that we've been here have been some of the best in my life.

Part of the reason is that I think I'm the best mom that I've ever been here. I have a job, but not one that I feel the need to live at, so I'm there for my kiddos in every way. Similarly, I think my marriage may be at the best place it's ever been. We still have our moments (God knows marriage is never easy), but I know I'm with the person that was created to be my other half. And then, of course, there are the doggers that finish out the family equation. I can't imagine ever wanting to be anywhere else (although another bedroom would be nice).

So, if any future residents of my apartment hear bumps in the night, it's probably just my ghost trying to find the butter for another batch of frosting. No fears.

Well anyway, speaking of frosting, I better head back to the kitchen and finish up Hunt's birthday cake! We're having a belated b-day party tonight since we were gone camping on his real birthday. Should be a blast!


Monday, May 23, 2011

So... Much... Quiet...


So today is a super rare occurrence. I am all alone (other than the two doggers anyway) and I am clueless on what to do. I've already done some straightening up, taken the dogs out for a bit, gone into work for a minute, and watched last night's Treme. I anticipate lots of DVR clearing, some Netflix viewing, and plenty of sleep in my near future.

At least tomorrow is my long day at work so I won't have as much alone time. The bakery continues to be awesomely busy, which makes me happy. I also have a lot of freedom, which makes me even happier. Like over the weekend, for example, I text my boss and say we should do a special cupcake since the world was gonna end that day. Did she hesitate? No. Her response, "It needs to be black and have red frosting." And it did. It was a blast!
The Doomsday Cupcake!

Anyway, I guess that's all for now. The rest of my time will be spent obsessing about how I can make sure we can afford another family vacay during the summer...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Things I wouldn't know if not for my kids (part 1)

So there are a zillion posts I could write about all the squishy, gooey type stuff I've learned from my kiddos. But this is a more practical post. And probably more interesting (I hope).

This week, my daughter had a huge project due that involved research and all kinds of stuff. She was given complete freedom on picking the subject of the project, which always means there's gonna be an interesting result. Her choice, being an awesome 14 yr old geek girl, was pokemon, which has been an obsession of hers for years, often to the chagrin of parents and grandparents. I told her that, if her teacher was cool with it, then so was I.

To make this part of a long story short, her teacher, Grammy, and I helped her kinda hone her topic until she was researching the guy who originally created Pokemon. What she found out about this man has truly helped me understand her so much better.

To give just a tinge of backstory, my daughter is currently a brilliant, incredibly funny (often in that straight man style, much like her momma) teen. She hasn't always been that way. There were times when she was cruel and angry or sometimes even worse. But I'm not going to focus on those times. She has several diagnoses, but it wasn't until her doctor added the term Asperger's, that we were able to find real solutions.

And, as it turns out, the man who created Pokemon, also has Asperger's. His name is Satoshi Tajiri. As a kid, he lived on the outskirts of Tokyo, which was then more of a rural area. As he aged, the city of Tokyo began to sprawl and his rural childhood stomping grounds gave way to concrete. When he was little, he loved collecting bugs and, through Pokemon, he wanted to give kids worldwide the ability to catch and collect bugs the way he had as a kid.

It's funny cause the idea is so simple and so pure, but just that little fact completely changed the way I felt about the game. As I read more about him, I found it difficult to suppress the urge to find and hug him, although, since he's an Aspy, he would probably really hate that (and God knows I'm no hugger either).

Anyway, before he became the Pokemon master, he was a teenager in Japan who became obsessed with video games. In his mind, there was very little else that mattered. His parents thought he was a delinquent. He only graduated from high school by going back and doing makeup classes. His dad even tried to get him a steady job, which he refused. Is this not every parent's nightmare?

But, instead of taking his parent's route, he started his own, hand written and stapled, video game magazine. This led to meeting more people involved in that world and, eventually, to him beginning to design his own games. He worked on various games and built up such a good rep that Nintendo was interested in the original Pokemon games even though they didn't really get the idea.

I'm gonna glaze over the rest because, clearly, Pokemon was and continues to be huge. But, for me, the main message was just to relax. Let my child's future come as it will. Maybe it won't look the way I expect it to... Maybe it won't be simple, or clear, or conventional... But it will be hers. And it will be good.


Monday, May 9, 2011

What's this? Another day off?


So I had a busy, awesome weekend. And I now have a day off all by myself! Not-So-Ex went back to work today, after about a month or so of being laid off, and the kiddos are at school so I'm alone! How weird!

I'm excited to have a slower week at work. No major holidays or anything so I should have plenty of time to try some new flavors. Maybe even try some new items. But we'll see.
I do have a new recipe to share. For Mom's Day at work, I made Flower Pot Cupcakes. They're a cookies n cream cupcake with vanilla or chocolate buttercream covered in crushed Oreos with a mini sugar cookie (which was baked on a small skewer) stuck in the top.

To start with, I found this recipe, which I used for the cupcakes. It's a nice, light recipe. I didn't put Oreos in the bottom because we only had crushed cookies, so I just mixed extra chunks in. I used my basic buttercreams for frosting, which I piped on using a large round tip, then turned them over and dipped them in more crushed Oreos. Make sure all the frosting is covered and don't even consider frosting the cupcakes until they are completely cool cause you don't want the frosting to fall off when you're dipping them. Then you just gotta stick the cookie in the top and they're adorable!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

More "How to Succeed" Love

So I've been swamped at work and I haven't written in forever! And I probably won't write much till I get this wedding all handled in a few days. But, until then, I found this awesome preview thingy of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, which we saw and loved in NYC. So hope everyone enjoys!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Just a few shots

I'm so exhausted this morning that I can't even seem to make sentences so I'm just gonna post a few pics.
Hunt on the subway!

Museum of the American Indian (near our hotel)

Lady Liberty, who we visited on Day 1


Hunt in Central Park
The girlie in the park
A beautiful day in the park

Spent some time educating the kiddos

Some of our options

The first show we saw (highly recommended)


Our second show

My favorite!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Fortune cookies and Deadliest Whites

So I just have to start this off by posting this pic of the fortune my dear hubs got in his lunchtime fortune cookie...
This will go down in history as the best fortune cookie ever. I was so completely jealous (and pretty sure it was meant for me).

Anyway, I came home to see Not-So-Ex watching a marathon of Deadliest Catch. I never thought I'd be too into the show. I'm not too outdoorsy and water makes me really nervous so I couldn't imagine anything about the show that would pull me in.

I was sooooooooo wrong.

Not surprisingly, it was the human part of the formula that grabbed me. What really got me was the fact that I found it completely correlating with the White movie. Watching Phil, the Captain and father figure on the show, as he had a stroke and, eventually, passed away was like watching Bertie Mae all over again. Also, just like Phil, it was Bertie Mae who kept saying let them film.

I've always said that there is just something extra heartbreaking about big, physically strong men being brought to tears. And that was definitely true with these men. But, honestly, seeing Mamie fall into grief was just as painful. Here's this strong, fierce woman trying to come to terms with the one thing she can't even hope to intimidate or whip, death. I spent a lot of time sitting in a hospital room with Mamie and the worst thing was when things would get calm and quiet and I'd look over and see a tear trickle down her cheek. It wasn't about cameras, especially since I was often there just to check in on her and didn't have a cameraman with me, it was just real, honest pain.

As I kept watching Deadliest Catch (still watching it actually), I really felt for the crew as well. Not too many people know what it is to truly be in the middle of a verite documentary; to be pulled into another world. It became tough to separate life from the film. I became very close to Bertie Mae and probably spent more time in the hospital with her than I have most of my real family members, but I only knew her for a matter of months. Every film teacher will tell you that you have to maintain a distance from your subjects, but I didn't really.

When Bertie Mae died, I wasn't sure how to grieve. As I watched the show and how it dealt with Phil's passing, I really felt for the film crew. There were at least two film crew members who even lived on the ship, so it was a level of internment that even surpassed mine. I know there's a high rate of turnover on their film crews and I can definitely understand why.

The other thing that really got me, of course, was when Phil's son, Jake, admitted his addiction to his father and decided to seek treatment. There was even a scene where he was calling the rehab center trying to get in, just like Kirk. It killed me that his dad never got to see him clean, again, just like Kirk and Bertie Mae. I anxiously waited for the new episode hoping Jake would get and stay clean (which he has done so far) and I still hope for the same with Kirk.

Probably the saddest statement of all though is that watching the show made me wish they needed a new producer (and that I could do it). I still feel the pull of that kind of chaos and excitement. Of course then I remember I have a husband and two kids and I'm vaguely afraid of water...

Anyway, there's my treatise on Deadliest Catch... The fam and I will be heading to NYC in a couple days and I'm working quite a bit before then, plus trying to get everyone packed and the house ready, so I probably won't be writing much till we're back. So, see you all later!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Weird times

So basically I've had a pretty bad few days. I'm not gonna go into it, but it's not been a fun time.

On the plus side, I have my new hair color. And I like it, even though it's fading fast. So here's my standard post blow-dry, bathroom mug shot.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Still stressed, but with some hope!

So we got an interesting email yesterday. There's a house for rent that would be perfect for us. I had emailed the person earlier in the week and, when I didn't hear back in a few days, I figured it was gone. But we'll go look at it this weekend. It's a pretty homely house (LOL) but has enough bedrooms that our kids would each have their own (they currently share a room) and it has some awesome outdoor space. Plus it's in the area we want to stay in. Apparently there's been a lot of interest in it though, so we may not be able to get it. But we'll see. At least we have options.

Speaking of options, we changed some stuff for our NYC trip. I had been thinking about it and, with it being Not-So-Ex's first trip to NYC, us staying in Times Square when the first thing we have scheduled on Friday is a Statue of Liberty cruise didn't make much sense. It meant he would have to be comfortable on the subway immediately and I think we'll have to gradually ease into that. So we cancelled the one room and got a room at a gorgeous hotel right by Battery Park where the cruise will leave from. I've already done some looking around in the neighborhood and found some great bakery options, so I'm quite psyched! Now if I can just get Not-So-Ex as excited.

The doggers also went to the place they'll be boarding the other day and it went swimmingly! They also do daycare and grooming so we'll pick up two pretty, clean doggers when we get back. Plus they'll probably be worn out too! It's really a great place. No cages, no feeling all closed in, almost like being home but with extra space!

Well I guess that's it. I have a whole slew of sugar cookie orders to finish today plus like six cake orders so I'm gonna be swamped! But I guarantee the time will fly by!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Stressful times

So, to make a long story short, our landlord has come down on us about our dogs. And this leaves us with a very tough choice. We need to either find a new home for Lucy and learn to really limit Jake's outside time or we need to find somewhere else to live.

We've been halfheartedly looking for somewhere for Lucy for a while now. She should really be an outside dog and we just don't have the room for that. But, even though she's our problem child, it makes me incredibly sad to think of giving her up.

On the other hand, the thought of moving into another rental makes me wanna scream/cry hysterically. We had promised ourselves that the next move would be into our own home, not just another temporary stop.

The whole situation is just so incredibly stressful. I gotta say that it makes me even more excited for our NYC trip next week. We'll all need to be away, even if it's just for a little bit.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The rare moment of silence...

So since Not-So-Ex got laid off a little over a week ago, it's pretty rare to be alone. And we always seem to come up with something to do, even if its just lounging on the couch and watching Netflix. But, right now, I have a few minutes and figured I should probably write something.

There's not much going on. I've been baking a lot more at home, but there haven't been any new, groundbreaking recipes.

I work some days, and things have been good there too. I have my first wedding at the end of the month so I'm both excited and nervous over that. Luckily, the wedding is after I get back from NYC so I should be nice and chilled.

One thing I am looking forward to (other than NYC, which I'm already having weird dreams about) is a slight hair color change. I'm gonna try and go less crazy than normal and make it a little more subtle but we'll see. LOL

Well I'm gonna go check on the seeds I started the other day (my new obsession) so have a good day folks!

Friday, March 25, 2011

I am a golden god on my day off

So I have a blissful day of nothing planned. But it took a lot of hard work! It seems like every Thursday at work we get tons of last minute orders and stuff and I end up going in on my day off. But I was determined to be home today. So, yesterday, I knocked out 2 doz cupcakes topped with Elmo sugar cookies, 2 german chocolate tortes (one for an order and one for Bluegrass Kitchen), one peanut butter torte, and one vanilla bean torte. Plus some cupcakes for the case. It took about 8 hours, but I got it all done.

And that meant that I could get up, take Hunt to school, and then do as little or as much as I like. And, so far, it's been very little. I heard Tiny Dancer in the car and I had to come home and get out Almost Famous immediately. I've been wanting to watch it again for ages but it always comes to mind at the wrong time. But today worked out perfectly.

I probably won't be this lazy all day though. I really need to get my seeds started for our little urban garden. My blueberry bushes should be in soon and I want to be able to get everything started around the same time.

The gardening should be made a little easier by the fact that Not-So-Ex is finally laid off for a bit. Today is his first day home so I'm gonna be nice and not start whining about things that need done. LOL

Tomorrow is the last of my daughter's birthday plans. We're having a Psych party for her filled with foods that feature pineapple! It should be a nice, calm, fun time. After we had such a good time with her new BFF, this will wrap up an excellent birthday. Or at least I thought it was pretty great.

Anyway, here's some Almost Famous...
And, since I can't mention music in movies without thinking of this, here's some 500 Days of Summer too...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Fourteen

Today my baby girl turns 14. I can hardly believe it.

I took her cupcakes at school today and she went around at lunch time and gave all her classmates cupcakes. And they were all so sweet and so was she.

Tomorrow, I'm taking her and her best friend (my daughter has a best friend!!!) to dinner and the movies after school. I think I'm as excited as they are.

It all feels so wonderful and normal and, considering some of our bad days, so unexpected. I truly couldn't ask for anything more.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Everyone should be over Jordan Catalano

So I spent my weekend either watching My So-Called Life on Netflix or looking for the remote so I could watch it or going to Wal-Mart to buy a new remote so I could watch it. Yeah, it was that kind of weekend.

By the end, when dear, awesome Angela ended up riding off into the distance with Jordan, I wanted to choke him out. LOL. But seriously, how many Jordan's did I date? How many guys did I credit with intelligence and introspection when they were really just not too bright? How many guys did I date that would have slept with my best friend and then tried to get me back (sadly, sometimes successfully)? Yep, folks, I've dated many good leaners in my life.

The thing that got me this time was how often I found myself identifying with the mom. The scene where Angela talks about never being pretty and the mom is completely dumbstruck... yeah, I've been that mom. The days of identifying with Angela are over, now I'm firmly in the mom category. Especially since my daughter turns 14 tomorrow. Four-effing-teen.

Anyway, I love the show. And I melted just a bit more when an Afghan Whigs' song played on one of the last few episodes. It was perfection.

But, just a warning Jordan Catalano, I've seen your future and it ain't pretty. Being the guy on the mountain that makes snow may be the best career path possible. Just sayin.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Important stuff!

So I tend to post recipes that include tons of sugar, but today I'm posting two very important recipes that need very little sugar!

I'm a big fan of pizza but I've gotten spoiled lately by places like Lola's and Pies and Pints. Last week we finally found the key to great pizzas, a great crust and white sauce.

First off, the crust recipe. Now, when I made this, I did it a bit differently than the instructions. I let it rise, like you normally would with bread, then punched it down, put it in the pans, and let it rise a bit while I made the sauce.
INGREDIENTS:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45
degrees C)
DIRECTIONS:
1.Combine flour, salt, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl. Mix in oil and warm water. Spread out on a large pizza pan. Top as desired.
2.Bake at 375 degrees C (190 degrees C) for 20 to 25 minutes.
Next is the white sauce. I had always assumed white pizzas used alfredo sauce. But I tried it and it wasn't quite right. Then I googled white pizza and found this weird recipe on Serious Eats that sounded awful. But we tried it (cause I mean it's Serious Eats, they know what they're talking about) and it was perfect. So here it is.
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme or marjoram
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • In a heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 or 6 minutes, or until translucent. Add the garlic and stir for 1 minute longer. Add the cream, lower the heat to medium-low, and cook for about 3 minutes, or until the cream thickens and reduces slightly.
Remove from the heat, stir in the thyme, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Let cool
completely before using.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Little changes

So it seems like forever since I blogged. And, if it helps, I constantly berate myself for not doing it. But, I also have this whole life I've gotta take care of. LOL

The biggest change that has happened is that I am no longer a car-less punk. It had been getting more and more difficult to share Not-So-Ex's car. He was constantly having to sacrifice so that I would have the car to get the kids and I where we needed to be. So he laid down the law and said I needed a vehicle.

We talked quite a bit about it and decided that what we needed was a new vehicle (a first for me since I've always bought used) that was very basic, had a good reputation, was just big enough for our whole family, and was good on gas.

We narrowed it down online to a few makes and models with Ford Fiesta and Toyota Yaris being our primary interests. We looked at the Fords first and, while they were nice, they were a bit more than I wanted to spend and they weren't dealing much since they're brand new.

Then we checked out the Yaris and, while they were super cute, they were tiny and, although that appeals to me, I do have a husband that's almost 6'6 so that becomes an issue. Plus, there was a little sticker on the window that said the car was 100% made in Japan. I didn't think it would bother me, even though my hubs is a big union, made-in-America guy and so is my Dad, but seeing it printed out like that got to me. And I just couldn't do it.

When we were looking at the Yaris, we looked across the lot and saw what looked like a larger version. Both Not-So-Ex and I liked the look of it, so we checked it out. Turns out, it's called a Matrix and, while it was a little bit more than the Yaris, they were more than happy to deal on it.

After we looked at them that first time, we were both pretty smitten. I came home, did some research and saw that the gas mileage was great, they were 75% made in North America, and they had a pretty good safety record. So that night, Hubs, Hunt, & I checked out a few more and I fell for a bright red one. And we drove it home that night!



Thursday, March 3, 2011

Oh the things I do...

So my love of hair dye, bleach, and my recent Manic Panic addiction is well known. But I do believe it got a little out of hand this week.

Last weekend, I put some more blue streaks in my hair, but I wasn't crazy about them. I didn't leave the dye in as long as I should have so the streaks were uneven; some were really dark blue, some were lighter, and some bordered on aqua. Being the rocket scientist that I am, I thought that, since I like lighter hair in the Spring and Summer, I could bleach my hair and lighten it overall and get rid of the blue at the same time.

I was wrong.

I ended up with mostly white hair and light blue areas (I don't think they can even be called streaks anymore). I was understandably freaked out. I've spent the better part of my lifetime as a blonde, but I'm not sure it's ever been THIS blonde.
Me right after the dye job (I'll post better pics later)

While I was definitely freaked, I haven't felt the need to really fix it yet. More than anything, I wanna let my hair rest a bit before I try something else. This week, hot oil, deep conditioners, and toners have been my BFFs.

In other news, the kiddos will be home soon. I can't wait! I've missed my little heatherns. I spent last night babying Lucy the Asthmatic Demon Dog. It appears that, in addition to parvo and asthma, she also has seizures. So far this evening, she seems ok so I'm hoping to get some rest.

Last weekend, Not-So-Ex got a new tattoo. Or at least most of one.

Not-So-Ex's not-so-finished tatt

He was under the needle for three hours straight and, when it still wasn't done, they had to stop with the plan being to let it heal a bit and then finish it in a couple weeks. While his looks great, the best part is that, once his is finished, it's my turn! Right now I'm torn between getting two more on my back or getting a quarter sleeve. Either plan will feature a cupcake though.

Ooh! One other bit of silliness. As everyone knows, I'm sure, entertainment news everywhere has been all Charlie Sheen all the time. And here is my favorite bit. Enjoy folks!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A little this and a little that...

So I haven't written for a while. On one hand, it seems like there's nothing really going on. On the other hand, it seems like I'm too busy to blog. And, yes, I know that doesn't make sense. So here is what's going on.

1. Will he or won't he...
Not-So-Ex has been working at Bayer for a while on the MIC Unit. It's dangerous. It's been insane hours. But it's also been insane pay. But there have been tons of lawsuits, which I completely support, and it's been will he or won't he have a job for quite a while. There have been rumored layoffs, rumored job shut downs, and just about anything else you can think of. Well yesterday he got the word that there would be a big layoff and he would be going. And we were thrilled. We have savings, we have a pretty large tax return, we're good for a while. I started my list of things I wanted him to do around the house and he started his list of things he wanted to do (and number 1 was SLEEP). Then he went to work today and they changed their mind and he's staying. While I appreciate that he has someone at his company (he actually works for a contractor) looking out for him, I still hope his last day at Bayer will be coming very soon.

2. Vacay #1
I just took my kids and my parents to the airport. They're gonna fly to Florida and then board a cruise to the Bahamas. And they're totally psyched. And, while I'm excited for them to have such a good time, I'm sooooooo gonna miss them! On the plus side, I have my parents' car while they're gone so no more getting up super early unless I have to. Plus, on the days when I don't work, I don't even have to leave the house unless I want to! And Not-So-Ex can drive to work every day on his own! Can't beat that. The parents' car also has seat warmers so, no matter where I'm going, my butt will feel amazing!

3. Vacay #2
We've booked our room for New York and our plane tickets have been bought. I was a little worried that the trip would be tough if Not-So-Ex was still laid off but, since he's still working, there's no reason for concern at all. I'm starting to talk to the kids about where all they wanna go and what they want to see. And Not-So-Ex is in charge of picking out all the awesome places where we'll eat. My main thing is to choose which bakeries we'll hit for cupcakes! Clearly I have the most important job. I'm looking forward to meeting up with a blogger friend while I'm there, plus my cousin is an opera singer in the city so I'm excited to see her in her natural habitat (LOL) too. Anyway, clearly I'm quite excited.

4. All things sugary
The bakery is going great! I've had so much support from friends that I can't even begin to go into it. My cupcakes also seem to be creating some fans too. It's also really cool because, when I have a cupcake that everyone loves, I can then turn it into a cake to be sold by the slice at our sister restaurant, Bluegrass Kitchen. Like, right now, I made a cupcake that turned out incredible. It was a Raspberry Truffle Cupcake, a dark chocolate cupcake with soft raspberry truffle filling and a raspberry chocolate frosting. They flew out of the case so I asked Chef about making it for Bluegrass. I had the first Raspberry Truffle Torte at Bluegrass on Tues and they LOVED it!

Well I guess that gets everyone all caught up! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I know I'm boring...

A day as beautiful as today makes it hard to stay inside and write a blog. But I know that, since it's supposed to be almost as pretty tomorrow, I'll wanna spend my day off getting ready for Spring and such.

I don't really have too much going on. We've booked our hotel room for the NYC trip. We got a suite right in Times Square. We got our plane tickets Tuesday. We'll actually be flying direct! How cool is that? I mean, it's pretty rare to fly direct to anywhere from WV.

In addition to the NYC trip, my kids are going on a cruise later this month. Lucky little schmucks.

Well I better get off here and get some cleaning up done before I have to go get the kiddo!

Monday, February 14, 2011

One of the best things about Valentines...

So I'm not a huge Valentine's Day person. I did get Not-So-Ex (and the kiddos) some candy and we're going out for a nice dinner at Bluegrass Kitchen tonight, which is always a good time. But probably the BEST thing about Valentine's is that it is the birthday of Jake the Wonder Mutt, our oldest dogger.

Now Jake was a pound puppy, so we don't know his exact birth date but, based on his age and when we got him, Feb 14th is pretty darn close.

This was Jake as a puppy in the pound:

And this is the monstrous snuggler he has turned into.
We've been blessed to have Jake in our home and I can't even begin to think of life without him. So today he will get a little extra loving and maybe, if he's lucky, some scraps from Bluegrass!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Paige's House O' Flu

So I'm sick. But I'm not the only one. Everyone in my house has the flu, except Hunt, my son. That lucky schmuck just happened to be staying the night with his cousin the day we all got sick.

I've been pretty lucky. While I've had the same symptoms as Rena and Not-So-Ex, mine have been pretty mild in comparison. They've both missed all week at work and school cause of their flu. I've still been functioning, just feeling crappy. But now they have antibiotics and cough meds so I'm hoping they'll be up and around like normal soon.

Hunt was NOT happy about having to go to school today while Sis and Dad were home. But the promise of a special dinner made it a little better. He even got to choose a special dessert. It's not surprising that he chose chocolate pie, his Dad's (and his great grandpa's) favorite pie. His great grandpa never got to meet him, but I have no doubts at all that Hunt is cut from the same (wonderful) cloth that Papaw and his Daddy came from. Awesome people all around.

Well I guess I'll get back to watching old episodes of Monk with Sis. Lots of fun on a sicky day!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The best part

So I'm doing some hardcore vacation planning. And I LOVE vacation planning.

After just a bit of begging, Not-So-Ex has agreed to a long weekend in NYC at the start of Spring Break for the kiddos. I'm super psyched and a tiny bit overwhelmed at the same time. There are just SOOOOO many hotels! And then there's the matter of flights (since I am determined that Not-So-Ex will not have access to a vehicle while we're there). So much to consider.

Rena and I have been before but Not-So-Ex and Hunt will be newbies. I'm so excited for Hunt and so paranoid for Not-So-Ex. You see, while he's the nicest guy ever, he doesn't actually like people. And NYC is just chock full of people. But hopefully we'll find something he'll love too.

As for the kiddos, there's a Pokemon Center. Ok so it's not really just Pokemon anymore but Nintendo, so I guess that'll have to do. And then there's that huge Toys R Us...

Friday, January 28, 2011

Another week, another self-declared snow day

So today went much like last week. We got up at 4, got ready to take Not-So-Ex to work, only to find new snow. And lots of it. This time, I actually tried to get him to work, only to decide half way there that I was scared to try to drive home. So he turned around and took us home.

The kids still have school, but without us there. I hate when this happens, but I won't risk my kids' safety. And I hope there won't be too much makeup work.

In addition to missing school, I'm missing work. I took most of yesterday off because Not-So-Ex has been having some serious back issues (which seem to have been helped and hopefully will be solved by a new chiropractor). So I'm behind, which I hate. But tomorrow is an early day so I should be able to catch back up. It seems that I have become a necessary part of the bakery, while I was originally just an addition. And that is nice. And I adore my coworker, which is always good.

Anyway, I'm planning on a slow, calm day today so hopefully that's exactly what I'll get!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

We are lucky charms


So we went to Pittsburgh on Sunday. The guys had tickets to the AFC Championship game and I had a reservation at a GORGEOUS hotel. And, in the end, none of us were disappointed.

While the guys went to the game, I stayed here...


where I ordered awesome room service and watched tv while the guys sat in the freezing cold looking like this...

But, probably, the best part was Monday morning. We slept in, then went out for a big breakfast and to visit the strip for a bit. The weather was actually kinda decent so we walked around some and found some wonderful bulk food type places. We bought some absolutely divine fresh bread (including some small round sourdough loaves that we used as bread bowls for our soup last night).

After a little time shopping, we headed back home. And then we got to pick up the doggers from the boarder. And we were soooooooo happy to bring them home. And they were sooooooo happy to see us!

Anyway, yesterday we had to go back to work and school. But today Hunt and I are home sick. Just colds, but we needed the down time. Even really good times can wear you out!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Snow!

So today we're having a snow day. Technically, it's not supposed to be a snow day since my kids go to a private school that has weird rules about when they do and do not have snow days. But, when we got up at 4 to get Not-So-Ex to work, the roads looked awful so I let him take the car. I thought school would definitely be cancelled, but I was wrong.

I don't really sweat it. I emailed Hunt's teacher to get his assignments since he'll be out on Monday cause we'll be in Pittsburgh and just let her know why he wasn't there today. So I'm sure it's all good.

But now I'm pretty psyched to be home and have a day to ourselves. There's still a ton to do before we head out of town, but I'm not gonna sweat it. What gets done, gets done. If it goes undone, we'll live.
On a side note, I mentioned that I've been decorating cakes at the bakery so I wanted to show everyone a pic of one of the cakes. Chef says they've been extremely popular. Next week, I'll get to make a full cake version of one of my favorite cupcakes flavors, Strawberry Champagne. I'm really excited to see more flavors making it into Bluegrass Kitchen, our sister restaurant.

Anyway, have a great day folks and stay safe and warm!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sooooooo much to do!

So we're trying to prepare for this little road trip this weekend and it's turned into a whole lot of work!

The checklist:
1. Tickets - They should arrive via Fedex today! Woo Hoo!

2. Hotel room - For some reason, I'm an idiot and didn't even consider how quickly rooms would fill up in Pittsburgh for a nighttime championship game. But, luckily, a friend mentioned it last night and I got to searching in a hurry. And I was able to find ONE room in the city. Shew!

3. The Doggers - We had to find somewhere to take the dogs. So we found a boarder and asked what we needed to board them. To make a long story short, we had to get them to the vet and make sure they had all their shots, which we did yesterday. The reservation was made this morning and they'll have a deluxe place where they will be together (with a tv even) the whole time. The only issue left with them is how to get them to the boarders, since Not-So-Ex works so much. But we'll handle it.

4. The Kiddos - Hunt is so psyched he can barely stand it. Rena is psyched too, but for another reason. She's thoroughly pleased that she doesn't have to go. LOL We were lucky she didn't wanna go cause it made it much easier to get a hotel room that we're all happy with. But, on the down side, I have no one to hang with during the game. *sigh*

5. The House - So here's the toughest part. I have so much house work to do! I gotta get all the clothes clean that everyone will need. Gotta locate all Hunt's Steelers clothing since it will be cold enough to wear ALL of it at once. And then there's all the other stuff too. Our regular laundry, dishes, floors, etc... It's so funny cause I know we'll only be gone one night, but there's just something that feels all kinds of wrong about leaving any trash or dirty dishes when we leave.

6. The Job - In addition to my incredibly full home schedule, I have my other job to do too. The cupcakes are HUGELY popular! I'm actually beginning to have trouble keeping up. And, in addition to the cupcakes and occasional cookies, they're now teaching me to decorate cakes. It's fun, plus it means that some of the flavors folks love in cupcake form will now be available in a whole cake from the bakery, or by the slice at our sister restaurant Bluegrass Kitchen. And that's always good.

Well I guess I'm not likely to get everything ready if I'm sitting here blogging so I guess I'll get started. LOL

Monday, January 17, 2011

Loads of excitement

So this weekend included some big football games. And Not-So-Ex and Hunt were absolutely riveted. And, since their team made it to the AFC Championship (AKA the pre-Super Bowl), we splurged and bought tickets for the boys.

That means that next weekend we will be hitting Pittsburgh. Again. But there's a lot to be accomplished before then. We gotta get the dogs to the vet and get their shots caught up. They'll be going to a boarder for the first time. I'm really excited for them and for the trip!

I also am gonna get my hair cut Wed, which is much needed. I also figure I'll leave it a normal color just long enough to get a new license made (I can't find mine ANYWHERE). And then I'll try something new. And that's always fun.

Well, anyway, today is a holiday for me and the kiddos so we're spending a good chunk of it on the couch watching season one of Glee. And you just can't go wrong with a plan like that!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow, snow, snow!

Today is normally a day off but, since I have a special order due tomorrow, I went in for what I thought would be a short day. Once I got there, another small catering order came in so I was there a little bit longer than I intended.

But I still got home in time to get a huge pot of veggie beef soup on the stove and get started on some bread (or it may end up as pepperoni rolls, not sure yet). I've been craving the soup big time so I'm SUPER psyched.

And the soup is just perfect for the coming weather too. Tomorrow there's snow in the forecast and, for once, I don't care. Normally I'm either excited for a snow day with the kids or worried about getting everyone to work. But, tomorrow I'm opening at the bakery so the kids will be taken care of no matter what and, since Not-So-Ex is taking the day off to get some long-needed errands taken care of, I don't even have to worry about driving. So I'm all set!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I'm so blue...



Literally.
So I did this a week or more ago but I kept forgetting to post about it. It's ok, but fading super fast. Hard to tell what color will be next. LOL

Monday, January 3, 2011

First recipe of 2011! Pop Tarts!



So a friend had a homemade pop tart at a restaurant over the weekend and posted a pic on facebook. Now I had seen them before and wanted to try them, but kept forgetting. When I saw the pic, it was a sign and I decided I must make them.

First step on any new idea is to google. And when I googled homemade pop tarts, I found a bunch of wonderful ideas. But the one that REALLY helped (and is basically what I did) was a blog called Smitten Kitchen.

But here's what I did:
1. I took a jar of strawberry preserves that I made earlier in the year and heated them on the stove. I then mixed in 1 Tbs of cornstarch (the blog recommended mixing it w 1 Tbs of water but I used a Tbs of the thin preserve liquid so that I wouldn't weaken the flavor at all) and let it simmer for a couple minutes. Make sure you stir it the whole time. I didn't and mine started to scorch just a bit, but not enough to ruin the taste. The cornstarch will make it thicken a bit more so that it's closer to the consistency that's in a pop tart.

2. I am a notoriously bad pie crust maker. So, since the recipe uses a pie crust like exterior, I thought I'd try out my store brand, refrigerated pie crust. Smitten Kitten has lovely, clear directions on how thick to roll it out and what size to cut it. I just unrolled the pie dough and cut it with a pizza roller into a rough idea of the size I thought felt pop tarty. I got two full pop tarts out of one pie crust. With time, I can probably get three out of one, but I didn't even try to stretch it.

*when you stretch your dough out and cut out the tarts, make sure you put it on wax paper or parchment or it'll stick*

3. Brush the inside of the bottom with a beaten egg, put about a Tablespoon of the filling in the middle, and put the top on (I cut mine into long rectangles so that I could just fold them). Then close all the sides with your fingers and go back over them crimping the edges with a fork.

4. Poke the top with a fork to keep them from puffing up too much. Brush the top with beaten egg and add colored sugar, if you want. You can also glaze them after baking with a mixture of milk and powdered sugar, but I didn't try that this time (but I sure will be next time). Once you've done the egg and sugar thing, put them in the fridge for about a half hour.

5. Bake at 350 for about 20 min.
They were definitely good and pretty easy. I wanna fiddle with them some more though. The pie crust needs just a bit more sugar for my tastes, but I also realize that I am a sugar fiend. I also wanna make like a slew of different jams to use in the fillings too.