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!