Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Sweet Fix

A couple of years ago, or maybe it was just last year, not really sure on that, I copied down a recipe for Cream Horns from my grandmother's favorite cookbook.  This was one of those old school cookbooks that women would get for a wedding gift so they could be the best possible housewife.  You know, the kind that tells you how to make such delicacies as head cheese and porcupine stew.  The cream horn recipe looked reasonable, so I copied it down.  And then decided I couldn't be bothered to actually make the cream horns.  Well, until Monday.  At 5 pm.  When I was supposed to be cooking dinner.  Oops.

FYI: they're not really that hard.  I whipped up a batch of "filling" in my double boiler in about 15 minutes, had the puff pastry dough done fifteen minutes after that and thought I'd have those bad boys done in no time.  Until I looked at my "filling."  Apparently, 60 years ago when this book was published, cream horns did not contain fluffy sweet whipped filling.  They contained pudding.  Which is what was sitting in my refrigerator.  Since my husband does not like pudding, I had a problem.  After a bit of searching I found an easy whoopie pie filling recipe, whipped that up, and stuffed it in my cream horns.  For a first go at it, they came out pretty damn good.  The filling was a little sweet, and the pastry a little too thick, but perfectly edible.  Perfectly....

So, what do you do with a bowl of homemade pudding in your refrigerator?  Duh.  You make a homemade Boston Cream Pie.  Yesterday afternoon I found a really easy recipe for Boston Cream Pie, threw together the cake (literally, I just dumped the ingredients in my mixer, turned it on high and voila! cake mix) cut it in half, filled it with my delicious homemade pudding, whipped up a chocolate ganache and Tah-Dah Boston Cream Pie! (Ok, I goofed the ganache a bit and it was a little runny, but seriously, it's liquid chocolate, it tastes delicious anyway.)

So now I have a house full of desserts.  Well, I had a house full of desserts....they are disappearing at an alarming rate....

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Some Required Reading

So I started reading a new book.  Gettysburg by Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen.  I know what you're thinking Newt Gingrich???  Really??? It's not something I would usually pick up, but I've got a good reason:  My father-in-law was as excited as a school girl telling me about it, and about as giddy as I've ever seen him when I said I'd read it.  If you've met my father-in-law, you can see how this has prompted me to pick up the book.  (If you haven't met him, let me say that the first time I actually spoke to him I said: "Good Morning.  It looks nice out today" and he humphed and walked outside.  If he's excited about me reading this book, I'm doing it.)

So far, the book is actually pretty good.  Have you read The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara?  It is a really amazing work of historical fiction that really feels more like historical non-fiction.  It's amazing.  If you saw the movie Gettysburg, then you've read the book.  It is THE BEST book to movie crossover that I have ever seen.  The movie was almost exactly word for word with the book, and since the book was amazing, the movie was great too.  (The same is NOT true for Gods and Generals.  That was a butt numbing, mind numbing movie.  Yuck.)

This book is written in pretty much the same style as The Killer Angels.  And, fortunately, the writing is nearly as good.  (Although I have to say on the first page the author split an infinitive and I nearly put the book down in disgust.  Really Newt?  That's disappointing.  And you want to be president?)  I admit I'm not very far yet, so I don't know EXACTLY what's going to happen next, but the premise of the book is what would happen if the Confederate Army won at Gettysburg.  It sounds like a pretty interesting premise and I'm hoping it continues to read as well as it has been.  And I hope the two books following this one are good too, because it looks like I'm signed up to read the whole series.  Oh well.  In for a penny, in for a pound.  (How's that for a random cliche!)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Taxes, Taxes, Taxes

I think my taxes are going to kill me this year.  Ugh.  And not just because I may owe the IRS more than my first born child.  The actual "getting the taxes done" is proving to make me want to stick a toothbrush in my eyeball. 

At first, I attempted to hire an accountant who had done our taxes in the past.  But, in spite of the fact that we called the first week of February, she was completely booked for the tax year.  So, I figured, hey, I've been doing them online with the help of an online tax preparer for the last couple of years, I'm sure I can do it again this year.  Wrong.  We are in a different situation this year due to the house in Limerick which we were finally able to get rid of this past spring.  (Who knew there were so many 1099 forms??  I sure didn't!)

Since we'd been using a tax preparing company that has physical offices as well as online access, we made an appointment and took our stuff in to a human tax preparer that we could see and touch...well, touch if we wanted to, which we didn't, because that's weird.  And while I would like to say that I have complete confidence in this human tax preparer with 14 years of experience; I don't.  He's asked me some really dumb questions, and that has me worried.

So, like any US citizen terrified of pissing off the IRS, I've opted to start reading IRS publications to figure out what is going on so I can speak intelligently to my tax preparer.  I'm pretty sure it's part of the IRS mission statement to use terms and phrases that are not part of the English language.  Or any language.  Seriously, how are you supposed to read that crap??

But, I can say now that I'm feeling pretty confident in regards to IRS Publication 4861 and Form 982.  Watch out human tax preparer that I'm not comfortable touching, I'm going to be quizzing you on your familiarity with Qualified Principal Residence Indebtedness and the Insolvency Worksheet in Publication 4861.  You don't know what you just got yourself into...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Just Some Pictures Today

No.  Things have not gotten more interesting over the past week.  And no, things have not settled down into a less stressful pattern of events.  I'm getting pretty tired of being stressed out at every waking moment, but what can you do?

Last week I took Ben puddle splashing.  He's pretty much the cutest thing ever:

And last weekend we took a trip to the island to visit Papa and Nana.  Ben got a special treat and got to play with some cute twins who are just a little older than he is.  They were super smart little girls and very, very cute, but I didn't get any pictures of them together, shoot.  So you'll have to make do with some pictures of Ben and his Papa and Nana instead.

We had a fun little trip and can't wait to go up there again when the weather's a little warmer.  The beach and the playground are going to be so much fun this spring and summer!

In a little while I'll be heading out to work, and then working most of the weekend.  Hopefully things will start to sort themselves out soon and be a little less stressful.  If not, well, there are plenty of puddles to go splash in.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Week In Review (Don't Fall Asleep!)

All week I've been waiting for something to happen that would inspire me to blog.  Nope.  Not a thing.  Well, that's not exactly true, but some of the things going on right now aren't blogging material.  So, I thought I would just give a little week in review, just for something to do.

Monday was apparently so uneventful that I can't actually remember a single thing from that day.  Yikes.

Tuesday was Valentine's Day, and my wonderful husband surprised me with a beautiful bouquet of two dozen yellow roses and a gift card for more Kindle books.  (Which is probably part of the reason I haven't done anything of note this week, I've been glued to my Kindle...) It was very sweet of him, and completely caught me off guard since he'd used money I wasn't aware he had to make his purchases...very sneaky.  As a treat I made a good ol' man meal for the family that night, steak and potatoes, a rarity in this house!  We never eat steak.  So all the boys were very happy.  Except Ben, who might end up being a vegetarian.  He seriously hates meat.

Wednesday was again very uneventful.  I made taco pie.  Delicious, but not really an event to write home about, or a blog about for that matter...

Thursday was a work day.  I did book work all morning, housework all afternoon, and then I worked at the bar in the evening.  Our pellet stove stopped working in the afternoon, so Don had to make a stop for some new parts, but it was an easy fix and our stove is back up and running, well not running all that much since it is apparently spring time this week, not mid-February.  (Not complaining...I promise.)

Today, much like the rest of the week has been uneventful.  A nice lazy morning, thanks to my little dude who didn't want to get up this morning, and some plans to go splash in some puddles as soon as I'm done writing.

Now that you are all caught up on my boring mid-February week, let's hope something interesting happens this weekend.  Otherwise, you're going to be stuck reading a boring weekend wrap-up come Monday.  (insert snore here)

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Outlander for Valentine's Day.

What's Valentine's Day without a little romance?  Here's a mildly romantic quote from one of my favorite books ever:

He opened his eyes then and sighed, the long mouth curling in a faint smile as his glance met mine.  I raised my brows in silent question.

'Oh, aye, Sassenach,' he answered a bit ruefully.  'I am your master...and you're mine.  Seems I canna possess your soul without losing my own.'  He turned me on my side and curled his body around me.  The room was cooling in the evening breeze from the window, and he reached to draw a quilt over us.  You're too quick by half, lad, I thought drowsily to myself.

Diana Gabaldon, Outlander, Page 438.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

One Year of Blogging!

Today is my blog's birthday!  Happy Birthday Blog!  I've been writing about nothing in particular for a whole year.  I never imagined I would have so much nothing to say!

I thought I'd do a little recap of some of my favorite posts, and I'd love to hear if anyone who reads this has favorites they remember.

While finding these posts, I skimmed through a lot of my blog entries.  I'm kind of actually impressed with myself.  My writing is mildly entertaining!  Perhaps I should keep this little hobby going!

So Happy Birthday Blog, and thank you to family and friends who read this and give me feedback and encouragement to keep going.  I appreciate it!  150 posts in one year...not too shabby....not too shabby at all....

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Walk in the Woods

Don took a half day today, and since it was sunny and (somewhat) warm, we decided to take Ben out in his sled on the snowmobile trail behind our house.  What a fun afternoon!

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Long Weekend...

Phew!  What a weekend!  I picked up an extra shift this weekend at work, so I worked three nights in a row, then got up early Sunday morning and worked the Super Bowl Brunch at work.  I'm beat!  Add to that the fact that my son is NOT adjusting to his toddler bed and is waking up at 6am every morning.  Ugh!  And since he's waking up so early, he's extremely tired and cranky during the day.  So I've dealt with some pretty serious tantrums this weekend too.  And then the Pats lost the Super Bowl.  Damn.

Needless to say, I was glad to see Monday roll around. 

Today's plans include some serious cleaning, some serious cooking, some serious bookkeeping, and some serious sitting lazily on my butt.  You can imagine which of these tasks are most likely to get accomplished....

But I'm starting with some serious blog work this morning.  It's been nearly a year since I started this blog, and I've been writing pretty diligently.  I really enjoy the little bit of nonpressured writing, and I also love hearing from friends and family how much they enjoy it.  Not really sure what they're enjoying, since I feel like most of the time I'm just sharing my exasperations over dealing with this family of mine, but I guess I've endeared myself to a few people.  As a reward for my hard work, I took a step to get some more readers to my blog; I applied to the network to become an affiliated blog.  It's not a done deal, and since they have a huge waiting list of blogs it's rather unlikely that anything will come of it, but I thought that after a year of hard work, I might as well try to get a little more attention.  Blogher is a network of blogs by women and for women that cover a huge variety of topics.  They also feature lots of blogs too, so it would kinda be cool to see how they could help me.

Even if nothing comes of it, I'm still pleased that I was at least able to meet their basic posting requirements.

So now that the blogging is done for the day, I guess I should start on something else from my being lazy....hmmmmmmmm

Friday, February 3, 2012

Not All Milestones Are Fun...

Today my little man reached a big milestone in growing up.  He had his first time out.

I never really anticipated having to start disciplining him quite this early, and I'm pretty sure he's still a bit young to grasp the whole "some actions have consequences that piss mom off" thing.  And for that matter, I'm not really even sure discipline at this age is even remotely effective.  But, when you tell your two year old for the fifth time that he can't have another Flintstone's Vitamin, and he turns around and punches you in the face, actions need to have some consequences.

I snatched his hands and told him in my stern/don't mess with me voice that we "DO NOT PUNCH MUMMA."  I marched him into the dining room and plunked his little butt down on one of the chairs I pushed up against the wall, and made him sit and face me.  I waited for him to settle and explained that he is NOT to hit, and that hitting is bad behavior.  I told him to say "sorry" (which sadly is not yet a word in his vocabulary, so was really pointless of me to ask) and he burst into tears and gave me a hug. 

So what if his time out lasted only 15 seconds?  Like everything else, I imagine he's going to have to learn how to "do" timeouts.  I'm not foolish enough to think that this was the end of his "punching" phase (which I hope is a "normal" phase, I'm really not into raising a criminal), especially when he has two older brothers that we're constantly reminding not to show him fist bumps and other physical "teenage boy" forms of affection.  I just hope that slowly, but surely, we'll get the hang of "timeouts" and then eventually grasp the idea that bad behavior has consequences.

After we finished timeout, and then our lunch, I started thinking about how I want to handle behavior now that he's two.  I think positive reinforcement is probably just as important as discipline, and since Ben has a MASSIVE collection of stickers, I don't think it's too early to start a sticker chart!  Sure they're good for potty training, but hopefully a few stickers every now and then for good behavior will help as much as the occasional 15 second timeout.

Damn those Flintstone Vitamins.  I didn't want to have to deal with this stuff quite so soon....

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Yup, Ben's Two

Yesterday was Ben's birthday.  I thought I would be all emotionally inspired to write a sappy blog post about how amazing my son is.  And while he is amazing, the overtired goober I dealt with yesterday wasn't exactly inspiring.

We switched him to a toddler bed Saturday night, and it was very successful....that night.  Monday night was a different story. I woke up at 12:30 to a knock on my door and a not so quiet "MAMA" being shouted from the other side.  I opened the door and there was my grinning two year old, who made a beeline for the bed.  I grabbed him, took him back to his room, but ultimately ended up sitting with him for nearly an hour before he was back to sleep in his little bed.

So you can imagine my delight when 20 minutes later I heard another knock at the door and a much quieter "mama" from the other side.  This time he wasn't so agreeable about going back to sleep in his little bed.  So with a little intervention from my husband, the switch was made back to the crib for the night, and after another 45 minutes of shushing and fussing he was finally asleep.  At 2:30.

Now you might assume that he would sleep late that morning, or at least until normal time.  And that might have been true.  But apparently a leaf blew too close to the house for comfort and the dogs broke out into hysterical barking.  At 7:00.  So that's when our day started.  Happy Birthday little dude.

And while I can't say he was horrible the whole day, he certainly wasn't as agreeable as usual.  And being a bit on the tired and grumpy side, I wasn't feeling inspired to write anything heartfelt or sappy.  And after a morning filled with non-stop temper tantrums, I'm still not feeling it today.

My son is amazing, and I'm so happy to watch him grow and learn and I can't wait to see what "Two" has in store for us.  But I'm not going to pretend he's been an angel for the last few days.  Maybe I'll feel inspired tomorrow....or not.

"But I don't want to eat homemade blueberry pancakes and a banana"

"I'm TWO"

It's a good thing he's cute....