Thursday, March 31, 2011

Regretfully Aging

I had a few coupons to use up before they expired today.    If I had to give today's purchases a theme, I'd call it 'regretfully aging.'  Subtitled:  It's a cruel, cruel world.

Anti-aging concealer.

Anti-aging foundation.

Age defying body wash.  Notice my 'so-I-don't-squint-at-the-computer' glasses in the background.

and because I'm SUPER lucky:  age defying plus anti acne face wash.

Because there is nothing more esteem squashing than having to purchase both  anti-wrinkle AND anti-acne facial products.  I mean, really?  How cruel is this world?  I took Acutane twice, and according to those ambulance chaser lawyer commercials will probably end up with ulcerative colitis or IBS because of it, and at age 34 my face still breaks out.

It's a cruel, cruel world.

In other, less depressing news, my kitchen drawers are now nicely organized.

I love those little spatulas in the right upper hand corner of the picture.  They're perfect for scraping the peanut butter jar clean.  :)

I even reorganized my spices

and the junk drawer, too.

And yet, I'm still burdened by the fact that my forehead permanently looks scrunched up.

This life?  It's cruel.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Big Excitement in the Neurotic House

I'm organizing my kitchen drawers!! 

And, yes, that is big excitement around here.

I've been wanting some sturdier drawer organizers for a while now, I but didn't want to pay $$$ for them.  You'd be surprised how pricey they can be.  Anyway, I went to the dollar store to buy some hand soap today and stumbled upon these organizers. 

It was magical.

So, today's task is to ditch the dirty, broken plastic containers and make my kitchen drawers look lovely. 

My mom is coming for a visit next week, so I want to have pretty kitchen drawers.  Because, if anything is for certain in this life, my mom cares deeply about the state of my drawers.

Or not.

Actually, my mom couldn't care less. 

She's a good mom.

In other news, I've rekindled my love affair with kale.

Just look at it.  It's so lovely and leafy.  And good for you.

I kind of fell off the kale love train this winter, but I'm back on the kale wagon.  As evidenced by the two pound bag I bought the other day.

And....that's all I have.

Time to organize!

Monday, March 28, 2011

No Words

I have no words. 

Well, I have a few, but they're not blog appropriate.  Instead, I'll come up with a few sensored words (some more coherent than others), as I share with you the photographic evidence of the once tragic state of my house.


For real?



Holy heck, they must really hate me.

For the love of crud.....why? 

Why, why, why?!  (said in my best Nancy Kerrigan voice)

No really? 


What have I ever done to those children to warrant this sort of treatment?  I feed them lunch, make them cookies, take them to the pool in the summer.  I let them sleep over, make oragami in the living room (and pick up their scraps) and let them conduct colorful experiments in the kitchen.  I even let one of them live here and call me mom.  And THIS is the thanks I get?

How lucky am I?

In other news, after this atrocity was all cleaned up, I used my new carpet cleaner to get up chocolate and raw egg stains from the living room carpet.  When your kid says 'Mom, a chocolate 'accidentally exploded' on the carpet,' you'll be very relieved that you bought yourself a carpet cleaner a few days ago.  As for the raw egg, well, I have no explanation.  Actually, I do, but you don't want to know.  I don't want to know.

Just know that Caroline and her friend, Bailey, made egg friends and poor Bob the Egg met his maker on my carpet.


On my carpet.


Those are the only word I have.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Boring Sunday

Sheesh, I've been trying to publish a blog post all afternoon, but Blogger keeps eating my pictures.  That particular post requires pictures, so I'll try to post it tomorrow instead.  Perhaps Blogger is taking a Sunday siesta and doesn't feel like working? 

It snowed this morning; just a dusting that disappeared with the mid-day sun, but it was still an odd springtime surprise.  I'm just glad it snowed this morning instead of yesterday; that would have made for a slippery run.  It's bad enough we had to dodge pot holes on the DC streets; avoiding pot holes AND trying not to slip and slide in the snow would have been a bit too much.

In other news, Caroline is back to her normal healthy self, which means we're back to our regularly scheduled programming.  Caroline goes to school; I go to the gym.  Hooray!  Although I'm still a bit sore from yesterday's race, I'm so excited to go to the gym and see all my gym friends. 

Yes, it's a sad life.  But it's MY sad life.  I have to own it.  ;)

Today has been a really quiet day.  Caroline and I had plans to go see the new Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie, but she ended up playing at a friend's house this afternoon.  Since she lost so much play time while she was sick, we decided to go next Monday because they have the day off for a teacher work day.  I've been hiding out for most of the day; cleaning carpets, cleaning up messes and flipping back and forth between the Food Network and HGTV.

Sad but true.

I'm enjoying the rest because we have a busy week ahead:  Girls on the Run Tues/Thurs; soccer practice Wed/Fri; soccer game on Saturday; Cherry Blossom 5k on Sunday.  How active are we?  Actually, how active is Caroline?  I'm just the chauffeur.  Well, I'm running the 5k, too, but that's about it.

Anyway, this is boring.  I'm bored  typing it, so you must be bored reading it. 

I guess I'll go make some dinner.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

It's Done!

This morning I got up at 3:30 (!), drank some hot tea, prepped my breakfast, donned my 'go faster socks'

and covered them up with 'keep my legs warm until the start' socks.  Classy.

I packed up my gum and chewy energy gel things (lemon flavored..yum!)

put on my 'go faster half zip pullover' and headed out in the dark morning to RFK Stadium in Washington DC.

The directions seemed simple.  The first part was simple.  In fact, they were so simple that I found myself haughtily declaring myself a navigational wizard.

And then I got lost.

Like really, really lost.  In the dark.  In a city I never drive in.  A city with tons of one way streets and confusing intersections.  I'm pretty sure I disobeyed every traffic law in the book this morning as I frantically searched for a really big stadium that most people probably wouldn't miss.

After I had turned myself around and around to the point of having a panic attack somewhere in the DC ghetto, I called Craig.  In Georgia.  As I cried and panicked and declared myself the stupidest stupid person to ever exist on this stupid planet, he fired up his laptop and helped me find my way to the stadium.  My Hero.  My Savior.  Along the way I ended up behind a van with a 26.2 marathon sticker on it's bumper; I figured that van might know where to go and sure enough, the van was following the same directions Map Quest was giving Craig.

Mad props to my navigator.  No seriously.  He's my now my most favorite person ever AND I have fully forgiven him for eating my Luna bar last week.

I arrived with enough time to hit the bathrooms and get to the start line.  The National Anthem played while I was in the port-o-potty line and that is also when I realized I left my Garmin GPS in my car.  Thankfully I had time to run to my car and get to my corral with plenty of time to spare.

And then I ran.

You'll be proud of me; I remembered to look up and notice the Washington Monument.  I saw some other stuff too, but mostly I saw a whole lot of hills and a whole lot of runner's behinds.  Here's something I surmised:  Men, if you jiggle in your tight running pants...don't wear them.  Please.  That is all.

I also noticed a lot of cute signs.  My favorites were: "Guys like girls with lots of stamina" and "Free puppies at the finish line."  I also like the good old standby:  "Don't stop, people are watching you."

As I mentioned yesterday, Craig was pretty diligent about reminding me of the hills in the race.  I braced myself for one biggie but was totally surprised by the amount of rolling hills scattered along the course.  Thankfully we had some downhill portions to give our legs a break.
Even so, I managed to beat the time goal I had set for myself.

When I race I usually have four times in mind. For today's race I had 2:09:59 as my 'if I don't beat this, I'll be really disappointed' time.  2:05 was my 'I know I can do this fairly easily, so I'll give it a shot' time.  2:02 was my 'icing on the cake' time and anything below 2 hours was my 'wildest dreams' time.

I was really close to my wildest dreams time, and I'm pretty happy.  At one point I thought I might have enough gas to make it a sub 2 hour race, but it came down to either sprinting to the finish and possibly throwing up or maintain a more stomach friendly-comfortable pace. 

I never opt for anything which might involve throwing up, so I'll just deal with those 16 seconds.

I'm happy to report that my drive home was much easier and I didn't get lost once.  When I arrived home Caroline and her friends made me some cute signs and had some mac and cheese ready for me to eat.

Wasn't that sweet?

I happily hoovered the mac and cheese before I took a glorious shower.  Post race showers are the best!

And for the rest of the day?  I shall nap.

And think about buying a GPS.

Friday, March 25, 2011

It's On

Knock on wood....Caroline is healthy.  She went to school today and didn't look like death warmed over this afternoon, so I consider her recovered.

I dropped her off at school this morning, said a quick prayer for a fever free day, went to Dunkin Donuts and then to the commissary to stock up on produce.  We were down to a few clementines and two yucky-shouldn't-have-bought-them-out-of-season peaches

Cantaloupe, spaghetti squash, salad mix, baby spinach, baby carrots, big carrots, kale, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, tomatoes, onions, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower and asparagus

Um, yeah.  Lots of produce.

After my quick fruits and veggies stock up (oh, and ice cream because we were OUT!), I hopped on the Metro and went to pick up my packet for tomorrow's National Half Marathon.

Bad news:  if I run this same race next year, I'll have to move up into a new age category.


Good news:   I picked up extra safety pins.

After our last minute scramble to find safety pins before the Disney marathon, I learned my lesson.  Once you pay $8.50  for four safety pins, you remember to pick up the free ones!

Last week I bought myself a new shirt and socks for the race.

I like to call them my 'go faster' shirt and socks.  Wishful thinking, no? 

Anyway, I bought that shirt when the weather was around 70.  Tomorrow at race time, it's going to be in the 30s.  'Go faster' or not, short sleeves aren't going to work.  So I bought a 'go faster half-zip pullover running jacket' to wear instead.

When the swag bags contain itchy, scratchy, ugly free gloves, you know it's going to be a cold race.

Yep, it's going to be a brisk one.  On the bright side, the shirts are kind of nice. 

The theme is 'run through history.'  I like that slogan.  Except, honestly?  It's hard to focus on the historical landmarks when you're trying not to die running your heart out.  The roads you run on and continue to focus on are all the same.  Hopefully I'll remember to look up once or twice.

Best of all,  I like that the shirt is white and not salmon pink like the race shirts from 2009, when Craig ran the National Half.  Talk about bright....

It was strange going to a race expo alone.  I've never ridden the Metro without Craig or Caroline (or both of them) with me.  I read for most of the trip, which was kind of nice, except I started to fall asleep on the way home.  I'm excited about the race tomorrow, even though it's going to be chilly.  I have a goal time in mind, but I'm feeling a little unsure because 1) I feel a little rusty 2) I didn't fully or properly train for the race and 3) I just talked to Craig who kept reminding me of this horrible hill we'll face.  I keep forgetting about the hill and he keeps reminding me.

In this instance, I like to be completely oblivious of what is to come; ignorance is bliss.  Craig, on the other hand, studies, dissects and memorizes course maps and elevation charts.  And me?  I just show up and hope for the best.

13.1 or bust!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Upside

The upside to being stuck at home with sick Caroline is that I haven't had much opportunity to spend any money.   When she's in school and I have nothing to do during the day, I shop.  Clearly, as evidenced by the rambling, whiny posts I've written all week I haven't had much free time to shop this week and our bank account is reaping the benefits.

Except, I forgot that I bought a new carpet cleaner and a printer.  Oh, and a new home phone because our other one died a very slow death.


It was a nice thought, anyway.

The purchases were worth it, though.  I can now print stuff, the phone won't shut off mid conversation, and my carpets might somehow look a little fresher and a lot less splotchy from all the spills Caroline 'accidentally' anoints our carpets with.  Soup, juice, chocolate milk, you name it and she has dumped it.  I haven't fired up the carpet cleaner yet; I'm waiting for Caroline to be in school so no one (read:  Caroline) is tempted to walk on the wet carpet.  Hopefully she'll go to school again someday in the near future so I can test it out.

Oh please, oh please, oh please let her go to school sometime soon. 

We have a case of cabin fever, I do declare.  That's what happens when your only outings for the week involved trips to the doctor and to Target for a carpet cleaner and milk.

It has been a long, long, LONG week.

I hate to jinx it, but I think Caroline might be on the mend.  However, I'm a pessimist of the highest order and am having trouble remaining optimistic.  Not even 'cautiously' optimistic.  We'll see.  She had an appointment scheduled for 1 pm, but I canceled it because she's showing signs of wellness and I try really hard to not look like one of 'those' moms.  Even though yesterday I said I was going to be a pest about it.  See, I'm pessimistic AND wishy-washy.

Keep your fingers crossed.  Because, well, she just HAS to go to school tomorrow.  No.  Really.  She HAS TO.  Otherwise, you just might find me back at the hospital, simultaneously scarfing down a king sized Snickers bar and begging for Xanax.

Believe me, I'm only half joking.  I'd never eat a king sized Snickers (regular size will do!), but I just might beg for drugs.

Feel free to send help!  And Snickers.

Or, if you know a psychiatrist........

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

In a Nutshell

Wanting to simultaneously cry, bang your head against the wall and have a panic attack: motherhood in a nutshell.

Oh, and love, pride and joy, too.

And I'm not just talking about when your toddler eats rocks despite your adamant protest, climbs on the tables repeatedly and refuses to leave the mall peacefully.    We're, quite thankfully (no really, thank you Jesus) over the toddler stage, but even though Caroline can tie her own shoes, brush her own teeth and doesn't eat rocks anymore ( I think), in instances such as these feverish times, I still feel like crying and banging my head against the wall.

I always feel on the verge of a panic attack, so that's nothing new.

In case you haven't guessed, Caroline is still sick with the same cycle of cool in the morning/ hot in afternoon/evening feverishness.  Two trips to the doctor have yielded the same diagnosis:  'it's a virus.'

I really hate those words.

I've witnessed and cared for Caroline through every illness she's ever had.  I know that she doesn't typically get 'just a virus.'  Lengthy fevers, usually without other symptoms, always end up being some sort of crazy infection.  Unfortunately, mother's intuition doesn't come with an MD, so my input is useless.

I'm taking her back to the doctor tomorrow and fully intend on being a pest.  I don't like to be a pest; in fact, I generally dislike when others are pests, but I've reached my near breaking point.

Missing school hasn't phased Caroline one bit; her teachers aren't concerned about it either.  She's a capable student and can easily catch up. However, I can't help but feel horrible every morning when I send an email to the attendance secretary informing her that Caroline won't be in school again.  And no, not because that means I can't go to the gym. 

It's not my fault she's sick.    I haven't done anything to make her sick and I clearly can't do anything to make her well, but I still feel like a big fat failure.  That part will never make sense; I think it's a mom thing.  Or perhaps, it's just a Crazy Alison thing?

I don't know.

Stupid mom guilt.

To further add to the guilt, I have a race on Saturday.  A race I'm so excited to run; a race I paid $85 to run. I find myself thinking  'please get well Caroline so I can run.'  It's selfish and very unmother-like.  Or, at least what I presume would be unmother-like

But it's true.

Stupid mom guilt.

But really, what more would you expect from me? 

Selfish, guilt ridden and panicky:  Alison in a nutshell. ;)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Fluff Pants

WARNING:   Being in stuck inside for days on end may produce an epic horror otherwise known as Fluff Pants.

Wait a minute.  Is boredom really to blame for fluff pants? 

Or, perhaps, too many cookies are the culprit?

Either way, I don't think it matters.  Because according to Caroline, 'it's nice to sit on something so fluffy.'

Oh, that poor, misguided, built-like-a-stick child.  One day she'll realize that extra posterior fluff really isn't so much fun after all.

We got a huge laugh over fluff pants, which was a good distraction from Spring Fever 2011.  This happened on Saturday, when Craig was still home.  He told Caroline to go find me and say 'hey mom, now I look like you!'


You better watch out, kid; karma is rather unforgiving.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring Fever

I'm sure you're all just wondering how Caroline's fever is doing, because we are the center of the universe, after all.    I feel as if I'm on Fever Watch:  2011, like when a big storm rolls into town and the weatherpeople nearly wet their pants in excitement for the wind, rain and destruction that is to come.  Caroline's fever may not be on a war path, but I tell you what, that fever is a fiesty and stubborn little thing; it's worse than an unwanted houseguest. 

I took Caroline to the doctor this morning with, of course, a completely normal temperature, but it was good to have a once over by a real medical doctor and not by a dorky mom who learned everything she knows from WebMD.  For hours and hours, the temperature remained normal and we remained ever hopeful that Spring Fever was over and done with.  By lunchtime, it looked as if our wishes were coming true....until around 2pm, that is.

It's creeping back up.

Caroline is in fine spirits and is even spending time with her friends (INSIDE and within a non-breathing-on-your-friends range), which has been a nice break from the solitary confinement she was banished to this weekend.

She'll get better eventually.  This I know.


Sorry for yelling, but I can't help it.  My sanity level depends on quality time spent at the gym.  With the exception of yesterday's class, my gym time has been seriously squashed thanks to Spring Fever 2011 and I'm feeling a little bit antsy and unbalanced.

More so than usual.

In other news, we have a working printer again! Which, after not having a functioning printer for quite a while, is downright awesome.  Our other printer was the most temperamental printer ever and finally just quit working altogether about a year ago.  We managed to get by without one, having Craig print anything super important at work, but now that Craig isn't here, I bit the bullet and bought a new one.

A wireless printer. 

It's pretty sweet.  And best of all, I managed to set it up without too much of a headache....and it works! 

Now I can print important documents and coupons.

Sweet relief.

My first order of printing business was to print out my race information for Saturday's half marathon, but I got sidetracked and printed a rebate for a Bissell carpet cleaner instead.  I don't own a Bissell carpet cleaner, but judging by the state of our tragic carpets, I probably should own one.  Target has them on sale this week and now I found a rebate.  Excellent news, if I do say so myself.

I just may buy one.  Because I like to live it up the best I can.  And when you're a neurotic housewife like me, clean carpets = living it up.

I suppose, however, that it'll have to wait until I can leave my house again.   Caroline's fever is cramping everyone's style.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


I've been so quiet this weekend.  I guess that's what happens when you're stuck inside with a sick kid; there just isn't a whole lot worth reporting.

Caroline is still sick.  She woke up with a normal temp this morning and we thought the virus had passed; her temp remained normal for several hours, but by 11, it started to creep back up again.  So, I guess I'll bring her to the doctor tomorrow. Maybe it's more than a virus? If only she had some other symptoms, to make this all a little more clear.

Thankfully, Caroline is hardly ever sick; the last fever she had was in June 2009; but when she does get a fever, it's of a lengthy and stubborn variety.

I don't think I even left my house yesterday, which made for a very long and boring day.  Today I happily escaped to the gym for a bit, which is great, because I'm not going tomorrow.  They generally frown upon the presence of sick kids in the kid zone.

We just got back from dropping Craig off at the airport; he's on to Georgia for several weeks of training.  Having him home was nice and I suppose Caroline's fever gave her plenty of opportunity to spend with her dad.  They stayed upstairs and watched TV and played on the laptops almost all day yesterday.  Two peas in a pod, they are.

It's never fun saying good bye, but we'll *probably* see him in May for a quick visit, which gives us something to look forward to.  Of course, I feel especially bad because I got mad at Craig this morning.  You never want to waste precious time being mad...but, HE ATE MY LUNA BAR!!

I bought two: one for him and one for me.  And he ate mine.  The one I was saving to eat before my workout this morning.

A gym/Facebook friend posted that the coconut chocolate dipped Luna bar tasted like a Girl Scout Samoa cookie.  Because she's a trustworthy sort of person, I took her advice and bought the coconut chocolate dipped Luna bar at Whole Foods last week.  And, because I'm especially generous, I bought one for Craig, too.  Even though Luna bars are for women.  Clearly, he's secure enough in his manhood to eat a lady bar.   Er, TWO lady bars.

I'm not a huge Girl Scout cookie fan, because I firmly believe that cookies should be big, fat and chewy.  Girl Scout cookies generally lack all three of these qualities.  I mean, I'll eat a Girl Scout cookie if offered one, but I don't ever find myself craving them.  However, all bets are off when it comes to Samoas; they're definitely my favorite.  So when I heard this Luna bar tastes like a Samoa, I jumped on the chance to try one and planned to enjoy it before my Sunday morning Kangoo Jumps class.

So you can imagine my displeasure when I went to grab my Luna bar and found it missing.  MISSING. 

Craig fessed up, claiming he didn't have anything else to eat.  If you saw my pantry, you'd know that was a flat out lie, but what can you do?  I know we didn't have any other protein bars available, but we had other equally delicious edible offerings at Craig's disposal.

Oh well.  What is done is done; and for now, I'll have to go on not knowing how delicious the coconut chocolate dipped Luna bar is.

The tragedy that is my life is almost unbearable at times.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Afternoon Slump

It seems that on most afternoons I find myself falling into some sort of Debbie Downer slump.  It's not a lack of energy, so it's not like a shot of caffeine will boost my mood.  It's more of a genuine down-in-the-dumps feeling.  I'm great in the mornings and can even muster a passable mood in the evenings but the afternoons really kick my tail. 

This happens a lot and I wish I could pin point the cause because it's kind of annoying.

I wonder if it's just boredom?

It's possible, and highly likely.  I suppose I should find a hobby, to quell the boredom, because I certainly don't want to get a job! ;)

In other news, Caroline is still feverish.  My gut tells me this is the same virus two other people we know have had, but I still find myself second guessing my decision to not bring her to the doctor.  She doesn't have any other symptoms and she 'feels' fine, even though her temperature says otherwise.  I know if I brought her in, they'd say, 'it's a virus.'  I don't know about you, but wasting my time waiting at the doctor's office and having the obvious stated to me isn't really my favorite thing.

I feel bad because it's a nice warm day today and I know Caroline would rather be outside playing with her friends, but instead, she's cooped up inside.  On the bright side, this gives her plenty of time to spend with Craig before he leaves for Georgia on Sunday.  Hopefully she'll be kind enough to not pass on any of her germs to him.  Or me!  I have a half marathon to run next Saturday; I'm in no mood to be sick.

In sum, I'm bummed, Caroline is still sick and we're having pizza for dinner.

Happy Friday.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Corners and Edges

Corners and edges:  my nemeses. 

I had to look up the plural form of nemesis.  Nemeses sounded like the smart word, but I kind of like nemisises, which speaks volumes about my smartness level.

Corners and edges get me every time.  As I cut up all the goodies I made yesterday, I sampled so many corners and edges that I felt as if browned butter was about to flow through my pores and my jeans were about to burst open.  A sign of over indulgence, perhaps?

Corners and edges are the reason the scale won't budge when I'm baking a lot.  I guess it's good that my baking lulls when Craig isn't around.  Perhaps a lull in baking will create a loss on the scale.  I'm not trying to actively lose weight, or anything, but I like my weight to remain under a certain number and let's just say that I'm currently weighing 1.4 pounds over that magic number.  Stupid corners and edges.  And ice cream.  And chips and salsa time.

I should really stay off of the scale.  Ignorance is bliss, after all.

Corners and edges be gone!

It's hard, though.  The corners and edges are my favorite part.

Oh, and if you're looking for something to bake, the three things I baked yesterday are all delicious and worthy of a whirl in your very own oven.

In other news, this girl

is a faker.


Last night she was burning up.  I didn't need a thermometer to tell me she had a fever, so  I gave her a dose of Motrin around 1 am and this morning she woke up fine.  FINE.

Fevers are kind of sneaky, so I won't be surprised if it returns, but it amazes me that she can be burning up one minute and bouncing around and requesting Panera for lunch a few hours later.

We skipped Panera, but we did go to Target for a few things and then I made her tomato soup and grilled cheese for lunch.   Now she wants to play Wii Fit. 

Yep, she's a faker, all right.

Our fiingers crossed that last night's fever was just a fluke.

And now, I have more baking to do.  But, relax, no corners and edges will be involved.  This time I'm making my go-to cookie recipe (double chocloate chunk cookies) for the people in Craig's class.   

It's a known fact that chocolate boosts brain power.

UPDATE:  Caroline is no longer faking it.  Just as I suspected, the sneaky fever came back.  The funny thing is that she doesn't feel nearly as hot as she did last night, but her fever is 102.5.  Thankfully, she's not miserable and doesn't have any other symptoms, but I sure am baffled.  Fevers are annoying because they can be caused by a zillion different things.   Boo.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Butter and Sugar Bliss

My kitchen smells like browned butter, sugar and chocolate.  Oh, and my shirt is covered in powdered sugar.  In other words:  it's a good day.

Craig is paying a visit to his former co workers tomorrow morning and it would be wrong if he arrived empty handed.

As usual, I'm going a little bit overboard and am making three different things.  I can't help it.  There are just too many good recipes out there to try.

First up:  Chocolate chip Oreo chunk cookies

Followed by brown butter toffee blondies

That sort of looks like beer, but I assure you, it's browned butter.  Delicious, nutty browned butter.

I'm changing the recipe up a bit because I couldn't find toffee bits at the store today.  I went to the store that ALWAYS has toffee bits in stock, even in the summer months, but they were out.  Not even just out of stock, they were GONE.  Other products took the toffee bits place on the shelf; it was like the toffee bits never existed.

How sad.

Anyway, I'm going with butterscotch chips as a substitute.

And last but not least, I'm making some St. Patrick's Day inspired chocolate mint brownies.  Except I forgot to take pictures. 

Maybe I'll get a good photo of the finished product.

Needless to say, I've been busy this afternoon.  And I've been enjoying every last minute of it.  EVEN the surplus of dirty dishes, melted chocolate underneath my fingernails and powdered sugar stuck in the crevices of the hardwood floors.

Time to go get Caroline from school.  Then it's cookie baking time!


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I Bought a Cookie at Whole Foods Today

And other random food tales from my day.

I went to Whole Foods today in search of nutritional yeast.   I've looked for nutritional yeast at this particular Whole Foods location at least four other times and I've yet to actually find it on the shelves.  Every google search I've done on nutritional yeast says that it can be found at Whole Foods.  There should be an asterisk by that claim, making it clear that you can find it at any Whole Foods other than the one in Springfield, Virginia.

My search for nutritional yeast may have been fruitless, but I did buy lots of other junk I did not need. 

Including gigantic bakery cookies. 

I bought a double chocolate cookie for Caroline and this one, which is pretty much a 'kitchen sink' cookie.  A little bit of everything.  I only ate half, though.

Maybe I'll share the rest with Craig.

I'm feeling kind of blah this afternoon.   I didn't go to the gym today, which is probably the culprit for my blahness.  Contrary to what you may think, I did not skip the gym in favor of my useless search for nutritional yeast or to buy big, yummy cookies.  In fact, I skipped the gym because my car needed an oil change and some sort of fuel service.  I don't know.  I just show up and pay copious amounts of money for things they tell me I need done on my car.

While my car was being fixed, I walked to the nearby Target and bought Caroline some new shorts.  She's a long-legged girl and pretty much only wears bermuda shorts.  I'm not all that keen on 9 year old girls wearing booty shorts and in Caroline's case, any shorts that aren't bermuda shorts are booty shorts.  Clearly, she did not get her long legs from her stumpy-legged mother.  I also bought her some new socks and running clothes for Girls on the Run. 

Man, it's good to be Caroline.

By some great miracle, my car only took 90 minutes to be serviced, which left plenty of time for me to hop on over to Whole Foods for another fruitless search for nutritional yeast.

Bummed because I couldn't find what  I was looking for (again!), went home and baked some bread.

and now I'm slow roasting some tomatoes.

Roasted tomatoes are my new favorite thing; they make a delicious addition to grilled cheese sandwiches.

It's a food-centric kind of day.

Wait?  Aren't all days food-centric? 

They are around here, anyway.

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Mystery

Fact:  when Caroline and I left the house this morning, Craig had been gone for quite awhile, driving to the class he's attending in Maryland, about an hour away.  When we headed off to school and the gym, Craig's netbook was on the stairs; his backpack was on our bedroom floor and our curtains were in an open position. 

When I came home from the gym around noon, the curtains on one window in our bedroom were closed, Craig's netbook was in our closet and his backpack, which once sat on the floor, was no longer on the floor.

My interest is piqued.

I think I have a mystery on my hands.  A mystery that needs solving. 

So far, my phone call to Craig has gone unanswered, which means he's in the class he's attending.  Cell phones, and any electronics, for that matter, are strictly prohibited.  I suppose it's easier to listen to the teacher when you're not distracted by an enticing 4G network and instant access to the world wide web.

Since I haven't received confirmation from the would-be culprit, perhaps someone else is responsible for this. 

Did the clean up fairy come over while I was at the gym?  And if she did, why didn't she take out the recycling and pick up the pile of dirt I swept into the corner?

I'm sure I'll figure out the answer to this mystery soon enough, but in the event that the clean up fairy did come, I hope she comes back regularly.  Preferably with a great desire to clean all the blinds on my windows.

UPDATE:  It wasn't the clean up fairy.  In fact, it was the anti-clean up fairy....Craig.  He had an issue with some paperwork and had to drive all the way home to get it squared away before being allowed to enter the class.

Mystery solved.

All along I knew it was Craig, but in the back of my head, I couldn't help but hope it was the clean up fairy. 

I would have really liked her.

 Happy Pi Day!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Cupcake Headache

Remember the time I spent $11 on 20 stickers?

Wait, I didn't tell you about that, did I?  Well, in that case, *I* remember spending $11 on 20 stickers.

I signed up to make the end-of-the-season cupcakes for Caroline's  basketball team.  I scoured the stores and the Internet for basketball themed cupcake wrappers and toppers. I came up empty in the store search, but found plenty of merchandise online.  Merchandise that would cost 16 or so dollars + $15 in shipping.

Uh, no thanks.

So what did I do?  I found a place to make customized stickers for $4.95.  What a deal!    Of course, in my excitement, I  forgot to factor in the $6 for shipping.

$11 later, I took my customized stickers and made my own cupcake toppers.

I took rounds of black card stock, cut with decorative scissors,

and toothpicks (and my hot glue gun)

to make these

which were placed atop cupcakes iced with flaming orange (pinky orange?) buttercream frosting.

I already told you about  Friday night's cupcake baking snafu, but thanks to my uncanny knack for creating kitchen catastrophes, Saturday morning's cupcake decorating session brought with it a new set of issues.

First, my orange icing gel had a busted seal.  Oh, the horror!  Clearly, if a streaky Funfetti sprinkle/possible (fantom) yucky egg caused me to run to the store on a Friday night for a new box of cake mix, you can easily surmise that I didn't use the orange icing gel with the busted seal.  YES, I know it's just a tub of chemicals, but... have we met?  I'm Alison.  I'm neurotic.  I did not want to be responsible for feeding Caroline's teammates tainted tinted frosting.

Thankfully, I know from elementary school art class (and a few episodes of Blues Clues) that yellow + red = orange.  Only in my case, red + yellow = pinky orange.  Oh well.

I meant well.

Notice the ploppy, gloppy swirls of frosting?

Ugh, that was problem number two.

I used a different tip this time.  A tip that is completely smooth, as opposed to one with a star pattern in the tip, which yields frosted tops like the ones you'd find in the grocery store bakery. 

Normally, I use the star tip

But yesterday I just HAD TO try something new, which didn't go as smoothly as I had hoped.

Oh well.  I can beat myself up all I want over ugly cupcakes, but I know deep down that the girls didn't care.

Besides, they had fun at their last game.

And  finished their season undefeated!  (even though no score was kept)

To top it all off, all the girls got specialized awards and trophies with girls with flaming pink hair, which coordinated nicely with the flaming orangey-pink frosting on the cupcakes.

Caroline received the "Best Attitude" award.

And NO, that's not another way of saying 'you're-not-very-good-but-you-didn't-cry-about-it-so-here's-an award' award.  Ha!  Basketball may not be Caroline's best sport, but she still played well and contributed to the team.  She just happened to do it with a great attitude, to boot.

Which, as a parent, and the ones responsible for making sure she has a good, hard working, gracious attitude, a 'Best Attitude' award can't help but make you feel proud.  And, not to mention, hopeful that you're actually doing something right.  ;)

Hooray, Hot Shots!