Sunday, May 09, 2010
Surrounded by the never-ending chore list, it's easy to get discouraged and frustrated. Our house is on the market right now, and it needs to be tidy all the time. I'm constantly picking up, Febreezing everything and Windexing (mmm, Windex) the bathrooms. I literally growl under my breath when I see the boys carelessly throw down their things instead of putting them away. Don't they know that I'm neurotically cleaning all the time? Their beds aren't made meticulously and there's always a stray sock under the bed. They hide toys on the "dark side" of the bed (the side you don't see from the door), and there's always toothpaste or mouthwash in the sink in their bathroom. Don't get me started on the ever-present smell of pee. Like I said, it's easy to get frustrated.
It's hard work to be a Mom. It's hard to be consistent. It's hard to be patient. I'm no expert. Sometimes, it's just easier to let them watch TV.
Yesterday, Mother's Day, I contemplated the art of Mothering. I must be so frustrating to my children. I feel like I'm constantly critical of them and nagging over dirty clothes on the floor. I certainly don't do all the things I want to with them and I'm lacking in the "funzone" a lot. I feel like a tyrant sometimes.
Yet, they like being with me. Silas collapsed with laughter yesterday when I did an imitation of Wicked Witch of the West from the Wizard of Oz (nailed it, by the way). And Corin painted me a lovely Walter Anderson print their teacher gave to his class for them to complete for their Mothers. He was so proud of his work! Felix loves for me to read to him and he still (all 54 pounds of his four-year oldness) likes to snuggle on my lap. They all beg to "help" me in the kitchen with cooking, and they fought over who got to take care of me when I came home from the hospital after Lida B was born. They adore their baby sister and love to hold her and occupy her attention when I need to do something.
Even though I'll still be neurotic (let's not kid ourselves), I will try (and fail a lot) to keep this time in perspective. They will not all being under my roof forever. There will be lonely times where I wish they were around more often soon enough. I understand that it happens faster than you think. I'm glad they're my kids. And I'm glad I'm their Mom.
I'm off to Febreeze and Windex.
Thursday, May 06, 2010
This week is Teacher Appreciation week at my boys' school. There is a theme for each day, but, alas, I've not done ANYTHING. With a tinge of self-loathing, I berated myself for a couple of minutes and then decided to do something with a bang. After all, we do appreciate my boys' teachers; both of the school-age boys adore them. I do want to show our appreciation for their hard work. I initially thought I'd make a cake for each teacher, but that was starting to add up (and would've taken HOURS), so Quinn (the genius) suggested making small layer cakes. I was given small tart pans (a little bigger than the palm of your hand) a few years ago by my Grandmother (who's a genius baker) and I've never used them.
I dug them out of the back of the cabinet (I have six) and washed the dust off, greased and floured them and then set to the mixing of the cake. You could easily follow directions on a cake mix, but I decided to "kick it up a notch" and make my (er, Southern Living's) Triple Chocolate Bundt Cake recipe.
1 box Devil's Food with pudding in the mix
1 5.9 ounce box of instant chocolate pudding
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cup oil
3 cups chocolate chips, divided
1/2 cup whipping cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour bundt cake. Mix 1st five ingredients in a bowl until well blended. Stir in two cups of chocolate chips. Normally, you would pour this into a prepared bundt pan, but for the mini cakes, soon approximately two big tablespoons full into prepared (greased and floured) mini pans. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for approximately 18 to 19 minutes.
Allow cake to cool for 10 minutes in pan and then remove from pan to let cool on a wire rack for a bit.
For the next bit of "notching it", I prepared an easy recipe of cream cheese icing.
1 8 ounce package of cream cheese (softened)
1/4 cup butter (softened)
1 box powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Mix together. Apply a generous amount of cream cheese icing between two cakes and then let sit on rack.
Ganoche sounds hard (perhaps because it's a Frenchy French name), but is super easy to prepare. Simply take the remaining cup of chocolate chips (from cake recipe) and 1/2 cup whipping cream and stir them in a small saucepan over low heat until they melt. Let sit, unheated, for a couple of minutes after the chips are melted.
Then apply two large spoonfuls on top of each layer cake, spreading to the edge. Then lick the saucepan (you know you want to). (Also, please ignore chipping nail polish on my fingers, ugh that looks bad).
To finish the cakes, sprinkle a dusting of powdered sugar over the top. I would wait until just before serving to do this last step. I applied the sugar last night and this morning it had melted into the ganoche. No biggie, I simply reapplied the dusting again.
This recipe made six layer cakes. It could make more or less, depending on the pans you used. You could use a muffin tin and make REALLY cute, tiny layer cakes.
The cakes were so cute and made a really pretty presentation. You could really do this with any kind of cake. I think next time I'll try it with red velvet, with cream cheese icing in the middle, and a white chocolate ganoche on the top. I placed the cakes on a pretty disposable plate this morning and sent them to school with the boys in a box lid, which also means they may not make them EXACTLY to their teachers. Normally, my pride and vanity would make me go to the school myself and take them, but, ick, Lida B didn't sleep well last night and I'm pooped. I'm guessing Silas will have a serious mishap; poor thing gets his clumsiness from his Mother.
Anyhoo, I'm about to make a fresh cup of coffee and get a "sliver" (snort) of the last cake, which our family sampled this morning for breakfast. It was delicious!
Tuesday, May 04, 2010
We are approaching the end of our time here in Jackson. Quinn is not completely done with classes; he will finish his final year in Birmingham, via the internet. Our job at Community Presbyterian starts in June.
Quinn reminded me last night that, when I was sobbing one night when we first moved here, that I would cry when we left. That seemed hard to believe when we first moved here, I missed my home and my home church family so much. But now we are preparing to leave, and so are others (to go to their new homes), and I know visits with them will be far and few in between. I feel like this is an abrupt ending to our time here, even though I knew it was coming for two years. I've made some good friends and it's been so lovely to live near family. I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around not being able to see them as often.
Two years seemed like an eternity, but it has zipped by so very fast. I'm thankful for these two years. They've been difficult, but have brought Quinn and I closer together. And then there's Baby Girl, the unexpected addition to our little family. I wouldn't trade these two years for anything.
I'm looking forward to moving back to Birmingham. Dear friends await our return and our church is excited to have Quinn on staff. It's nice to be wanted. I feel like we're returning into a giant hug.
I'm gonna need it.