Monday, August 29, 2011

If You Take Away a Mom's Office

If You Take Away a Mom's Office

If you take away a mom's office and give it to her son for a bedroom, she will need a place for all her stuff.
She will look around and realize the only place to put her bookcase and all the bills is her bedroom.
When her husband and son move all her stuff into the master bedroom, she will look at it with growing dismay and realize looking at bills before bedtime wrecks the sanctuary feel of her room.  She will decide she must reclaim the kitchen desk that was surrendered to the children as a spot for crafts and computing.  Alas, if she reclaims the kitchen desk, she will have to relocate all the kid crafting and project parts.

Her eyes will fall on the pantry and she will decide the children may use the bottom of the pantry for their paints, glues, pipe cleaners, mod podge, and colors.  The pantry will require reorganizing to make room.  To make room, the Mom will need to take cooking vessels and party trays from the pantry and put them in the kitchen.  To put them in the kitchen, she will have to make room, which means reorganizing the kitchen cupboards.

The Mom will throw out cracked sippies and unloved storage tops to spruce up her kitchen and pantry. She might even make ice cream in the much-wanted, and then forgotten, ice cream maker.  When she finally gets the kitchen reassembled and the pantry just-so, she will start the process of placing the kid craft cabinet contents into the bottom of the pantry.  Doing so will make her remember why she gave the kids the craft cabinet in the first place: Visibility.  From multiple vantage points, the Mom can see Little One grab the finger paints before church or Middle One snag wiggle eyes for his backpack and Big Kid attempt to walk off with the roll of butcher paper.

She will realize sacrificing the kitchen desk to the children actually helps maintain her sanity and some sense of cleanliness in her home. She will promptly move the kid paraphernalia back into the kitchen desk, and revel in her pristine pantry. She will decide maybe the bills can stay in her room because to bring them out in the kitchen would create more chaos that saving her bedtime sanctuary is worth.  Maybe she will use some fabric from the craft cabinet to fashion a curtain to cover bookcase shelf holding the files and bills.  The mom will sigh and wistfully think she really needs an office.

~ G

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Drip... Drip... GUSH!

The kitchen faucet is dripping.

No, that is not a metaphor for our financial disaster created by Washington.

MY kitchen faucet is dripping.  Drip.  Drip.  Drip.

If I lift the lever and turn off the faucet right in the middle, the drip stops.

Confession?  It has dripped long enough that even the kids know how to stop the drip.  Darling... um...  kinda.

Not only is the faucet dripping, but the plumbing under the sink is dripping.  Specifically, it drips when the disposal runs.  The disposal seems to be perpetually clogged.  I noticed the drip when taking out the garbage. The drip/gush under the sink appears to be coming from the U-bend connections.

So.  What's a Girl to do?

I could turn off the water and try to figure it out.  Excuse me, I could try to figure it out and then turn off the water and fix it.

Or, I could use my home warranty and spend $50 on the deductible and have a plumber come out and fix both problems.

I could do it myself for, what, $10?  That leaves me $40 for groceries or kid clothes or to transfer into savings.

What would you do?

~ G

Friday, July 29, 2011

Need a Letter to Adequately Express Your Outrage?

Better yet, do you know any liberals who need help expressing their outrage?  Check out this link and click the "Outrage Generator."

Just for kicks, I will fill out my own letter and post it here.  Then, you do the same in the comment section and we can giggle self-righteously to ourselves.

Here's my letter:

To Whom It May Concern,

I am writing today to shriek my utter OFFENSE over the fact that anyone dared to momentarily think the dreaded K-Word. 

You see, I am inordinately proud of my ethnicity – and why shouldn't I be? It took incredible skill and hard work on my part to be conceived – not to mention all the determination it took me to master blinking. That's why pride in my ethnicity constitutes my entire one-dimensional identity – and for that I deserve automatic and constant validation.

Now, I'm a supporter of free speech and all, but when it isn't gushingly positive about people to whom I condescend for cheap political points, then it's time for draconian censorship!

Furthermore, as a member of the esteemed International Society of the Ancestrally Fixated, it is my pleasure to remind you that only WE are allowed to use the K-Word – as a proud expression of our resilience. 

You know, growing up Jedi in my overly tolerant hippie commune, it didn't take long to realize that the problem with today's world is that people who are different from me are too criminally self-absorbed to fixate entirely on MY feelings. And that's why when those people used the K-Word, I felt I'd been personally smacked, and as such hereby formally demand their public exectution. 

Yours Truly, 


PS: I won't be surprised if you ignore me. That's just the kind of treatment I'd expect from a typical sneaky cracker like YOU!

Fun, right?  Go make yours and report your findings.  :-)


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Racing to Amen

You might remember Little One asking to "brave."  We have changed how we pray nightly.  We have transitioned into praying the Lord's Prayer at the end of our nightly prayers.

Now Little One asks to "brave" with her brothers.  This has turned into gathering in the boys' room where we all pray the Lord's Prayer together.

The only thing is Middle One races... races... to the end.  The kid cannot wait to say "Amen."  He says it with a flourish-y shake of his head and then grins to himself.

Oh, to be God and know what that kid is thinking.

~ G

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Lessons From Bed

Ha. How many hits will this post get with the use of "bed" in the title?

Here is the deal. I hurt my weak ankle two weeks ago. This is the ankle I broke 23 years ago and the same ankle I sprain or twist every few years, whether it needs it or not. Consistency is important, doncha know?

Ahem.  My ankle sustained injury and was feeling better.  Then, like a classic dumbass moron idiot fool, I gave in to the kids wanting me to jump on the trampoline with them and... two hours later the pain was unbearable.  My ankle felt like it did post-surgery when I was a teenager. Nice, huh?

Sigh.  At any rate, I am now in reduced-severe pain (thank you, hydrocodone) and bedridden. This is day two.  As miserable as the prospect of being bedridden for proper healing is, it reminds me of all the tips and tricks I learned while on bed rest with my last two pregnancies.

Let me share the lessons from bed:

1. Get dressed.  Even if you put on super-comfy flannels or your favorite sloppy shirt and shorts, get out of your jammies.  Getting dressed gives structure to the day.  This is "awake" time (even if you take 3 naps today), so dress for being awake.
2. Open the curtains or blinds. Natural light in the room helps keep your internal clock on some semblance of "normal."  It also prevents you from feeling like Vampira.
3. Make the bed.  Yes, you are on bed rest or bedridden, but save the clean sheets for night time.  Park your toosh on top of the comforter.
4. Park your toosh in the middle of the bed.  Chances are good your beloved will not take a snooze during the day.  This is your throne for the duration, so dominate the space Your Highness!  Save staying on your side of the bed for nighttime - when you are back in the jammies and under the clean sheets.
5. Brush your teeth and wash your face.  Plan on a shower later in the day to break up the afternoon.
6. Assemble your bed stuff first thing in the morning.  This is the stuff you keep with you all day.  For me, this starts with a tray.  A tray provides a place for drinks and meals.  It also keeps all your stuff organized so your current mess of a life does not feel more out-of-control than necessary.  My tray holds:
  • the telephone
  • the cell phone (which you can't see in the pic because I'm holding it)
  • reading material
  • the remote
  • laptop
  • water, preferably with a lid
  • meds, unless you tend to forget how and when to take them, in which case have your husband or mother dole them out when necessary
  • lip balm
  • extra pillows
  • throw blanket
  • anything else you need, like tissues or reading glasses
My tray for today.  See those blue shorts at
the bottom of the pick?  Those are leftover
maternity shorts from Big Kid's pregnancy.
They are comfy.  They look like hell and
need hemming on one leg, but I they are
my go-to comfy shorts.
My poor little ankle atop an extra pillow.
See the other extra pillow and throw blanket?
These are most excellent for naps.

6. Settle into bed rest.  Ease into it like a bubble bath.  You are stuck and not going anywhere, so stop trying to be "you" and chill out.  
7. Come up with a TV viewing plan.  Flip through the guide and find about 20 things that interest you.  Record them. Watching home improvement shows or the current marathon of "Millionaire Matchmaker" will give structure to your day. If you are bedridden for 3 days, scroll through the guide and record things for the next few days. Having something attainable to anticipate makes things easier.  You will not be cleaning anything or moving anything or pulling weeds.  You are stuck in bed.  Embrace it.  You are not lazy - you have been ordered to bed.  Find ways to enjoy it!  
8. If you have kids, plan special time with them - or embrace the random moments.  Have a movie night in your bed with just one of your children.  Give your daughter a pedicure.  Read with just one child.  Yesterday I was awakened from a snooze to play ponies with Little One.  Each one of my kids has had the opportunity to hang out with me.  Who knew bed rest could equal special time alone with each kid?

Bed rest is not a helluva lot of fun, but can be made quite bearable. I'm just sayin.'

~ G

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Best - Another Culinary Win

Overheard at our dinner table:

Middle One: Mama?  Did you make these cinnamon rolls yourself?

(Truth in advertising requires me to tell you we had breakfast for dinner.  That included sausage, scrambled eggs, and cinnamon rolls.  Back to the touching story...)

Me: Yes.

Middle One: [Eyes wide] These are the best cinnamon rolls I have ever eaten.  You really made them?!

Me:  [Trying not to get misty-eyed] Thank you, honey.  I really did make them.  I am so glad you like them. 

Sniff.  Sniff.  Hmmm.  It just occurred to me that we sound like the Cleavers.  Oh, well!

So, a great big shout-out to the Pioneer Woman, er, Ree Drummond.  Thank you for the best cinnamon roll recipe ever! 

Just in case anyone needs a hard copy of the best cinnamon roll recipe EVER, check out PW's book. 

~ G

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Yeah, It's a RACK!

May I simply say that it cracks me up that the post with the most traffic on the blog is She's Got a Great Rack?

How many men have stumbled upon that post when looking for... something else?

I'm just sayin'

~ G

Friday, July 22, 2011

Whew! Glad for Confirmation.

Reading the latest issue of Marie Claire (please do not judge me for reading such a liberal-leaning rag mag), I noticed a link to a career quiz.  Curiosity got the best of me and I typed in the link to take the quiz.

As it turns out, I am well-suited for my current career as a stay-at-home mom.  In fact, according to the quiz, I am incredibly fortunate to have a job I love, one where I feel appreciated (yes, well-fed, healthy kids and husband who seeks me out for my opinions count as "appreciated"), and one where I have a healthy attitude about what I do.

Thank you, Marie Claire for confirming what I already knew.  Sometimes a silly quiz can feel like a great big pat on the back.

Take the quiz!  Please come back and share your results below.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

I Have Not Had a Whole Lot to Say

The past few months have ushered in a quiet phase for me.

I have been asked how the Nice plan unfolded.  Well, that in and of itself is a story.

The bottom line is I am a helluva lot nicer.

The long story is I took extreme measures to get there.  Well, extreme for me.  The truth is Darling is working very hard these days.  It is what it is and it is not going to change for another year or so.  It has been this way for a couple years.  About 18 months ago, I remember standing at my friend's kitchen island and saying I could feel the stress changing me and I did not like it.

I did not like it.

The stress of being the single mom with three kids and a husband wore me down to the point where I would daydream about going to sleep and being in bed for an indefinite amount of time.  I would drive past a big tree and the thought would cross my mind that if I slammed into it with the car I could buy myself some rest time in the hospital.

Um, that is not okay... just in case you wondered.

At my annual lady visit, I finally asked my OB/GYN for some meds to take the edge off my stress.  This is my doctor who delivered Middle One, shepherded me through two miscarriages and three D&C's in one year, and guided me through pregnancy with Little One.  Over the past eight years, she has had occasion to ask me if I needed "help" or something to help with my blues.  I always turned her down.

I turned her down because 30 minutes of hard exercise could lift my mood for a couple days.  I turned her down because a long talk with a girlfriend could lift my mood and pull me out of the blues.  I turned her down because I felt the tools I had to lift myself continued to work.

And then they did not work anymore.

By this winter, 30 minutes of exercise lifted me for an hour, not days.  Talking with a girlfriend became an in-the-moment ease of worry and the long-lasting effects evaporated.  Eating better did not help.  Getting more sleep did not help.  Adjusting how Darling and I tried to get things done around here did not help.  Falling on my knees and giving it to God did not offer the long-lasting heart-lift it used to offer.

And then I needed to start looking for a job.

More stress.

I had to look for daycare options for Little One.

More stress.  Heartache.

So at my appointment, I asked for help.  I asked for help.

My doctor asked at least 20 questions to assess my needs.  I told her I needed a little help for the next year or so and we agreed that this would be a short-term plan until Darling's work load subsided and things got back to normal.  She prescribed Celexa, warned me that the first two weeks might be rough (fatigue, nausea), but by the end of two weeks, I should feel great.

I went to Target pharmacy, paid my $10 for 3 months' worth of daily meds, went home and took one before bedtime.

An amazing thing happened.  Aside from the crippling fatigue and near-pregnancy nausea, I felt like "me" again.  I could actually think again.  The words and thoughts in my head no longer felt like a jumble of words, words, emotions, words, words, words, but rather a linear pattern I could decipher.

The best and the worst part?  The first few days slayed me.  Darling and I would have a conversation and I would watch him visibly recoil, waiting for me to fly off the handle at him.  The kids seemed to brace themselves for me to start yelling.  I did not, however, fly off the handle.  I did not, however, start yelling at the kids.

I was back.  *I* was back.

I have always been anti-meds.  If natural, non-medicinal methods can do the same thing, do them.  I delivered all my children, including my pitocin-induced baby, without pain meds.  I had researched the tools, practiced the tools, and used the tools to do it without medicine.  That philosophy served me well for years.  For most of my life, medicine has not really been necessary.  It was necessary here.

It brought me back.  It gave me myself back.  It gave Darling his wife back and gave my children their mother back.

By the end of the two weeks, I felt great.  I feel like me again.  I did not realize how un-me I had become until I got "me" back.   It has been a lot to process, a lot of consider, and a lot to experience.

And that is why I have not had a whole lot to say.

~ G

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Nice, Schmice

This whole "be nice" thing is not as easy as it sounds.

Well, those of you who share my snark problem probably already knew that little nugget.

Last night required stores of self-control to listen, not speak, let Darling talk, not speak, not interrupt, and let Darling take 20 minutes his time getting to his point to explain his thoughts.

It would seem that the request to "be nice" has illuminated my extraordinary lack of patience.

>head desk<

It also occurs to me that the Lord asked me to "be kind," yet I keep saying "be nice."  Hmmm... time to do some navel-gazing on the differences between the two.


~ G

But I Do Not Want to Be Nice

So it is.  My Lenten task is to "be nice."

Truth be told, when the Lord laid that on my heart last night, it was in relation to Darling.

I need to find a way to be nice.

It is not easy.

Darling works very hard these days.  Oftentimes the kids do not see him for several days at time because he leaves for work so early and returns so late.  He is mentally preoccupied and I have had to repeat the same information several times - only to discover several days later that he has no recollection of our multiple conversations on said topic.

I have started taking it personally.

It makes me feel insignificant.

It makes me feel as if I do not matter to him.

That is not a good place to be.

I have been reading "Power of a Praying Wife" again and that first chapter always slaps me in the face.  The deal is, though, that my frustration with Darling has begun to feed a bitterness in me.

That is bad.  "Bitter" is bad.  I do not want to be bitter.

The goal for the Lenten season is "be nice."  Surely over the next few weeks, the Lord will illuminate "be nice" in multiple ways.

I should be excited about the journey.  I am not.

I should be thankful that the Lord sees a willing heart in me.  I am not.

Sometimes I do not want to be the eager student, eager to learn, eager to research, eager to see Him in everything.  Sometimes I want to just feed the bitterness and act ugly.

Evidently, that is exactly His point... well, I am guessing on that one.

I will let you know if I am spectacularly wrong or humbly correct.

~ G

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

How (Not) to Photograph Your Wife

Here we have three easy tips on how to photograph your wife.  It does not matter if you declare you took photography in school and are therefore most excellent at taking good pictures.  This handy, three-point list is for you:

1. Angle the camera up toward her.  This is the absolute best way to highlight her multiple chins and chipmunk cheeks.  After all, every woman wants her face to look as if she's been on a salty snack/alcohol-infused bender.

2. If taking a shot of her legs (let us pretend, for instance, that she bought new jeans and wants to see how they really look - because mirrors lie - and you have taken the Man Party Line by saying "you look great" and now she wants a picture, you know, just as a "for instance"), be sure to get overly close to her and then angle the camera down at her in a 45-degree angle.  This ensures her legs will look as if they have been plucked off your daughter's chubby, squat-legged baby doll and smooshed onto your wife's now awkwardly long torso.  

3. Pay no attention to lighting.  Overhead, florescent lighting illuminates your photographs with that charming dressing room feeling. We all know how much women love trying on jeans and swim suits, so taking the picture with harsh, overhead lighting will forever encapsulate the horrendous shadows under her eyes and make her look like fleshy death warmed over.


No need to go into the reasons why I compiled this list.  Let us just say Darling and I have agreed he is no longer allowed/willing to take pictures of me.  Evidence not necessary.

~ G

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Lenten Prayer

Every year on Ash Wednesday, I pray and ask God what I should give up for Lent.  Last year He asked me to add something.  This year, I do not know.  I have started praying and asking for insight into where and how I need to focus.

Thus far, I keep hearing "be kind."

Lord, please do not make me be kind.  How can I be snarky if I have to be kind?

Sigh.  I will keep praying and will report back here on the answer.  Today is Fat Tuesday.  Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday.  Surely, surely, there will be a better answer tomorrow.


~ G

Friday, March 4, 2011

I Want to Go to College

Little One keeps saying that.

"I want to go to college."

Correction: She does not "say" it.  She yells it.


Finally, Big Kid had enough.

(I know this thanks to eavesdropping ninja-mom moves.)  Here, let me set the scene for you:

A Typical Morning in the Right Girl's Home 

Setting: The front room, the Right Girl's children put on their shoes as they ready for school.

[Mom (The Right Girl) finishes packing lunches in the kitchen around the corner.  As two of the three children begin speaking, she slides to the door with sleek, cat-like stealth to listen.]

Little One: I want to go to college.

Big Kid: You can't go to college.  I told you that you can't go to college.

Little One: No! I want to go to college!

Big Kid: You can't go to college.


Big Kid: [Calmly, logically] That's not how it works.  First you have to go to preschool.  Then you go to Kindergarten.  Then you go to first grade, then second grade, then third grade, then fourth grade, then fifth grade, then sixth grade, then seventh grade, then eighth grade, then ninth grade, then tenth grade, then eleventh grade, then twelfth grade and then you get to go to college.  When you go to college, you go for four years.

[Little One stares at Big Kid in blank wonderment.]

Okay, I made up that last part as my position around the corner did not allow for witnessing the expression on her face when she fell silent.

The other part that fascinates me is that - and you may have guessed - Big Kid is a whole lot like his mama.  That would be me.  That boy does not have patience for nonsense.  He just does not.  At all.  Little One may well want to go to college.  I really want and expect her to go to college.  That said, little kids do not get to go to college and Big Kid has heard her say it just too many times.  Thankfully, rather than yelling I do not know where he would have heard raised voices he used his logical, most-definitely-inherited instructive voice.

Sigh.  I love my family.


Thursday, March 3, 2011


Little One is sick.  She is not sick enough to lay around, but she is sick enough to warrant a serious hosing at regular intervals. We do not have enough tissues to address the issue.

She is sick enough that if I were working full-time outside the house, I would stay home to care for her.  It is one of those days when I feel thankful to be a SAHM.  I do not want anyone else (that would be Darling) home taking care of her.  I want to do it.

There is a solid chance being a SAHM will end in the next 6 months and I will need to go back into the paycheck-receiving workforce.  The good news I have job prospects.  The bad news I love being a SAHM and would rather stay one.

It is a constant struggle to stop massaging my worries and remember to leave them with God.  Worrying does not add a single hour to life, does it?

Today I feel thankful to be home with my baby.  I feel thankful to have a God who not only offers to take my worries, but expects me to leave the worries with Him.  I am thankful my baby is not sick enough to lay around and is only sick enough to not be anywhere but home.

It is just the sniffles... funny how that makes me thankful to be home.

~ G

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I Am Sneaky

I am sneaky.

There.  I admitted it.  I'll tell you what I did in a moment, but first, let me share the ingenuity of countless others:

Stale cereal does not have to meet the garbage can.  Pour the stale cereal on a sheet pan and pop in a low oven (the lowest your oven will go - mine is 175-degrees F).  Set the timer for 20 minutes and in 20 minutes, your formerly stale cereal should have its crunch back.

So, back to my diabolical sneakiness.  Did I say diabolical?  Yes, yes I did.

We had a box of stale Corn Pops.  The kids don't like them.  I know, right?  What is wrong with them?  Anyway, the box had gone stale and rather than throw away perfectly good food, I plotted to use them in Rice Krispie treats.  No, that's not the diabolical part... I mean the sneaky part.  Truly, substituting one cereal for another is not sneaky.  It is clever and frugal and resourceful, but not sneaky.

 See?  They look good, yes?  Yuuuuummmm.  

You want to know the sneaky, diabolically genius part, don't you?


I added a handful of chocolate chips.  Can you see how they melted a little and got everywhere?  Don't they look yummy?  They do.  So what's so diabolical about that?  

The truth is all those little tiny specks are actually ground flax seed - just camouflaged by the chocolate.  Ahahahahahaha!  The kids and Darling (and I) will be getting some omega-3 fatty acids without even trying.  

Rest assured I have taste-tested the treats and the texture is unchanged and nary a soul (except you and me) will know there is flax seed in the dessert.

Told you I'm sneaky.

~ G

Monday, February 28, 2011

Go Back to Your Oppice!

Little One is attempting the art of bossiness.  How do I know?

When told nap time had arrived, she bellowed at me (yes, preschoolers can bellow):

"Mama!  Go back to your oppice!"  (Uh, that was "office.")

She has issues with her "f" sound.  "F" does not come out properly when one is missing three front teeth.

Despite her utterly cute and endearing "oppice," she was quickly informed that taking that tone and using those words with her mother results in undesirable consequences.

I do not care for being ordered around by my children.

There are other things I do not care to see in/from my children.  One of those things is whining.

Do not get me started on whining.  I loathe whining.  Whining hits a nerve in me that instantaneously makes me want to snatch the whiner bald-headed.  But that requires a whole 'nother blog post.

Yes, I am a Southern Mama.  Why do you ask?

~ G

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Brioche French Toast with Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Roll Maple Frosting

Remember me telling you about the bread book that revolutionized how my mom bakes bread?  She sent me a copy of it.  Well, that is not true.  She attempted to send me a copy of the book by ordering it online.  What she actually sent me was this: Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Before you think I am disparaging my mother, please note that  I am most definitely my mother's daughter and have, on occasion, managed to not finish the online act of purchasing books or say, a wedding present.  I have managed to order the wrong book or the wrong gloves or the wrong ... well, you understand.

There.  Now don't you feel satisfied, deep in your heart, to know that despite my perfect appearance, I am woefully imperfect?  Thought you would.

Back to the bread.  I wanted to make something yummy and bakey-goodness to take to a friend who just had a baby.  Cinnamon rolls sounded lovely.  They sound lovely, yes?  The recipe in the book called for one of several master recipes to create the rolls.  Alas, every recipe in the book called for way more vital gluten and honey than I had on hand.  What's a girl to do?  Adjust!

This is what I came up with for the brioche dough:

Master No-Knead Brioche Dough

1 1/2 Cups water
1 1/2 Tbsp instant yeast
1 1/2 Tbsp kosher salt
8 eggs
1/2 Cup honey
1 1/2 butter (3 sticks), melted
6 Cups All-Purpose unbleached flour
1 1/2 Cups Whole Wheat flour

Toss it all in the stand mixer (or in the food processor).  Mix with the paddle attachment until combined, maybe another minute more.  The dough will be super-uber sticky.  That's okay.  Remove the hook from the mixer, cover the dough - but not airtight.  Set it aside for 2+ hours for the dough to rise.  When the dough has risen and then fallen flat on top, place it in a large, loosely covered container for at least 2 hours in the fridge (this makes it firm enough to use), than bake off some dough or store it in the fridge for 3-4 days.  To remove some dough, dust the top of the dough ball with flour, then cut out the amount you want.  Loosely cover the remaining dough and put it back in the fridge.

Brioche dough done, I decided to go with the best cinnamon roll recipe I have ever tasted and used the Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Roll innards for the innards of my cinnamon rolls.  Unbelievable.  The truth is I did not think to use her recipe from the beginning and I wanted to use the book my mom gave me.  Surely you understand.  Mom gives you a cookbook - you gotta honor your mom.  Just sayin' that Ree's (uh, the Pioneer Woman) Maple Frosting and recipe for cinnamon roll innards (yes, I call them innards - what do you call them?) made me want to hoard cinnamon rolls.  I want to eat them by myself in my room with the door locked and ignore the heathens, I mean children, who bang on the door and beg me to share.  They are that good.

Ree's recipe calls for a ton of dough and 7 pans.  I had the dough, but not enough pans.  And, if I were not willing to leave the warm, loving sanctuary of my home for vital wheat gluten and honey, I was most surely not venturing out for foil cake pans.  Decision: Halve the recipe.  And it was done.

So, with half a recipe of Brioche Dough left in the fridge, what was I to do?

Call Mom.

I called mom and she recommended that I freeze a tester bit of dough to see how it would work to make more cinnamon rolls and freeze them.  The plan was to buy cake pans at the store on my weekly grocery run. Eh.  Sounded good, but not the amount of work I want right now.  I know, I know.  I should have listened to my mother.  But I did not.  I baked the remaining Brioche dough into a round loaf.

To Make Brioche:

Dust the dough in the fridge with flour and cut out a cantaloupe-sized ball (or, in my case, the rest of the dough).  Dust the ball with flour and form it into a mushroom top by pulling the dough down at the corners.  Place the dough on a lightly floured pan, cover loosely for about 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350-degrees.  Brush dough with egg wash (1 egg + 1 Tbsp water, lightly beaten).  Bake round for 40-45 minutes or until it is golden brown and sounds hollow when knocked.

Hmmm... So what should I do with a slightly sweet loaf of bread?  Ah!  Make French Toast.  Most excellent.    The only downside was we were out of syrup.  (I really need to go to the store, don't I?)  What to do?  How do I top the French Toast so the kids will eat it?  AHA!  Pioneer Woman to the rescue.  Make the Maple Frosting from her cinnamon rolls again and top the French Toast with it.  G.E.N.I.U.S.  Yes, I am.  Sometimes.

To Make Brioche French Toast:

Brioche loaf, thickly sliced - cut slices in half so they are around 4" x 6"
5 eggs
3/4 Cup Milk

Pioneer Woman's Maple Frosting (scroll way down to the recipe at the bottom)

The night before, slice the Brioche into thick 1 1/2" slices.  Let the bread stale overnight.  In the morning, beat the eggs and milk together in a large bowl.  Preheat the oven to 400-degrees.  Spray a cookie sheet with sides (like a trust jelly roll pan) with non-stick spray.  Dunk one Brioche slice in the egg mixture, flip it over.  Let the slice sit and soak up the egg mixture while you grab another slice and drop it in the mixture.  Pick up the first slice and lay it on the pan.  Pick up a new slice and drop it in the mixture.  Then, pick up the soaking slice and lay it 1" from the other slice on the pan.  Repeat until the pan is full.  Bake for 20 minutes.

While the toast is baking, make the maple frosting.  When the toast comes out of the oven it will look like this:

In the words of Alton Brown, "golden brown and delicious."  Mmmm...

I am not Ree Drummond.  I'm sure you notice the distinct lack of Marlboro Man pictures - well gorgeous pictures, in general.  Turns out I don't really have a knack or deep desire to take/edit/post pictures.  That would explain why I do not publish many recipes any more.  Sorry about that.  I took these pictures this morning with my phone as I was serving the kids.  Thought you might like to see how delectable the frosting is over crispy Brioche French Toast.  Pretend this picture is in focus.  Please.

And... this would be a kid plate.  Again, please imagine a lovely picture with coloring that is not reminiscent of a bad 1950's food commercial.  But you can see the crisp edges of the French Toast, though, and the open texture just perfect for making French Toast and how amazing the Maple Frosting looks on it.  It tastes even. better.  

Mmmmmm.... Someone please try out the recipes and tell me how they work for you.

~ G

Friday, February 25, 2011

Musings on Bread

My mom bakes bread.  She started baking bread sometime in my early teens.  She got really good at baking bread and by watching/participating with her in the kitchen, I learned that baking bread is not really all that complicated.  There are life lessons in baking bread:

Take your time and figure out what you want to accomplish.  (Read the recipe.)

Do not give in to fear.  (This is not scary.  Do not make it scary by deciding it is scary.)

Remember to feed what feeds you - but temper it a little with some saltiness. (When you forget to add salt, the yeast takes over and will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever stop expanding the dough. Just a guess.  I would never forget to add the salt and end up with a growing glob of dough that threatened to overtake my house. Ever.)

Hard work is cathartic and offers amazing results.  (Kneading dough is not the most fun activity, but it works out some tensions in the baker while creating gluten in the dough and gluten makes for a light and fluffy texture.)

Good things take time. (Gotta let it rise.)

Sometimes you just gotta get baked.  (Ahem, it is just dough unless you bake it.  Ha - you thought I was talking about imbibing, didn't you?  As if I were talking about getting schnockered.  Not. Me.)

Mom has chilled out over the years and decided that slaving over kneading bread might not be all that necessary.  She found this book: Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  It has revolutionized how I make bread.  

Now, instead of standing and kneading dough, all I have to do is mix up a few ingredients, set the bowl aside to rise, then rip off some dough to bake and put the rest in the fridge to bake off another day.  Fresh dough in the fridge, waiting to be baked has allowed me to decide at a late hour that a fresh loaf of bread would work well with dinner.  It has shaved hours off my bread prep time.  Truly, this innovation has rocked my world.

It has also rocked my pants size.  

But really, I would rather have a warm slice of bread dripping with butter than fit into teeny tiny jeans.  That's lucky for me, too, because I do not fit into teeny tiny jeans.  

I feel hungry.

~ G

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Riddle Me This

Riddle me this:

Air America, the leftist version of talk radio, cannot seem to avoid bankruptcy, ever.

NPR leans to the left and receives a great deal of support from the Left.

Does this mean that Air America's potential audience already has a broadcast to meet their needs in NPR and therefore loses its audience to NPR or does it mean that if it were not for federal funding, NPR would indeed fall the way Air America - off the air?  

~ G

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Marshmallows as Junk

Again, I'm sitting here writing and Little One comes in here and asks for "marshmallows as junk."

"Mama, I want marshmallows as junk," she pleads as she holds out her IKEA kid bowl.

Be impressed that I did not laugh.

On one hand, I'm thankful she's heard me that marshmallows are junk food.  On the other hand, I am not sure she's understood the lesson.

~ G

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I'm sitting here at the computer working and Little One comes in and asks me to "brave."

Lately we've been praying together before she goes to sleep.  Usually, I pray over her when she's sound asleep, but we've started praying the Lord's Prayer before she goes to sleep.

She can't seem to say "pray."

She says "brave."

So I'm sitting here and my little girl comes in with a very earnest look, peers up into my face and asks me to "brave" with her.

She sat in my lap and I held her close and I prayed for her and ended with the Lord's Prayer.

Thank you, God.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Trolling for Ideas...

It would seem Darling and I have been gifted three nights alone as an anniversary gift.  Yippee!

We have a summer anniversary, so we have time to think and plan...

and save.


I'm at a loss.  Truly, I think staying home in our own house, our own bed, not sharing a wall with anyone, and doing a staycation would be lovely.

We've never, ever, ever, had a night alone in our home.  Heck, we've never, ever, ever had a night away from the kids.

I almost don't even know what to do with myself.


We want a few days of good food, good booze, no kids, no responsibilities, not a lot of nickel-and-diming in the way of tips, a quiet room, places to wander, spots around to feel secluded and not surrounded by crushing crowds, and no need to get in the car and drive anywhere.

Does such a place exist... that isn't a Caribbean all-inclusive we can't afford right now?

Help!  I'm trolling for ideas on getaway spots.


Post 'em here.  Ask your friends.  Pass it around.  Share your ideas.  Links are welcome!

~ G

Monday, January 10, 2011

On the Altar of Political Correctness

Seems to me it's a good time to bring up an oldie, but goody:

‎"We must reject the idea that every time a law's broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions." –Ronald Reagan

If anyone else is a fan of "Band of Brothers," you know of Maj. Dick Winters, the CO of Easy Company in WWII. After Stephen Ambrose wrote "Band of Brothers," he encouraged Winters to write his own book. Winters did. He wrote about leadership and his experiences in the war.

After reading both books, I felt compelled to read the other books written by the men of Easy Company. They all talked of sacrifice, fighting for freedom, and several of them wrote about how disgusted they are with political correctness and the notion of chipping away at freedom of speech for society's comfort.

Those men fought for freedom. Their buddies died for freedom. They expect us to protect what they won - freedom. We need to learn from their experiences and realize freedom is not inherent in American society, but something that must constantly be protected and preserved.

When we remove the word "nigger" from Huck Finn because some find it offensive, we scrub our history. When we tell people they need to stop being so vitriolic in their discourse and call it "hate speech," we scrub away freedom of speech.

Who decides what constitutes "hate speech," anyway? Who gets to decide what is and what is not offensive? Are we really willing to continue travelling a road telling of  each other what we can and can't say? What happens when "hate speech" becomes a punishable offense? What happens when you're on the other side of "hate speech?"

With freedom comes personal responsibility. Each person is responsible for his or her actions, independent of society. Society is not responsible for teen suicides, what individuals say or write, and society is not responsible when a sick individual opens fire on innocent people.

We are each responsible for our own actions. It's part of freedom. We have to stop acting as if no one is or can be responsible for themselves or their actions. If we want to remain free, we must take responsibility for our own actions and expect others to accept responsibility for themselves, too.

Winters passed away this Jan. 2 at the age of 92. In honor of Major Winters, Easy Company, and the men and women who have died protecting our freedom, I ask you to please consider that freedom is not won lightly. We should not willingly take it from each other nor offer it up in the name of political correctness.

~ G

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Being a Chinese Mother

No, that's not a euphemism.

Check out this article about why Chinese mothers are superior.  Now, as you can probably surmise from my bloggy persona above, I am not Chinese.  There's nary a drop of Asian blood in me; however, I think there are things my German/Irish/Norwegian ancestors had in common with the Chinese.  It's work ethic.

Read the article.  Go on.

This past weekend the kids and I went out to my parents' place in the country.  While the kids helped my mom in her workshop and then climbed trees, I helped my dad clear brush.  Yes, just like W.  I didn't get to use the chainsaw this time (bummer), but I did use the loppers, I did climb on top of the brush pile on the truck and stomp around on it a bit (well, more like jumped up and down on it like a carnival ride) and I did do a whole lot of heavy lifting and grunting.  I did clean up some timber for use as fence rails, identified some hardwood trees as keepers and prepped others for firewood.

It. felt. great.

All the worries and frustrations of the past few weeks just fell off my shoulders as I worked alongside my dad.  Clearing brush cleared my head.  Hard physical work puts things in perspective.

A few hours later, we were done for the day.  Dad's in his 60's and has declared he now has an aversion to working after 4:00.  So, despite wanting to continue, I honored my pop's decision and returned the tools to the workshop while Dad took the kids and dog for a ride in the truck.

One thing that struck me yesterday, that this article touches on, is hard work feels good.  I hated working with mom and dad when I was a kid.  I loathed it.  Complaining, however, wasn't an option.  If I complained, I got more work.  Now, I know how to do the work and Dad did not have to fill me in on the process once.  I donned some work gloves and got to work.

That felt great.  I felt great.  I felt good about myself.  I felt capable.  Strong.  I used all the skills my parents had taught me, like tricks to making lopper work easier and better ways to stack the brush, and felt incredibly satisfied with myself when we were done.  My body felt vital.  My head felt clear.  My emotions felt calmer.

Now, I have a daughter.  Despite all the articles I've read in magazines, imploring me to be careful of her delicate flower-ness, I do not worry about her self-esteem.  I feel absolutely no additional pressure to make sure she knows she's special and beautiful and not fat just because she was born with a uterus.  The pressure I feel for her is no different than the pressure I feel about raising my sons  - to be capable, self-sufficient, contributing members of society.

You know why?  She's stronger than that "girl" thing I'm supposed to be concerned about.  She's stronger and more capable and tougher and far more precious than anything she could buy in the store, than the way her friends might treat her, the way any boy might treat her, or any words I could say to her.  If I dance around her as if she's perched atop eggshells,  I teach her she's a dainty, delicate flower who can't do much. What a wretched blow to her psyche, to be treated as if she's too precious to get real and dirty.

If I hand her a pair of loppers and expect her to get to work with us, she learns she's more than the jeans she wears, the make-up she applies, the hair she styles or any of the details of her life.  She learns a lesson in the strength the good Lord gave her.  She learns she's part of this family, part of a team, very capable of attacking any challenge before her.

I know my girl.  I know she's a force to be reckoned with and that she has strength she will never know if I don't force her to tap into it.

My job as her mother is to allow her to (and, at some point, force her) to tap into that strength.  To grow up thinking she's only as good as what she puts on or in her body or only as good as what others think would never allow her to find out how incredible and strong she is.  If I constantly "do" for her, she never learns she can "do" for herself.  If I constantly frame things to make them easier, kinder, better for her, she never learns how resilient she is.

That would be a waste.

So, that's my thought for the weekend.  Next trip out, my kids are going to join us in the work outside.  This time they helped inside.  Next time they can help outside.  Someday I'll teach them all how to change a tire, change the oil, and use those loppers.

After all, someday that chainsaw will by mine and I need them to know how to clean up some rails.  If that makes me mean, so be it.  I'll take being called a Chinese mother as a compliment.

~ G

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Long Absence - Again

Sorry for yet another absence.  It would seem the laptop and I are at odds too often as to how it prefers to be treated.

In case you wondered, the laptop won.

So, back from a two-week stay at the spa, the laptop is back in my lap.


Before you know it, I'll have witty witticisms whipped up and written down for ya.*

~ G

*Provided I don't a) spill tea on the laptop or b) manage to bend the a/c adapter thingy that helps the laptop charge.


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