Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Christmas Baking Made Complicated

I attempted to make truffles today. Last week I bought all the ingredients, and today I put together the first of three truffle - like creations I am planning on making for Christmas presents. So I chopped up the chocolate and boiled the cream and added the butter and cream -- no problem. I added the chocolate and melted it down and poured the concoction into a shallow dish to cool.

Five hours later, despite the fact that my 14 month old refused to sleep, I hauled it out of the fridge and proceeded to "Using a spoon, scoop 24 rounded teaspoonfuls of the cold chocolate mixture onto a sheet of wax paper. Coat your palms with cocoa and roll each mound between your palms to form a ball". Sounds simple enough, doesn't it?

Not with a fussing toddler in a backpack on your back, and a warm kitchen. No, what you end up with are very sticky hands, cocoa all over the kitchen and the big roll of wax paper unwinding all over the floor where you toddler has kicked it in anger because you won't let him down.

So, after all this, I finish about half the truffles and I decide to taste one. And you know what? They were DISGUSTING. I guess baker's chocolate was not the best choice for something that's only other ingredients are cream and butter.

Now I have an even worse quandry: do I give gross truffles out as gifts? Do I just give them to people I don't like? Do I throw them out and waste $6 worth of chocolate and 1c. of whipping cream? Do I send them to starving children in Africa?

No, my friends. When the world gives you terrible, bitter truffles . . . make FUDGE! I melted down the truffles and added lots of icing sugar. Now my kitchen is covered in fine white powder as well as find brown powder and numerous sheets of wax paper. I guess I should go and clean it up.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Words, words, words

It is really funny to hear my son learn language. Especially since I try to pronounce things clearly for him, so he can learn words. Sometimes I must be a bit too "clear" because he comes out with extra syllables and sounds in words. Eg -- today he has started saying "owuaps". In other words, oops. On the other side of the coin, I play chase with him and call out "gonna getcha"! He calls back "Gongeddya". Or "Cheese" which he pronounces perfectly, but only in a hissing whisper, because I always emphasize the "ch" sound. Another multi-syllabic silliness is "Eauras" -- ears. Perhaps my son in learning middle english, rather than the modern variety. Ah, well. Once we're through with "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" and "Goodnight Moon" we shall proceed to "Canterbury Tales" and "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" in the original languages.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Similarities Between Myself and the Queen

I have come to the conclusion that Anglican minster's wives are sort of like the Queen. Your job is essentially to make an appearance. You show up, looking acceptable, chit chat, smile, and then leave. To actually attempt to get too involved would be like the Queen showing up in the kitchen, rolling up her bejeweled sleeves and washing dishes.

This is a new thought for me, since in the Baptist church minister's wives are more like the Prime Minister's cheif assistant. You must run the choir or play the piano, run the sunday school or kids' club, attend or comandeer a ladies' bible study of some sort, bring baking to everything and always have a pot of coffee on and a plate of cookies readily available. You are the right hand woman.

So imagine my surprise when I am asked to do, well, nothing. Except show up.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

IF I have to read "The Belly Button Book" One More Time . . .

Sorry, but I can't come to my blog right now. I'm busy reading the Belly Button Book for the 100th time today. Let's all sing along to the happy hippo belly button song. All together now . . .

Monday, November 07, 2005

Baby and Cat

So, my cat is not the most social of creatures. I named her Beckett after the reclusive, oddball playwrite Samuel Beckett, and she has lived up to that name. She does, however, like my toddler.

This morning I was sitting on the floor in the kitchen reading a book to my toddler, when the cat decided to join us. She sat on the string to my toddler's pull-along turtle toy. Since I know she loves playing with string, I started swishing it around while I read to the baby, and the cat started batting at it and chasing it. Well, I got the baby's attention, and he was loving this game with the cat. The cat noticed that the baby was interested, and assumed he was interested in the string. So she grabbed the string in her mouth and pulled the string and entire plasic turtle (about half her size) around the corner. Then my toddler got up and followed her, determined to "give" the toy to the cat. The cat, of course, ran away.

I decided that, since the toddler had taken over the toy, I would tie some shoelaces together for the cat to play with. So I get the string ready, and of course now my toddler is interested in the string. I sit him on my lap to watch, and then get the cat chasing the string. The baby wants to get involved, so I give him the end of the string and try to show him how to walk the string around the house. I think maybe the cat will then follow the toddler, and they will both be amused. Nope. The baby decides to pick up the string in the middle and chase the cat around while waving the string at her.

Perhaps 14 months is a bit young to encourage too much cat - toddler interaction.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Bulk Food: Friend or Foe?

Alright, this goes along with the home grown vegetables. I am afraid of bulk food. I keep telling myself that the reason I don't buy bulk more is because I would have to take an extra trip to Nutters (the bulk food / health food store) to do so. But I know in my heart of hearts that this is not really the case! The fact is, that I am afraid of bulk food. After all, who knows who has put their hands into those bins? Who knows where that flour came from and wether someone licked it as they put it into that big orange flip-top lidded container. Did the marachino cherries come out of one of those big trucks that has a sign that says "NOT DRINKING WATER" on the back? How long do they keep the food before they throw it out? What sort of additives did those smiling ladies in the green aprons put in my brown rice before they put it on display?

There are just too many questions about bulk food. My imagination goes wild when I walk into a bulk food store. I can't help it. It just seems so much safer to buy a bright yellow bag full of flour than it does to scoop it out of a big bin. I like my bright yellow bag of flour. I don't care if it costs an extra .50 cents! It is strangely comforting for me to pour that big bag of flour into my tupperware container that I bought to encourage myself to buy bulk. Sigh. I guess this will change as my family increases and our income doesn't. But for now, I not so proudly support overpackaging and giant multi-national food conglomerates! Yay Robin Hood flour!

Stats at 30

So, I turned 3o ten days ago. I was thinking about this on my way home from the mall today as I walked in the biting cold prairie wind, and I decided to compile a list of my life statistics thus far:

Numbers of years alive: 30
Number of years living with parents: 18
Number of years living with husband: 12
Number of years in school: 20
Number of years gainfully employed: 5
Number of years as SAHM: 1

Elementary schools attended: 5
Highschools attended: 2
Universities attended: 4

Dead end fast food jobs worked over summers during university: 5
Schools taught at during time as highschool teacher: 4
Years as highschool teacher: 3
Subjects taught while a highschool teacher: 7
Students taught (aprox): 450

Number of marriages: 1
Divorces: 0
Children conceived: 1
Children born: 1

Countries lived in: 1
Cities lived in: 6
Houses lived in: 5
Appartments lived in: 5

Regrets: few
Accomplishments: some decent ones
Friends: many, some that I even keep in touch with still, many that I miss
Marriage: stormy beginning, but now good
Career: was amazing and exciting, but on hold for now
Parenthood: difficult and frustrating, but rewarding
Faith: up and down, but my commitment and faith never waver, just my discipline
Overall accessment: Not too bad. I'm pretty happy so far. I thought I would have accomplished more by now, but I have had lots of great friends, and some pretty interesting experiences, so that makes up for it. I'm just trying not to be a "peak too soon" kind of person.

Business and Boredom

I have never been so busy and so bored at the same time. This is the crazy thing about being a stay at home mom to a toddler: there is so much to do and it is all so mindless! I feel like I have two options. I can do all of the things that need doing around the house and allow my brain to die a slow death via starvation or I can not get everything done around the house and do something that is actually interesting. Of course this means ignoring my toddler, or wrestling to keep him off the computer desk while I type, or allowing him to chew on power cords while I get one more sentence of my novel read.

For a while, I had it perfectly balanced. I was keeping the house tidy and relatively clean and I was really quite happy about it. I felt like I had succeeded at the mommy thing. Yay Jill! Then I realized that now that I could do it properly I didn't want to any more. It was all so boring and repetative. Why spend all my time vacuuming and mopping when my husband is going to come home in a rush and forget to take his shoes off, and then my toddler is going to throw cottage cheese half way across the room? Why pick up the toys only to have them flung on the floor again the next morning? What is the point!

The problem is that now I am just being lazy. I sit around and reading and not getting anything done. It is terrible. My house is not as nice as it was. I don't have that satisfied tidy-house feeling, and I"m not doing anything useful or productive. Its not as if I'm writing or creating something. I have abandoned my lists and schedules. I am getting sluggish. But I am still bored, and annoyed at myself on top of that.

So, oh reader, what is the solution? How do I keep my house, my toddler, and my sanity all intact?