Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday Favorite

I've been home the past three days with a poor kidlet who has diapers too disgusting to describe in a public forum. Let's just say we've done a lot of laundry and she's had at least one bath a day.

Yesterday I got a hankerin' (yes, I said hankerin') to make cookies. I don't think I've baked since Christmas, which I'm sure my husband thinks is unfortunate. (But I'm down 15 lbs now! So something is working!)

Today I couldn't stand it any longer. I finally decided I would break down and make Monster Cookies.

I am not picky about my baked goods. As long as it doesn't have anise in it, it's good in my book(and even then, if it's a small amount, I still might eat it). My paternal grandma used to have chocolate chip cookies readily available in a plastic bucket at her house. I would always have at least one (or two, or three) when I was there. (Grandma also cautioned me that if I ate too many cookies, I would get fat, which is true, but I ate them anyway, becuse they're cookies!)

Monster Cookies are about absolute perfection, though. They're about four different kinds of cookies all rolled into one (maybe that's how it got its name? Or it could be the fact that almost every Monster Cookie recipe I've found makes a MONSTER batch). Peanut butter, oatmeal, chocolate chips, M&Ms. It's just so tasty!

But in every single recipe book, save one, the recipe for Monster Cookies is massive. We're talking like a dozen eggs, two pounds of brown sugar, a drum of peanut butter (okay, maybe not that much, but it's a lot). That's a big batch of cookies. And I'm sure if I were more mathmatically inclined, it wouldn't be that difficult to split the recipe in half, or even in fourth. But I'm not so good with the numbers, so I appreciate that someone already did it for me.

It's from a recipe book the hub and I got as a shower/wedding present. It's all recipes from a family that is from around where he grew up. It's a really good recipe, too (I won't mention it's actually the only recipe for Monster Cookies I've ever used).

Monster Cookies
1c white sugar
2c brown sugar
1/2 c margarine
3 eggs
1 1/2 c peanut butter
1/2 t vanilla
1 c flour
2 t soda
1 c chocolate chips
1 c M&Ms
3 1/2 c oatmeal

Cream sugars and margarine. Add peanut butter and mix. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat well. Add soda, flour and oatmeal. Mix well. Add chocolate chips and M&Ms. Drop by large spoonfulls onto cookie sheet (I like to line mine with parchment paper - really helps them from getting too brown on the bottom and makes them super easy to get off the cookie sheet). Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

Of course, I've already had about three cookies (the equivalent of two in just raw cookie dough and one actually baked cookie). But it's Friday, and one day of not doing quite as well on my diet won't kill me.


Don't they look good?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday Favorite

Okay, this will probably be a lame blog post for a Friday Favorite, but I'm going to do it anyway.

This week's Friday Favorite: baby chub.

There's no way around it. With the hub's and my genetics, we will never have small children. We will have cherub-cheeked, double-chinned, roly-poly children.

Case in point:
This is the kiddo at about 4.5 months, chillin' in his super cool Bumbo seat. It was mid-July and extremely warm, hence he's clad in only a diaper. All the better to appreciate the goodness of the baby chub. Look at his cute little rolls on his tummy! And the rubber band wrists! It's a shame you can't see his thighs. They were impressive.

His [not so] little sister is following in his chubby little footsteps. See:
Doesn't she just have the most smooshable cheeks? And the biggest double chin? I'm sure when she's 16 and agonizing over every little aspect of her apperance, she won't appreciate these photos. But I do. I can look back and remember her rolls-upon-rolls thunder thighs and her extremely ticklish Buddah-like belly chub.

I may bemoan that my darling daughter is quickly outgrowing her clothes (into 9-12m things already at just 4.5 months!) but, really, I love the chub. Is there anything more adorable than a chubby baby? I think not.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Dreary Day

It's gray and yucky out. Overcast, chilly and windy. The kind of February day where it seems winter will last forever and spring is too far away.

I have this picture as my default userpic on LiveJournal.

It's the view from the back/side door at my parent's house looking east. There's a feedlot on the right side of the picture (see the cows?) and the grove to the left.

This photo makes me happy.

1) it's sunny and green out. I like sunny and green.

2) it's home.

I know, home is technically where I live now with the hub and the kids, but the farm will always be Home for me. It's where I wandered around and hunted for baby kittens and splashed in mud puddles and camped out in the back yard and played in the barn/shop/feed shed and listened to the cows and the crickets and the trucks on the highway at night.

I'm sure my memories are rose-tinted but I loved growing up on the farm. I even liked the cattle smell (you got used to it after a while).

Dreary Day

It's gray and yucky out. Overcast, chilly and windy. The kind of February day where it seems winter will last forever and spring is too far away.

I have this picture as my default userpic on LiveJournal.

Monday, February 16, 2009

*Yawn*

I miss sleep. I miss it a lot.

My family will tell you that I am a champion sleeper. I could easily sleep in until 11 or even noon on Saturdays when I was in high school. That didn't change much in college (though my tendency to sleep in then was more related to what I had done the night before than in high school when it was just out of sheer, teenage laziness.)

I don't remember the last time I had a good, solid 8 hours of sleep. It was well before the kidlet was born. Maybe sometime in 2007? The kiddo didn't sleep through the night until he was over a year old. His little sister seems to be following in his footsteps.

I know lack of sleep is part of the territory with having kids. Just like having to clean up a lot of dirty diapers, sticky hands and the occasional puke (sometimes on you). That doesn't mean I can't fondly recall the glory days of my youth when I would roll out of bed around 11:30, just in time for lunch.

My biggest problem is getting to bed at a decent time. I'm a night person. Plus, those two hours between the kids going to bed and me going to bed is usually jam-packed with picking up, washing dishes, folding laundry and catching up on trashy TV. I have been making it to bed before 11 lately, but then I spend 30 minutes on my iPod boyfriend catching up on Facebook and playing solitaire. That doesn't help the morning situation.

So morning coffee has become a daily staple yet again. So has wet hair inevitably pulled up into a ponytail or clip because those extra 10 minutes in bed that I would otherwise use getting ready for work in the morning are just too tempting.

I'm just glad I have a job that isn't overly taxing on my brain, like nuclear physics or anything related to math. And I still have my Cadbury mini eggs to get me through this afternoon. Maybe tonight I'll get to bed on time.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday Favorite

It's already begun.

I had to make a quick stop at Target yesterday over my lunch hour to grab turkey breasts for tonight's dinner (which may actually end up getting pushed back to tomorrow night because I just don't feel like cooking diet-friendly Turkey Parmesan encrusted in pine nuts.)

I was getting ready to check out when I glanced over at an end cap near a checkout lane and saw them.

My drug of choice:

Cadbury Mini Eggs.
These are by far my favorite Easter candy, and perhaps my favorite candy of all time (though that's a pretty tall order, there's not much candy I don't like. Except black licorice. Yuck. )

I've been known to eat an entire bag myself in one day. They're just so darn tasty! You have the delightful crunch of the candy shell and then the smooth Cadbury chocolate inside. Heaven.

One of the best things (and worst for my figure) about living in London was there was Cadbury chocolate EVERYWHERE! There were even candy bar vending machines in all the tube stations, down by where you wait for the trains, so you could grab a Flake or, one of my favorites, the Crunchie while you were waiting. I bet I bought one almost every day (which surely marked me as a non-native, but whatever. I'm a sucker for chocolate!)

When the hub and I went back to London a few years ago, I discovered they had Cadbury Mini Eggs ALL YEAR ROUND! I even bought a bag to take on the plane home. They didn't last long.

I like the creme eggs, but you can only eat one of those at a time. You can eat mini eggs forever and ever. Or until your teeth rot and break. They were a weakness when I was home on maternity leave with the kiddo. I would sit in the nursery and either nurse him or read while he was napping and eat Cadbury mini eggs. (With the kidlet I sat on the couch and ate Halloween candy. Yes, my kids were born at the two peak candy times of the year. Punks.)

So I bought my first bag of the season. I've been good, though, and only ate one serving. I told the hub that I might have to partition single servings into individual baggies and hide them all over the house so I don't eat them all in a diet-induced frenzy.

We'll see how long they last.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mother Nature is a big, fat tease

It's currently 50-something degrees outside, at a time when it's normally 20-something.

Of course, I'm stuck inside at work. At least I have a window (kind of. It's more like a view from part of a glass door) to look out of from my desk.

As everyone knows, though, it won't last. Winter isn't officially over in this state until the week after the Boy's State Basketball Tournament in mid-March. We can count on at least one more good storm (usually during the Girl's State Basketball Tournament held the week before the Boy's) before then. And, occasionally, there's a good one in April. It's the Midwest, anything goes.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Friday Favorite (only a day late)

I'd meant to do this yesterday, but kept getting distracted by other things like work and browsing sephora.com.

So just pretend it's Friday, okay? Don't we all like to pretend it's Friday? I thought for sure it was Friday twice this week.

Anyway, today I bring you one of my favorite authors: Neil Gaiman.

I was introduced to him by a friend in high school through the Sandman graphic novel (okay, comic book) series. It appealed to the teenage angst in me. I'd always enjoyed mythology and I thought the way he wove the stories together with various myths and legends was cool. (Now I can appreciate it on a more adult, academic level, but at the time, it was just cool). I just knew I really liked it.

After high school I discovered Gaiman wrote books, too (which were much more acceptable than comic books at the time). So I bought what I could and read them. Over and over.

One of my favorites is Good Omens that he cowrote with Terry Pratchett. I don't know if it has to do with the fact that he's British, but I enjoy his "voice" and style of writing.

For the past few Christmases, the hub has bought me the Absolute Sandman series. These are the original Sandman comics re-inked, reworked some and bound into a large hardcover book with cover artwork from some of the original Sandman artists. Reading them reminded me why I started to like Neil in the first place.

I know he won't appeal to all - it can be a bit Goth and dark at times - but I definitely enjoy his work.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

12ish down

And a lot more to go.

That's approximately how many pounds I've lost since the beginning of the year thanks to my iPod boyfriend and my favorite app LoseIt.

I realize that's pretty good. Okay, that's pretty darn good.

But I still have a long ways to go.

I've struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember. I've mentioned before that I was the "fat girl" growing up. I lost some in middle school, lost more in high school, gained it all back in college, lost it before my wedding, gained it back, lost it and then gained it back with both kids.

It's hard. I hate having to limit what I eat, but that's the only thing that works. I actually don't mind working out, but my favorite activity is walking and that's a leetle difficult to do when it's 0 degrees and you don't have a treadmill. Or room for a treadmill. Or time to walk on a treadmill. Or could even stay awake on a treadmill if you had the room or time to be on one.

I am a World Champion Power Walker. I started walking in high school. Every day after school -- provided I didn't have any other extracurricular activities -- I'd walk the 2.5 miles around my home town (it was a small town!). I did it even more frequently during the summer when it was nice out. I found a route to walk in college (though I actually went to the Rec, um sometimes, in college and did a lot of walking around campus for classes). I found routes to walk when I moved here.

Actually, I love walking where we live now. We live in an older area of our city with grand homes (ours is not one of those grand old homes, though it is older) and hilly, curvy streets. There's a great city park only about 6 blocks from our house that has a great path behind it. From about April until October I would be out at least 4-5 days a week, provided it wasn't raining, walking anywhere from 2-4 miles, usually with the kiddo in the stroller and dog trailing along (and by trailing along I mean stopping every 2.3 seconds to sniff every. little. thing. Annoying.).

So I'm down 12, which is good, but I'm starting to stall. Even with my handy dandy app, it's starting to get boring eating the same things every day. Limiting myself to XXXX calories every day. Passing down that cookie (which is getting more difficult) because that would put me over. If I could (would?) just exercise, then I could add a few treats here and there in my day, but it's so haaaard! I can't get up early to exercise. Okay, I probably could, but the resulting lack of sleep would not endear me to the hub or my coworkers. I could exercise once the kids go to bed, but that's when I do the important things like wash dishes, fold laundry and catch up on my trashy TV.

We have a membership to the hub's work rec center, but it's totally inconvenient for me to go. I wouldn't mind working out over my lunch hour, but it would take me 10-15 minutes to get there, 5 to change, 5 more to change out of my sweaty clothes (better make that 10, I should probably put on another coat of deodorant and touch up the makeup) and then another 10-15 to get back to work. That leaves me with, what, 15 minutes to exercise? Not worth it.

I do walk the dog over lunch when it's warm (read: more than 40 degrees) but those days are few and far between from November to March.

And soon it will be the beginning of Lent, which means the beggining of Easter candy in the stores, which means the best candy in the world will be taunting me from the shelves:
Cadbury Mini Eggs. Yum.

I still have more than 30 pounds to go to hit my goal weight. I know I can do it, I know I will do it. It's just going to take some determination.