Sunday, January 30, 2011

Unbaked Peanut Butter Cookies

I have a favorite cookie right now, although it's not really that much like a cookie - more like puppy chow. It's so yum though. And easy. And since I haven't posted a recipe in awhile, and since I think you should try these, and since I have made these 5 or 6 times since the beginning of December...here ya' go!

You need (and this is all approximate, not necessary to have exact amounts of anything):

* About half a box or 9ish cups of Corn Flakes

* 1/2 cup to 1 cup of Coconut. Depends on how much you like Coconut. I like it a lot so when I made these yesterday I added a whole cup, but I think the original recipe says 1/2. Also, do yourself a favor and don't look at the nutritional facts on the Coconut. I figured it wasn't that bad because it's fruit...just do yourself a favor and don't look. You won't regret not knowing.

* Mix these two ingredients together in a big bowl.

* Dump approximately 1 bag or three cups of chocolate chips (3 cups is a little more than 1 bag, so I usually just do one bag) in a smaller bowl. Dark or semi-sweet are the best. Add 1/2 cup to 1 cup peanut butter, depends on how much you like peanut butter. I add a whole cup :)

* Melt this in the microwave.

* Pour the chocolate mixture over the cereal mixture. Mix together and take a taste. I mean, probably take at least 3 or 4 tastes, just to make sure it's good.

* Drop by large, and I mean large, spoonfuls onto wax paper. If I use smaller spoons I usually do two globs per cookie. Then stick in the fridge.

* Once they get firm enough, put them into a large Ziploc bag and stick them in the freezer. They are best stored in the freezer, otherwise the chocolate/pb mixture never really gets hard enough.

* I affectionately call these Freezer Cookies, which sounds very unromantic and not very delicious, but I promise you that you will not regret making these cookies. Unless you eat the whole batch in one day...then you might regret it.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Darn School

Tryn talks about going to school ALL the time. Not kidding. It's rare for a day to go by where she doesn't mention starting school in some fashion or form. I don't know where she got the idea into her head that school was going to be some fabulous thing, but she is convinced that it's going to be awesome.

I, on the other hand, am not wishing for September to come anytime soon. I am partially not excited about it because once Tryn starts going to school this fall to the time this baby, who is kicking my stomach as I write this, finishes school it's going to be a good 20 years of "school life" in our household. That makes me feel tired. I like the simplicity of life right now. The girls play together all day. There is no homework. No after school sports, practice, plays, and the like to fit into our schedule. There is no school yard drama to deal with, or the latest fashions to keep up with.

The other part of me that is not excited is the part that doesn't want Tryn to be old enough to go to school. I am going to be a wreck on her first day of kindergarten. She is too small to go to school! She just is. She will always be too small to go to school, even when she's 15. The end.

However...there is always a however. Yesterday we were driving in the car and Tryn, who had been staring out the window, asked me, "Mom, where is the corner of the world?"

I told her that the world was round that there weren't really any corners. It was like a big ball, which doesn't have corners.

Then she asked, "Mom, how is the world strong enough?"

"Strong enough for what babe?"

"Strong enough to hold all of us. All of us people. There are a lot of people."

It's those moments when I can't wait for school. I mean, I know how to answer that question if I am answering it for an adult, but I have no idea how to explain the idea of the world and gravity, etc., etc., to a 4 year old! I don't even remember thinking about stuff like that until I was 8 or 9 years old!

She also puts letter magnets together on the fridge all the time and asks me what word she spelled. Most of the times it's letters like X, K, Z, M, and P all in a row and they don't spell anything. But this morning I told her to spell the word "bed" and she did! I helped her sound it out, but she figured it out all by herself. I am super excited for her to learn how to read and understand the concept of letters and words because I think she is going to love to read. And she will love to to just "get it" and understand. She is getting really close, but I don't know how to help her any farther than I have. I am just not a teacher.

Today I lovehate school.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Pregnancy

I don't think it's a secret that I am not one of those women who love to be pregnant. I don't exude pregnancy happiness and think I am the cutest thing in the world while carrying around an extra 30 lbs of weight - regardless of where the majority of that weight resides. It doesn't matter that I have a 30 lb stomach that is holding a baby. I still have a 30 lb stomach.

I don't hate being pregnant either. It's just...kinda painful (not including the actual labor part). Hard to sleep. Hard to recover from. It changes physical features forever. Pregnancy also vacillates between being super cool and amazing and incredible and just plain weird. I mean, what the heck? A child is actually hanging out in my body right now? Don't get me wrong, it's an incredible miracle. The whole process of life creation is...too amazing for words. But when the babies get bigger and start actually shaking bellies with their movement it's almost like those movies where there is an alien or huge bugs under the characters skin that are trying to break through. And it's weird to look at my 4 1/2 year old and think that she used to live in my body.

There are two really, really super duper bestest things that result from pregnancy though. This is one:

This is the other:

*Sigh* I can't wait to see what the next one looks like.

We find out the gender on Tuesday and I can barely wait. It's super funny because some peoples reaction when we tell them we are finding out are along the lines of, "Really? You are going to ruin the surprise? Don't you want to be surprised?" Or, if they are pregnant, they say, "We are waiting to be surprised." Well, let me tell you, on Tuesday I am pretty sure I will feel as equally as surprised to find out if it's a boy or girl as if I waited until June. :)

I don't have any guesses right now. The only certain thing I know is that this pregnancy feels different from my other two, whereas they felt kind of the same. Which makes me super curious to know if it is another girl, because at this point it would make sense if it was a boy.

Anyone want to take a guess before we find out? :)

Since this is my last pregnancy I am trying really hard to enjoy it and focus more on the positive things. One of which is the fact that I actually feel pretty good right now! I think that since I ran so much before I got pregnant and was in pretty good shape that my body is carrying this baby more like it carried Tryn, in some ways better. When I was pregnant with Tryn I had heart racing and skipping beats issues, maybe from not being super fit? I don't know, the Dr.'s couldn't figure it out. When I was pregnant with Berlin my stomach muscles hurt so bad at this point already, it was hard to take my shoes off (I did not work out at all between T and B). Besides the fact that it is getting harder to bend over and I can't sleep on my stomach, I am pretty comfortable right now. Awesomeness.

Seriously, any guesses? :)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Other Half

I used to run. Well, I ran a lot for a year. And then I stopped, quite abruptly. Instead, I started growing a child. :) I didn't actually stop running immediately. In fact, the day I found out I was pregnant I ran 9 miles. During the 9 miles I tried to figure out a really creative way to tell Steve that our third child was on the way. Nine whole miles and I didn't come up with a thing. I guess I am not super creative. I came home and said, "Well, that was the first 9 miles I ran as pregnant person." Shocked him a little I think. :)

Two weeks after I found out I was pregnant I ran 13.1 miles. I wrote about the first half marathon that I ran in August, but I didn't write about this one because we weren't ready to tell everyone we were pregnant...partially because of the race. So, a little update about the Monster Dash Half Marathon that I ran on October 30th.

Running 13.1 miles 6 weeks pregnant was...hard. Nothing but hard. I honestly would not have made it, at least not have run the entire race without walking, if not for these two:




Even though Steve could have finished the race must faster than my sister Kristy and me, as evidenced by the fact that he passed us up and ran ahead of us for several miles, he decided to fall back and stick with me through the end of the race. I really don't think I could have done it without them. Kristy kept me going through the middle of the race, and Steve dragged me through the end.

If you read the story about my first run you might remember that I said that the end of the race wasn't very euphoric for me. Neither was this one, but it was a lot more emotional. It was so hard that I really couldn't believe I made it. Anyone who has been pregnant before can probably remember how tired they were during the first trimester. It sort of felt like I hadn't slept for a couple of days and then went and tried to run 13.1 miles. I actually cried at the end I was so happy that I made it.

And here we are, 11 weeks later, almost halfway through, two weeks from finding out if this baby is a boy or a girl, and I have only run one time since October 30th. I was too tired and felt too sick for a good 6 weeks or so, and so now I just haven't.

Trynica and Berlin really want it to be a girl. As I mentioned on Facebook, Tryn said, "I don't want a boy who shows his boogers and does yucky boy stuff. If it's a boy, me and Berlin will have to teach him how to do princess things." And she totally will. Poor kid wouldn't stand a chance. Steve and I don't care if it's a boy or a girl, we would be totally happy with either. We have reasons for wanting both and I don't think any reason outweighs another. We are just excited to welcome our last baby into this world. I am also a little excited to get back to running after the baby comes, I kind of miss it. When New Year's rolled around this year I laughed to myself because I was thinking about how I could make a goal to gain weight instead of lose it, seeing as how I will only be gaining for the next 5 months or so. I wonder how many people have ever done that for New Year's :)

Can't wait for June to come!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

On Being a Parent

Last night I got home from work after picking up the girls. After running an errand and being in traffic, we arrived home definitely into the "dinner time". Berlin gets super crabby when she doesn't eat, like someone else in our house who is not me or Tryn. And Tryn was super tired, hence also crabby.

The girls kept asking for snacks, but since dinner time is already a huge struggle these days I kept saying no. I decided that before I started cooking I wanted to change into the household staples, sweatpants and my electric blue hoodie that is at least 20 years old and the softest item of clothing in the world.

It took me all of 90 seconds to change.

When I came out of my room it was strangely quiet in the house. I wondered what in the world the girls could be occupying themselves with in their room that was keeping them so quiet and not causing any fights. On the way to the stove I stopped by the kitchen table to pick up some forgotten dishes from breakfast, not worried about the girls but just glad they weren't fighting.

Only, when I turned to the kitchen I found my children. They were on their knees in front of the stove with their heads down low to the ground. They were hiding. It took me a second to realize that the reason that they were hiding was because they each had a handful of chocolates that they had stolen from the counter and were unwrapping with fury.

Berlin had fully unwrapped a chocolate and eaten almost the entire thing, which probably means it was her idea. Tryn was still in unwrap process, so she never actually ate any. And you know what? Here's the kicker: I felt guilty! I figured that if she was going to go through all the trouble to be naughty that it was a bummer that she didn't even get to enjoy the spoils - especially because Berlin did. What kind of parent feels bad that their kid didn't get to be naughty?! I need to have my brain checked.

Anyway, I told them that was very naughty and they weren't allowed to do that. "You always need to ask Mommy if you want a piece of candy or chocolate," and then I turned around a laughed. I tried to laugh silently, but I was laughing so hard little squeaks kept escaping. I hope they didn't think I was crying. Except I was laughing so hard I almost cried.

Ah, parenthood. I love it.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Thinking About Having Kids?

Maybe you have already seen this floating around Facebook. Someone named Amy Lawrence posted it, not sure if she wrote it or not. It's so darn funny. If you haven't already, please enjoy the "11 Step Program for those thinking about having kids".

Lesson 1

1. Go to the grocery store.
2. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office.
3. Go home.
4. Pick up the paper.
5. Read it for the last time.

Lesson 2

Before you finally go ahead and have children, find a couple who already are parents and berate them about their...
1. Methods of discipline.
2. Lack of patience.
3. Appallingly low tolerance levels.
4. Allowing their children to run wild.
5. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child's breastfeeding, sleep habits, toilet training, table manners, and overall behavior.
Enjoy it because it will be the last time in your life you will have all the answers.

Lesson 3

A really good way to discover how the nights might feel...
1. Get home from work and immediately begin walking around the living room from 5PM to 10PM carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 8-12 pounds, with a radio turned to static (or some other obnoxious sound) playing loudly. (Eat cold food with one hand for dinner)
2. At 10PM, put the bag gently down, set the alarm for midnight, and go to sleep.
3. Get up at 12 and walk around the living room again, with the bag, until 1AM.
4. Set the alarm for 3AM.
5. As you can't get back to sleep, get up at 2AM and make a drink and watch an infomercial.
6. Go to bed at 2:45AM.
7. Get up at 3AM when the alarm goes off.
8. Sing songs quietly in the dark until 4AM.
9. Get up. Make breakfast. Get ready for work and go to work (work hard and be productive)

Repeat steps 1-9 each night. Keep this up for 3-5 years. Look cheerful and together.

Lesson 4

Can you stand the mess children make? T o find out...
1. Smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains.
2. Hide a piece of raw chicken behind the stereo and leave it there all summer.
3. Stick your fingers in the flower bed.
4. Then rub them on the clean walls.
5. Take your favorite book, photo album, etc. Wreck it.
6. Spill milk on your new pillows. Cover the stains with crayons. How does that look?

Lesson 5

Dressing small children is not as easy as it seems.
1. Buy an octopus and a small bag made out of loose mesh.
2. Attempt to put the octopus into the bag so that none of the arms hang out.

Time allowed for this - all morning.

Lesson 6

Forget the BMW and buy a mini-van. And don't think that you can leave it out in the driveway spotless and shining. Family cars don't look like that.
1. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment.
Leave it there.
2. Get a dime. Stick it in the CD player.
3. Take a family size package of chocolate cookies. Mash them into the back seat. Sprinkle cheerios all over the floor, then smash them with your foot.
4. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car.

Lesson 7

Go to the local grocery store. Take with you the closest thing you can find to a pre-school child. (A full-grown goat is an excellent choice). If you intend to have more than one child, then definitely take more than one goat. Buy your week's groceries without letting the goats out of your sight. Pay for everything the goat eats or destroys. Until you can easily accomplish this, do not even contemplate having children.

Lesson 8

1. Hollow out a melon.
2. Make a small hole in the side.
3. Suspend it from the ceiling and swing it from side to side.
4. Now get a bowl of soggy Cheerios and attempt to spoon them into the swaying melon by pretending to be an airplane.
5. Continue until half the Cheerios are gone.
6. Tip half into your lap. The other half, just throw up in the air.

You are now ready to feed a nine- month-old baby.

Lesson 9

Learn the names of every character from Sesame Street , Barney, Disney, the Teletubbies, and Pokemon. Watch nothing else on TV but PBS, the Disney channel or Noggin for at least five years. (I know, you're thinking What's 'Noggin'?) Exactly the point.

Lesson 10

Make a recording of Fran Drescher saying 'mommy' repeatedly. (Important: no more than a four second delay between each 'mommy'; occasional crescendo to the level of a supersonic jet is required). Play this tape in your car everywhere you go for the next four years. You are now ready to take a long trip with a toddler.

Lesson 11

Start talking to an adult of your choice. Have someone else continually tug on your skirt hem, shirt- sleeve, or elbow while playing the 'mommy' tape made from Lesson 10 above. You are now ready to have a conversation with an adult while there is a child in the room.

This is all very tongue in cheek; anyone who is parent will say 'it's all worth it!' Share it with your friends, both those who do and don't have kids. I guarantee they'll get a chuckle out of it. Remember, a sense of humor is one of the most important things you'll need when you become a parent!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Have a Holly Jolly Christmas

Berlin loves Christmas music, especially Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Have a Holly Jolly Christmas. Her version of Holly Jolly is the funniest though. She sings the words wrong, but gets them wrong EVERY time. And she sings this on repeat forever. She has sung this in the car without stopping for more than a half hour...several times. It makes me laugh. It might be one of the cutest things ever.

video

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Traditions

I am a sucker for traditions. I don't know why, but I love the comforting familiarity of traditions. Now that Steve and I have been married for 7 1/2 years and have celebrated 8 holidays together, we have collected a good handful of our own traditions.

One of the traditions that we originally developed out of necessity is the way we celebrate Thanksgiving, I wrote a blog post about our Thanksgiving Day last year. It developed because one of the first years Steve and I were married I had to work the day before and the day after Thanksgiving. Instead of driving 4+ hours on Thanksgiving Day we decided to stay home. That year we cooked ham because we were scared of making turkey and we went ice skating and had a really, really great time. In fact, we had so much fun that we started staying home for Thanksgiving every year. Most of these Thanksgivings we have spent just as our little family. However, the past few years it has developed into a slightly larger gathering with lots of friends celebrating with us. Since two other significant holidays, Christmas and Easter, Steve spends lots of extra hours at work, including working every Easter Sunday and Christmas Eve, Thanksgiving has become "our" holiday. We don't have to work extra hours, we don't have to be anywhere, we don't have any obligations...so we stay home, cook a huge meal (for just us or for friends too), and then we go shopping and get a Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. It's my favorite holiday.

Besides the other countless traditions like making certain Christmas cookies, celebrating St. Nick's Day, listening to certain Christmas music, watching Christmas specials on TV, going to a Christmas Eve service, etc., one of my other most favorite traditions is Christmas morning brunch. Since Steve always has to work all day on Christmas Eve, usually until midnight or later, we are always still at home on Christmas Day morning. And since we have lots of good friends who are musicians who also work all day on Christmas Eve, or friends who just have to work on Christmas Eve, or friends who are just around, we started having friends over for breakfast on Christmas morning. It's so fun.





We also are usually rushing around trying to make sure we have everything to bring up to my mom and dad's. Tryn gathered all her toys and put them in her new backpack and then made a sort of baby sling for her baby Cuddly and stood around like this for about half and hour waiting for me and Steve to get our act together. She's such a great kid.


I love The Holidays.