Friday, January 29, 2010

Chocolate Cream Pie and the Secret to Happiness

Last weekend I was aching for a chocolate cream pie. What does a pregnant woman do with her cravings? She buys it or makes it, of course. I chose the latter. I must have passed the cream pie ache on to Savannah because a few days later at dinner she stated, “I wish we had more chocolate cream pie.”

I told her I’d make another one some time soon. A sad look came over her face.

“I knew we should have made a bigger one.”

It all started with a harmless, miniscule sample at Central Market – the best grocery store in the world. Ok, maybe in the country. No? How about the metroplex? Seriously. They have everything a gourmet cook (which I’m NOT) could want including $125 / lb duck pate. You want the best smoked salmon money can buy? Go to Central Market. But what keeps us going back? The best produce selection around for comparable prices and a fantastic bulk section where you can buy rice, flour, and spices for dirt cheap. Have I talked about them before? I am seriously in love with this store.

But back to the subject of my post.....

Central Market has a fantastic bakery department (would you have ever guessed that?) and occasionally they’ll put out samples to tempt the customers into paying $40 for a creation so extraordinary you feel you can’t live without it. Savannah is good about running ahead of us to check the bakery for samples and snatching them up for each of us before they’re gone….and they go fast. Last Saturday she brought back bites of their chocolate cream pie with a graham cracker crust. I put that bite in my mouth and thought I saw fireworks exploding over a rainbow with a pot of gold at the end, and that pot of gold had a sign with my name on it. Oh – and George Clooney was holding the sign. (Sorry, Honey!) I looked at Pat and could tell he was thinking the same, except his vision may not have included George. I really don’t want to know who his vision included. I have a jealous streak.

And again I’ll pull myself back to the original subject….

With a mischievous look I hinted not so subtly that we needed to get that pie.

“Not for the price they want,” my party pooper husband replied.

And then a determination set within me to find the best chocolate cream pie recipe available. That evening I scoured the internet and cookbooks in search of what I felt would come close to Central Market’s version. You wouldn’t believe how many recipes out there call for pudding and frozen pie crusts, and all kinds of strange stuff that won’t bring the taste anywhere near what we experienced. Finally, I went to a southern cooks website, which I should have done to begin with because I’m southern and I come from a long line of southern cooks, and I may be biased, but I think they’re some of the best cooks in the world.

And there it was in all its glory. The recipe I’d been searching for. Complete with a buttery graham cracker crust. The filling is very similar to my chocolate meringue pie, which was passed down by my southern aunt. I knew it had to be good.

I had to wait to go load up on supplies until the next day, which was a Sunday. Then I had to wait until after church AND a basketball game. I was dying. Finally, the time came to put it all together with my trusty kitchen aid, otherwise known as Savannah. I did everything the way they described, not wanting to miss a step. At the end Savannah and I both took a taste of the filling and looked at each other. Slight disappointment came over our faces. It was bland, man.

I looked over the recipe to see what I missed and realized they didn’t call for salt anywhere. I heard my southern grandmother’s voice in my head, “You need to add salt to bring out the sweetness and flavor.” I added a little more than a dash, Savannah and I tasted again and voila! We had done it. I’m always so proud when I can elevate a recipe to the next level with my own little tweaks, no matter how small. Ask my mom how long it took me to tell the difference between a teaspoon and a tablespoon. I’ve come a long way, baby.

We placed it in the coldest part of the fridge until that night, and when the time was right I spread Cool Whip over the top and served. I can’t begin to describe the happiness this pie brought to our home. Savannah and I were giggling with pure giddiness. It was gone in two days and has been severely missed ever since.

As Savannah lamented, “If my mouth was bigger, I could have put more in it.”

Amen, sister.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Case of the Missing Jacket….AND Sweater….AND….

Savannah has a real knack for losing clothing items. Namely, any sweater, jacket, or sweatshirt she wears. Let’s go down the list, shall we? Or at least a partial list.

First stop, Kindergarten - We purchased the expensive red sweater that goes with her school uniform that was supposedly the only sweater she was allowed to wear in class. We paid extra to have her initials embroidered on the pocket, which was recommended by the school.
MIA two weeks into that fall.
Lost & found produced nothing and our faith in embroidered initials was zapped.

First grade – We saw the demise of the denim jacket her grandparents gave her for Christmas. Super cute!
Gone after a month of wear.
No sign of it in lost & found.

Next up, Second grade - I purchased the school sweatshirt for her in lieu of the red sweater. I put her name on the tag and everything. No embroidery, though.
Vanished after 2 or 3 wears.
Came up with a big, fat nothing again in lost & found.

Third grade - She was given another shot at the school sweatshirt. This time it was gone the first day. The following day the teacher actually went with her to lost and found and located one in her size with no one’s name on it. We all agreed that was good enough.
She actually kept this one through fourth grade. We were so proud.

This brings us to the current year, fifth grade, and what an exciting year it’s been.

First up, Savannah lost a windbreaker. This supposedly went missing in the back of her best friend’s car. Ummm, yeah. And it decomposed into the floorboard?

Next comes her mother’s, *ahem* my, pink Liz Claiborne sweater. I thought I looked cute in it, but Savannah trumped me with adorable, so she wore it. What the hell was I thinking??? She lost it in a month’s time, but discovered it the next day in lost and found. Excellent! I gave her another shot. She lost it again, and once more was lucky and found it. Third times the charm, though, because she lost it again right before Christmas, except this time it was gone for good.

Now she wears cheap-o sweaters that I’ve purchased for her, and I mean cheap. She wears them, but doesn’t like them. Being the sucker I am I allowed her to wear my Calvin Klein denim jacket. I LOVE this jacket. Pat bought it for me two years ago when I asked for a denim jacket for Christmas, but I had made it very clear that I wanted one that was fitted, not just a box because I need all the help I can get. That man went out and done good. It’s so pretty and made beautifully for a woman’s body. I told Savannah she could wear it, but NOT to school. I wasn’t about to risk losing this jacket. She was only allowed to wear it to church and on errands with me or her father so we can keep an eye on it.


She wore it to church last Sunday and came home empty handed. I called my sister asking her to check for it. Not there. Surely it’s in lost and found, she said. I mean, this is church, right?

Lo and behold!.....I have my jacket back. It was given to the youth director to hold because my husband purchased such a young and hip item for his semi-young, but still hip wife. Who ever found it thought it had to belong to someone in the youth group. I’m rocking that bad boy out today and feeling so spiffy. (Would a teen say “spiffy?”)

And, Savannah, I love you, but you’re not touching it.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Just a Little Blush

I’m sorry I haven’t been around much for the last two weeks. I’ve just been in a funky, moody state and I’m trying to get out of it.

So this morning I woke up in yet another funky mood. I went about my usual routine:

- Hit snooze twice (sometimes more)
- Groan while getting out of bed
- Start the girls’ breakfast
- Let the dog out
(I should just start calling her Biscuit instead of “the dog,” which is usually said in a grumbly tone, but that’s another story.)
(Another side note – is grumbly even a word??? MS Word says no, but whatever. I’m using it anyway.)
- Feed the animals
- Wake the girls and feed them breakfast

After all this I can finally begin working on myself. I was still feeling funky, or grumbly…..that’s right. I said it again! I put on my foundation and powder and noticed the fine lines creeping up around my face. Another groan. I reached for my powder blush and saw the sample of Clinique cream blush I’ve had for a couple months and thought….hmmm, maybe this will look better with the fine lines I have. So I applied it and….Wow! I don’t want to toot my own horn, but I looked like I was actually blushing, or had a healthy color to my face, which is severely needed sometimes with my pale skin. My mood lifted a little.

After finishing my make up it was time to move on to my hair. Let me re-phrase that: my out-of-control, frizzy-yet-flat, slightly-greasy-because-I-didn’t-feel-like-washing-it hair. How’s that for a visual?

I took one of Savannah’s new cute hair bands (See, I not only steal, uh…”borrow” her shoes, I also snatch her hair accessories.) Anyway…the hair band greatly helped the top of my hair, but the bottom still needed some work. So I threw it back in a ponytail. What do ya know? It showed off my new rosy cheeks.

I’m feeling pretty good going to the closet, but I’m concerned about the almost certain emotional crash later so I picked out my most comfortable work clothes: khakis and a long-sleeved t-shirt, and topped it off with a cardigan for good “professional” measure and my leopard print flats. While putting on my jewelry I saw a pair of large silver hoops I haven’t worn in probably two years and popped those on to go with my pulled back hair. I went to the bathroom to take a look and thought…..not bad. I felt my mood lift even more.

I snatched a couple CD’s I haven’t listened to for a while, good R&B & slightly funk-ay music, and Savannah and I jammed on the way to her school and I continued all the way to work. I’m still in a good mood sitting here at my desk. The fluorescent lights haven’t even managed to zap the good feelings out of me yet.

And just think, it all started with a little rosy cream blush.

Here’s to a good day. Not just for me, but all of us.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Day in the Household

A little reading...

A little playing...(and rocking out a tutu)

Expressing our creativity...

Potty break with "Elmo's Potty Time"...

Checking (pretend) texts...

Getting upset after losing a blog entry...

Calling in the dog...

Relaxing with Ziggy...

And a little night time reading...


Friday, January 15, 2010

My Crappy, Stinky, Very Bad Week

I haven’t blogged much at all lately because it’s been a pretty crappy week and I couldn’t think of anything other than the trouble that has creeped into our home. Even work has been a welcome interruption. I just come in, play some good music through my headphones and bang out the work. I can’t believe how much I’ve gotten done this week. I can’t believe how much I NEEDED to get done. Let’s just say I haven’t exactly been the ideal employee since the holidays. If we’re being honest, it’s been longer than that, but…..sssshhhhh! Don’t tell anyone.

So a few days ago I had to go to the doctor because I had been cramping for a couple days and it became worse, so there was no denying something was wrong. Fortunately, it was just an infection, but now I’ve spent a few days worried about preterm labor. What happens if the cramping continues? And it has. Will it push me into labor? It’s too early. I’m only 21 weeks. Thank goodness I have an appointment next Tuesday.

Then Savannah brought home her report card. Not good. The annoying thing is the girl is smart. She’s got things working just fine upstairs, but she forgets things: books, due dates, even paper sometimes. The A’s and B’s she could be getting turn into C’s and D’s after the teacher takes her deductions off. I feel partly to blame because I haven’t been diligent about checking her homework every night the way I used to. She’s in 5th grade now. She should be learning responsibility for her own work, right? I’ll get back to you on that one.

Then Monday the spit hit the fan. Can I say shit on Blogger? Well, I just did, but spit seems appropriate anyway since I’m sure some was flying around when the yelling ensued. That’s when Pat saw the report card. I’m sure he felt blindsided when he found out I saw it on Friday and he didn’t get it until Monday. I just didn’t want a stressed out weekend because I knew he would be even more upset than I was about her grades. Instead I’ve had a stressed out week, which has 3 more days than a weekend. What the hell was I thinking? I think he’s more hurt by me than anything. I didn’t keep our partnership first, which is what they all say you should do. How can your family stay strong if you and your spouse don’t have a tight union?

Then this morning, 2 of the women whose blogs I read posted pics of their twins. So what do I do, you ask? I cry of course, because I’m obviously still not done grieving……And I’ve had a crappy, stinky, pretty bad week.

Thank God I have lunch plans with my friend Crystal today. She has a way of making things seem better.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Growing Too Fast

Sunday after church I was looking at my oldest daughter Savannah and noticing how much she has grown up. She looks like an older teenager… 10! We even wear the same shoe size. I purchased a pair of boots for her for Christmas last month and tried them on to be sure they fit well. It’s a great, sneaky way to expand my shoe collection, but it’s too soon. Where’s my little buddy that I used to hang out with?

Savannah was an only child for 8 years and her dad traveled the country for a lot of that time. She and I used to have game days, playing Chutes and Ladders, Candy Land, Hi Ho Cherry-O, until we couldn’t play anymore. Or we’d play various games outside – Nerf baseball, volleyball using the swing as a net, or just throwing a ball back and forth. Other times we’d spend the day out shopping or watching movies together. Most weekends were spent doing as much as we could together since I felt I didn’t see her much during the week.

Granted, we can do all of this now. Being 10 doesn’t prevent you from playing games or shopping, and it definitely doesn’t stop movie watching, but it doesn’t happen near as often. Not with her mom anyway. Last Saturday I asked her if she wanted to play games, but she declined opting to hang out in her room listening to music and reading. She did consent the next day, however, and her dad actually played a boisterous game of Yahtzee with us, which he almost never does. Sarah joined us after her nap and added to the craziness while their baby brother kicked away in my tummy. It was a family affair!

But back to Savannah…..after lamenting the growth spurt of my girl over the weekend she came to me after breakfast this morning to tell me she thinks she started her period.

NOOOO!!!! Another major milestone is hit, and there’s no denying she’s turning into a young lady. There’s also no denying I’m getting older! And that’s the worst of all.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Another Edition of Stupid Things My Husband Said This Week

Off we go…

1)“I’m turning this on. You’re next.”
He said this in his best “I’m such a stud” voice when he turned on the dishwasher.

2)“Cause I’m a bad ass.”
His reason for not using a hot pad to lift a pan of boiling water.

3)“You need to start paying attention ‘cause there’s only so much I can do.”
His response when I was worried about having only 2 stupid comments this week. I guess my worry was little premature.

4)“Seeing as how I’m in a be all the best I can be mode…” What? “Seeing as how I, wait. Seeing as how I be...wait. Hold on. Seeing as how I’m in a do your best mode, I’ll annoy you the best I can.”
Or something like that. It’s an obvious nominee for the list, but it was brutal to copy down.

Lovely, huh?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Sarah in Pictures

Where's your nose?

Good. Now where's your ear?

Very good. Where's your tummy?

(Oohh! I don't feel so good.)

Where's your foot?

Hold on....

Wait for it....

Just a little bit more...



(Thanks to Daddy for the pics.)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today is my mother’s birthday. My mother is known in the family as a little kooky, an ounce of whiny (she’s gonna kill me for that one!), a cup of wit, heavy on the spiritual, and full of support and amazing intelligence. She’s the one I go to when I can’t figure out what to do. Instead of “What would Jackie O. do?” I ask myself, “What would Mom do, say, think......fill in your verb here. She has helped me through the roughest patches in my life.

That's us meeting one of our favorite authors, Anne Lamott, at Barnes & Noble.

There’s a story I love to tell about her. I was in high school from 1984 – 1988, around the time when people were terrified of the HIV virus and AIDS. There was confusion on how it was passed. Could it be passed through saliva, a hand shake, on a door knob? We didn’t have the knowledge about the virus that we do now.

I had stayed after school for something, probably rehearsal for a play. I was hanging outside with a handful of kids waiting for Mom to pick me up. One of the students was an openly gay guy, David, who bragged about his weekend hook ups. I was drinking my Diet Coke (my addiction started young) and David asked if he could have a drink. I passed it on to him without thinking. He took a liberal swallow, and handed it back to me. All of us continued talking and I started to take a drink, but then stopped myself. What if he has HIV? Can I get it if I take a drink? I was paralyzed for a moment and then I was afraid he would notice I wouldn’t drink after him. Being the people-pleaser I am I took a drink and then tried to mask the panic that was building inside.

Mom pulled up in her blue Datsun 210 and I waved bye to everyone as I ran to the car. I clutched the can in my lap and told her about David and how I didn’t know if he had the virus and I didn’t want to offend him, but now I was scared. Without hesitation she took the can out of my hand and took a big gulp then handed it back to me and looked me straight in the eyes. “Now we’ll get it together.”

That’s love. Pure and simple.

With all her grandkids.

Happy birthday, Mom. I love you!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Back to the Grind

Today is my first day back at work since Dec. 23rd. Let’s just say it’s been…hell. There’s no other word for it.

I returned to more emails with new, stupid rules, and I sit right next to my boss who I feel listens to every phone call I make, listens to how much I type on the keyboard, and monitors how many times I take a bathroom break. (This is all probably just in my head. I have a very active imagination. The new rules that are being imposed on us are not part of my imagination, however.)

I just can’t get motivated to do much today and it’s frustrating me. And that frustration has caused me to gorge on chocolate (yes - I’m seeking blame on something other than my appetite), and now my stomach hurts.

Boss, can I go home?

I’m so lame…make that lazy. Actually, it’s boredom. I need new challenges.

But what is making this day even more difficult is the picture on my desktop. It’s this one of Sarah.

After spending almost 2 weeks at home for the holidays, I’m dying to be home with her. I’ve been spoiled.

Seriously...can I go home now?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Stupid Things My Husband Said This Week

I must first point out this was my husband’s idea. NOT mine. He suggested I start a weekly post of stupid things my husband has said this week. If he gives me ammo, I’m game. So without further ado…

1) “Hey. You should have a weekly post called “Stupid Things My Husband Said This Week.’”
This one is self-explanatory

2) “You’re just threatened by my looks and masculinity.”
I can’t remember what I said or did to prompt this. I just remember laughing and running to get a pen.

3) (Said with an exaggerated country twang) “Let’s just say it went down the pipe whatever pipe it didn’t agree to.”
This was said after he choked on a meatball. It makes absolutely no sense. I think he was trying to give me something else for my list since it’s so short this week, but I’ll take it.

And now for a stupid pic.

When Pat puts on these teeth he takes on a completely different personality: an uneducated, backwoods, hick that feels unnecessarily jilted by women because he thinks he's just so dang good looking. I can be sitting somewhere peacefully in the house when he either sits down next to me or snuggles up to my face and suddenly Wally (that's what I call him) appears and starts hitting on me. Savannah took this picture when he was harrassing me one evening. Notice the couch is empty next to him. I hightailed it out of there!

Saturday Evening Post

One of my favorite bloggers, Elizabeth Esther, is hosting the Saturday Evening Blog Post today. Her readers are posting favorite posts from their own blogs. I'm #64. (Ok - I'm #63, too. It took me a second try to figure out what I was doing.) You can post a link to your favorite blog also. I’m looking forward to reading as many as I can. I hope you do as well. You may find some new favorites.