Monday, January 23, 2012

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

When The Husband and I were dating I wanted to impress him with my baking skills. The problem? I hadn't really baked in years, not seriously that is. An occasional cookie here and there from the refrigerated section, sure, but I hadn't actually baked any cookies from scratch since I was little and helped my mom. So when I came across Cookies by Lesley Anne Leach in the bargain bin at Barnes and Nobles, I picked it up and made a few different kinds before finding the perfect one, an oatmeal based cookie.

I eventually ended up adapting her banana pecan cookie recipe into banana oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. And by adapt I mean I switched out the pecans for chocolate chips. They are a medium dense oatmeal cookie that do not spread out when they bake. The allspice is fairly upfront in these, so pull back if your not a huge fan or swap it out for something else like pumpkin pie spice.

So when The Husband finally fixed my stove, the heating element needed to be replaced, I had to make good on my promise of baking cookies with said stove. These are by far The Husband's favorite cookies and I have made them dozens of times over the last six plus years. They also ship well and do not crumble all the way to Fort Lost in the Woods, in case you ever need to know and have at times been known to bribe Master Chiefs.

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
*I use an ice scream scoop for these cookies so they come out big. They make 20 cookies with that size but I have made them with the regular sized cookie scoop. These seem to be a picker cookie and burn on the bottoms much faster than other cookies; so if you make them smaller, adjust your time down by 1 to 2 minutes. I also always use parchment with these and that seems to help with the bottoms. Also, sorry for that picture, I can't figure out what was going on and was too lazy to find a different camera.

1 stick + 3 tbsp of butter, softened
2/3 cup packed brown sugar

1 egg, at room temp
1/2 tsp almond extract
4 tbsp milk
1 medium sized banana
2 tsp allspice

1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups flour

2 cups chocolate chips
3 cups oats

Cream together the butter and brown sugar.

Add in the egg, almond extract, milk, banana and allspice to the creamed mixture. Mix until well incorporated.

In a seperate bowl combine baking powder, baking soda, salt and flour. Add mixture slowly into the wet ingredients.

Add in the chocolate chips and oatmeal, stiring by hand.

Drop by ice scream scoops onto parchment lined cookie sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

And One More Makes 7

A while ago, I updated with an overview of who our family consists of. Well, now it consists of one more.

Vivian! One of The Husband's Aunts needed to find a new home for her cat (she won't be able to take her where they are moving) and because we've been meaning to get one more cat for a while now, we decided to take her this weekend. She is a very friendly cat and while the other animal's aren't so sure, we adore having her already. Total that makes 2 cats, 1 dog, 2 fish and then the 3 of us. We are offically done adopting animals!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Mommy Confession - Things I Never Expected to Say in Motherhood

When your pregnant and your talking to other mommies who have been there, done that, they always tell you things like, "just wait till you find yourself saying the craziest things" and telling your three year old to wash his butt is just the beginning. Here are some of the things I've said since becoming a mother.
  • Be careful with your penis. God only hands out one per boy. You're gonna want it later.
  • Why is the fridge handle sticky?!?! And with what?
  • G-d I hope that's only pee.
  • For the love of all that is holy, LEAVE ME ALONE! I just want to pee!
  • Do you want a chocolate? Yes? Then go get a diaper. [The Husband looks at me] What? So I'm bribing him. Shut up.
  • What have I said? You can play with your penis in your room or the bathroom. That's it.
  • You can play Star Wars Lego for 10 minutes. [10 minutes goes by and I've not even started laundry because I'm still on Pinterest]. Okay! Bonus round! 10 more minutes!
  • Just blow it off, there's not that many germs on it.
  • Is this a new question? No? Then I can't hear you.
  • Fine. Eat on the couch but don't drip any syrup on it. It was a bitch to get out last time.
  • Well if it hurts stop picking your nose.
  • Don't lick the dog. I know he licked you first but I don't care.
  • I don't wanna see your butt. And I don't want it that close to my face either.
  • Did you just fart on my hand? Serouisly?
I can't wait to find out what things I will say in the future as he gets older.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Playroom - Before and After

When we began looking for houses, like everyone else who has every looked for houses, we had a price point to keep within and a few neighborhoods that we were interested in. We ended up getting lucky and found a house in our price range in one of the neighborhoods. Of course, that meant that the house would need some updating. Not updating like putting a set of stairs to the second floor, seriously that was a listing we saw, no, more cosmetic updating, well and the whole plumbing issue.

Anywho, the house has great character, it just needs some new paint. We have a four bedroom house so we have been very lucky that we have space to spread out. And by spread out, I mean that one of the back bedrooms is now A.'s playroom and at the end of the day I can just shut the door.

This is the only before picture I have of the bedroom. It has a great amount of natural light due to all of the windows. Those curtains were lovingly donated by the way to the local Goodwill, so if you live near me, you could have scored those.

And now for the after...

After! I have to be honest, A.'s playroom is my favorite room of the house. It helps that it's also only one of four rooms in the house that has been painted. It is the smallest room in the house but has the most color and toys. It might also be one of the cheapest and thriftiest rooms with tons of cheap finds and second hand finds. The kid has more toys then his preschool classroom does! I bought the curtains from Ikea and they were fairly cheap for the set. I love them and how colorful they are. I didn't have a set color scheme in mind with A.'s room which actually ended up being a blessing. If I found something and loved it, I just threw it in the room, like the yellow clock which was on clearance for $2 at Target.

This is A.'s work bench. His Pop Pop and Ya Ya got it for him from a second hand store, so yay, free for us. The green hamper was from the $1 spot at Target as well as the yellow bucket that holds all his tools. And the pink and orange metal book bin was from My Mom that she found for $2 at Goodwill, so free again. Notice a trend? Everyone in my family likes second hand stores.

The green rocking chair, which is actually a brighter green in person, was a $50 dollar find at one of the local furniture stores that sells second hand furniture and sometimes spruces them up. I don't know if $50 is a good deal on a painted rocking chair, but it seemed like it at the time.

My Mom also picked up the Lego table and two chairs from various second hand stores. The easel is a find from Pop Pop and Ya Ya along with the castle from a yard sale. The red curtain is left over from The Husband's high school room that his parents never got rid of and we used to tease them about.

The number wall art is one of my favorites. I found these wall stickers at Meijer on clearance for $13.98. The walls unfortunately have a texture so I had to come up with a cheap solution. My solution? I picked up three foam boards for $4.50, adhered the stickers to the foam board and then put them up. For a total of around $19, I love it and the bright colors it brings into the room.

This wall consists of a cube unit I picked up on sale for $35 minus my discount from Target when I still worked there. As you can see, it is crammed full of toys. Crammed. All of his toys are either gifts or handy-me downs from others. The large world map, copyright 1994 by the way so you know some of those countries may not exist or be restructured at this point, but is from a middle school project I did that if I signed up to read so many articles by someone, I got it for free. Then the Michigan map was from an old road map book and the map of America is a placemat, both from Pop Pop and Ya Ya.

This corner holds his kitchen, which surprise, was a $4 find My Mom scored. A. loves the crap out of his kitchen and the $8 on clearance red bin from Target next to it holds all of his food. It is a mixture of wood, felt and plastic foods from Target and Ikea. The shopping cart was a $2 find my Mom's mom found. It holds the Cabbage Patch Doll that was mine as a girl. Love that doll.

And this is A.'s dramatic play area. I took one of those closet organizers that I found for $8 at Big Lots and used left over ribbon to make a large knot and closed it in the closet door. His dramatic play is mainly hats, swords and shields.

And in the middle is his rug that is a playmat from Ikea that Pop Pop and Ya Ya picked up. The huge track is one of his holiday gifts from My Dad.

I still have some more work to do which includes ripping up the horrible, horrible carpet and fill in the blank space on the wall near his kitchen. We choose to leave the horrible tiles on the ceiling because well, I'm not touching anymore ceilings right now. But for now, I love A.'s playroom and hope you enjoyed it!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Trends I Love, But Can't Explain Why

The other day I posted about trends I don't understand which got me to thinking about the trends I do love and have loved, but for reasons I can't seem to explain. Which is exactly what a trend is, something you like that is popular right now but you can't explain why. So what trends do I love right now?

Mad Men. I am still mourning the loss of our cable and with it AMC and how I am now officially behind from not watching the new season. I refuse to watch it on my computer screen because Don Drapper demands more more respect and a bigger screen than my laptop. I also refuse to google or read any article or blog that would update me to happenings of Mad Men. I'm waiting for it to come out on either Netflix or blu-ray, whichever is faster/cheaper. I don't know what it is about Mad Men that makes me love it. Perhaps it's the costumers, perhaps it's the acting, perhaps it's the idea that women were curvy back then with big boobs covered in awesome sweaters and everyone smoke like the country depended on it. But I love Mad Men. Love it.

Pinterest is the latest and most loved trend. I've already talked about my love for it before, but I'd just like to remind you, I still love it.

But what trends have I loved before? Um, plently. Let's take a stroll down memory lane because depending on one's age and geographical location at the time, some of these trends where it.

Glitter. In particular, face glitter. I had that exact one on the left. In fact one the middle ones cracked where you had to screw them in and that one dried up. So sad. But the glitter came in a gel and I use to put some on the outside of my eyes. Why? No idea. But when I saw it in Claires in middle school with my bestest friends, I just had to buy it. I actually ran across it only a few years ago and was sad, sad, to throw it out.

Dolphins. What you say, dolphins are still cool? Well of course, dolphins kick ass, but not like they did in the 90s. Dolphins were cool like owls are cool now. They were every where and any self respecting elementry school girl owned at least one thing with a dolphin. I may or may not still own a puzzel with almost identical dolphin art work on it at my moms.

And not to forget the trend I by far spent a good 401k amount of money on, smelly lotions. Yes, these are still popular. The store I bought them in, Bath and Body Works, is still around. But I remember when they opened. My bestest friends and I spent an unholy amount of money at these places in the 90s. I had, kid you not, at least 20 bottles of slightly to unslightly used bottles of lotions the year The Husband went to boot camp. I actually started throwing away some of the lotions because they were already a decade old by that point! My favorite smell was pink lemonade, at least I think that's what they called it. I know it was a lemonade smell and not the one they have now, it isn't right. But yes, I loved the crap out of that smell and would probably rock it at the office so I can save my "grown-up" smells like Clinche Happy Hearts and Marc Jacobs Lola for grown-up times.

What trends have you loved or do you love right now?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Our Three Season Porch - Before and After

Um, so a million years ago I said I would do a tour through our house. I kinda stopped because um, it's depressing. Most house tours are of beautiful houses, mine is currently missing ceilings and walls. Walls.

But continuing with the tour of our house, almost two years after we bought our house, I thought I would show you what it looks like to walk into our house. It starts with our three season porch. I'm not really sure why three season porches are so popular around here, I would prefer an open porch, but meh. It came like that.

See that awesome gold door knob? Yeah, it was awesome. It had a lock like one you would put in a bathroom, a push knob one. Safe! I know your jealous. And that screen door? I have no idea why so many doors are needed. The porch is screened in, what wind is it keeping out?

And this is the before for our beautiful three season front porch complete orange zig-zag carpet covering the floor. It reminded me of the carpet in my great grandma's basement. I loved going to great grandma's house, she always kept candy hidden in drawers of the end tables in the living room. Awful, awful hard candies I'm sure were from 1947 but ones that my cousin and I sucked on anyways because great grandma said it was a secret and any four year old knows a secret, even if it tastes bad, has got to be something good. No joke. When she passed away my Mom and aunt had to throw away canned, what we assumed were peaches, from the 1950's. Great grandma didn't believe in getting rid of anything.

I knew that when we bought the house most of the updating would require money, only we didn't have a ton of money to design and makeover the three season porch what with plumbing having taken up a large hunk of money. So this is more of a, throw some paint at it, after, versus tear down the porch and start brand new, after. Anywho, now for the after...

Yay, after. We removed the extra screen door so that you could actually see the details on the front door. The door seems to be original to the house and while it has seen it's share of painting, drilling and patching, getting a replacement door for a now, non-standard sized opening is out of our price range. Plus, I love the simple lines of it.

To be honest though, the actual first step was replacing the door hardware. We bought the Kwikset Arlington line in their venetain bronze because honestly, it was the only set I could find locally I didn't hate. I can't comment or review how easy it was to install as my brother did, but he did minimual grumbling and swearing. I can comment on how it's performed though, which is nicely. It has no scratches and latches perfectly almost two years later. It feels solid and we picked up the matching sets with deadbolts for all the other exerior doors. Our neighborhood is very safe but I kinda have a thing for deadbolts, call me crazy. As you can see, the door appears to have been stained at one point and the trim around the door was a creamy pink salmon color. Lovely. I still have to buy some trim pieces to go around where the metal door frame from the screen door was and to cover up the gap the metal siding piece has left now.

The Husband and I then ripped up the carpet and discovered that the wood was thankfully in good shape. I then did three coats of floor paint in a the shade darker than the dining room walls. I figured if it's dark, it will hide the dirt better. I used left over dining room paint for the bottom part of the wall and threw down a boot tray. I intend to do that DIY with the rocks in the boot tray, I just haven't yet.

I then painted the ceiling the same color the living room is. This was because of two reasons and both had to do with cheapness. I needed ceiling paint and painting it was much easier than replacing the beadboard.

Then The Husband put up the hooks and I spray painted an old blanket chest purple. And you want to know how you can tell this is a house where people really live? Because that really is our crap hanging up. If I cared enough I would have taken it all down but I think The Husband's hoodie, A.'s vest and Walters raincoat add a certain, us, flair.

Finally, I plan to paint the front door the same color as the garage doors, hence the painters tape that I added several months ago. There are also plans to redo the porch lights in pretty much anything but those fixtures. Maybe in a few years, I'll get around to both. But for now, that's our entry way!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Trends I Don't Understand

So I posted the other day about my new found love for Bones. As one can tell, I'm not up to date with trends. Having a three year old combined with no TV besides Hulu Plus, means I'm a bit behind. I mean, I know there is this thing called the internet and tons of websites that could keep me up to date but I'd rather spend my time on Pinterest to be blunt.

That being said, I don't understand some of the trends I hear about. Some of these trends I'm sure are even old trends, perhaps ones that are on their way out and even better trends are already here. But that aside, I don't understand the following ones still...

Harry Potter. This isn't to say I don't have a vague idea of what it's all about. Wizards. Magic. Some kid with a scar. A red head. A girl who grew into herself (way to go you). I just don't get any references anyone makes, ever. I also can't seem to get past more than 10 minutes of any of the movies before feeling all twitchy and getting up to organize something. This isn't saying I think it's stupid, I'm just saying I just feel like I missed this boat. After all, I was busy reading Vittio the Vampire by Anne Rice when these books first came out.

Which brings me to my next trend, Twighlight. Once again, I get the idea. Vampires. Sparkles. A wolf? After that I become hazzy on the details. I'm told that the books are much better than the movies. It's not that I'm not into vampires, I like Anne Rice after all. But I've been told that is my problem. I started with Anne Rice and have a firm and unwavering opinion now on what vampires should be able to do... and sparkle isn't one of them.

The next trend though I can't even pretend I get it. Mustaches. They are on like freaking everything and I don't get why. I feel like this is one of those trends that started like a crush in middle school. You know the kind, where Suzy hears that Johnny likes her and knowing that Johnny is the coolest guy ever figures, why not like him too, because surely he must be onto something, being popular and all. I feel it's like that, but with mustaches. Someone heard someone else really loved mustaches, and that first someone always seems hip and cool, so now everyone likes mustaches. It's not that I hate mustaches, if someone wants to rock a Ron Burgundy stache, then rock on.

Which leads into the next trend, Hipsters. I feel like the whole other side of the office, all the newbies they just hired, fit this category, at least from outward appearance sake. They all by the way have the unofficial nick name as a group in the office as The Junior Adventure Team. There may also be occasional Scooby Doo references, because at my office, we are very mature like that. Anywho, they almost all have glasses, know all these underground awesome places, are super passionate about everything and look at me like I'm lame. I feel like walking past a group of them is like being back in high school and I'm still that awkward fat girl wearing all black and a bat necklace whose just trying to get past the football players to get to gym class. Only now I'm fat and wearing slacks and just trying to make some damn coffee so I can sound like a reasonable adult while trying to reason with my clients.

Talking about masses, lets talk about Zombies next. The Husband is all about the zombies. He loves games with them like Dead Island, shows with them like The Walking Dead and even has books about them, The Zombie Survival Guide being one of his favorites. I just don't want to get this trend. It makes me queasy when I think about them and twitchy when I hear them frankly and if this trend could die, I'd be happy. I'd pretty much rather hear anything other than the horrible sounds zombies make on TV. That being said, if an outbreak did occur, I feel confident The Husband has our zombie survival plan already in place. Seriously, ask him, he will go into detail. He has put in as much time on our survival plan as I did contemplating what color to paint the living room.

Talking about horrible sounds, the final trend I don't understand is any show on TV that has singing in it. Shows like Glee and American Idol make me physically uncomfortable. I don't know why, perhaps I have some unknown traumatic incident from an elementary school play I'm repressing, but either way, these shows makes me feel uncomfortable and I can say honestly, I don't like shows that have pointless music or musicals. Unless Disney princesses or Seth McFarlen are involved. Then I love it. Love it.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Mommy Confession - Xbox Hissy Fits

It's no secret that A. plays the Xbox. He has his own Xbox handle name and can finish most levels from the Lego series for Star Wars, Batman and Pirates by himself once The Husband or I have run through them at least once with him.

He has already perfected the, seoruisly Mom I'm playing, look. So while this post seems like a confession that I let my child play Xbox, it's not. I've made peace with his game playing and find that given his timer and not even daily habit, it's fine.

No, this mommy confession is about how I have a full blown hissy fit when he deletes his save file. As in, I serouisly resort back to being eight with all my whinning and complaining. I like playing the games with A., but for the love that is all holy, I can only play some of those levels so many times. And if I have to buy that stupid red hat in the Lego Pirates that is 500,000 lego coins for a fifth time, I'm gonna scream. I don't know if he's deleting the files on purpose or not, but serouisly A., mommies brain can't take some of those levels anymore. Specially the vehicle ones, I hate those vehicle ones, to the point where I complain and whine when that is the level he picks.

He deleted his Lego Pirates save file again this week which required me to sit through the movies that recap the movies. I hate these movies because I kinda hate those movies. I saw the first and second ones on a date, not with The Husband, and is probably why I don't feel foundly of them. Anywho, after discovering that for the fourth time he deleted his save file, I lectured him. Lectured my three year old on the very important task of saving his game data correctly. I have clearly lost my mind.

But, because I'm his mommy... I will work to buy that hat again for him this time. And the next time.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Seven Years After the Fact - Bones

Do you ever start watching a show, um, seven years after the fact and go, what the hell? Why didn't I know about you before? Why am I now just watching reruns on Netflix when I should be sleeping?

Bones is mine. I mean, I had heard of it of course, I even sold copies of the seasons to people at Target. But I'm going to go with the excuse of having worked 2nd shift for the prior um, six and a half years.

This show is awesome. Awesome like, I don't really believe that any of these cases could be solved like they show, but awesome like, it would be awesome if cases were solved like they do. I've never really gotten into shows that are very loosely based sciency dramas before. I personally thought people who liked shows like CSI were whackadoos, to be honest. My type of shows include things like Family Guy and Robot Chicken. You know, high brow kind of stuff.

But I love the crap out of this show. It makes me wonder what other shows I've been missing and am missing now seeing how we only have Hulu Plus and Netflix. I should probably do some research and borrow one of those People magazines my mother-in-law has. I could be missing all types of shows!

Monday, January 2, 2012

So long 2011

In case ya'll didn't know, it's 2012. What crazyness is that?

I for one, am already not excited for 2012. Why? Let me tell you... for one, 2012 is an even number. Yuck. I prefer odd numbers. Second, typing 2012 a million times a day at work is going to slow me down. 2011 is much easier to enter when your doing dates quickly. Third, when your fat people assume you have made some kind of New Years resolution about not being fat and then "kindly" ask you about said resolution, you know, the one you didn't make because you're still okay with your fatness, at least for now. Because really, it's winter, I live in Michigan, I can hide my fatness with a sweater right now. I'll make a resolution about fatness as the weather gets warmer. For now, bring on the sweaters and pass me that leftover Christmas candy!

But besides those reasons, I guess 2012 should be an interesting year, going off the idea that 2011 was an interesting year. Why? Well, let's recap in pictures!

The year started out with A. being in the hospital in January for a deathly allergic reaction to amoxcillin. It occurs to me that I never did a follow up post on this. It probably sounds silly, but I still can't write it. I still cry when I remember how I felt when I heard it come over the hospital speakers of an emergency admissions to the peds floor, the eight, yes eight, nurses and three doctors who came running into A.'s room. How I felt when the doctor told me if they couldn't stabilize him in the next few minutes, they had the helicopter standing by to airlift him to the children's hospital. To say that 2011 started out on a horrifying, shitty note, is putting it mildly. But he got better and I'm sure he doesn't even remember it... I hope he doesn't. And the year got better.

February brought a hair cut for A. Now lots of children get hair cuts, but this was only the second one that A. had ever gotten. He seemed perplexed all day and well into dinner about where his hair had went.

March brought us the beginning of the never ending, seriously dear G-d, when is this project going to be done and I will have walls again, plumbing project. My best tip to anyone? If your brother and Husband say, "they've got this" RUN. Run very far away and into the arms of a licensed plumber and contractor. I have no doubt in my mind we did really save thousands of dollars (the quote just to fix the tub was $900+ alone!) by having them redo all the plumbing from the basement up two floors. But wow. I miss walls and ceilings. Can't wait till we have enough saved to call in a dry waller. I know we could try and figure that out too but at this point, we're one house call away from being on an episode of DIY Disasters.

April brought A. going to school. I would love to say that it was so successful and everything worked great and he talks in full sentences but um, I suck at lying. He did learn new words and apparently was the "cutest" kid in the classroom and one who "we wish we could have a classroom full of A.'s". Well duh. Look at him. Of course someone would want a whole classroom of him, who wouldn't want a classroom filled with kids who already have a borderline, this may require therapy obsession, with Star Wars, Legos and hitting you behind the knees with his three foot long nerf sword after he jumps out from around a corner and makes you scream like your an eight year old girl again.

April brought us our dog Walter. He has been both a blessing and one of those, Oh, now I see why you were free, kind of dogs. He is by far the sweetest dog but he is also needy. As in, I yell at him more often than A. that I just want to pee by myself! He follows us all around with such loyalty that I feel so bad he can't come every where with us, but The Husband says we can't become those people. Fine. But the dog still owns a coat and a raincoat which The Husband says it two, too many. If The Husband wasn't so good at counting, I'd add some more coats or sweaters in.

May brought A.'s first adventure to one of the local spring fairs. I'm glad he enjoyed it because the adults kinda thought it blew.

June brought my in-laws moving in with us. They stayed true to their word and stayed for only a short time, two months. I still swear I miss them and no, it's not my Lexapro talking.

July brought my brother's wedding (sorry for the blurry pic, it was dark at the reception). I still can't believe he got married. Not because he's my little brother and I can't believe he's old enough or any mushy stuff like that, just as in, wow, you found someone to love you and all your weirdness. Rock on.

August brought getting yummy ice cream with Nana, Dad and Mom. The ice cream from Kilwins is so good which is a good thing because at the price, it equals a meal. 

September brought celebrating my mom's 50th birthday party. Pants aside, literally, look at A.'s smile. He adores his Nana.

October brought Halloween. A. had help from everyone for his costume as a knight. We bought the outfit, Pop Pop and Ya Ya got the accessories and Nana supplied Walter's costumer, a dragon (which isn't pictured because we didn't finish it in time and Walter was all spazzy... next year!).

November brought Thanksgiving at Ya Ya and Pop Pop's and playing with the Kinect. Just watching him trying to play, kicking all around and such, hilarious.

December brought A.'s 3rd birthday, Hanukkah, Christmas and our 5 year wedding anniversary. Basically, a lot. We like to go out in style.

So long 2011... I guess, welcome 2012.