24 February 2011

I'm sure one day...

     I'll look back on these past couple of months and laugh.  At the same time, I'm sure one day, when they have their own families, Princess and The Boy will look back and realize the sacrifices I've made to stay home with them and to home school them.  That day is not today though!  No, I don't regret the choices I've made in the best interest of my kids and my family.  Sometimes I just regret that my skin is not a little bit thicker...

     I understand, on an intellectual level, that moving thousands of miles away from our family, our friends and the only home they've ever known was difficult for them.  I also understand that taking them out of public school and teaching them at home created a gap with their friends.  But I am human.  I may be "just a mother", but I'm not without feelings.  I understand that Princess and The Boy say and do what they say and do because they are comfortable in the knowledge that they are loved by me.  Sometimes I just wish they were a little less sure and held back on some of the really hurtful comments.  Yes, yes.  I know this is part of parenting and that the looming years of puberty will probably pale in comparison, but that doesn't make it any easier.  And quite frankly "an intellectual level" has no place in parenting!  Really! "Intellectual level" and kids?  I must be mad!

     One thing the past few months have made me realize is that I have to honestly apologize to my mother for the hateful comments I can remember hurling at her through the slammed door.  I should also apologize for the hurtful comments I don't remember making, but I'm sure she does.  Mom, I am really, truly sorry.

     Why is it that people view women who have children as "moms", but the human element of the person is some how lost?  It's not like I can bifurcate myself.  I may be a little (?) bit crazy, but I'm not Sybil.  At what point do we as daughters and sons start seeing our parents as humans and not just Mom and Dad?  I'm not sure when it happened for me or if it has completely.  I can't wait for the day Princess and The Boy reach that point.  Until that day, or at least until puberty passes, these tears of a clown will have to suffice.

22 February 2011

Death by Chocolate

     A few years back we started having dinner and movie night once a week.  Each week a different family member picks the menu (and cooks it) and also the movie.  There have been some breaks in this tradition, but we recently resurrected the idea and began again this past Saturday.  Princess, always the sous chef, claimed the first night and all I can say is that I hope she becomes a professional chef!

     Appetizers were homemade guacamole with salsa and chips and crab stuffed mushrooms (she let her dad help out a little).  Then we had potato-leek soup, which I have to say in my unbiased... opinion, was fabulous!  But what is still making my mouth water was dessert - Oreo Brownies.  OMG!  If you love chocolate, you would LOVE these brownies.  You must love chocolate.  Not that whimpy, has-more-milk-than-cocoa, stuff that passes for chocolate, but the real, deep, smack-you-up-side-the-head, rich chocolate experience.  Princess found the recipe on the Internet, which always makes me a bit nervous, but what the heck!  How can you go wrong with Oreos?  Well they were so good and so chocolately, that I have to share the recipe!

2 sticks (1 cup) butter
1/2 pound semisweet chocolate chips
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3 eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons instant coffee granules
1 tablespoons vanilla
1 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp flour
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups chopped Oreo cookies (25 cookies)*Don't chop the Oreos too small, they will get lost in the brownies.

1.  Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter and flour a 9"x13" baking pan.

2.  In a heatproof medium bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, heat butter, chocolate chips and unsweetened chocolate until melted and smooth. Allow to cool slightly.

3.  In a large bowl, whisk eggs, coffee, vanilla and sugar. Blend chocolate mixture into egg mixture; cool to room temperature.

4.  In a medium bowl, sift together 1/2 cup flour, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture to chocolate mixture. In a small bowl, stir Oreos and remaining 2 tablespoons flour. Add Oreo mixture to chocolate mixture. Pour batter into baking pan and smooth top with a rubber spatula.

5.  Bake 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted 3 inches from center comes out clean; do not overbake. Allow to cool. Refrigerate, tightly wrapped, until cold; cut into squares.  *They are also just as yummy still warm with melting vanilla ice cream and/or whipped cream.

     There is nothing - nada, zilch, zero, nihil, nichts, Méiyǒu, ekkert, ingenting - healthy about these brownies.  You could save yourself a step and just shmear the batter all over your thighs and butt, since it's all going there anyway!  By doing that, however, you would lose out on the the most incredible mouthwatering, flavorful, scrumptious, finger-licking, lip-smacking, orgasm-inducing chocolate experience ever!  While I have been known to hyperbolize, this description is nothing more than God's honest truth.  The brownies really are that good.  They are so flavorful that a cold glass of milk is all you really need to go with them.  That and a good gym membership!

04 February 2011

My Road to Hell

     If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, then I'm the proud owner of a multi-laned highway!

     I, like many people, have all these grand plans which are all in various states of completeness.  Heck I have an entire notebook dedicated just to some of my ideas!  But reality always seems to get in the way.  It is totally frustrating that at times I can't seem to get things finished.  And if it is frustrating to me, I can only imagine how hair-pulling it is to PFF (and he married me anyway - sucker!!!)  Yes, I know that I can set goals and work towards them in order to get something accomplished - why do you think I have the dang notebook!?!  But the realities of being a home schooling mom of two children, one with special needs, and the wife of an FSO tend to trump some of my grand plans.  I knew they would and I still encouraged PFF in his pursuit of the FS and decided to home school (ok so who's the sucker???), but that doesn't make me feel better when I view yet another unfinished project as a failure.

     There is a voice in the back of my mind.  Sometimes it is a loud voice and sometimes just a whisper, but the message is always the same - patience Lauren.  Patience.  The rational me knows that in time some of my plans will reach completion and some of them just won't.  That the pursuit of the idea is part of the fun. That my kids will be on their own sooner than I want to acknowledge.  Then there is the completely irrational, sometimes petulant, side of me that wants to do what I want to do when I want to do it!  Hey, I deserve it right?  I've worked hard.  I've paid my dues!  Whine!  Whine!  Whine!  Me! Me! Me!

    And then I laugh at just how ridiculous I sound!  I would (and do) laugh at Princess and The Boy whenever they act like that!   As I tell my kids, "suck it up and deal with it!"  At my age I know better and the rational side wins out again.  I have, to a degree, accepted my multi-lane highway and know that I'll be in good company on my journey.  Hey that gives me an idea!  If there will be others on the road to Hell with me, I should set up a toll-booth or something!  Where's my notebook?