Nerd Night: Easter Whoopie Pies

For two weeks in a row, now, there hasn’t been Nerd Night. This would be a Major Crisis, but fortunately yesterday (for Easter) we found ourselves at a gathering that included most of the Nerd Night crew. So: no official game, but at least the kids got to hang out together. Also, I baked, because it seemed like the thing to do.

Specifically, I made two kinds of whoopie pies, because whoopie pies are a pain in the butt, but hey, it was Easter, after all.

whoopie-pies

In case you want to make your own, the lower image is the traditional chocolate version with no changes, and then the top ones are these lime-filled ones, though I added some ground ginger to the batter, too. (I added two teaspoons and it wasn’t enough to be noticeable in the final product. I’d go at least a tablespoon, next time.)

We ate, drank, and were merry. I brought two dozen pies to the party and they all got eaten. It was a good day.

(Did I hide 2 chocolate ones in the back of the fridge and put them in the kids’ lunches today? Maaaaaaaaaybe.)

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So close, and yet so far

Greetings from Day 17 of our 5-day bathroom remodel. HAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA. HAAAAAAA. HA. Ahem.

It was the vanity, you see. Not vanity like hubris sort of vanity, but the physical cabinet/counter/sink thingie, and it was backordered, and so we had to wait. I mean, let’s pretend that’s why, and forget about the tiling and retiling and the third time the tile got done, finally. Because the tile looks great! The floor is lovely! The shower is complete! And we even have a working toilet! Let’s ignore the antibacterial soap pump on the edge of the tub because we have no sink. In fact, I’m pretty sure my kids are ignoring it, so why not?

Also let us not speak of the day the painters came and swore it was “all done” and later I found giant swaths of missing paint. “Sometimes when you’re painting a lot you just get tunnel vision,” said our contractor.

“Or complete blindness?” I suggested, looking for a more reasonable explanation. I mean, I do a fair amount of painting for someone who isn’t a painter. (I actually love to paint. It’s the one home improvement task I totally enjoy.) Never in the history of my painting various rooms in various homes have I ever packed up my brushes and rollers with a triumphant, “DONE!” only to discover that I’d missed huge patches of walls. Silly me, I figured if you PAINT FOR A LIVING that’s the sort of thing which… wouldn’t happen. Obviously I do not understand the grueling reality of having to use your eyeballs to survey your professional work.

It’s possible that a wee bit of bitterness is starting to set in. (more…)

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In lieu of Nerd Night goodies…

… all I have for you today is this. (There was no Nerd Night this weekend, alas.)

Monkey began texting me about some injustice in class, but it quickly devolved into the following. And for the record, this went on for quite a while even after this. It’s a good thing I’m fond of that kid.

monkey-fish-puns

(Eventually I told him I had to go. He responded, “Sea you later! I’ll reef you abalone now.” Internet, HOW DO WE TEACH HIM TO USE HIS POWERS FOR GOOD?)

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Blood, sweat, and tears. Mostly blood.

“Hey Mir,” you say, because you think it’s funny by now, “is your bathroom renovation done?”

“Ha!” I reply. “HahahaHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!” I howl, and eventually you run in the other direction because I am a little deranged at this point, and frankly, scary.

I know I’ve mentioned before that I find Snapchat useful for staying connected to Chickadee, but there was something immensely satisfying about sending her this snap yesterday, childish though it may have been. (Listen, I was told the drywall guy was coming first thing, then when I inquired around 11 as to what was going on, I was told he’d be coming at 2. I worked out and got into the shower at 1 sharp, and of course my doorbell rang at 1:05. The dogs went ballistic and I answered my door in my robe in the middle of the day like some sort of dilettante.)

So, no, BUT THANKS FOR ASKING, the bathroom isn’t done. We’re closer, though. The tiling is complete (the third time was the charm, it turns out, though the fact that they had to undo/redo some of the tile twice is something I want you to bear in mind if I am murdered any time soon), so we have a floor and a shower and a toilet, and today the painters are coming, which THEORETICALLY means that tomorrow we can actually start using the bathroom again, provided that no one is too bothered by the fact that we don’t yet have a sink. (The vanity was backordered, apparently. Hilarious, because we literally ordered the cheapest possible option and standard everything. Either the whole world is as cheap as we are, or something else is going on. Best not to ponder.)

Bearing in mind that my role in this renovation is limited to shopping—perhaps my favorite sport—and very little actual physical labor, it may be surprising to learn that I am sustaining reno-related injuries, but I’ve always been an over-achiever. (more…)

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I bet my Monday was Monday-er than yours

Yesterday was rife with complaints about the time change and how Monday is so completely awful and now it’s Monday-plus-a-time-change and EVERYTHING IS THE WORST. I was busy bathroom-wrangling, or rather, trying to wrangle what’s happening with the bathroom and the contractors and when oh when might we have a working bathroom up there… does anyone know? Plus there was the usual work stuff and getting the kids back to school stuff and some other stuff and I remember thinking, yesterday afternoon, that it was a pretty terrible day and I would be very glad once it was over.

But then it got worse, which was—oddly enough—also when it got better. Sometimes you just need a reminder about what really matters, I guess. (At least I do.)

You can read more about it over at Alpha Mom, though I’ll go ahead and give you the spoiler: Everyone’s fine. And, as my dad always says: Never a dull moment.

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Nerd Night: Ginger-Lime Banana Cake

Go ahead. ASK ME IF THE BATHROOM IS DONE. Or don’t, if you don’t want to see me weep. (Long story short: The tile guy has been working SO HARD, and he is so nice and so earnest and he WORKED ON SATURDAY and I hate that we had to point out that the floor is uneven and the lines in the shower are not plumb. He is now upstairs grinding out the tile and presumably fantasizing about my untimely death.)

Anyway. The bathroom is a special kind of sadness, right now. So I baked cookies one day and then this cake the next day, because sugar and flour fixes everything, right? I hope so. I had a bunch of over-ripe bananas and then I had a vision of a slightly spicy, tangy, banana-y cake. I ended up with this:

banana-lime-cake-full

My hopes were not entirely realized, which I’ll get to in a minute, but it was cake and people ate it, plus the helpful feedback I received informed the recipe tweaks that hopefully will make it into something closer to what I’d wanted in the first place. And either way, it’s still better than uneven tile in your bathroom, so there’s that. (more…)

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Death by remodeling

We’re renovating the upstairs bathroom this week. More accurately, this week I am trying to keep the dogs from going insane while a crew makes a lot of noise and a big mess. So far it doesn’t look much like a bathroom, but I have high hopes. Also, it was supposed to be finished by tomorrow. HAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAA.

Um. I am still hoping it might be done next week. Or this year. Something. My usual way of coping with the grossness my offspring proliferate in their bathroom is to… just never go in there. But until that bathroom is done, they have to use the bathroom I use. Let’s just say my motivation to do whatever the contractors need right now is VERY HIGH.

I wrote about the ongoing renovation over at Alpha Mom, because my brain is rotted from doing things like going to the hardware store and having twenty-minute-long conversations about whether the satin nickel and the brushed stainless are actually different colors.

Then to take my mind off of the fact that I got a great deal on a killer light fixture only to discover that the bulbs it requires are 1) not included and 2) almost as expensive as the fixture itself, I also tackled another teen advice column question, because I am excellent at advising you on what to do with your kids, but terrible at picking out lighting.

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Nerd Night: Bishop’s Cake with Raspberry/Lime Glaze

Spring Break is upon us, and on Saturday, Monkey jetted off to see his dad, Otto took Chickadee to an event at her soon-to-be college, and my lovely friend Ruth who lives too far away came to spend the weekend. Instead of spending quality time with my offspring the night before they left me, I spent quality time in Atlanta traffic gabbing endlessly with Ruth, and then we went out washed down our weight in sushi with a couple of martinis as if we were party animals. (All was forgiven because Ruth makes her own AH-MAZE-ING chocolates and she brought us a box of goodies. The kids might’ve missed me, but hey, CHOCOLATE!)

Saturday we did some random walking around, more stuffing of our faces (gourmet tacos, this time), and then flopped on the couch and watched baking shows. When Otto and Chickadee returned, we played Cards Against Humanity (“Oh I’ve never played this before,” quoth Ruth… GUESS WHO WON?) and went to bed entirely too late.

Before we turned in, though, I starting combing through recipes. “I think they’re having Nerd Night without Monkey,” I said. “Chickie will go. I need to make something tomorrow morning.” Ruth not only makes candy, she’s a master baker (and also sweet and pretty and hilarious and it’s okay, you can hate her a little), and she suggested I find a Bishop’s Cake recipe.

When I asked what it is, she said, “It has a crumb like nothing else you’ve ever tasted. It gets crispy on the outside but it’s buttery on the inside. It’s simple, but it’s amazing.” Bishop’s Cake it would be, then.

bishops-cake-whole (more…)

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Just a regular day (but extra snot)

Monkey—sweet, darling Monkey—has changed SO MUCH over the last few years that sometimes I forget about the things which haven’t changed. Like, say, the fact that he now towers over me does not change the typical trajectory of: it’s a minor cold, it’s a minor cold, it’s a minor cold, MOM I THINK MAYBE I’M DYING MOM I FEEL AWFUL. Good job, me! My streak of sending that child to school even though he’s sick as a dog remains unbroken! WOOOOO! Yesterday had an added bonus of his doctor mentioning that it may be time to go back to the ENT and discuss sinus surgery… I think… I was too busy screaming “LALALALALAAAAAA I CAN’T HEEEEEAR YOOOUUUU!”

Yeah. Um. Yesterday afternoon was spent picking him up from school, taking him to the doctor, going to the pharmacy to get his antibiotics, and then stopping to pick him up a milkshake (flavor: MOM GUILT). But at least while I was doing all of that, Chickadee texted me to say she thought maybe she was sick, too. Because of course.

This is all true, but also a good introduction to this post I wrote for Alpha Mom about figuring out how to balance working and mom-ing. Spoiler alert: There’s no one right answer. But I do appreciate having the flexibility to deal with a sick kid or two without worrying I’m going to lose my job, obvs.

Also! If you’ve been paying any attention this election cycle (with mounting horror, one assumes), you may be struggling with how to talk to your teens about it, in which case I’ll suggest this Alpha Mom post, instead. My kids are asking hard questions, and they’re forcing me to figure out better answers.

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Nerd Night: Better-Than-Cinnabon Birthday Rolls

I can’t remember when I first made these cinnamon rolls, or how they became the Holy Grail of baked goods in our house, but what I CAN tell you is that Monkey asks for these for his birthday instead of cake. (Chickie usually asks for both cinnamon rolls AND cake. And right there… you have a pretty good summary of my children.) That should give you some idea of how awesome these are. So: I make these almost exclusively for birthdays, because they’re kind of a pain in the ass. But when I asked Chickadee what she wanted for Nerd Night, she immediately said “cinnamon rolls!” and I remembered that I had a batch in the freezer (I always double the recipe and freeze half, because if I’m going to spend all that time, I may as well) from Monkey’s birthday last month, so I agreed. She may have then done a victory fist pump and squealed, “SWEEEET! Fresh ones for my birthday!”

The base recipe is this one, which I’m sure is delightful as written. In fact, the first time I made them, I probably just followed the recipe (save for modifying it for non-breadmaker preparation). Over the years I’ve modified it, though, and now it’s even better, I promise. I double the pudding (and make it butterscotch rather than vanilla, which heightens the caramel-y flavoring), skip the nuts, and load it up with cinnamon chips. Plus I double the frosting, because FROSTING. I mean:

cinn-roll-plate-2

Ooey, gooey, AH-MAZE-ING. If you love someone, make them these cinnamon rolls. (more…)

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