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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Book Review - Here I Go Again, Jen Lancaster

Here I Go AgainHere I Go Again by Jen Lancaster
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As a story, Here I Go Again sucked. Wait! Keep reading! (Even you, Jen, if you do things like read Goodread Reviews.)

It was a smarmy, unrealistic mishmash of It's a Wonderful Life and Mean Girls.

I know, you're thinking, um, it's about a time-travelling jerkface, it's obviously not meant to be realistic.

And I know. I know. But, for me, even my unrealistic stories need to tie up their loose ends, and make sense in the alternate reality they've forced into existence. And Here I Go Again doesn't do that.

There are a lot of inconsistencies, and plot points that weren't thought out, weren't followed through. (Okay, here's where the review gets good, I promise.)

But Here I Go Again ISN'T a story. It's a parable. And as a parable, it's fantastic. Right up there with the New Testament, and much more relevant to me at my current place in life.

The point of the book is pretty much exactly what the book SHOUTS at you (not exactly subtle, really, this book). Small motions create huge results.

And this is a truth. Even those of us without little vials of magic potion know that. But sometimes we forget.

The sub-theme is that kindness, true kindness--not the kind with any self-serving purpose--wins out in the end. That karma (even though it's NOT karma, but that's a semantics argument for another day) will get you. That you reap what you plant.

These lessons are some that I really needed to remember right now. Not that I'm being cruel to anyone, or experiencing anything near as extreme as the protagonist here, but that I could stand to be a little kinder, a little gentler, a little more loving as I go through my day-to-day life. I do a fairly good job, but I can get so caught up in what I need to succeed, and what I need to do physically for others to make them happy, that I forget, sometimes, to sit back and love and appreciate.

I was already making amends in this way, and Here I Go Again was excellent supplement reading for my journey.

So, yeah, the story? Not so much. The parable?

Aces.

View all my reviews


**I received this book as part of BlogHer's paid review program, but the opinions are my own. If you want to join in the conversation visit BlogHer where we're all talking about it!



 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Grocery Game Plan 2013






Grocery shopping is always a crap shoot over here.  The babies know they have me captive because when we go to the grocery store, we have things we need to get before we leave. They know I won't leave until I go through the checkout. They have me at their disposal as we walk through aisles and aisles of fun and yummy things that they can't open or play with.  It could easily become a nightmare, and it has been pretty ugly in there at times, but usually, we pull it off flawlessly, thanks to having a game plan in place before we even leave the house.


1) Park close and pick out your cart before you leave the car.  This is probably more important for me than most as I have to find a twin cart, but even if you have a singleton, decide whether or not you are going to use your own infant seat, the infant seat on a specialized cart or if your child is old enough to simply sit in the basket area, or walk alongside you as you shop. When my babies were younger we used the five-point shopping carts, but a few weeks ago we moved to the lap-strapped racing carts. There is only one of these that suit our needs. The others are two small. If that one cart is unavailable, step 2 goes into action.

2) Do not enter the store with a crying baby or a fussing toddler. If your infant is small, stand outside rocking her and comforting her until you can make the transition into the cart.  If you have toddlers like I do, be prepared to garner stares in the parking lot and you stand resolutely to the side, waiting for your children to calm down.  Tell them firmly every once in a while that no one is going anywhere until they stop fussing.  If they're truly upset, cuddle them in the cart, tell them about what you are going to buy, distract them by naming the colors of the cars in the parking lot, etc., until they calm down.  If they're just doing it for show, make sure you've got all day, and just sit tight.

3) In my childless days, if I had to do a full-on shopping run, I'd start from one end of the store and make my way methodically to the other side. These days, I do a modified verision.  I start in the baby aisle, and immediately grab them something to munch on.  Gerber puffs, yogurt bursts, Nutri Grain bars, whichever items catches my fancy at the time. Once the babies are crunching away, I start my real route.

4) Move quickly. Know where everything is, and what you'll need.  Shopping with babies is no time for browsing.  Don't shop when you're hungry.  You'll not have time to investigate each possible item for purchase. If you're looking for bargains, browse the store's catalogue before you leave so that you don't have to waste precious moments comparing prices and products, or finding this week's specials.

5) Set break points at even intervals.  Use the fruit section, the bakery, the deli, and the section where they hand out the balloons (don't know what I'm talking about?  Click here.) as set points to break up your trip into small intervals, like pit stops.  At each stop, give the babies a treat.  In the fruit section, the babies get a few grapes.  When we move to the deli, they get a slice of cheese.  The coveted bakery stop provides them with a small cookie.  If we are incredibly hard up that day, I'll end the trip with a balloon.  Usually we can skip this step.

6) When the babies inevitably reach out for or ask about one of the untouchable goodies hanging from every section of every aisle, hurry on by.  Tell them you'll come back to look at it later.  If there is an item you need near one of these toys, park the cart a few feet ahead and go back for it without them.

7) If you are having trouble getting from pit stop to pit stop, make a game of it.  Have the babies "help you look" for the grapes, the cookies, or whatever they want next.  If they're repeating with increased urgency, "Cheese! Cheese! Cheese!" Get yourself on their side by saying, "Yeah! Cheese! We have to find the cheese.  Do you see it?  I don't see it. Cheese!  Oh, cheese!  Hello?  Where are you, cheese?"  The babies will most likely join you in your quest, and you can "look for" an item for up to five minutes before the trick begins to wear off.

8) We usually don't have trouble at the checkout, but if your child becomes restless, have them help you put the groceries on the belt.  It gives them something to do, and they're usually amazed that the items move.

If nothing works, and you've got a disgruntled toddler or screaming baby on your hands for the hour in which you shop, take heart.  Remember, when you get home, it's nap time!




Disclosure: This post from my archives is being re-run as part of BlogHer's Smart Mom's Guide to Being Busy editorial series, brought to you by Rice Krispies and BlogHer.

 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Recipe Monday - Strawberry Banana Bread

Easy dessert and breakfast!






1 c. fresh strawberries
1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 c. sweet butter
1/4 c. plus 2 tbsp. sugar
2 eggs
2 very ripe bananas, mashed

Toss strawberries with 2 tablespoons flour and set aside. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg in small bowl. Cream butter slowly adding sugar, beating at medium speed; add eggs, beating well. Add flour mixture and bananas. Mix until dry ingredients are moist. Gently fold in strawberries.

Spoon batter into loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.


 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Preschool Pointers - 23: Starting and Exiting Games

Problem:

Your kids want to play with you. All the time. Their games are simply more fun if you're there, on the floor, a willing participant to their madness. And who can blame them? After all, you're pretty rad. And playing with your kids is pretty important. I remember, even as an older kid, the treat it was when we could convince our parents to take part in one of our games. It lent the whole thing legitimacy, made it special. But how many hours can you spend on the floor playing "Rapunzel" with your old scarf? There must be a happy medium.



Solution:

Play with them when they ask. Immediately if you can, or putting them off by only a few minutes here and there (so that when you actually can't play with them, they'll know that you'll play with them as soon as you can and won't give up because they sadly know it will never happen, but instead because they know it will happen at some point, and so they don't have to be right up your butt for it.) As you start a game, give them roles, so that they start to feel in charge of the game. Perhaps you lay down a few rules, but then have them take over the policing of the rules, or teach them how to do whatever it is themselves. If you're playing, say, Rapunzel, make them both very important characters, and give yourself a character who maybe doesn't quite make it (like Mother Gothel).

As they become more absorbed in the game, start taking a step back gradually, urging them to fill in the gap with their own imaginations and praising them when they come up with alternate routes and ideas. By doing this, you're slowly transforming yourself from active participant to guide. Then, eventually, you'll be able to simply say, "okay, you guys take it from here, I have to ____ now, but I had so much fun!"

If they protest, play a little longer but give them a limit. "Okay, but this will be my last turn, okay?" Usually they'll be having so much fun with the game itself, they won't even need you and will be able to carry on without you, willingly and happily.



 

Friday, January 25, 2013

What They're Saying at Almost 4.5

I do a words and phrases list every now and again to track cute things that will soon vanish from my auditory life forever. The girls are speaking more and more clearly now, though they insist on certain pronunciations more than others, and have trouble re-training their tongues to make certain sounds that they've heretofore gotten around.

For instance:

Skirt: slirt. Only it's not quite SLirt, there's more of a flemy sound in there as the skid past the k without hitting it.

Sp: F - So that sparkle becomes farkle and special becomes feshul.

But, they have trouble pronouncing Fr (though they will do it with my guidance) making frog slog, and freckle slenkel.

They'll occasionally get their Ps and Cs mixed up, though in different ways. Lilly continues to say Prismus instead of Christmas (whereas Dulce says Cwistmas), and preacher instead of creature (Dulce says cweature). However, Dulce will say nickel instead of nipple, and Natalina can say nipple correctly. Interesting.

Another interesting development is the word tomato.

Now, previously, any time their father or I have referred to a tomato, they'll echo it back to us as "bahdaydo." Which you would think would mean potato, but whatever, right? Potato is actually "bahcaydo" for some reason.

Yesterday, we learned that they can pronounce tomato just fine. Except that they say tomato when they want to say tornado.

Tomato, tornado, let's call the whole thing off, am I right?

This development has deeply puzzled me, and needs more thought on my end. What is going on there?

It may play into this: When we repeat the girls' mispronounciations back to them, they get very peeved.

For instance, Dulce will say, "Mommy! You bahstacked me! (distracted).

I'll then say with a smile, "Oh, I bastacked you?"

And with attitude she'll quip back, "No, mom. Bah-stack-ed." She can hear me say it right, knows when I say it wrong, but when she says it wrong, she hears it right. Maybe. I don't know.

A more grammatical error we're trying (not very hard, but when we think of it) to correct is the use of her.

The girls will say "Her told me that. Her did it. Her came to class today." They never use she.

On the flip side, they never use his. It's always "He toy. He ball. He daddy."

Weird, eh?

Th is a lost cause right now (though after several tries, if I'm coaching them and showing them how to use their tongues, they can say it.) Usually, it's sink (think), slee (three), schlrow (throw). They try everything to make that (dat) sound. They have trouble.

They have improved in massive ways (no longer using anchor vowels in the middle of words, for instance) and can string complicated thoughts together. But sometimes their tongues just don't know what to do.

Cute kids.




 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Guest Post - On Cosleeping

Today I have a guest post on co-sleeping from Sarah Clare. Now, this is a controversial topic with much research being done on either side of the debate. I, personally, did not co-sleep because of reasons and things, most notably that I was pumping, so I would have to get up and get bottles anyway, that my kids were preemie and that there were two of them. So, I don't have personal experience with this. But I do know that I support both methods (so long as you're not leaving your infant to cry for hours alone to try to "train" her to sleep.) And as far as the final question in the piece, why would you ever want your child to leave your bed, well, I've got a few answers for that, but now is not the time, is it?


 ...


How Co-Sleeping can Help You and Your Baby or Toddler Get More Sleep

Sleep is elusive for many new parents. Finding ways to get more sleep or to get their baby to sleep longer is at the top of the list of priorities for most parents in the first couple of years of a child's life. Newborns are notorious for waking up every couple of hours (or even every hour), but even toddlers can be up several times a night, disrupting sleep for the whole family.

Co-sleeping -- or sleeping with your baby or toddler -- can help you to solve that age-old conundrum and get more sleep. Many parents find that co-sleeping even helps them sleep through the night! Here's how co-sleeping with your baby or toddler can help you to get more sleep:

You Don't Have to Get Up to Get Your Baby

Imagine these two scenarios: It is 3 a.m. and your baby wakes up to nurse, crying out in the darkness for you. You can either crawl out of bed with your eyes half-open and stumble through the darkness to your baby's crib on the other side of the room or even the other side of the house, groping your way along the wall and furniture (or more likely, tripping your way) OR you can roll over to where your baby is safely snuggled next to you on your bed or in a co-sleeper or Moses basket.

Which one seems like it's going to allow you to get more sleep? Even though you can't keep from being woken up when you co-sleep, you can limit the amount of time you stay awake. Getting out of bed and stumbling through the darkness is also likely to wake you up more, making you more fully alert and less likely to get back to sleep quickly.

You Don't Have to Get Up to Nurse

Sitting in a cozy rocking chair and nursing your baby back to sleep is a peaceful image. But when you've woken up for the fourth time in the night, the last thing you want to do is get out of the bed yet again and sit up in your nursing chair, waiting for your baby to fall back to sleep.

By co-sleeping, you can simply pull your baby in close to you when it's time to nurse, and you can nurse while lying down. You don't have to get up. You don't have to set up fancy nursing pillows, and you don't have to worry about falling asleep and falling out of the chair with your baby.

You Can Sleep While Nursing

Since you can nurse while you are lying on your side in the bed, you can also sleep. When you don't have to worry about getting up to put your baby back to bed once he has fallen asleep, you can simply fall back to sleep yourself once your baby has latched on and you are both in a comfortable position.

Once you and your baby are pros at nursing, you can quickly get settled when your baby wakes up, allowing him to latch and you to fall back asleep while he nurses. The whole process takes a few seconds, and you can be back asleep before you even knew you were awake. During the first few weeks of my daughter's life, this strategy saved my sanity as it almost felt like I was able to sleep through the night.

Baby Falls back Asleep Quicker

When your baby wakes in the middle of the night to nurse or to be comforted, the sooner you are able to respond, the better. Babies who are left to fuss or cry will become more and more upset, making them harder to console and much harder to get back to sleep.

A baby who has had to cry for even 5 or 10 minutes while you wake up and make your way to his crib will be much more awake, alert, and harder to soothe than a baby who has only whimpered a few times before you were able to respond immediately because he was close at hand in bed.

Your Baby Will Sleep Longer and More Soundly

We all sleep better when we sleep together. Think about it: Do you like to sleep alone? Neither does your baby or toddler. You are comforting and reassuring to your child. When you are near, he will sleep longer and will sleep more soundly. If you try to pressure your child into sleeping before he's ready, he will resist sleep and bed time will become a battle.

Instead of spending hours trying to soothe your baby to sleep each night, you can spend a few minutes to get the same job done by just snuggling up next to him in your own bed. He will feel your warmth and your reassuring presence and will fall right to sleep.

Many people fear that co-sleeping will mean that their child will never leave their bed. The reality is that co-sleeping will help you and your whole family get better sleep, helping you to be happier and more rested. When that's the case, why would you ever want your child to leave your bed?

Did you co-sleep with your baby? Share your experiences in the comments!

...

Sarah Clare is a writer and oversees the site projectmanagementsoftware.com, where she has
recently been researching gantt chart templates. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys cooking and
scrapbooking.



 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Life When Sick; Why Does It Go On?

You know what's hard? Going to school and being sick. I don't want to go to class today. I guarantee you the other students do not want me to go to school today. Whatever I have is bad. My head hurts so much I can hardly look at this screen. I just want to go back to bed. But I can't.

Because the professor's sick policy is: "We don't care if you are dead. You come to class. Attendance is mandatory." Now, I'm sure there must be some provision for a doctor's note, an excused absence or something, but you know what's even harder for me than getting to school for 12:50 today? Finding a doctor, getting an appointment, paying a $50 copay, and getting a note. Then how do I get the note to her? She probably has a fax number, but I don't know it. So add finding the professor's fax number to that list of things to do. And I'd have to do all of this with my kids, because to get a doctor's note before 12:50 means I'm not going to be able to bring them to school. (They're better today.)

So, I'll just go. I'll bring disinfectant stuff, and maybe even a mask because I wouldn't wish this bug on my worst enemy. I'll try not to sleep in class, and muddle through somehow. Then I'll come home and write another paper, due at midnight.

I don't really have a point here. I'm too sick to have a point. All I know is that I don't support having to get a doctor's note when you're sick. It's too hard.

Life goes on. Sorry everyone in that class. I will do my best not to get you sick. I'd skip this if I could.




 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Road Trip!

Why would a person take two four-year-old girls on a two-hour car trip to go to dinner, then drive them two hours back? Exercise in torture, most likely. Still, yesterday at 3 p.m., I packed up my half-sick girls and off we went. Back by 10:30 p.m.

A huge reason, of course, is that a good friend of mine is visiting the state all the way from Canada. We went to see her.

But, why not leave at 10 in the morning? Why not spend the day, instead of just a few hours?

Good questions.

Answer 1) I had some stuff to do. Figured I could pound that out, then we'd go. It's like I don't even know me. When I finally get that stuff done, there's still enough time to go for a day trip. Which leads us to Answer 2.

Answer 2) Have you ever tried to go anywhere with twin four year olds? It's like gambling. Could take five minutes, could take two hours. Yesterday, it took the latter. First, they were hungry. Then they had to argue with me about exactly what kind of lunch they were hungry for. (They got PB&J, much to one's delight and the other's dismay. You can never win with twins.) Then it was time for socks and shoes. And I can't do that for them anymore because they're big girls and can do it by themselves. Very s l o w l y. After forgetting about what they're doing midway about 50 times.

Then potty. But one has to go poop, so then the other one won't use that same bathroom, oh no. It's too stinky in there! (It didn't stink at all.) She had to use the upstairs bathroom. Well, then, why did the second one get to use the upstairs bathroom when the first one had to use the downstairs bathroom? That's it! The first twin is taking off her shoes in anger and despair. The world will never be the same. Meanwhile, I've got the other one calling down to me, asking if she wet her hands enough. Then if she put enough soap on. Then if she rubbed them enough. Then if she...just wash your damn hands, girl, jeez!

So, now I've got the upstairs bathroom twin crying at me because I won't tell her if her hands are dry enough, and the downstairs bathroom twin going nuts because I obviously hate her forever because she chose to use the downstairs bathroom (they can always use whichever one they want. So long as they use a bathroom at all, I'm happy.)

And we haven't even gotten started yet.

Then I check the directions on my smart phone, which tries to take me to an entirely different place. Thankfully I realize this, and work hard to straighten it out and get the phone to find the right place. Now the twins need a snack. And one for the road, they decide. Then they fight about what to bring for the car ride and I want to give up on life.

By now, of course, I know we're not going to make it back for dinner, so I email my husband (who is not feeling well) to let him know I'm thinking about driving two hours down to Orlando for dinner with the girls.

His response was: "It's fine on my end, but I worry for you." No kidding.

Okay, we're ready! Snacks in hand, let's get in the car!

Oh, wait, someone has to use the potty again.

So, we left at around 3:30 p.m.

They didn't sleep on the car ride down, but we only had a few minor breakdowns (one over the fact that I cannot physically put grapes back on their stems. I'm such a jerk, seriously.)

Anyway, there are many more stories from when we were there and from when we went back, but I'm all tired out. For now, suffice to say that it was hard, but worth it.

Oh, and the answer to the original question is this: I eventually want real people in my life. If the girls are to become those people, they are going to have to start doing things, and lots of them. Expanding their horizons and such. Coming along with me. I cannot remain holed up in my Gville apartment because the thought of taking them anywhere further than the grocery store alone scares me.

So, points for us all, just for doing it.





 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Recipe Monday - Mediterranean Mahi Mahi

A great, savory fish dish.




  • 1 pound thick-cut, firm-fleshed fish fillets (Pacific halibut or mahi-mahi)
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons dry white or red wine
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 14-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 8 black olives, preferably Kalamata, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest

PREPARATION

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Cut fish into 4 serving pieces and season with salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer in a 10-inch pie plate or baking dish.
  2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add wine and garlic and simmer for 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes, olives, oregano and orange zest. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon mixture over the fish.
  3. Bake until the fish is opaque in the center, about 15 minutes.


 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Preschool Pointers - 22: Stop Yelling, A How-To

Problem:

You're (by which I mean I'm) a yeller. You've somehow conditioned your children not to hear you unless you turn the volume on eight. This is no good. They don't like being yelled at and you don't like yelling, but they just don't respond any other way. How can you retrain them? (and yourself?)

Solution:

Give warnings. Instead of just repeating yourself ad nauseum until you're so frustrated you yell your child's name, be conscious of what is going on. Is your child blatantly ignoring you? Does she just not hear you? Is she simply involved in a game of make-believe or concentrating on some other task? Are you interrupting her thought processes to speak to her?

All of these might be valid reasons as to why your child doesn't respond. Try not to repeat yourself at all. Give her two chances. Say her name. Say it a bit louder. Nothing? Okay. Go over and touch her, get her attention. Then try again to say what you need to say. If she is still too distracted/ornery/whatever, try giving her a calm warning. This can be anything. I don't recommend mine because it plays into the same problem, but, for me at least, it's leagues ahead of where I was, so I'll use it as an example.

"I'm going to say this once more, and then I'm going to yell at you."

I seriously say that. Just like that. Calmly. Showing her that in this new world, I'm not yelling ever in frustration, but only to get her wayward attention.

This also gives me control of myself and reminds me of the same thing.

My kids don't like it when I yell at them (duh), and so surprisingly (to me) this has been working. They hear the future result, and adhere to my previous words.

When they don't, I do yell at them (gotta follow up consistently, right?) But it's never an extended, just let it all out, I'm totally exasperated type yell. Usually I just say their names sharply and loudly. That's it. That's all they need. They might cry (that fake four-year-old crying for a minute), but when they see I'm not actually going to yell at them for 10 minutes, they straighten out and do what I asked the first time.



 

Friday, January 18, 2013

To Plan or Not to Plan

Look, I'm a pantser. I don't plan. I never plan. Why? Because my plans are all shit, that's why. My plans never play out. I can't bend my life to my will, it's too chaotic. And if I waste my time making plans, then I have to plan for (see what I did there?) more time on the other end, to wallow in self-pity when those plans don't work.

I had one plan once. I was going to be an executive producer for a daily newscast in New York City. And I worked my ass off to make that happen. Then, my life, as it often does, threw me a huge curveball, from which I have only just barely recovered.

It took me years to accept that I was no longer on the hot-shot, young-thing-in-news track. I'm dried up. I'm no good. I've been out of the business for too long. I had a family instead. Oops.

Now, some people can do both, but in my particular case, things aligned in such a way that I would have had to sacrifice the comfort, stability and happiness of my family to continue on my track.

And you know what? I'm better for having gotten out. I never would have believed it at the time, but I've hoofed it and worked and plodded and now I have a new track, with better opportunities, better money (eventually), better hours, and just generally a better life.

So, when people ask me what I'm going to do with my graduate degree, I roll my eyes.

I don't know. I don't know, okay?

Because whatever I say, whatever long-term goal I set my sights on will fall through and I never, ever want to find myself thrown back to the basement, trying to figure out who I am.

I know who I am. I am a pantser.

I didn't know I was going to start a daily blog until I started it. I didn't know I was going to write a book (or six) until I wrote them. I didn't know I was going to have a family until I was pregnant. I didn't know I was even going to grad school until I applied.

I don't think about things anymore. I just do them. And with all the things I have to do, I don't have time to think. I know this sounds incredibly stupid, but it's working for me.

A new friend of mine and I were laughing just yesterday. If we were both being chased by tigers in the jungle, we would both (hopefully) survive. She would survive by hiding in the bunker she'd built meticulously over the months preceding the incident on the off-chance a tiger would ever chase her. I would survive by running my ass off and jumping into alligator-infested waters, holding my breath until the tiger lost interest, then swimming like hell to get away from the alligators.

Her way is better. But it doesn't work for me. Because I'd forget to lock my bunker door or some shit. I'm just bad at planning.

All these people in my classes are so passionate. They're there because they're passionate about changing the world, about personal growth, about being better and making better.

And I'm interested and intelligent and I can contribute to theoretical discussions with the best of them, but when  the professor goes around the room asking, why are you here? Passion is not going to be my answer.

I'm there because money.

I'm there because I'm lucky enough to have secured the money to go. I'm there because I hope to make more money in the future with it.

Does that make me an asshole? Yeah. Especially when confronted with the unabashed idealism of the other students.

But at least I'm an honest asshole.

So, why am I going to graduate school? What am I going to get out of it?

I don't know.

All I know is that I'm going to kick its butt, like I do everything else by working so hard my eyeballs fall out from exhaustion. And then I'm going to let things come. I'll work for them, I'll try for them, but I will not define them. Because I know the very second I say, "I want to work for so-and-so as a such-and-such" I will have effectively closed that door. Or worse I will have closed all the other possibly better doors that I cannot yet see at this time.

My goal is to go to grad school and be awesome. That's as far as I dare go. (And if you know me, even that's a stretch. Hah.)



 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

I'm a Real Mom!

Well, it finally happened. All this time I was convinced I was faking it, but lo and behold, I'm actually a real mom.

Know why?

According to Elizabeth Banks, it's because I have two kids. Huzzah!



Well, celebrity I only know as "the girl who implied she wanted to have anal sex with Steve Carrel in that funny movie a while back", thank you. Thank you for validating my existence.

You hear that, universe? I'm real! I'm a real mom! (This is like some Pinocchio shit right here, and I never even had to turn into a donkey.)

Her statements to People, as taken totally out of context and in snippets here, show that while Elizabeth Banks may, by her definition, also be a real mom, she's not actually a real person.

Did you know, guys, did you even know that over the ten-day holiday break, Elizabeth Banks had to parent her children? By herself? (With help, I might add, from her husband.)

The horror. The absolute screaming horror of it. Ten whole days.


"[We] had no help, no nannies, no babysitters. It was crazy. You forget how difficult it is to wake up in the middle of the night, how exhausting it is," she admits. "I lost all my nails. I did dishes and cleaned bottles for 10 days so I lost all those nails!""

Okay, so not to rain on your I'm-every-woman parade, but that's been my life for, oh, four years now. Let's do the math, shall we?

Me: ~1450 days
Elizabeth: 10 days

It's so good to know that you understand me, Elizabeth. Thank you. (But, I'd just like to add, as the resident twin mom, that I have actually been a real mom for all of those days. Real moms have twins. Booyah.)

And this is not at all to say that you shouldn't have a nanny or house cleaners if you can afford it and want it. It's just to say, well, there is a difference there. Welcome to the real world (it's proven...the world has, like, seven billion kids) as many, many people know it (for ten days, of course.)

Now, obviously, there is some backlash from moms of singletons, evidenced here.

And, not having ever been a parent of one child, I can't really comment. Except to say that they are all right. Using a bit of middle-school taught logic: If A is defined as having the qualities necessary to be a thing, and B is defined as not having those qualities, then B is not the thing that A is defined as.

If moms with more than one child are real as Banks described, then it does follow, logically, that moms with one child are fake.

Wave your flags, singleton moms! Wave your fake, fake flags.

But that whole premise is just ridiculous, as is the hard-knock life of a celebrity who has to wash some bottles over the course of ten days (sorry about your nails, bb.)

So, really, this whole blog post, the previous publications about these statements, the statements themselves and the person who made them in the first place, are all just totally fucking ridiculous.

I'm ready to move on.

But not before quoting the Jezebel article that first brought this hilarious insight into celebrity life to my eyes. The best thing to come out of this whole debacle, in my opinion?

The fact that I actually liked a Jezebel article. Here's my favorite quote from it.

"OK, Elizabeth, girl, I feel you. Taking care of babies is no joke. I watch my niece occasionally and after two hours, we're both staring dead-eyed at Yo Gabba Gabba while she drinks bourbon out of the bottle I wasn't supposed to give her. Seriously, that gig is rough."

That is the best twist of the drunk mom joke I've seen in a long time.

So, thank you, EB. Thank you for letting me know I'm real, and thank you for the laugh as I picture a three-year-old hoarding a bottle full of bourbon. Life as a real (or fake) mom ain't so bad after all.



 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Guest Post: How to Safely Furnish a Kid's Room

My last guest post had cute ideas for making your kids' rooms trendy, but we can't forget about safety. This week I have a guest post that tackles exactly that.

...


One thing is for sure when furnishing a kid’s room – no matter how limited your budget is, safety
must be put first. This is your child we’re talking about. The constructions you put in there should
be sturdy and safe. That should be your first thought when choosing a child’s room interior pieces.

For starters, you have to have in mind that kids don’t think like adults. So, when decorating your child’s room, you have to do it wisely, keeping your kid out of harm’s way by preventing possible dangerous situations that might occur.



Baby Cribs and Beds

• Don’t economize on a crib. Once your baby learns how to stand up, he/she will actively jump in there, so you should have the sturdiest crib you can find.

• If you want your crib to be with a latching mechanism, make sure it is in a place where your baby can’t reach it. Also, when your baby is in the crib, the side of it should be set on the highest position, always.

• When buying a crib, the bars of it should be put very close together. You know how the little ones love to explore the world around them, so they might try to ‘escape’. This may lead to something quite unpleasant – the baby’s head can get caught between the bars.

• As for bunk beds, it is mandatory for the top one to have safety rails on both sides and no child under seven years old should be sleeping in there. The mattress for the top bed should be below the level of the guardrails.

The Changing Table

• Safety strap and a low guardrail is the right thing for a changing table to have.

• An additional tip would be to keep clothes and diapers at hand’s reach near the changing table so that not to leave the baby unattended on there.

Stains and Paints

If you have a wood floor in the child’s room, consider this: it’s better to use urethane based on water instead of polyurethane since the former is not that flammable and is less toxic.

The latex paints that are less toxic and don’t emit so much fumes are the so-called low-VOC ones, so they would be the better choice for the kid’s room as opposed to oil-based paints.

Room Accessories

• If you plan to install some storage hooks, they have to be above or below your kid’s eye level because they are a potential eye-poking threat.

• Small decorative elements are not recommended at all for the child’s room. If you happen to have some, place them somewhere out of reach and be sure that they are safely attached and won’t fall.

A toy chest with a closing mechanism is the better option since it will prevent your child’s fingers from getting pinched.

• Sometimes you have to sacrifice your kid’s room decoration ideas for the sake of safety. Actually,
you always have to do that when it comes to child safety.


...

The mission of Grace is to help you create a better home. She enjoys sharing ideas of wholesome
lifestyle for your family. Visit her at Cleanngone.co.uk



 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Romance Thesaurus - Part III

Head on over to the writer blog today for a lively discussion on rear ends and what they're good for. If you are not of faint heart, of course.

Patch of Sky: Romance Thesaurus Part III

 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Recipe Monday - Scalloped Potato Ham Bake

I am not even ashamed of this recipe because sometimes I just cannot from-scratch it. When I went looking for a recipe for this, I had two boxes of pre-packaged scalloped potatoes, and pre-cut ham chunks. And all the recipes I found started with "boil the potatoes." No. Not that night. So I give you, 10-minute scalloped potato ham bake from a box. It was a life saver, and I don't care.



1-2 Boxes Scalloped or Au Gratin Potatoes
Leftover ham
Ingredients called for on box (typically milk, water, and butter)
Beans

Instructions

Put potatoes in casserole dish.
Add all ingredients called for on box and sauce that came with box.
Cook some beans (I used fresh, but you could probably use canned.)
Add ham and beans and stir the whole thing up.

2 Boxes yield 9x13 casserole.




 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Moment of the Week - 125: Ultimate Fighting

The kids are insistent on improving their street fighting skills. Daddy is a willing participant. He gets his butt handed to him, though!

video


video




 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Preschool Pointers - 20: How to Win an Argument with a Child

Problem:

Your kid is defiant. She will contest everything you say, and with gusto. She won't do what you ask, she tries to order you around, and you don't even know where this is coming from, since it's not like that ever works.

Solution:

While a lot of the time, I take this seriously enough, tell them that hurtful words can hurt even grown ups, or ask them to tell me nicely because I won't be ordered around, sometimes, I just can't with any of it.

Sometimes, it's better just to make a joke.

How? Well, last night my kid kept telling me to stop (this was after some order I didn't follow, and in attempt to stop me from explaining whatever it was I was explaining.) "Sop!" she said. "Sop, mom!"

"You sop!" I said.

"Sop!" she answered.

"Sop it!" I said with a grin.

"Mo-om, so-oooooop," she replied.

"Soooo-ooooo-ooooop," I said.

And so on until she was giggling, and we could go to bed friends.

I'm all for standing my ground and making a big hairy scene so that the girls know I'm in charge, but sometimes I just want to go to bed friends. There's no need to yell and force dominance all the time. Especially when, really, all of this parenting nonsense is so silly.

Petulant Dulce is not impressed.






 

Friday, January 11, 2013

What Parents Might Be Looking for in a Sitter

Now, I can only speak for myself obviously, but I thought it might be helpful to list out some things I'm doing, that I wouldn't have even known I would do in this search for a sitter.

First off, I got a lot of responses. Man, like 50 responses. That's a lot. Especially for a job that starts next week, that's only eight hours a week, and that requires someone look after my angels (hellions, really, right?) And it's not like I'll be able to pay a fortune. Just decently. So, this isn't like, the million-dollar-forever-job opportunity here. And I'm aware of that, I am. I'm not some corporation deducting points for silly things. I'm just a mom, yo.

That being said, here are some things that will cause me to write to someone else, and not you, based on your profile and response to my job.

- Picture.

Now, I know that a person can be a very responsible human being at points, and let loose at other times. I was that person. I understand. Still, with fifty people available to me, if your profile picture shows you half-naked with a beer pong cup in one hand and a cigarette in the other, I'll probably message someone else. Not fair, not fair at all, since I, myself, have pictures of me online exactly as I just described. And probably from when I was the age of most of my applicants. I get it. I just...well, I don't want to see it. If you aren't prepared enough to understand that these sites should have at least moderately respectful profile pictures, then maybe your decision making isn't the clearest right now. I'm sure you are totally awesome and responsible. But you made the wrong choice for me personally.

- Grammar.

I'm a journalist and an editor, but if you make a mistake here or there, miss a clause comma, end with a preposition, I don't care. However, if you message me using text speak on our first encounter, if you refuse to use capitals or any punctuation, I'll probably go with someone else. Why? Because I can, I guess. These things matter a little bit. I want someone who takes a little bit of effort in their daily lives and communication. They're going to have to be very focused to keep my kids in line, so if they can't take the time to use the shift key, they're probably not a good fit.

- Overly religious tones.

We're not a religious family. I know I live in Gainesville, but if you sign off with "Have a Blessed Day," or "Remember, He's Always Watching," I'm not going to contact you. I want to be the one to teach my kids about God, and I realize that a babysitter can be religious and not spread the Good Word (I'm interviewing someone on Sunday who mentioned several religious things in her letter to me. But the letter was professional, and not preachy. She just happened to have most of her experience in that venue. I asked her if she felt it would be an issue that we are not religious. She said no. I'll give her a try.) The thing is, if you can't keep yourself from spreading your faith onto me in a simple introductory email, perhaps it would be hard for you to not introduce God into my kids' lives. Probably by accident. But for me, that's a deal breaker.


Okay, so here's what is swaying me in certain sitters' directions.

- Disclosing of information pertinent to me.

This isn't an ego thing where I think I'm so special you should pick my want ad apart and respond just so. It's more like, I have these twins. They're scare quote spirited. Do you have experience with twins or multiple children in one household? Have you had to break up fights before? Deal with sibling rivalry? This job may involve some pickup from school. Have you driven kids before? Do you know what a five-point harness is? Is your car reliable? What is your pertinent experience? It's great that you've watched your younger brother since you were 12, and taught music at the local Y for four years, but that just doesn't pertain to me.

- Giving exact, precise contact information in a readily attainable way, or skipping the site formality and emailing me directly with the information I've provided.

I'm really busy. I know that doesn't make me special and you're busy, too, but I'm going to more readily contact someone who's up in my face (respectfully, of course), than someone who left a message like this:

"Hi! I'm Terry! I'm a great fit! Message me back!"

I don't have time to go back and forth with you a million times. I set the ad up on Tuesday, and scheduled all my interviews on Wednesday. I need someone by next week. If I only have to call you or email you once directly, you win. I can't bother with the other way right now, I just don't have that kind of time.


Once you get here, there are a few other things I'll take into consideration:

- How you're dressed.

Now, like I said before, I'm not a corporation and this is not a cushy job. I don't expect the babysitters to show up in a suit, or heels or anything. Jeans are fine. But don't come to me obviously off a three-day bender. After you've been working for me for a while, if you want to show up in your pajama pants, I've got no problem with that. But not in the interview, please.

- How you interact with the kids.

This is obviously the most important thing. I want to meet with you in my home so that you get a lay of the land, and my kids get used to you in their space. I want to see how you meet with such tests as "What is your favorite color?" and "Who gets to go first this time?" And trust me, these are tests of the most strenuous variety. Traps everywhere. My kids freaked out no less than five times yesterday during a sitter interview. How you handle that is important to me. If you sit back and observe me handling it a few times, I'm okay with that. I like it. If you think you've got it, well, go for it. I've got your back. But you cannot lose it with them. And it will be hard. They get very loud and talk over each other and present their arguments like the Micro-Machine Man in a court of law. Good luck and Godspeed. These are important things because my kids will throw traps at you constantly. Can you avoid them? And better yet, when you step into one, can you disentangle.

- How well you like the kids.

I can tell. If you don't like my kids, but you still want the job because money and pretty easy and etc., I understand. I won't hire you, but I totally get it. I know if you like my kids or not. Just saying. And they're not for everyone, I understand. Hopefully another family will be a better fit.



 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Finding a Babysitter Isn't As Easy As It Sounds

This found its way to my Facebook feed yesterday, and while the original list is gone, the article goes into enough detail to give you the point.

The gist is, a couple put out an ad for a babysitter, and in the ad, they put 65 questions the applicants should answer.

There are lots of problems with this. First of all, if you are so incredibly picky about who is going to watch over your precious, why are you posting on Craigslist? Drop the $70 and go to Care.com or Sittercity, seriously.

Secondly, I think they just got on a roll and forgot to stop themselves. Now, they're looking for a nanny, which I assume means the person is going to be with their children for much of the day. I'm currently looking for a babysitter for eight hours a week. So it's different, yes. But I would never dream of asking some of these questions. I mean, sometimes you just have to ascertain information from what you've got instead of alienating the whole world.

For instance, after you've asked what drugs the person is on, you do not need to ask their complete drug history for the past twenty years, or give them a hypothetical drug question.

"Do you reward the honest meth head, one year sober, who, in the spirit of full disclosure, did pop a tab of ecstasy in celebration of the great new kids (your kids) he can't wait to learn and laugh with?

Or do you go with the folks who at least had enough sense to lie on your very-easy-to-lie-on Internet survey?"

Now, many are laughing at this, particularly after the couple listed every drug (prescription and street) known to man and asked prospective sitters about them.

But, as heinous as the questions about this come off, what I see is a couple who had a bad experience with drugs either in their own past, or they hired someone they thought was drug-free to watch their kids previously, and the person was not, and now, they're obviously super worried about it.

I don't want someone on drugs watching my kids either.

The hand-washing question is worded entirely wrong. Seriously, what were these people thinking? Here it is, as mocked in the article (for good reason.)


 Choose the following instances when you would wash your hands with soap and water, or clean your hands with a hand sanitizer (No, we're not expecting you to choose them all. Just answer truthfully):
- Before eating
- After eating- Before bedtime- Upon waking- After touching a public door- After going to the bathroom- Before feeding children- After playtime in the park- Before changing diapers- After changing diapers- After cleaning the house- When hands are visually dirty



"How should you answer this?, the article asks. "They say they don't expect you to choose all of them, but don't those all sound like pretty good situations in which to wash your hands, now that they mention it? Is it possible the "don't choose all" warning is a trick to weed out the Unclean? Or will selecting all of those instances make you look like an OCD hand washing enthusiast who will scrub the tender palms of their children until they're raw and red? Maybe the answer is "none of the above" — to boost the kids' immune systems?"

Okay, so my kids have pretty weak immune systems, and I really do hate when they get sick, especially when it could have been prevented. But this looks like something the couple should have told the sitter during a sit-down. Something like, "This is our expectation for hand-washing, because little Johnny is ____ and ____ and precious."

Because it doesn't matter how the sitter feels about hand-washing, or even how often he or she washes his or her hands in her own home. So long as they know your expectations, they should be able to follow the guidelines.

And the GPA and the hygiene. Is high school GPA important for babysitting? No, but it does show your ambition and ability to follow through and reason. Maybe. I wouldn't ask it.

Hygiene? Eh, I think they go so far as to ask how often the sitter bathes. They have no people skills, I swear.

Still, you don't want your sitter showing up smelling like a drunken hobo, either. Where's the line?

A dear friend of mine took issue with the question asking a doctor to sign off on the sitter's general health to ensure he or she was in good health and able to perform "the rigorous job of caring for two children."

My friend thought it was fat-phobic. And I, as well, feel like it's extreme. I wouldn't want to sit for these parents, I mean, they don't even know how to talk to people.

Still, the issue at hand is, "Can you get on the floor and play with my kids at their level?"

I once had an older woman come and meet my children for possible babysitting and she later wrote me saying that she wouldn't be able to play games with the kids because moving around like that hurt her too much. I completely understood and we parted ways amicably. I needed something she couldn't provide. No harm in sussing that out beforehand right?

But a doctor's note? The parents have obvious trust issues.

Still, shouldn't you have trust issues when you're giving your kids to another person whom you do not know to care for?



The main point here is that you're going to be nervous about leaving your kids with someone you don't really know all that well. But you can't suss out whether or not someone is a good fit for your family by posting a million questions in a Craigslist ad. That is the absolute wrong way to do things.

If you want to find a nice, trustworthy, dependable babysitter who is a good match for your family, first, advertise in a reputable place. Then have them over. More than once. Give them an interview, then as many times as a "mother's helper" as you feel you both need. Only through getting to know someone the traditional way will you (especially if you're as high strung as this couple apparently is) feel comfortable leaving your children in his or her care.

It's up to you to make the right choices for your kids. You can start by going about it the right way.


 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Guest Post - Kid's Got Style: Key to a Cool Toddler Room

Today I am lucky enough to have a guest post for those who are able to strive for more than just the oh-my-God-I-cleaned-the-room look.

....


Whether you are cruising Pinterest for trendy ideas or walking through the stores to see what's hip in the way of toddler bedrooms, there are plenty of design ideas to help make your kid's bedroom "cool".
Do you have a son who loves the outdoors and wants a treehouse bedroom? Or a little girl who can't get enough gummy bears? Make their quirky interests into a modern bedroom theme. These simple tips will help you create a beautiful room your child will be proud to call their own.

Color Palette

Keep the colors of the room consistent with the theme. For instance, a dinosaur room might have a green, blue and white color palette. So, paint the top half of the room white, the bottom half blue and add a thick green stripe just below the ceiling. Incorporate blue and green wall accessories and maybe throw an orange chair with footstool. Get creative and let your child assist in the design of the room.

Window Treatments

While you don't want to compromise on style, choose window covers that promote healthy sleep habits. Roman shades offer a stylish look with many different color options, while still providing the darkness that makes it easier for your child to get a good night's rest. Blinds or thick curtains are also a helpful elements for a successful nap and will work well with any room design.

Photographs

Incorporate unique pictures into your theme. For example, if you are designing a "construction" room for a young boy, take some pictures of him dressed up in a work zone vest and safety goggles with a toy hammer in hand. If you are creating a princess palace for a girl, take fun photos of her casting magical spells with a glittery wand in a tiara and a tutu. These type of pictures add a personal touch to the room design without taking away from the theme, and are a design element that both you and your toddler will love for many years to come.

Homemade Art

According to Real Simple, the best way to display art is to hang a single wire from wall to wall. This way you can easily add, subtract and substitute artwork as the years go on. Have your son or daughter draw or color something that works with the theme, but give them the freedom to be creative as well. If a marine bedroom, ask them to draw their favorite sea creature. You may end up with a mermaid or daddy swimming in the ocean and that's OK. Encourage originality. This allows your child to have a stake in their own room, and feel proud of their work.

Organize

The more organized your child's room is, the more organized they will be in the rest of life. A clean, uncluttered bedroom allows a child to truly utilize the space they are given, and gives them a stress-free place of their own. Keep toys in a toy box and books on a bookshelf. You can incorporate storage into your theme as well. If your kid's room is a garden, create a bookshelf tree that stores books but looks like a tree. Allow your toddler to leave one or two favorite stuffed animals on the bed. The more clean and organized your kid's room is, the happier they will be and the more you will enjoy the environment you have designed.
When your toddler assists you in redesigning their room, you will create lasting memories of working together that will be cherished for a lifetime. These tips will ensure you end up with a room that you enjoy walking into each day, and that your child enjoys growing up in. Help them be the cool kid on the block. Which, in turn, makes you the cool mom (or dad) in the neighborhood. Success.

...


Justin Greig A self-proclaimed "21st century hippie," Justin studied Journalism at Berkeley and freelances for many environmental publications. He has a special interest in conservation, and he and his wife recently added solar panels to their home.






 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Going Back, Way Back

Yesterday was my first day of graduate school. I raced from the preschool drop off to the school's parking garage. From door to door, it only took me a half hour.

I sat outside for a bit, waiting for the course to begin. I was nervous as anything. Everyone was pretty young. Does no one go back to school for their degree any more?

I'd brought my laptop just in case. Who knows how people take notes these days. Just the other day, a teacher friend of mine posted a picture of kids taking pictures of the white screen. Wow, really?

I just want to lay this out.

The last time I went to school:

- Internet Explorer was the cool browser. (Way better than Netscape, seriously.)

- Napster was a thing.

- Facebook didn't exist.

- We saved our papers on floppy discs. (I had never seen a thumb drive.)

- Comic Sans was acceptable.

- We used printers at the library.

- Assignments were due at the next class...because physically carrying a paper to a professor was the only way to hand it in.

- We used 35mm cameras.

- I had one teacher with a Palm Pilot. And she was so proud of it, she mentioned her Palm Pilot four to five times a class.

- Having Toad the Wet Sprocket play automatically as your crappy webpage you made with the first edition of Dreamweaver or Pagemaker ever was the height of sophistication.

- We had to pay for delivery of the New York Times to our dorm rooms for journalism classes.

- We had to buy our books at the campus bookstore. Other options didn't exist or were very difficult.

- Ebooks didn't exist.

- Libraries used physical card catalogs.

- Lexus Nexus was the best thing ever.

- Learning to use microfiche was very important.

- Color coding sections of text in your word document (or Word Perfect, remember that?) was as complicated as note organization programs got.

- TI-82 calculators. That is all.

- Professors used laminates, white boards and chalk boards.

- A Power Point presentation was impressive. (At least two rungs above using poster board.)

- Mechanical pencils were cool.

- Slides. Grainy, awful photos, blown up too much, one after another after another. Click.


I mean, nowadays, did people even use notebooks and pens anymore? Would everyone whip out their tablet and go to town?

Any advice on this new fangled going-to-school thing is welcome.

Just don't tell me to get rid of my Trapper Keeper. You will have to pry the hot pink snow leopards on the moon from my cold, dead hands.






 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Recipe Monday - Chocolate Cake and Strawberry Frosting

Have you heard enough about my magnificent from-scratch chocolate cake and strawberry cream cheese frosting? Of course not! You need the recipes! Look, it's so awesome it glows...like an angel.



Okay, cake first: (and they weren't kidding when they called it rich. It is amazing, but if you only like angel food type cakes, it is not for you.)


1 cup cocoa powder 
2 cups boiling water
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2-1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour three 9-inch cake pans.
2. In a medium bowl, stir the boiling water into the cocoa until smooth, and set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, and set aside.
4. At medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar  for 4 to 5 minutes.
5. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
6. Turn mixer down to low speed. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture alternately with the cocoa mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
7. Stir in the vanilla, and do not over-beat.
8. Pour an equal amount of batter into each of the three prepared pans.
9. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. (I used only two layers and had to bake for 45 minutes at least)
10 Cool in pans set on racks for 10 minutes. Invert pans on racks, remove pans, and allow layers to cool completely before frosting. (LIES! let them cool for way more than 10 minutes.)





Great. Ready for the frosting? Now my husband first called this 'interesting,' crushing my spirit and soul, but he's since changed his opinion to 'greatest thing ever to go in a mouth.' Seriously.




Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, from the refrigerator
  • 2-1/2 to 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 large strawberries, pureed
  • 2-3 tsp. strawberry jam
  • pinch of salt, optional
Instructions
  1. Cream butter and cream cheese for about 2 minutes.
  2. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time. Add in jam and slowly add pureed strawberry until you get the desired consistency.
  3. Chill before frosting



 

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