Thursday, April 22, 2010

Bubble Baths Are Way More Glamourous On TV

I haven't taken a bath in a looooong time. By that, I mean I haven't soaked in a tub, not that I haven't washed myself. I typically keep on top of the personal hygiene stuff.

I decided to take a bubble bath. I take a pretty serious Pilates class and I am sore in places I didn't know could be sore, so I figured a soak in a hot tub would just about do the trick. I figured I could take the opportunity to exfoliate, have a glass of wine, listen to some soft music. Ahhhhhhh!

Be forewarned! It all sounds a heck of a lot better than it actually is. When I think "bubble bath", I think of Eva Longoria on Desperate Housewives sinking into a deep clawfoot tub in a big beautiful bathroom.

Before I could embark on this journey of relaxation, I had to wash my dirty little munchkins. I gave them both quick showers and got them in their jammies. I put on a Curious George DVD, got them a snack and some chocolate milk and told them mommy would be in the bath.

Next I had to rinse the grime they left behind in the tub. Then I had to fill the darn thing, which took like 20 minutes. On TV, doesn't it seem like they turn on the water, walk inside, get undressed pour the wine and come back to a steaming hot bathtub filled with impossibly foamy bubbles?

I moved the big net full of bath toys that resides where I'd need to lie my head, got my exfoliant, a towel and my bath wrap. You know those pretty silky robes they have on TV? Mine is terry cloth and has a monkey on it.

I went to pour myself a glass of wine. I really wanted to pour it in a beautiful wine glass but let's be serious! I am nothing if not a klutz and a piece of glass stemware, a porcelain tub and/or a tile floor, simply do not mix. I poured my Gewurztraminer into a plastic cup from Red Robin.

I put some music on my iPod, climbed over the net of toys on the floor and sunk into the tub. "Sunk in" may be a bit of an exaggeration. I sat in an inadequate amount of water, with a scant amount of bubbles that didn't come anywhere close to covering me. I felt like a GIANT sitting in a puddle. There's nothing less glamourous than staring at your own naked, partially bubble covered body. Eva Longoria, I am not. And I bet she doesn't like to stare at herself either. Most women don't.

I didn't relax very much. I lay there, exposed, not knowing whether a munchkin could come barging in at any moment. If this were TV or the movies, my handsome husband or, better yet, the strapping young gardener (D.H. reference, again) would come in and help me "scrub my back". Instead, I made the best of my little splash pool, exfoliated, drank my wine and got the hell out of there!

This is just another example of Hollywood setting unrealistic ideals for us. We don't all look perfect as we slip out of silk robes. Our tubs aren't 3 feet deep. Our wine glasses are breakable. Our bubbles aren't plentiful. Our privacy is minimal. Our romantic lives are normal and that's okay.

My bath was okay too. Hey, I'm clean, my skin is soft and I've had a glass of wine. It's all good.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Few Pounds of Prevention

I know what you are thinking.
You are thinking, "Isn't it 'An ounce of prevention...'?"


Not in my case.

I've just finished packing mine and my kids bags for vacation, which is 3 weeks away!

I know that I am completely nuts but I've never been one for the last minute running around.  I don't want to find out the day before we leave that two of the tops I wanted to pack are in the laundry or that I'd forgotten that I threw out my kids bathing suits last year because they outgrew them.  Last minute surprises = unnecessary stress and who needs it?  Traveling is stressful enough without realizing you forgot to pack underwear.

(Which reminds me, I've packed all my underwear so the next three weeks should be interesting.  Ha!  Just kidding.  I have enough underwear to go without doing laundry for a month and a half!)

As it stands right now,  all of my kid's stuff is packed except their loveys because they sleep with them every night. All my stuff is packed except my hair products and makeup which I will undoubtedly be using up until the very minute we leave.

What angst did I save myself by this early endeavor?

  • I spent 45 minutes fiddling with a dollar-store-made-in-China-battery-operated-piece-of-crap fan that my son wanted to take on vacation because once the batteries were put in, it was in a perpetual state of being ON.  It required a screwdriver and more patience than could muster before it finally completely fell apart and is now in the trash.  But at least I didn't have to do that in a rental condo without a screw driver when I'm supposed to be chillaxin with a drink.

    I also know that I either need to get him another one or remember to "forget" to pack my daughter's so neither of them have one.

  • I know I need to go buy blades for my razor.

  • I remembered to read the regulations and learn that I can no longer bring aerosol hair spray unless it's under 3 oz (which they don't make).  How does this help me?  I either have to go buy the pump kind or buy it when I land.  Either option is going to make me lose sleep until I have said hairspray in my possession.

  • Researching the hairspray thing lead me to think about hair and realize that I'd better not wear the clip-in extensions I often wear in my hair.  They clip in with tiny little metal fasteners.  Just enough metal to likely set of the metal detector in the airport.  How embarrassing would it be to have to take out my HAIR as I go through security?!?!?

  • I have plenty of time to locate my kid's sunscreen (which is a hard to find brand).  It's likely in a bag of beach toys in the back of a car or in the garage.  But if I can't find it, I have time to hunt down and buy a new bottle.

Call me crazy (oh wait, I already did that) but I don't see the down-side to packing early.  So, I have 8 outfits out of the rotation.  Big deal.  I have plenty more where that came from and, besides,  I don't think I'll be wearing shorts and tanks in the Northeast before I go away.

I am free to focus my looney pre-vacation energies on more important things like obsessing about dropping another 5-8 pounds, planning every last detail of our trip and nagging my husband to start packing his stuff. :)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

(A RECIPE!!!) Leftover Easter Crap Crispy Treats

For those of you who follow this blog, you know this is not a food blog. For those of you who know me personally, you know that I am a foodie and a confectioner and am constantly baking something or other.

Well, today my two worlds collide as I created a recipe that is the perfect follow-up to my last post entitled The Easter Aftermath!

I love a good peep as much as the next gal... especially a stale one but there are only so many peeps one can consume, or allow her children to consume, in good conscience. We got a ridiculous amount of peeps this Easter.

So, what is a peep? A sugar covered marshmallow. And what are the two best uses for marshmallows? S'mores and Krispie treats. For a S'more you are only sacrificing one peep per S'more. I wanted to do away with a lot of peeps so I went the Krispie route.

I know that I'm not the first person to make this particular leap (peeps in Krispie treats) but I know I'm the first person to make them this particular way. I'm pretty single-minded and when I get an idea in my head it's pretty hard for me to put it off. Case and point - I'm posting to my blog immediately after my cooking experiment because I got an idea for a post and couldn't wait.

Therefore, because I needed to implement my Peep-Krispie idea immediately if not sooner, and I don't actually ever have Rice Krispies in the house, I had to improvise. Hmmm... let's see. Uncooked Pasta? No. Ritz Crackers? No. Left-over Crumbfulls? No. Ah-ha! Annie's Cocoa and Vanilla Bunnies Cereal!

Now, if you are like me, you don't have 6 cups of cereal in the house... or at least not 6 cups of any one kind of cereal because half the box has been eaten. Or you might not have as many peeps left as I did. I worked out the ratio and this should help you make treats out of whatever cereal or peep remnants you have in your house. The ratio is 7 peeps and 1/2 tablespoon of margarine to every 1 cup of cereal. Scale accordingly.

In my case, I had two cups of cereal. Into the pot went one tablespoon of margarine. I must say that me and the kids got a perverse thrill out of tossing those cute little chickies into the hot pot and watching them melt. Okay, maybe I did. My daughter told me to quit it with the evil laugh.

(Please excuse the quality of my pictures. I had one glass of wine too many to care about going to get my other camera. Sue me! It's Saturday!)

The combination of Yellow and Pink peeps made a really cool neon orange color. Once the peeps are all melted, stir in the cereal of your choice. A fruity cereal, a cocoa cereal. Really anything would work. Or, maybe not. I'm not sure I'd try it with Wheatabix or Grape Nuts unless you like that sort of thing. Any puffed cereal should do the trick. As I stirred my Annie's Homegrown Organic and Natural cereal into the marshmallow mush and added in Easter M&Ms and Reese's Pieces, I realized that Annie herself would be CRINGING at the bastardization of her natural product. Oh well. It's a "TREAT", not breakfast.

If you have ever made the official Krispie treats, you know the drill. Melt margarine, melt marshmallows, stir in cereal, stir in add-ins and press into a coated pan. Cut when cool.

That's it. Ours came out as tasty as they are good-lookin'--- Not that you can tell from my crappy picture but you'll have to take my word for it!

Left-Over Easter Crap Crispy Treats

1 tbsp of margarine or butter 
2 cups of cereal of choice
14 marshmallow peeps
M&Ms or Reese's Pieces or Chocolate Chips or Jelly Beans (optional)

Spray or grease a pan appropriate for the quantity of treats you are making (9x9 should work for the above - muffin tins would work too and then you don't have to cut.)  Melt Margarine or Butter.  Add in Peeps (cackle maniacally as they melt.)  When Peeps have fully melted, remove from heat and stir in cereal until fully incorporated.  Working quickly, stir in add-ins.  Scrape into prepared pan and press evenly.   Once cool, cut into squares.


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Easter Aftermath

It seems like such an innocuous holiday.   A simple diversion to keep the kids busy between Christmas and the fourth of July.  The meaning seems a bit muddled but I think it has something to do with Jesus rising from the dead and hiding eggs.  Not really sure how the eggs figure in to the whole Easter thing.  Are the eggs supposed to symbolize the risen Lord and how the disciples "hunted" for him after finding the empty grave, which, I guess would be symbolized by the empty egg basket?  If so, where does dyeing them bright colors come in.  Is "DYEING" really a euphemism for "DYING"?

Whether your celebration trends toward the religious or the secular, it seems to have grown into something nearly unmanageable.    When I was a kid, Easter consisted of a day and a half of festivities.  Coloring eggs on Saturday, finding them on Sunday and eating copious amounts of candy.  In between, we went to church and ate some ham.

These days the festivities start up almost right after Valentine's Day with the Easter Bunny arrival at the local mall.  In someplace, it's the Easter Bunny and his / her body guards.  Before this Easter rolled around, my kids had already been to one Easter party together, a party in each of their classes complete with egg coloring and attended the town egg hunt.   Before Easter Sunday, they'd received no less than four baskets of goodies each from various family and friends.   Then we made Jello Jigglers.  Then the actual egg coloring.  Then the real Easter Bunny came and hid eggs and baskets.  Plus my dad made an egg hunt for them.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not complaining.  I don't think my kids are spoiled.  They are very appreciative and thankful for everything they get and I'm so happy they have so many people who love them and think of them at the holidays.

For me, the issue is the after-math.   My house has more baskets in it than a basket weaver's convention.  (Not the best analogy but I couldn't really think of something that has a lot of baskets.)  There are countless coloring books, boxes of sidewalk chalk, wind-up chickies, hair pretties and assorted other little toys. I have enough Jello Jigglers for a small army.  And CANDY, CANDY, CANDY.  Oh, I forgot to mention the dozen and a half brightly colored eggs that nobody will eat but me.  Hard boiled eggs for breakfast, egg salad for lunch, cobb salad for dinner.  Repeat.

But it's all good, right?  The kids are happy.  They have lots of little diversions.  I could do without the Jelly Bellies I keep sneaking but I'm sure I'll get sick of them, eventually.  And even though my house looks like the site of a dollar store explosion, I'm sure I'll have us dug out of the mountain of easter grass and plastic eggs before Memorial Day.

Enjoy your Easter after-math, everyone!