Saturday, July 31, 2010

Things I Just Had to Share

I found this online on a really sweet design blog.  I hope you like it as much as I did. ; )







And, since I'm in a sharing mood, here's part of my bee documentary.  Yes, that's right.  I really and truly did do a documentary on the honeybee.  And well... all I can say is that I tried.  Here's part one for you:





A fun, weird one from Vimeo:


ANTS in my scanner > a five years time-lapse! from fran├žois vautier on Vimeo.

The Glory of Beautiful Blondies

Omgoodness! Okay, so guilty admission here: I actually started these to give to a friend, eep. Now... well... now they are deliciously in my family’s respective tummies.

Look, here is how they started:















Yeah, and now they look like this:















Sorry Amy : (

Anyway, such beautiful delicious caramelly, white chocolate, toffee goodness absolutely *must* be shared with the world. That’s my plan and I’m sticking to it, lol.

Want to eat them, oh yes you do. –Even if you don’t like blondies, you will be totally deliciousfied. Yes, I just created a new word for the caramelly goodness. Deal with it. ; )

These actually started in an effort to try to recreate the Starbucks toffee bars of old. Sadly, there are no recipes to be found for this by-gone goodness. So, I’ve made a new one. And no, they are *not* a recreation, I’ll keep working on that, but these are definitely some pretty flipping amazing blondies if I do say so myself. Here’s your recipe and ticket to scrumptiousness.

Blondies:

• 3/4 cup unsalted butter (1-1/2 sticks), plus more for the preparing the pan

• 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar

• 2 large eggs, beaten

• 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

• 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for preparing the pan

• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

• 1/4 teaspoon fine salt

• About 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, 1/2 cup white chocolate chips (I used Godiva, it was on sale), 1/2 cup toffee chips

• 1 bag of individually-wrapped caramels

• 1 can of evaporated milk (you’ll only use about a 1/2 cup though)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour 9 x 13-inch baking pan.

In a small sauce pan melt the butter. Put the light brown sugar in a large bowl, add the butter, and stir to combine. Cool to room temperature. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture into the wet ingredients, mixing just until a smooth batter is formed. Stir all of your yummy delicious chips and pieces into the batter.

Over medium heat, melt the caramels (I used about 20) with the half-cup of evaporated milk. Stir until melted into gooey goodness.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Then dump all that gooey caramel on top. That’s right, you heard me. Don’t ask questions, just do it. Trust me. You’ll like it. ; ) Swirl around the yummy-ness and then bake until lightly browned and toothpick inserted in the center come out clean, about 20 minutes.

Cool the blondies in the pan slightly before inverting them onto a cooling rack. Cool completely. Cut into 8 squares and serve.

That’s it folks. Enjoy. Hopefully there will be much more goodness where this came from now that finals are done. That’s right hooray!!!! I’m celebrating all over the place. I get to go play like all the big kids now. :-D

Monday, July 19, 2010

Thinking about … well… everything

I began this blog to talk about Carrick; the good and the bad. I still feel like that's important, but now I'm wondering if this is, indeed, the right medium to do it in. I can't help but thinking that so many people I know would heave a collective sigh of relief if I just… stopped. I started this to help others. Instead, I think I've found myself running circles, with no map to where I'm going. I think I'm honestly upsetting people more than I'm helping.

I hate being sad. I hate that it makes my children sad. I hate that almost every time I sigh Ande asks me, "Mommy, what's wrong?" I hate that I feel like nothing I do, I do right, or that even when I do do something right, it's met with resistance, anger, and even loathing. There are people out here, and at home, who shy away from my story. Some people avoid the subject, some avoid Carrick's name, and some avoid me completely. It's ridiculous. I am a person. I am sad, and alone, and in a strange new world, where apparently "friends" won't discuss the fact that my son died. It's old news. So what? I even had one person go so far as to ask me why it mattered. I don't know, maybe it's because my son, and it sucks. Maybe it's because even though it's been four months, and feels more like four years, I still can't say his name sometimes without choking up. Maybe I slightly resent everyone's apathy. I'm moving on. I get it. I'm working on it. I tell people I go to counseling, and they think I'm nutters. Some people think I shouldn't go. Some people quietly suggest (under their breath) that maybe I need more. Gee. Thanks. That's helpful.

But truth be told, I'm not that sad anymore. I don't walk around weepy. I don't tear-up at every little thing. I don't tear-up at all. I'm straight-faced McGee, okay. Some people tell me that I need to have more kids. Some people tell me how great it is that I'm "waiting." Gosh. Glad to know that this is public discussion but my son isn't. (Has anyone ever noticed that from the moment a woman gets pregnant, until she's through menopause, her uterus is public domain?) Weird. Anywho….

Yes, I still get sad, but apparently, that's healthy. (So they tell me.) No, I don't do it in public settings –unless it's completely unavoidable, and then it's so sudden and unexpected that there's nothing I can do about it anyway. I ran out of Sacrament meeting during a baby blessing. Woohoo. I didn't ask anyone to run after me, did I? No. And guess what, I bet most of you never would have noticed anyway.

There is so much more to me than my grief. There is so much more to me than the role that I play in my family. I'm in school. I love art. I love children. I love doing art with children at school. There might be a fox in a box somewhere in there too, but that's just ridiculous.

My point being, I didn't start this blog with the intention of it only *ever* being about Carrick. Carrick was, and still is, a part of my life. He is a part of our family, and always will be. He is also not all-encompassing in my life. Yes, I think about him every day. Usually quiet, happy little thoughts. Sometimes thoughts of Carrick barely even register. I know I have them, I know I think of him, but they skim over things. Thoughts of Carrick are ephemeral, not insubstantial. I really truly want to put together tons of crafting tutorials. I want to talk about all of the fun things in life. I wanted to write reviews about the places we visited in Hawaii. I want to write about the sun filtering through the upper branches of the pine trees in our back yard and illuminating our glassy bird feeder. I want to talk about the nasty, slimy, fat slugs that the Elders found in our garage yesterday while they were helping us mitigate the mold damage that's eaten away the better part of our belongings.

But I have a problem in that I don't want to write about everything. My daughter is having real, honest problems right now. My marriage is holding on by some bare threads and some super-glue. Our housing situation is an absolute disaster. Our house is completely infested with mold, and we can't afford to move. We're trying desperately to figure a way out, but we have lost all hope that we'll get our deposits back. Our landlord was supposed to remediate both the mold problem and the leaky roof, but that's apparently never going to happen. I found grey patches of mold the other day all over Kyle's crib when I went to wash his bumper pad, and now I'll have to throw it away. –There's no way that I could ever put a baby, even a stranger's baby, in a mold-covered crib. Not after what we went through. The bassinettes in the garage were the same: more mold. –And Kyle's new car seat. Ande and Kyle came down with croup over the weekend. We (mostly John) had seemingly endless hours of sitting and watching her breathe, listening for any wheeze or cough, feeling her chest for the reassurance of movement when we couldn't hear her any more. Ande's been running a non-stop runny nose since we moved in. I'm certain it's the mold. And now I'm trying to figure out how on earth we're going to replace every porous article in our possession so that I don't kill another baby. What do you do in a situation like that? We can't move, but we have to. We can't afford to move, and now I have to try and figure out how to replace almost all our belongings.