Thursday, February 17, 2011

Work

We have so much IKEA furniture that I am starting to feel like I built (well, you know, assembled) everything in this house with my own two hands.  Evidently someone has been watching and learning.  Good girl.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Cookie Pizza/Fruit Pizza

Here is the recipe for cookie pizza.  If you do it for Family Home Evening refreshments, you can pair it with a lesson on truths vs. opinions (our kids need some form of this lesson fairly frequently)---the point being, that some things have one best answer, and some things are just a matter of opinion.  I've held up pictures of various colors or animals or toys and asked, "Which one is best?"---then asked the same with pictures of people dropping babies or hugging babies; sitting at the table or on top of the table; hitting each other or taking turns, etc.  (Yes, hand-drawn pictures.  You'll just have to imagine how good they are.) 

Then when you make the cookie pizza you can emphasize that when we make the dough, we have to follow the recipe or it won't turn out right.  But when we decorate our pieces, we can do it the way WE like them best, because "the best way" is a matter of opinion and varies from person to person.  (I must use that phrase a lot.  You should hear Malachi yelling at Sebby, "It's just a matter of PINION, Sebby!" when Sebby tells him his block tower doesn't look good.)

Or, you know, you could just make it because it's fun, and forget about trying to teach meaningful life lessons.

In MY opinion, though?  This is good as cookie pizza, but becomes elevated to its highest form as FRUIT pizza---which variation you will find at the bottom of the recipe.

Cookie Pizza
Crust:
1/2 c. butter or margarine, softened
1/2 c. shortening
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
2 1/4 c. flour (12.5 oz)
1/2 tsp. cream or tartar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Cream butter, shortening, and sugar.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Combine dry ingredients and add.  Pat out the dough onto a round pizza pan or any cookie sheet.  Press chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, M&Ms, cinnamon, coconut, raisins, etc., into the top of the dough.  Bake at 350 until slightly puffed and just barely brown (10-12 minutes, depending on size of pan).  It will flatten as it cools.
 
The recipe makes enough to fill a pan this size plus a little more---we used the rest of the dough in an 8-inch cake pan.
Fruit Pizza:
Mix and bake crust as directed above, but with no toppings.  Let cool completely.  Then top with frosting (below) and fresh fruit.

Frosting:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 t. vanilla
Milk, to make it a spreadable consistency (maybe 1-2 Tbsp?)

Beat frosting ingredients together and spread over cooled crust.  My favorite fruits to use are strawberries, kiwis, blueberries, raspberries, and peaches.  Bananas don't have as much contrast with the frosting (too bland/sweet?) but are still pretty good.  I also keep meaning to try mandarin oranges, pineapple slices, and tiny apple slices.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Allocation of Household Duties: SAM (part II)

It's time for another edition of Sam's Household Duties.

  • Making juice
  • Remembering room measurements
  • Translating cake ideas into actual cakes
  • Pointing out Inefficiencies in Everyday Life
  • Changing the size of the computer desktop (but not changing it back)
  • Being every baby's favorite
  • Being in the edges of pictures
  • Intercepting and interpreting meaningful glances during conversations with in-laws
  • Defending the accused and then elaborately and convincingly backtracking when informed that I'm not interested in their possible mitigating circumstances and merely want to be told that I was totally in the right and very unjustly used
  • Creative Interpretation of dreams
  • Comprehending and then standardizing strange proportions and multi-angle perspective in my "drawings," into viable design plans
  • Making alarming faces through the windows while waiting for the car's gas tank to fill
  • Managing Netflix queue
  • Chasing people up the stairs
  • Explaining trendy internet phenomena, though not participating in them 
  • Assuring me that what I said in the preceding social setting wasn't really that stupid
  • Replying "But I love it!" when I comment on the nerdiness of my laugh
  • Apologizing for forgetting to start the dishwasher when I forget to start the dishwasher
  • Saying "We really need to ______ [get the oil changed, go in to the doctor for a Physical, set up a Roth IRA]" in a tone of Great Earnestness and Significance and then crossing the item off his mental to-do list for another four months with as much satisfaction as if he'd actually done it
  • Breaking into song when appropriate
  • Being Outraged when appropriate
  • Cutting very thin apple slices
  • Causing me to collapse with laughter by picking names out during movie credits and Saying Them
  • Pointing out inconsistencies in various prevailing public attitudes
  • Understanding what I really mean, even when I don't quite say it right
  • Reducing things to their graphable essentials (and then graphing them)

And while we're on the subject of Sam . . . I'm so lucky, to have that rare gift: someone capable of both understanding and elevating who I really am, someone who I am both endlessly comfortable with and endlessly fascinated by.  Whenever I begin to feel overcome by insecurity and confusion, I have someone that pulls me back and lets me---helps me---be who I want to be, and feel like things are clear again.  Let me quote Matthew Arnold

But hardly have we, for one little hour,
Been on our own line, have we been ourselves—
Hardly had skill to utter one of all
The nameless feelings that course through our breast,
But they course on for ever unexpress’d.
And long we try in vain to speak and act
Our hidden self, and what we say and do
Is eloquent, is well—but ’t is not true!

Only—but this is rare—
When a beloved hand is laid in ours . . .
And a lost pulse of feeling stirs again.
The eye sinks inward, and the heart lies plain,
And what we mean, we say, and what we would, we know.
A man becomes aware of his life’s flow,
And hears its winding murmur, and he sees
The meadows where it glides, the sun, the breeze.
And there arrives a lull in the hot race
Wherein he doth forever chase
The flying and elusive shadow, rest.
An air of coolness plays upon his face,
And an unwonted calm pervades his breast.
And then he thinks he knows
The hills where his life rose,
And the sea where it goes.
Happy Birthday, Sam dear.  I'm not really me until I'm with you.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Random Thoughts

I used to think I wanted to be one of those moms that my kids' friends would like.  Nope, turns out I don't care one little bit.  How liberating.

There are few things in this world I want badly enough to "like" them or "follow" them on facebook.

We attended the musical "Peter Pan" at BYU a few weeks ago, and while overall it was fun and enjoyable, you know the part where Tinkerbell is dying and Peter turns to the audience and tells them they have to clap if they believe in fairies?  I hate that part so much I cried actual tears of embarrassment.  No exaggeration.

Of course, seeing as I wept, caught up in a wave of sentimental sappiness during an (ill-advised) viewing of "Starlight Express" in London's West End ("He really IS the starlight!!"), I suppose I am hardly in a position to criticize embarrassing displays of emotion.

Let's talk about donating blood.
A. The "refreshments" they give you afterwards really aren't worth it.  When as a youth I heard they had snacks and cookies, I thought it was REAL cookies, but no.  I bet more people would give blood if they had real cookies.  (Good ones.)  Lucky for all you blood-needers, some of us are altruistic and not doing it for the cookies.
B. The only people I ever hear talking about giving blood are saying, "Oh, I wish I could give blood, but I'm anemic/gluten intolerant/too skinny/prone to fainting/other non-embarrassing health issue that showcases how fragile and delicate I am."  Or they talk smugly about how long and harrowing the process was, due to their wispy and willowy veins.  ("It took me 40 minutes to fill one bag!").  Come on, people!  Where are my fellow specimans of sturdiness?  Who are the evolutionary winners here?  As for me, the workers always tell me what "great veins" I have, and I've never so much as let out a dainty gasp when the needle goes in.  Anemia?  Ha!  Let's show pride where it's actually due, shall we?

If I hear Ohmygosh Social Media 2.0 Twitter Networking Empowerment for Women Wave of the Future!!! one more time I will probably leave civilization and become a hermit.  And become much sought-after for my prickly wisdom, no doubt.