Friday, February 24, 2012

New Recipe: Brownie Covered Oreos

I actually made this over the weekend but I just haven't had time to write up a post about it. By "haven't had time" I actually mean that I'm refusing to sit at my desk during lunch and when I have time at home I'd rather relax and read or catch up on stuff in my DVR than write about brownies. Sorry :)

I got this recipe from Jenny at Picky Palate who has TONS of great recipes on her blog and will have a cookbook coming out soon. The first time I made this recipe I had been in search of something to make to send to day care for the staff on Valentine's day. And I stumbled across this recipe on Jenny's blog. Although she had done it around Christmas time, I managed to find some of the winter Oreos and thought it would be a great Valentine's treat. I ended up making them again over the weekend to bring to my in-laws house when we had dinner over there on Sunday. Mine are not as picture perfect as Jenny's...but they were very tasty!

Brownie Covered Oreos
  • 1 Box brownie mix (or use a favorite homemade recipe)
  • 1 Package of Oreos (I used the "winter" ones)
  • White chocolate, melted for drizzle
  • Sprinkles
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Prepare brownie batter according to package directions (I used the directions for "cake like brownies"). Leave in mixing bowl. Dip Oreos in brownie batter and place in the bottom of cupcake tins that have been generously sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until brownies are cooked through (doesn't take long). As soon as you remove the pan from the oven, take a knife (I used a butter knife) and run it along the brownie edges so they don't stick to the pan.
  2. Let cool for 5 minutes and drizzle with your melted white chocolate. Toss on some sprinkles. And then EAT 'EM!
Makes entire package of Oreos
Recipe Source: Picky Palate

Mix up your batter...

Spray your pan (I used the cooking spray w/ flour for baking)...

Keep tiny hands from thievery!

Or have extra Oreos on hand for a treat :)

Dip your Oreos...

This is what they look like before baking. I didn't think it looked like
enough batter but they turned out great!
Mmmm...almost ready!
This is the white chocolate I used. Two square was the perfect
amount for decorating.

All you need now is a cold glass of milk!

  • Everybody at the day care loved them and they even let the kids in Grant's classroom have one with their snack on Valentine's day.
  • You don't have to decorate them. But if you do, you don't have to use white chocolate. You can use cookie icing or, really, whatever you want.
  • I plan to try this again in the future - perhaps next week for Husband's birthday - using mini peanut butter cups and baking them in a mini muffin pan. I'll try to let you know how those turn out!
  • There is no wrong Oreo to use in this recipe. Can you think of one Oreo flavor they make that would be bad in this recipe? No, me either.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Bubbles & Sidewalk Chalk

Last Saturday I was out running errands and I ended up at my least favorite place in the world. Walmart. As soon as I got in there I couldn't remember what I needed - I blame that on the atmosphere. Instead of leaving (like every molecule in my body was screaming for me to do) I headed back to the toy section...logical, yes? That's where I found a big bubble wand and some sidewalk chalk! Walmart had temporarily redeemed itself. (It was the most random trip to Walmart. Ever.)

So that afternoon I took Grant outside to play. As soon as he saw the bubble wand he said "Bubbles! Bubbles!" which I had no idea he knew how to say (he seems to say something new every day). We had so much fun with the bubbles! Grant was running all over the yard chasing them and trying to pop them.

He got a little upset when I put away the bubbles. But it was getting chilly and I wanted to show him the sidewalk chalk. Ok, so he definitely didn't love it as much as the bubbles - which we heard about for the rest of night (seriously he even whispered "bubbles" while he was eating dinner) - but he did have some fun with it.

He didn't have as much fun with with the chalk as he did with the bubbles. But he impressed me by not trying to eat the chalk. That's kind of a big step considering that if there is a crayon around, Grant will make a snack out of it.

But anyway, we had a great time playing outside together. And Grant was so much fun to watch when he went running after the bubbles. Then would say "All gone" and run back to me to blow more bubbles. Adorable :) So, my trip to Walmart was actually worth it. You win this round, Walmart.

Side Note: When I first heard Grant yell "bubbles!" having no clue that he knew the word, I immediately thought: Tiny genius! Husband asked a teacher at Grant's day care if they play with bubbles and they do so he crushed my tiny genius theory when he came home with that story. But it's ok, he seems to learn a new word (or two or three) every day so I'm keeping those tiny genius dreams alive. Hey, I'm his Mama - I'm supposed to think he's the cutest, smartest, most perfect boy ever!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Year Ago Today

It was a year ago today that my Dad passed away.

I wasn't really sure what kind of post I wanted to do today. I guess I feel like I did my sad, sappy post last year when he died. But I couldn't just not post anything, I feel like I need to acknowledge the day. Over the last year I know I've done a lot of posts about the loss of both my parents. Some sad, some funny. So this one is kind of both.

When my Dad died it was so much different than losing my Mom. I had guilt that wasn't there when my Mom died. And I know that a lot of that had to do with the way we left things the last time I saw him. Because the last time I saw him was when I was home while my mom was on hospice care and then passed away. My Dad was in a very selfish place then and relying heavily on alcohol and pity. I was six months pregnant and had just lost my mother and was in no emotional state to deal with so much. We had fights. Bad fights. One was the day of my Mother's funeral. A day, that I felt, should have been focused on her and not on ourselves. It was her day and every bit of anger I had felt toward my Dad and his selfishness came out. Without getting into much detail, I will say that things did not improve much from there. I'd like to say I'm over it and all is forgiven. I'm working on it. And I'm in a better place.

Another source of my guilt was because of my last conversation with my Dad - of course, not knowing at the time that it would be the last time I talked to him. Let me set it up for you:

It's a Sunday (Superbowl Sunday, actually) and that morning Husband had left to go out of town for a week on a business trip. Grant is 5 1/2 months old and this is only the second time Husband has been out of town for so long since Grant has been born. And even though I know I can handle it and we'll be fine, it's a little stressful. At some point that day I took Grant to the park for a walk. Later on, while I'm feeding Grant a container of baby food, I'm on the phone with my Dad (I think he called me). Here's what I remember of our last conversation:

Dad: Hey, how's it going?
Me: I'm ok. A little stressed, but ok.
Dad: Why? What's going on?
Me: Well, Nate left this morning on a business trip so I'll be single-moming it for a week. I'm just a little nervous about it but I know we'll be ok. Grant's been a little fussy today too but now he's eating so he's happier. What are you doing? (Ok, he was in the hospital awaiting a liver transplant. Not sure why I asked what he was doing - but I did.)
Dad: Oh, just sitting here watching the Superbowl with your Uncle Kevin (my Dad's brother). 
Me: Oh, I'm sorry. Do you need me to let you go? I can call tomorrow.
Dad: No, it's halftime. The...uh...peas are singing. The black-eyed ones. (He said it just like that. I still laugh when I think about it.)
Me: Oh, ok then. Well, how was your day?
Dad: Well...I shit myself.
Dad: *obviously unaware of my shock and disgust* Yup. It's this medicine they have me on. I just can't make it to the bathroom in time.

That's really all I can recall of that conversation. THAT is what we talked about. I'm ok with it now. I can laugh about it. But a year ago all I could think was "I can't believe that was really the last conversation I'll ever have with my Dad". My Uncle, who was in the room the whole time, couldn't believe he was telling me that. But hey, you can't say it wasn't memorable.

Back to the serious stuff. I think the loss of a parent is something you never really get over. No matter how old you are when it happens. It just gets a little easier to deal with every day. Some days I can tell stories about my parents and I get laughing so hard I can't breathe. And some days I'll be sitting at my computer and a picture of my Dad comes up on my screen saver and when I look at it, it feels like someone punched me in the stomach. I miss my parents every day. But I try not to focus on them being gone and what I should feel like they're missing. I'm grateful for what we had and, for the most part, that keeps me positive.

It helps.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sunday at the Science Museum

Superbowl Sunday is a great day to visit museums. It seems to have kept the crowd to a minimum. It was sort of a spontaneous trip. Since it was a yucky day the playground and park where I would have loved to have taken a walk was out of the question. But I really wanted to get out of the house. I needed to run an errand anyway so I thought why not take Grant downtown to the Museum of Natural Sciences. I love some free entertainment on a dreary day.

Grant hasn't been to this museum since he's been old enough to be aware of the stuff there. I figured he'd have fun. I was right. He was A-MAZED. And I think that he liked being able to walk around himself (we had the stroller but only used it to hold coats and the diaper bag) and look at everything. The first thing he did when we walked in was look up at the ceiling where he saw the huge whale bones hanging. He pointed and yelled "OOOOHHH!!" And the aquariums were big attractions for him too.
(Disclaimer: I forgot the camera so these are phone pictures - sorry)

There was a lot of pointing.

Grant liked to wave and say "bye-bye" to the turtles because
it looked like they were waving at him :)

The whale bones Grant loved so much
What's in there, Daddy?

I tried to put Grant down in the tree for a picture but
he freaked out a little. So I posed with him on
a day when I decided to skip make-up. Oh well.

There were also dinosaurs hanging from the ceiling in
one room and he spotted those immediately.
As soon as we got off the elevator on the third floor there was a giant
spinning globe that Grant pointed at and yelled at the top of
his tiny lungs "BALL! BALL!"

Checking out a view of Raleigh.

We didn't stay too long but we had a good time. Grant was so much fun to watch when we pointed things out but it was even more fun when he noticed things himself (because he was much louder). I'm so looking forward to taking him to the zoo - when it gets warmer - and to some of the aquariums around.

All that adventure wore him out!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Wipes Containter Make-Over

Have a toddler? Ever leave them alone with a container of wipes or a box of tissues? For me it was the tissues. And the giggling. And then the "uh oh". In the 3.2 seconds that I had my back turned, Grant had emptied the tissue box and was standing in the living room amid a mess of Kleenex. And since then he's been drawn to the box that is always on one of the end tables - because this child keeps a runny nose.

Thanks, once again, to Pinterest I found a semi-solution. I say "semi" because I doubt this will keep my little guy from ever again tearing apart a tissue box (and I really hope it doesn't encourage it). This came from the blog A Spotted Pony and as soon as I saw it I wanted to make it. I absolutely love crafty things (remember the t-shirt I made for Grant's 1st birthday?). It turns an empty wipes container into something that will occupy your toddler for at least as long as it takes you to dry your hair (I found that out yesterday morning). And isn't drying your hair easier without a 25 pound tiny human clinging to your leg? I think it is.

Here is what you need:

Empty wipes container, fabric pieces, and iron-on letters/numbers (really those are optional)
I bought a "charm pack" of fabric from the Bumbleberries Boutique shop on Etsy (click on "charm packs, turnovers" on the left side of the screen). It has 42 pieces of pre-cut fabric in all sorts of patterns and the edges of the fabric are trimmed so you don't need to hem them before using them in this project. The name of the charm pack I bought is called Lollipop and the patterns, I think, are very boy or girl friendly. This is what it all looks like:
So many fun patterns!
If you want to do the iron-on letters and numbers then do that according to the directions on which ever letters/numbers you buy. I bought a package of letters and numbers together a Michael's craft store. I did one letter (or number) per square of fabric. I ended up with a few left over pieces, but not many.

Then you put them all in the wipes container and let the fun begin. Easy peasy.

I actually finished this late Sunday night. After Grant had gone to bed so I didn't get to give it to him until yesterday morning. Which turned out to be a good thing because he didn't have a good night Sunday and woke up a little pissy. And I had to ready for work. So I sat him down and I showed him that he could reach his hand in and pull out the pieces. And his face LIT UP.

He loved it and it kept him occupied when I needed it to. Here's the best part, though. After I showed him what to do (and took a couple of pictures) I went back over to dry my hair. Grant emptied the container, put all all the pieces back in the container, then carried it over to me and said "tant too!" which is Grant-speak for thank you. It was, quite possibly, the sweetest thing. Ever.

*If you're someone who sews a hell of a lot more than I do and you have fabric scraps lying around your house waiting for a purpose in life then you can obviously use those. Or even old t-shirts you're getting rid of. I just love the convenience of the charm pack I bought. I didn't have to do any cutting or sewing or anything (except iron on the letters and numbers). It's like a craft project for the crafty AND the un-crafty!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Tell Me About Your IV Drug Use

I know I've been talking a lot about the liver issues I've been having for going on two months now. But there really is SO much to talk about. And even though I'm "getting better" they still don't actually know what's wrong with me and it may even be something that I'll have forever. There were three questions that I was asked by every doctor that I saw: Do you smoke (or have you ever)? How often do you drink alcohol? Have you ever used intravenous drugs?
  • I don't smoke and never have.
  • I rarely almost never drink. So little, in fact, that I consider myself someone who doesn't drink.
  • I've never used drugs. IV or otherwise.
Seriously. I just don't it. Any of it. Never wanted to. I'm not trying be a goody-goody.

The first doctor asked the questions. I said no to all of them. And he asked a follow-up question to all of them and then that was it. The second doctor, same thing. Except he lingered a bit on the drug use. "You're sure not ever?" he asked. I'm sure. The end.

Doctor number three - my current doctor at UNC - would. not. drop it. And he phrased it differently too. This exact conversation happened at my appointment on December 20th:

Doctor: Do you smoke?
Me: No.
Doctor: Have you smoked?
Me: Nope.
Doctor: *suspicious look* What about alcohol?
Me: I don't drink.
Doctor: *big sigh* Even once a year?
Me: Well, yeah. I had a glass and a half of champagne on my anniversary last month.
Doctor: And the date of that?
Me: I had the champagne on November 19th. If you're interested, the last time I drank before that was a glass of wine last Christmas Eve.
Doctor: Tell me about your IV drug use.
Me: *stunned silence* Um...well, I...I don't...I haven't...I don't.
Doctor: You're sure?
Me: *WTF?* Yeah. I'm sure. Not ever.
Doctor: Not ever? Even a long time ago. When you were younger.
Me: *Really?!* I'm sure. I've never done drugs. Of any kind. I don't even take NyQuil if I have to go to work the next day. I've never done drugs.
Doctor: Are you sure?
Me: Yeah.
*Doctor stares at me with skepticism all over his unhappy face*

He asked me if I was sure so many times that I actually started to convince myself that I may have done it! I know that, as a doctor - and a liver doctor at that - he gets lied to frequently about people's...uh...bad habits. But he was starting to make me feel like I needed to go to meetings for an addiction I don't even have.

A few weeks ago I had a follow-up visit with him that was pretty much just going to be a question & answer appointment for me. I asked Husband to go in case he had anything he felt like he needed to ask but also because I wanted him to see and hear how condescending this man could be. So, of course, he was much nicer this time. Convenient! Husband and I ran through our questions with him, went over my blood test results, and asked more questions (he never even examined me). My last questions to the doctor: With the medication I'm on, is there anything I shouldn't be taking? Things I need to stay away from? He says "You shouldn't be drinking alcohol. Or doing any drugs. You shouldn't be smoking. People don't think smoking can affect your liver, but it does. Don't do any of that."

I quit.

Ok, so he's not all bad. Last week I left a message for his secretary on Friday because I hadn't gotten my test results from that week yet (my blood was drawn on Tuesday!) The doctor actually called me back on Sunday afternoon so he could discuss the blood test results with me (which were good, not normal yet, but getting better) and let me know his plan for weaning me off the steroid I'm on. I'm starting to think he might not be a giant a--hole like I had originally thought but maybe just socially retarded. Whatever the case, I've decided to stick it out with him for a bit instead of launching my search for a new liver specialist.
That's my liver on steroids :)

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