Monday, March 26, 2012

A Sprung Spring

In an effort to take advantage of what our area has to offer, M. and I took the kids in to D.C. to see the Cherry Blossoms a little over a week ago. We Metro'd down to the Smithsonian/Mall, strolled along the tidal basin, saw some Irish dancers peforming by the Washington Monument (it was St. Pat's Day), and hit up the Natural History Museum. It was fun and exhausting, and I've been meaning to write a nice, wordy post about it ever since we went (where I could do things like rant about how, when asked what his favorite part of the day was, Finn answered "the toy shop" - meaning the gift shop at the museum. Apparently we could have skipped all the fuss and just bought him a toy snake at Target instead...), but that hasn't happened. To get these photos up before this year's cherry blossoms are a distant memory, I'm just going to slap these photos up on the ol' blog, and hope that work/life slows down enough one of these days that I can stop ignoring the text-y part of blogging.

On the Metro:

M. apparently likes to wear his sunglasses underground...

The Cherry Blossoms:

 Lucy was not impressed with the cherry blossoms. She stayed in the stroller (a hotly contested commodity between her and Finn during this trip, as they both wanted to sit in it constantly. Note to self: bring two strollers to Disney World!) and did her best to look grumpy.

The view toward the other side of the tidal basin

One of these two was a little grumpy because he wanted a popsicle he didn't get.

Chillin' on the Mall after visiting the Natural History museum:

Finn's spoils from the museum gift shop - a very realistic looking but thankfully fake snake

A boy and his snake

Lucy's spoils - a cannister of mini dinosaurs

This is what happened about 5 minutes after we got back to the car. Total exhaustion!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Arguably Better Than a Pot of Gold

Pinterest has me salivating over hundreds and hundreds of recipes that look SO. GOOD. And also so, so bad for you. I try not to pin the worst offenders (waffle cakes! cinnamon roll pancakes! anything and everything red velvet! more macaroni and cheese recipes than you can shake a stick at!), but sometimes I'm weak. Such was the case with a brownie recipe that caught my eye about a week and a half ago - the "Triple Layer Fudgy Mint Oreo Brownies" from Averie Cooks.

Now, if there are more mac and cheese recipes than you can shake a stick at on Pinterest, there are more brownie recipes than you can shake a whole forest at. Or whatever. The point is, there are a lot. And they all look ricidulously delicious. But this particular brownie recipe had a few things going for it that put it in the "perfect storm of sinfulness" category. First, it involves Oreos. Lots of Oreos.

(There are Oreos on top. And there are Oreos inside.)

I love Oreos. Their trans-fatty goodness has been a favorite of mine since childhood (actually, I preferred the Hydrox over the Oreo, but since the Hydrox cookies are no longer available, I make do. Also, Wikipedia tells me that Oreos no longer contain any trans fat, so there's that, too), and as a child, my favorite ice cream flavor was always Cookies 'n Cream/Oreo, depending on what each ice cream venued chose to name it. With chocolate jimmies (NOT "sprinkles"), of course.

 I also love holiday-themed goodies, and these brownies involve lots of green and mint, perfect for the imminent St. Patrick's Day holiday. They are layered and gooey-looking and very, incredibly, not Weight Watchers-friendly. Or so I assume - I'm not crazy enough to attempt that math.

But I made them anyway, with the goal of providing a holiday-ish snack to share with my work colleagues (and M.'s). It's an excuse to make something I very much want to eat, but of which I very much don't want to have a whole pan sitting in my kitchen, tempting me.

I won't recreate the recipe instructions here - the original blog post does them far better justice than I could. But I will say that these were really easy to make. The only "shortcut" step I took was to use storebought vanilla frosting instead of homemade buttercream, but the brownies themselves I made from scratch, according to the recipe. It was easy, and I didn't have to dirty any kitchen appliances in the process (I mixed everything by hand).

I will also share some pictures, so YOU can salivate over these, too, just like I have been. See, don't these look festive and delish?

In other news, M. has decided that he is no longer "against" Pinterest. Hurrah!

And Slainte! Happy St. Patty's Day to all!

Monday, March 12, 2012

It's Always Sunny in Florida

You know how sometimes there's a blogger you read, and their posts start trickling off? And you're all disappointed because gah! Why isn't she/he posting lately? And then it turns out it's because they've been exhausted due to a new pregnancy, or busy because they're moving, or exhausted AND busy because they're moving AND pregnant?

Well, that's not the case here.

Nothing exciting going on to explain my lack of posts. Just, dare I say, contentment? There hasn't been much to write about, because it's easy to write about DRAMA, a thing we've had little of lately, and harder to write about happiness, of which we've had plenty. Thank goodness, of course. I'd take a boring blog with little action over an action packed one any day, if it means our house has been peaceful. I'm not even freaking out about Finn's impending kindergarten matriculation (yet).

I did take a quick trip down to Florida with these lovely ladies:

Stacey is on the left, MommyEsq is on the right.

We went to visit these two wonderful people:

 My Papa and Mimi, grandparents on my mom's side. I have many fond memories of visiting them at their house in Florida, but I haven't been down there since before I was pregnant with Finn, six and a half years ago. Crazy!!

These things happened: pool-side lounging, card playing, leisurely shopping, cocktail houring (LOVE my grandparents' die-hard devotion to the cocktail hour), birthday celebrating (Papa's and Poppy's, a dear family friend), carrot cake eating, lots of reading, LOTS of laughs and wonderful conversation. A little cleaning. Sadly, no sleeping late (drat my autopilot body!).

The trip was too short, and made me want to consider a career change that would allow me to live in a place where it always feels like vacation. Why is it that we don't all live in Florida? I mean, aside from the hurricanes, alligators, and oppressive summer heat, of course?

I came home to these cuties, who CLAIMED to miss me, but appeared to do JUST FINE without me. Damn their dad and his capable parenting skills. Why don't they NEED ME?? (trying for some drama):

M. took off on another work trip early yesterday morning, leaving me to deal with the fall out of the time change alone. The kids have been pretty easy to get to bed, the only problem has been getting them OUT of bed. This morning was rough, it took some convincing and my best "School is SO FUN!" routine to get them moving. It didn't help that I was pretty slow getting myself out of bed, too. We were a tad bit late getting to our respective places. Hopefully tomorrow morning will go a little more according to schedule...

I got through the solo-parenting Sunday by relying heavily on movies I borrowed from the local library. In an effort to introduce the kids to as many Disney movies as possible before our May trip to DW, I had them watch Bambi. It's been a long, long time since I watched Bambi. I clearly blocked a lot out of my memory. Lucy is enamored with Thumper, but I got the sense that both she and Finn could take or leave the movie. Not a whole lot that's laugh-out-loud funny, and quite a few "AHH! The Hunters Are Coming! AHH! The Hunters Are Coming Again! And Now There's Fire!" moments, and a total glossing over of the fact that poor Bambi's frackin' mother dies. I mean, there's a gunshot, and Bambi's prancing in the snow, all "Mama, where are you?", and then Bambi's dad tells him "Your mother cannot be with you anymore." And then 5 seconds later, Spring arrives. Cue montage of beautiful flowers and green growing things. Finn and Lucy commented, "Bambi's Mom is dead." And then they just kept on watching... I'm more than a little disturbed. We'll be returning it soon, I think.

I'd prefer to show them films like Cinderella and Aladdin and Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, but curses to Disney and their stupid VAULT of DOOM, where movies go after a while so we can all get hot and bothered over our inability to buy them, and then pay a fortune when they are finally re-released (and probably aired in 3-D, too, because $$$). I will pay the fortune! Just release them from the VAULT! How can my kids appreciate Cinderella's castle, if they have no idea who Cinderella is?

OK, it's a pretty awesome looking structure, even if you don't know who Cinderella is. But still.

I need to wrap this up and get myself to bed, but first I will share this little snack that I found via Pinterest and charmed the kids with yesterday: It involved banana slices, peanut butter, mini Nilla Wafers, and sprinkles. It's yummy, is not competely devoid of nutritional value, easy to make, AND the kids liked it. I will definitely be making these again. You should make them, too:

I see possibilities - sub Nutella instead of PB (or any other nut butter), switch up the sprinkles, etc. Enjoy!