Thursday, October 21, 2010

My Long Lost Baking BFF

When I was a 2nd grader, my best friend was Sara. We only attended school together that one year as both of our families moved, but we were pen pals for years. This was long before e-mail, of course. We wrote 10-page letters with purple and green pens, photos enclosed, and envelopes decorated with hologram stickers. I loved these letters. Unfortunately, we lost touch when we went away to college. Imagine my excitement when I found Sara online last year! So, our friendship has been resumed and I continue to light up every time I get "mail" (the online variety) from my pen pal.

Sara has this amazing baking aptitude that I just don't have. She makes these incredible cake pops at Sarandipity Sweets that are so good that I'm willing to use a word that has always bugged me... Moist. They're so moist and tasty and I'm pretty sure I won't be using that word again anytime soon because I just used it in two consecutive sentences (ugh). She also writes a hilarious blog, Sweet Somethings and contributes each week to a cooking blog called "From Blah to Ta-Daa!" along with four other wonderful cooks. Why am I telling you this?? Because Sara asked me to do a guest post on her cooking blog. She told me that even her mother had said no, so there was no pressure. I said yes in my e-mail reply followed by, "Yikes... Now what?" out loud. My anxiety stemmed from the fact that I think Sara's competency in the kitchen is in a different league than my own. I'm impressed that I have a Kitchenaid mixer. I'm willing to guess she knows what the heck each of those attachments are for (jury is still out for me on the Captain Hook attachment).

This was the same week as my book club meeting and we needed someone to bring a dessert. I went to a local Applefest with my family and came home with super sweet apples that looked like they'd been injected with steroids. I decided to bite the bullet and bake something (even though I'm SO much better at cooking than baking) and surpisingly, the result was delicious! As if you needed another link, here is my guest post (and recipe) for Fresh Apple Cake with Cream Cheese Icing. YUM!

Thank you, Sara, for the opportunity to feel like a real baker this week! Feel free to give me a Kitchenaid attachment tutorial whenever you have a spare moment. God knows I need it!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Testing, testing... 1,2,6!

Today I was a test jockey. I did 6 IQ tests back-to-back with students ranging from 1st to 8th grade. It was draining and terribly busy, although I did take a 5-minute break to inhale my frozen entree while I waited for a kid to return from recess. There's a reason why I've never spent an entire day testing before. I'm fairly certain I'll be dreaming tonight of patterned blocks, stopwatches, scoring templates, and test questions. As a side note: Please stop naming your children with celebrity names. It's silly.

Two experiences stood out today... The first was the 1st grader whose answers had a tendency to include words like "fight," "kill," and "beat." In his 6 years he's reportedly been in several fights with others living in his apartment complex because, "They don't like my skin." Those words shouldn't be a part of his everyday vocabulary and the fact that he's aware of racism at such a young age is heartbreaking.

I was thinking about this when someone walked into the staff bathroom. The one with the door I thought I had locked. So, that was pretty special (sigh). Once the mortified blush left my cheeks, I slithered out with my head down and returned to testing.

Nothing was sweeter than coming home to Emily after a day like today. I had to leave before she got up this morning and I missed her terribly! She was all smiles and bubbly energy (as usual) and seeing her made me instantly happy. I think I'll stick with half-day testing this year. The choice between spending the majority of my day with other people's kids or my own is a no-brainer. Even after an assessment marathon has turned my brain to mush.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Adventures in Potty Training

We're on Day 2 and so far it's a slow process... I've trapped us in the kitchen or bathrooms for portions of the day (new carpet) and am quickly finding there are only so many things to do in those rooms. My friend asked me today, "Are you using rewards?" I told her, "Of course I am... I'm having a margarita right now as my reward for sticking with this!"

All of the readiness signs are there. We have the doll, books, sticker chart, and a cup full of treats (Em had none today, Mommy has lost count). I set the timer on my phone and each time it chimes Em yells, "It's potty time!" I'm modeling whenever possible and she yells, "YAY! Good job, Mommy!!" with roller coaster hands up in the air. When she uses her potty, I promise I'll do the same and will likely roll right into the "cabbage patch."

Today I got a little desperate. Emily was sitting on her potty and I actually encouraged her to dig for some colorful beads I'd dropped into a bowl of lukewarm water. In my defense, I actually read online somewhere that this works for some moms (I'm not one of them). Jason laughed and said, "Let me guess... Later we're going to put shaving cream in her hand while she sleeps and then tickle her nose?" If it would make her use the potty, I'd totally be willing to try it.

Wish me luck!