Monday, January 31, 2011

Cory And I Don't Go To Many Movies Together

I used to think that God was the only one who could be omnipresent, but then last night I turned on the TV and saw Betty White on the SAG awards and a Hallmark movie all at once.  That takes talent.  Now, don't go getting all freaked out thinking I'm putting Betty White and The Big Guy in the same category, because I'm pretty sure The Big Guy would never host Saturday Night Live.  However, Miss White did make me laugh and cry on the same night.

Mercy, it's been a long week.  I say that in an attempt to elicit some understanding so that you'll cut me some slack when I confess that I watched the entire Hallmark movie starring Ms. White and Jennifer Love Hewitt last night...and LIKED it.  It also didn't hurt that this handsome buck played a key role:

His name is Sean Faris and I think he's purty.  Not as awesome as my eternal companion, of course, but I wouldn't mind watching him mow my lawn and bring me a lemonade.  When Cory and I first spotted him in the movie last night we were trying to figure out where we had seen him before.  It finally dawned on us - here is Forever Strong Sean:


This was a great movie, by the way, and not just because my brother helped get it out there.  Except it did help.  Sean is very versatile and has a lot of looks - here is Project Runway Sean:


I like to call this one, Class of 1988 Sean: 


It takes a special kind to look pretty in pink, and I dare say he rivals Molly Ringwald.  Oh, and guess what else?  He does more than frown in pictures- sometimes he flashes ALL of his pearly whites!  I think it's very effective.  Here's his, "I'm Ready To Meet Your Mother" look:


Seriously, I think your mom would be stoked.

The important thing to know here is that this isn't actually a post about Sean Faris, it's a post about watching a Hallmark movie with Cory.  When it became clear that my motive for the evening was to turn off my brain and vacation for a couple of hours on a mind candy movie, Cory sat with me for the first 5 minutes.  He likes to try and be with me, but he has boundaries.  He spent the next hour and a half in the office, then came back for the last twenty minutes as if testing to see if I noticed his absence.  I DID notice, because while he was in the office it was nice and quiet, and then when he came back he was like, "Who is that guy?  Is that the one she married?  What happened to him?  Is he dead or just missing?  Is this a flashback?"  I paused the TV, looked deep into his eyes, told him how much I loved him and asked if I could get him something to drink while I answered all of his questions politely asked him to SHUT UP THIS IS THE BEST PART.  In the final scene a couple is embracing in the front yard when suddenly, their sprinklers turn on - laughter, kissing, and frolicking in the water ensues.

My response:  Silence.
Cory's response:  "Wait a second, how did those sprinklers go on?  It's not like they were on a timer because it was hooked up to a HOSE.  Puh-lease, this is SO illogical."

Oh how I love him.
But sometimes he makes me tired.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sick

It's true, I've been sick for a couple of days.  In the last 12 hours I have watched a movie, taken a nap, and responded to 3 emails, and I'm exhausted.  But I don't want you to feel sorry for me because it's also a little bit awesome.  When I was a young mom with little kids I used to envy Cory on a sick day because he could just stay in bed or lay on the couch until he felt better to return to work.  When I was sick I still had to wipe butts, drive carpool and make sandwiches while fantasizing about 2 hours uninterrupted to watch something other than animated aardvarks or creatures with TV's in their stomachs whose sexual orientation was questionable.

Now?

I DO WHATEVER I WANT. 

Which is what makes last night so puzzling.  Samantha was in the other room doing homework and I was on the couch watching TV when Cory and Drew arrived home from basketball practice.  Seeing me on the couch Drew glanced my direction and asked, "Hey Mom, what are you watching?"
"Hannah Montana: The Movie," I replied.
He stopped, looked at me, then shook his head and said, "I'm not even going to say anything."

I have no defense.  I hadn't taken my NyQuil yet so I can't even claim being "under the influence".  Let's just say the remote was really far away and I hadn't eaten much, alright?!

Monday, January 24, 2011

{the recipe}

Here we go y'all.  I'm about to share the recipe for those cupcakes because, well, you asked me to.  And since it's full of All Things Bad For You, I feel the need to use words like "y'all" because it helps me channel Paula Deen and I think she would want to be here for this.  In addition, before I get started I would like to give proper credit to the following people for inspiring this creation.  To Marie Hjorth, my sister's mother-in-law who not only let our family stay at her house but made us chocolate cake from scratch.  It was gone so fast she made us another one.  We didn't tell her not to, and that is where I got the cake recipe.  To Mo's Bacon Bar and Jim Gaffigan for opening my eyes to the possibilities and wonders of bacon - it's not just for breakfast anymore.  I also have to pay homage to Cupcake Wars; if not for them Samantha and I would not have made a huge batch of frosting last week and flavored it four different ways, just to explore the possibilities.    That's how we found out that maple frosting was not bad.  Nevertheless, Cupcake Wars shares the credit with my mother who taught me from a young age how to make syrup, and was the reason I had maple flavoring to begin with.  As for the burnt sugar embellishment, I credit years (and by years I mean the last 24 months we've actually had cable) of watching Food Network and wishing I could have a little of what they were making.  I love how they make stuff look pretty, and I wanted to give it a shot.  Enough of all that, here's the 4-1-1.

CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES WITH MAPLE FROSTING & CANDIED BACON

CHOCOLATE CAKE:

Sift together:
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup baking cocoa
2 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
Create three wells in the above mixture (I don't know, because Marie said so) and add each following ingredient in a separate well:
1st well > 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2nd well > 2 Tbsp white distilled vinegar
3rd well > 2 t. vanilla
Pour 2 cups of water over the whole thing and whisk together until smooth.
BAKING DIRECTIONS - all at 350 degrees:
9x13 pan: 30-45 minutes 
2 rounds:  25-30 minutes
cupcakes:  22-25 minutes

FROSTING:
1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup shortening
4 cups powdered sugar
Add milk to desired consistency
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. Maple flavoring

CANDIED BACON:  (Are you still reading this?  Wow.  I'm impressed.)
Easier than it sounds - I basically put about a teaspoon of butter (Butter.  WITH bacon.  I know!) in a skillet, threw in a handful of real bacon pieces I got from Costco, let it warm up and then sprinkled it with about 1/4 cup of sugar.  Stir for just a minute and let it cool.

EMBELLISHMENT:  (Seriously, I can't believe you're still here.  I'm so proud of you!  You must really want this.)
Butter a cookie sheet.  Melt about 1/2 cup of sugar in a skillet, stirring to prevent burning.  When it's all smooth remove from heat, and use a spoon to drizzle whatever design you want on the cookie sheet.  Let it cool (doesn't take long) and they should pop right off when you're ready to use them.
 
If you decide to go the distance and make this recipe, do me a favor, will you?  Take a picture and email me about it at vernmaster@gmail.com.  I will post your pictures and share your feedback, even if it doesn't go well.  Who am I kidding?  Especially if it doesn't go well.  Happy baking!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Ho's Are People Too!

A couple of months ago a few of my friends arranged for us to participate in the morning show of one of our local radio stations.  Every Friday the station allows ten of their listeners to come in and observe, be part of the conversation, and ultimately share some air time while playing a game at the end.  Here's Laura and I as we first came into the studio:

One of the first things they asked us to do when we got there was fill out a questionnaire.  It asked things like, What do you do for a living?  What are your hobbies?  And, How did you meet your significant other?  Later, I knew they would use these questionnaires to ask us stuff when we were on the air.  I understand that it's a good idea for a conversation starter when you have to circulate 10 radio rookies through the system, but it's times like that when being a stay at home mom who likes to bake and met her husband at BYU is a serious downer.  I mean, if you were on the radio introducing yourself to 250,000 people wouldn't you like to say something like, "I met my husband when we were on a National Geographic tour studying the Aborigines, I am a professional cheese taster, and in my free time I like to use pomegranate juice to dye old clothing and sell it on eBay for a profit"?  Alas, I tried to make it seem interesting that Cory and I played on a co-ed basketball team together but I think it came out sounding more like, "I went to Baskin Robbins and ordered Vanilla.  WAIT.  With a waffle cone."  Oh well.  Here I am at the mic for my brief radio stint:

 I blew it up because see that guy in the rust shirt?  His name is Jeremy, and I can't remember what I said exactly but the dude is scared.  Do you see how he's looking at me?  I think he's feeling replaced.


Jane is the one in the photo below with the short brown hair in front.  She is the co-host of the show with Dom (the only dude in the picture) and after Laura was the first to take her time at the microphone Jane mumbled on the air, "One crazy lady down, three more to go."  I'm not sure if she was genuinely annoyed with us or if she was trying to be funny (my vote:  genuinely annoyed), but we made her take a picture with us anyway. 



Finally, it is customary for the Live Audience members to bring goodies to share with the group.  I took this responsibility very seriously, put on my overachiever hat, and whipped up these bad boys: Chocolate Cupcakes with Maple Buttercream Frosting, Candied Bacon, and a Burnt Sugar Embellishment (p.s. They didn't suck, if I do say so myself.  And I do.)

A couple of quotes from the morning:
Dom:  (After a heated off-air debate about cheating) "Hey, ho's are people too."
Ganelle:  "I AM adventurous, I just don't want to die in the Bermuda Triangle."
Ginger:   "You should probably know that the four of us were all virgins when we got married and have been with the same men for 17-21 years."

And guess what?  We won the prize!  Maybe you wouldn't be the sort to get excited about a duffel bag with a casino's logo on the side, but that's not the point.  The point is, free duffel bag!  The bad news:  apparently I am going to be a Klingon in my next life and my forehead is already beginning to take shape.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Now I Don't Know What To Pray For

Exactly one year ago today I blogged about a special event in my life.  Remember what that was?  I'll give you a hint.  It wasn't that time I burned my forehead, or the time I searched "hemorrhoids" on twitter, or even the one where I gave bacon to the Jews.  No, this was the one where I discovered that my purpose here on this earth was more than just watching Brian Regan on YouTube or practicing my surprised face for the day People magazine cites the demise of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes' relationship.


Rather, my purpose was to tell the world about waffles.  Liege waffles from Bruges in Salt Lake City, Utah to be exact.  Because you guys are incredibly intelligent and tons of you heeded my advice to make the pilgrimage to partake of the goodness this place had to offer, lives have been changed and the world is happier for it.  One of my blogging buddies, JustRandi, visited there several months ago and when she mentioned having heard about his place from a blog he said, "Oh!  Was it Vern?  Man, I owe that girl a free waffle.  She has sent me a lot of business!"  So, let it be known that when I die and go to meet my Maker and he asks, "What did you do to make the world a better place?" I can say, "I helped make obesity more fun."  I think He will appreciate my honesty.

There's a purpose to my story.  Because you see, as much as I love Bruges it is in Utah, and I live in Colorado.  And while it would be nice to hop on a plane every time I had a hankering for some creme fraiche and sugar pearls coated in yeast based affection, that's not really possible.  But.  A few weeks ago facebook alerted me about a new establishment in town. My town.  Specifically, a waffle place.  A Belgian waffle place.  IN MY TOWN.  (Do you hear what I'm telling you?!  The PRINCE is marrying THE SEA WITCH. IN! DISGUISE!)

Seriously.

This was better than a burning bush reminding me of who is really in charge.

I emailed Randi, we set a date, and last Friday we went to check it out. 

Here's Randi displaying her sampler, complete with marshmallow cream cheese and other healthy dairy products packed with protein:

See that glow behind her head?  That's not overexposure, that's an angel who was banging on the window going, "Hey, I was there when Jesus was born and when BYU won the National Championship, I am NOT about to miss THIS!"  This is me:


I am pictured here with peanut butter, nutella, and lemon curd.  Or as I like to call them, Satan's Powerful Tools.

After we were done eating Randi showed me how to calculate our meal into the calorie counter on her Smart Phone. 


Big mistake.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Conejo En Los Faros

The other day I was cleaning a bathroom and as I shuffled the shower products around to scrub the bathtub I noticed something on the side of the shampoo bottle; the product name was translated into four different languages. I thought how important they must be to need that many different translations. Pert has gone global y’all!

It made me think about my blog, and how cool it would be if my content was so inclusive that the language barrier became problematic. I know it’s not likely, but hey, crazier things have happened. Like Vanilla Ice getting his own show on HGTV, being named “January”, or Serena Williams becoming a professional nail tech, just to name a few.

Besides, I think I totally have international appeal. First of all I love Mexican food, aced Spanish in college, grew up 30 minutes from the Mexican border and own a sombrero so the Spanish translation would probably have to come first. My blog would be called, “Conejo En Los Faros”. Catchy!

Next would probably have to be Greek. I’ve been skinny dipping in the Mediterranean, one of my best friends from high school married a Greek, I enjoy baklava, and I use Windex on my zits so I’m thinking I’m a shoo-in.

Germans scare me, but I love their pancakes! Plus, I had a nervous breakdown in one of their train stations before so we’re sort of bonded. They would probably come third: “Kaninchen In Die Scheinwerfer”. (I’m sure the “Die” part is just coincidence.)

I think the 4th translation to emerge would probably be Italian. From their gnocchi to The David to their gondolas, I love what they do. Oh, and their gelato. How could I forget their gelato? It’s a long way to go for dessert, but when my sister and I were there we got some EVERY DAY. Not to mention I am inspired by their work ethic. Is it 2pm already? Time for a 2 hour lunch at mama’s house! “Coniglio Nei Fari” has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

The last translation to come would probably be French because other than having mastered “faux pas” I can’t speak it, and they don’t like me. Were it not for their pastries we probably wouldn’t even have much of a relationship, but when you throw in a croissant and the Louvre we have to find a way to get along. Also, I don’t think they understand what it means to be “big boned” and the last thing I need is the French judging me because, remember? I’m trying to eat a croissant here! The name of my blog in French would be “Lapin Dans Les Phares”, but it sounds better when they say it.

Who do you think I should call about this?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Pray! Eucerin!

Sometimes when I walk into TJ Maxx to buy two lampshades for the living room I walk out with a new shower curtain, 3 bath mats, 4 hand towels, 2 bath sheets and a new idea for paint colors to completely redecorate the kids' bathroom.

And no lampshades.

I love to decorate but I'm at a point in my life (translation: halfway to dead) where I want the stuff that I buy to be something that I really want, and not something that my brother used for 15 years and then gave to me.  Unless, of course, that thing he used and then handed down was, say, a piano that Beethoven used as a kid and not a formica table that had been spray painted 29 times.  Unfortunately, I can't actually afford what I really want most of the time, so my decorating desires remain dormant until the paint and valance demons within demand to be freed.

Which is why I walked out of TJ Maxx with everything but what I came for, and then headed to Lowe's for paint.

I came home giddy, and excited to get to work.  My goal: to have it cleaned, painted, and all accessories put into place before the kids got home from school.

Monday, January 10, 2011

My Neighbors All Have Hummers And Snowblowers

The purpose of this post is not to boast statistics about how I got up at 5:45 am and used 3 different shovels to remove 6 inches of snow from our 3-car width driveway in 5 degree weather.  No.  The purpose of this post is to highlight my blatant disregard for songs like "Count Your Blessings" and complain about said experience.

For starters, it should have been a snow day.  We should all still be in bed, and I should be getting up in about another hour to make pancakes and hot chocolate and watch Netflix.  Instead, I was up at the butt crack of dawn trying to clear a path so my husband could go to that place where he does stuff that allows us to eat at Costa Vida every once in a while and leave our heat on after dark.  Don't rag on him for not helping me - he takes Samantha to Bible Study every morning at 6am and sometimes does the dishes while I watch TV so he pulls his weight.  Also, you can bounce a quarter off his butt when he flexes.  Bonus!

In addition, we here at Casa de Vern have made some calculated decisions about snow related purchases.  Calculations like, "That 4-wheel drive car is HOW much?  And gets HOW many miles to the gallon?" and, "Snowblower = $300 - OR - Child Labor = FREE."  But see, I couldn't solicit the child labor today because THEY WERE GETTING READY FOR SCHOOL.  BECAUSE IT WAS NOT A SNOW DAY. 

Something else that the powers that be at the school district probably didn't know when they decided not to declare a snow day is that right there, up in this window, is a young girl on the verge of a category 5 meltdown.


The girl up in that window wants to know why God loves the children in Africa more than her, because she is facing her first week of Finals that actually matter and feels unprepared.  She was banking on a snow day, and without it I am banking on a looooong week.

Finally, I would very much like to know why I have THREE snow shovels and all of them suck. 



The one on the left is what the kids use when they are helping.  It works pretty well, and if it weren't for the fact that my driveway is bigger than Barbie's helicopter pad I would have considered it but I needed something more.  The one on the right is ergonomically designed, and if by "ergonomic" they mean "this sucks" then I suppose it's true.  Which left me with the one in the middle.  What do you think, is it supposed to do this?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

You Know What He Did?

I have a new crush.

He's a little young for me, but if he became available I would bring him home to live with us tomorrow.  Tonight even.  Have you seen this kid?

I'm sure he has lovely parents, but I feel like he was supposed to be part of our family. 



But wait!   You haven't seen his karate moves yet:



"Oooooh it's growin' now!"

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

While The Rest Of You Are Making Resolutions

For breakfast this morning I had a Slim Fast shake.

And a cookie.

Fine.  Two cookies.

I talked to my mom on the phone.
I talked to a woman from church on the phone.
I talked to a woman who is moving here and wants to go to my church on the phone.
I talked to myself, because sometimes I make good conversation.
"Hello self!"
"Hi there.  How are you?"
"Fine thanks.  You sure look incredible today."
"Why thank you.  I guess that colon cleanse really works."

By then I was ready for a snack.

I had half a grapefruit.

And a cookie.

FINE.

Two cookies.


Is it almost time for lunch?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Another Post About Costco

Years ago I was a member of Costco, but for various reasons I didn’t renew my membership after that year was up.  A while back, however, a friend of mine started calling me every time she went to Costco to see if I wanted to go with her and mooch off her membership - and so I did.  About every two weeks.  Then she moved, and Costco went with her. 

This became a problem.

Every time I needed cheese I would look at the regular grocery store prices and think, “Hmmm…buy gifts for Christmas?  Or cheese.  Christmas?  Cheese.”   To compromise I decided just to buy cheese FOR Christmas and then everyone wins.  During this debate I began to weigh, once again, the pros and cons of renewing my membership at Costco.  One day after I spent the morning getting my hair done I thought, “Hey, my hair looks good and I put make up on this morning, this would be a great time to get my picture taken in front of blue poster board for the folks who introduced me to dried mangoes.”  And just like that, I re-joined Costco.

Now, as a full fledged paying member, there are a few things I’d like to say.

First of all, there’s basically only one thing I would change about this establishment if I had any power and that is that I would add an express lane.  How hard is it Costco people?  Make a sign.  Put it up in your far right lane, or your far left lane, or smack dab in the middle for all I care.  Everybody’s doing it!  Except the DMV.  You and the DMV. You couldn’t possibly be okay with that.

Second of all, the reason everybody joins this place is under the guise of how much money they save, right?  The thing is, all that money I just saved on cheese I spent on other stuff, because I didn’t know until I got there just how important it was to have chocolate covered pomegranates.

Finally, the samples.  Also known as, "Hello, Lover".  To take true advantage of this it is important not to go right when the store opens because the sampling people aren’t quite ready for you yet.  The single biggest disappointment next to finding out that Tiger Woods took the motto of one of his sponsors too far (Hey Tiger, when Nike says, “Just Do It” I don’t think that’s what they had in mind) ((Enough with the Tiger jokes?  Should I be done now?))  is walking through the pasta section and seeing the lady just getting her pots and pans out.  But I really want to try that spinach parmesan mushroom sausage cheese stuffed ravioli!  So then you try to meander around that section as if you’re intently shopping, when really you’re just waiting for the water to boil.  After a while it gets too obvious so you go to look at the couch on display as if that was your intention all along.  What?  No.  I’m not so pathetic that I’m waiting for your savory sample.  I just wanted to take a gander at the quality of this LEATHER!  

Seriously though, have you had the dried mangoes?

Monday, January 3, 2011

My Parenting Book Is Coming Out Soon

One thing I’d like to do with this blog is change lives. But I’d also like to be skinny again, create a table in Microsoft Word without swearing and crave vegetables – I wouldn’t hold your breath. Instead I’ll share a little story with you through photos.

Once upon a time about 15 minutes ago there was an old woman who stood in her kitchen making dinner, glanced into her family room and saw this on the floor:



Then she looked down the hallway and saw this jacket sitting at the entrance to the bathroom door:


Perplexed, she set aside her kitchen duties to inspect the area ONE HAS TO PASS to go down the hallway before arriving at the family room: