Orange Cream Dream

Yep.  More Ice Cream.  Oh, and this was so good.  And I know that I have no place sharing recipes with you.  It is like I am crossing into enemy territory without a license.  Or some other metaphor that actually makes sense. I am on dangerous ground here.  But I think we have already established that I like to live dangerously.  Danger!

So, as I was saying, this was delicious.  I don't even have any stories to tell you about it, just the recipe to share and to let you know that I am so glad I tried it.  I had some Half & Half in my fridge that I didn't think was going to last too much longer, and a hankering for icecream so I flipped through the Ben & Jerry's book till I found something I had the ingredients for.  I know it doesn't look very orangey, but it is.

- adapted from Ben & Jerry

2 cups Half & Half
2/3 cup whipping cream
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
2 tsp vanilla extract

Mix it all together nice and good, and throw it in your icecream freezer till it is done.  Consume at an alarming rate. Makes approx 1.5 quarts.

I didn't even chill it before throwing it in the icecream maker.  I was too impatient.  So I mixed it all up and 30 minutes later we were eating icecream and watching SNL clips on Hulu.  DELICIOUS!   Make it!  Eat it!  Love it!  Ok.  I can stop yelling now.  ICECREAM!!

How to Entertain a 4 Year Old in 4 Seconds

Pick up a pen.  Draw a mustache on his finger.  Laugh a whole lot. The end.  

Art, Art

Harrison and I like to draw.  Actually it is a new thing for Harrison, and I'm happy to oblige him.  Chalk pastels on construction paper are pretty fun so I was drawing a big ol' goofy face and Harrison said, "That looks just like you!" 

I laughed at his silliness, then drew some big juicy lips on it, and realized it DOES look just like me!

So then Harrison wanted to draw a picture of himself:

It is so cute I just want to eat him!  He signed the picture and everything.

Then we have a picture that Harrison made at school.  I thought it was a tree, but he said that the brown one is him and the green one is his little brother.  Aw.  

And see that little dot over there on the right?  He said that is my one eyeball.  I'm just so touched that I get to be in the picture.

Chocolate Statistics

If at any one moment in time, there is a 73% chance that I have chocolate on my bum, and 58% of the time there is no one around who can be relied upon to tell me if I do or not, and 6% of the time I leave the house without checking my backside first, what are the odds that I will go to the store with a chocolate tushie and never know it?

Story #8 - Dear John

Dear Benjamin Hulihu, 
     Ok, so you know how we've been dating for like 3 years and everything, and how we always said we were meant for each other or whatever, well. . . Actually, how are you first?  Maybe I should have already asked that.  Yeah, anyway, I"m sure you're fine. . . preaching and stuff.  Things are the same around here.  Your friends Jared says Hi!  Actually, that isn't quite true.  He really said "Suck it, Loser!"  Isn't that funny?  He really is hilarious.  Remember when you bought me 20 roses and I said "Hey, I like daisies!"?  That was forever ago.  But really it was symbolic of how our love was pretty much down the toilet.  That's harsh, I know, but we really have to admit that our relationship has deteriorated over the years.  So anyhoo, you were pretty fun and nice.  Better luck next time.

Your friend, 
     Genine Googlepluster

And that, ladies and gentlemen is the end.  But let's have no tears.  There will always be more dumb things to read. That is what the internet is for!

Story #7 - A "How-To" Blog Post

How to Key Your Ex-Boyfriend's Car

This one may seem pretty simple, but you'd be surprised how often I get requests for this.  And, truly, I am an expert here, so lets really get down to the basics.

Step 1:  Always start with quality supplies.  Your concrete should be collected from only the highest quality wrecking yards.  That goes without saying.

Ok, so then gather all of your tube socks and mustard and lay everything all out in an assembly line.  Don't forget the gorilla glue!  LOL!

Once you get everything glued. . . and hammered. . . and, ya know, built, then there you are. . . your thing-um-dohicky is done.

Final step: Use one of your keys and run it along your ex's car.

And you're done!  Thanks to all my loyal readers!  Not you, Jared

Homemade Chocolate Icecream

I know, I know.  Post overload.  I wrote about 3 posts in the past year, and now suddenly I am popping them one right after another.  And while they may not be technically "good", or "disease-free" it is nice to be writing again.  My little Colin is almost 1 year old and I suddenly feel like I can breathe again.  And think again.  I don't know when the last time is I did that.   Also, I am trying to weed out all those lazy followers who are only following me because it is easy.  It is easy to read everything by someone who never writes anything.  But someone who writes a bunch of stuff you don't care about, those are the people you have to have real dedication to follow.  That is my goal.  To be so boring that people only keep reading me out of sheer force of will.  I can do it.  I know I can.

Ok, subject change.  My best friend Marion gave me THIS for my birthday.

 It is a little, countertop icecream maker.  I'm not even sure she knows how crazy we are about homemade icecream.  We got two of those gallon sized, electric icecream makers for our wedding, and we kept both, and usually use them both at the same time.  We make a lot of icecream.  But those things are so big that we always feel like we have to wait for a family function to make it, because it just makes so much.  Yes, we could make less, but the fuller you fill it, the better your icecream turns out (something about less air making creamier ice cream or some other ice cream-science-hogwash).

So the beauty of this one is not just that it sits all little and cute on the countertop, and requires no ice or salt, but it only makes 1.5 quarts, which is more than enough for our little family.  (it is a proven fact--discovered in a study I did on myself--that a person eats less homemade icecream than they do store-bought ice cream.)

Anyway, even though we have made so much icecream through the years, we really haven't tried that many different flavors. We are even the proud owners of The Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream Recipe book, and we have only made 3 flavors out of it.  Not just because Richard is a flavor woosy,  but also because I have been perfectly satisfied to stick with what works.

But, new icecream maker = new lease on life, so last night we decided to give chocolate icecream a go.  With a counter top icecream maker like this you have to make sure your canister is frozen all the way and that your ingredients are all very nicely chilled.  So here is the recipe - adapted from Ben & Jerry.  (If I have adapted the recipe, does that mean I am not breaking any copyright laws?)

Ben's Chocolate Ice Cream

4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
2 cups half & half, divided
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
pinch salt

1. Melt the chocolate over low heat.  Gradually stir in 1 cup half & half and stir until smooth.  Remove from heat and let cool.  
2. Whisk the eggs until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes.  Slowly add the sugar, whisking until completely blended.  Mix in the rest of the half & half, vanilla and salt.
3. Mix chocolate into egg mixture and blend.  Cover and refrigerate until cold, 1 to 3 hours.  
4. Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze following the manufacturer's instructions.  

And that is it.  The recipe normally calls for a mixture of heavy whipping cream and milk, but Richard doesn't like the taste or greasiness of whipping cream, so we just use half and half across the board.

So now the important part, the part that will change your life.  You need to know that I didn't have any baking chocolate, so I used cocoa powder.  There are always directions on the cocoa powder box for how to substitute it for baking chocolate - you just mix it with some oil - so that it what I did.  Which means I skipped the melting and cooling steps and it took a whole lot less time.    However, when I added my chocolate to the rest of my ingredients it WOULD NOT fully mix in. It looked like cream mixed with tiny chocolate shavings.

This was very annoying, but we figured that it probably wouldn't taste that gross so we didn't give up yet.  We chilled it for a while to make sure it was plenty cold and then I threw it in the mixer.  This little mixer only takes 15 to 20 minutes and when I peeked at it at 10 minutes I was completed surprised to see that it had transformed from chocolate shavings into chocolate icecream.  Somehow it finally all mixed together.  I left it in for a full 30 minutes to make sure it was good and frozen (though i really don't think it made any difference) and then scooped it out into bowls.

hmm.  I would like to make it clear at this point that that is not a picture of a bowl of poop.  Again - Not Poop!  My poop doesn't look like that anyway, but I think it is time to change the subject.  I put the rest of the ice cream in a tupperware container and stuck it in the freezer to harden some more.

And then we ate it!

Yep, that is Harrison in his jimmy jams.  It was 10:00 in the morning.  It is never too early for icecream!

And by the way, after being in the freezer for about 3 hours it was beautiful, and very easy to scoop.  After about 6 or 7 hours I had to let it sit out on the counter for about 15 minutes before I could scoop it.  It doesn't really store that great, so it is best to plan to eat it all in a day.

Oh Yeah.  The Raw Eggs.   Ben and Jerry's recipe book came out in 1987, which must have been before they had even discovered salmonella.  So most their recipes call for eggs that never get cooked.  Apparently, this makes some people nervous.  Not me.  I eat enough raw cookie dough to run a salmonella factory.   There are options though.  I think egg substitutes would work just fine, or you could actually cook the eggs.  Like so:

Beat the eggs and sugar.  Heat milk on medium low, stirring frequently until it starts to steam and bubbles just start to form on the edges.  (You are NOT boiling the milk)  Very slowly add the milk to egg mixture stirring frequently so that the eggs heat up but don't scramble, then carefully cook over low heat until you reach 160 degrees. Chill, then add your cream- THEN use the ice cream maker

So, yeah, totally doable, but  a whole lot more work.  So you'll have to ask yourself if it is worth it.  Frankly, using Raw Eggs just makes Ice Cream a tiny bit dangerous, and I like that.

    Story #6 - Letter to Santa

    Dear Santa, 
         I'm a little worried about writing to you this year because I've had a hard year and done some "bad" things, but you need to know that there have been a lot of extenuating circumstances.  I didn't really mean to set the cat on fire.  It's just that she got too fat for the ring of fire she usually jumps through, so maybe you could send me one of those too.  
         And while you're at it, I'd love to have the ability to make fire with my mind.  That would really save me money on matches.  Also, Santa, please send me some soup.  I'm not going hungry or anything.  I just really like soup.  By the way, my young brother Jared pinched me the other day.  Not that I'm trying to get anyone on the naughty list, but I just think you deserve to know all the facts.
         So I'll try to keep my list short this time.  A trip to Disney world and my own jet should do it for now.  

    Story #5 - Letter to Senator

    Bored Yet?  Too bad!

    Dear Senator, 
         Hey Dumb-dumb!  What the heck!  Your decision to cut government funding for Hairless Women Against Frog Disection (HWAFD) was a heartless mistake.  If there is one thing I cannot stand it is heartlessness.  And if there is another, it's mistakes.  So I hope you can imagine how I feel right now.  Well, maybe you can't, so I'll tell you.  My throat hurts, my head aches, my feet smell, and my nose runs.  And all because of your stupid bill!  And your toupee isn't helping anything either.  I don't mean to insult your style, I'm just so steamed right now!
        And so, in conclusion, please refund us hairless women and save those frogs.  Nobody cares about biology.  those frogs won't save themselves.


    Story #4 - Resume Cover Letter

    To Whom it May Concern, 
         I write to apply for the position of Rat House Coodinator, and feel that I will be perfect for the job.  I grew up with many rats and many houses, and I think coodinating the two will be "No Prob."  My skills include jumping over tall buildings in a single bound, jumping to conclusions, and jumping through hoops.  I am also good at ignoring distractions and. . . hold on a second. . .sorry, I can't really rememeber where I was going with that.  But anyway, I'm great.  That's the point here.  Some say fantastic.  Fan-freakin-TASTIC.  If you hire me you will also quickly find that I cook the best cookies in the tri-state area.  What does cookie making having to do with assistant attorney general? You're the attorney, you figure it out.
         So, in conclusion, clearly you can see that if you hire me all your dreams will come true.

    Story #3 - Book Report

         My book report today is about Eats, Shoots, and Leaves.  This is a good book for learning more about punctuation.  The author covers commas, apostrophes, semi-colons, & periods. 
         So that's all as it should be, all in order.  As far as plot goes, it's the age old story: Girl meets boy, boy hates girl, girl makes boy cake, cake explodes, everyone licks their hands, life goes on.
         I think the strongest symbolism in this story is the relationship of the size of our ego to the size of the wig.  Extra large hair equals extra large lessons in finding yourself
         After the Heroine spent 7 years in a cheese factory she really grew, not just in hair size, but heart size.  And that's really what it is all about. 
         Maybe that's why it never sold too many copies. 

    Story #2 - Thank You Note

    Dear Grandma,
         Well, my mom said that I had to write a thank you card to you for giving me that sweater, even though I told you thank you in person.  So thank you once again.  The yellow is going to go great with my jaundice eyes!  Also, I love cookies.  The idea to use sugar cubes in them was an interesting choice.  Wow!  I'm not really sure how to feel about it, to be honest.  My first inclination was loathing, but that quickly turned to something akin to wonder.  But I thought, either way, you should know that the mittens made my hands break out.  I"m not holding you legally responsible, although I'm forwarding my attorney's address to you, just in case.  Well, thanks again.  I'm glad you came to my party.  You really brought the house down!


    Story #1 - Journal Entry

    One of my favorite games to play with my family is one we call "The Story Game."  It goes like this:

    Everyone gets a sheet of paper and something to write with and sits in a circle.  Then everyone starts writing a story.  Any old story they want.  You write a few lines then fold the paper over so that only the last line is showing, and then everyone passes their paper to the left.  (or the right.  The direction of passing doesn't actually matter.) Now everyone has a  new paper and a new story.  And so you add on to the story on the page in front of you, based on just that one line of writing they left for you to see.

    Got it?

    Maybe everyone plays this game.  Maybe everyone calls it The Story Game.  I don't know.  I don't really talk to anyone else.  Anyhoo, we played it last night.  And usually we are just writing whatever story comes to mind, or sometimes poems, but last night we had themes.  And if you haven't realized by this point, I am about to subject you to some of these stories whether you like it or not.  Because they make me laugh. Actually, they amuse me so much that I am going to post all 8 of them and make you read one every single day.  Ha ha!  It makes me feel so powerful!  There is nothing you can do to stop me!!!

    And for fun's sake, I am going to change the color of the font to signify a change in writer. Pretty fancy huh?  Here we go  (oh, and I should probably state beforehand, that yes, Jared kind of plays a big part in these stories, but since we don't actually know a Jared, I'm assuming he won't care.):

    Dear Journal,
         It has been 1 year since my last entry.  So much has happened.  Christmas. . . that was great.  Scruffy, my dog, DIED. . . that sucked!  But anyway, this journal entry is about ♥Jared♥.
         Yesterday during lunch I was eating my pizza and ranch when I turned around Jared was RIGHT THERE.  I didn't even know he was there, but when I turned around, there he was.  AND THEN he said "Hey." and walked off.  AAAH!!!! I'm pretty sure I almost died. Good thing I was wearing my favorite pair of running shoes and my diamond tiara in case there was a princess contest nearby.  I usually win those.  As you know, I'm not actually a princess but I have that princess demeanor that is a real plus in those contests.  I don't like to compete though.  It makes people feel bad.  I know that I am not supposed to care but my beauty really does raise the bar for the rest of the country.  Anyway, back to Jared. . . he is not cute enough for me.  

    To Love and Lose a Lizard: In which I blather on and on and then turn strangely serious.

    Tragedy struck the home of one Utah family tonight with the 2nd loss of a beloved pet.

    Well, maybe not beloved.  I certainly didn't belove it. But Richard and Harrison went camping on Friday night and when they got home on Saturday Harrison walked into the house sporting a GIANT grin and carrying a very tiny lizard.  Cute, for a lizard, but I couldn't get quite as excited as he was.  Oh, he loved it.  He named it Chris.  We made a little home for it in a jar, but all Harrison wanted to do was hold it.  All the time. Which made me nervous because I didn't want him to lose it somewhere in the house.  I may have all kinds of critters living in my nooks and crannies, but I don't care for the idea of a lizard setting up shop under my settee.

    So, about an hour later, Harrison told me that he lost his friend.  He "walk, walk, walked outside and, gasp!  It was gone".  I was just glad it was outside.  We tried to tell him that Chris was now happily living it up in the back yard, but Harrison was convinced that a hornet got him.  He was very upset and kept insisting that we find him.  We mostly distracted him, but he never really let it go.  Aw.

    Yesterday we went to my parent's house and, as per the norm, Harrison was walked along the piano keys and looking at the small Christus my mom has on her piano.  I ran over to tell him to stop before he broke something but before I got there he gave the statue a very gentle hug.

    I went and picked him up and said, "Do you know who that is a statue of?"  He said "Yes.  Me ask Jesus to bring my lizard back."  We all gave a very sympathetic "Ohh!"  and Harrison told everyone about how he found a lizard when they went camping and then it got lost.  Very heart wrenching.

    But guess who Harrison and I saw today?  CHRIS, running across the floor in the office! We both yelled and dove for him.  There were plenty of toys for him to hide behind and under as he ran for it but I eventually trapped him under a hard hat.  I didn't want to touch him, so I slid this pumpkin coloring book under the hat and flipped the whole thing over and dumped it into an empty bin.  But there was nothing there.  He wasn't in the hat and he wasn't in the bin and we couldn't see him anywhere on the floor.   I worried that Harrison's heart would be broken all over again cuz he had been SO HAPPY to see him only to have his hopes dashed.  I kept asking if he was ok and he said yes.  I guess most of childhood is full of such ecstatic expectations and heart breaking disappointments.  He is probably used to it.  And NOW I had a little lizard running amuck through my office!

    So (yes, I'm STILL talking about this) I told Richard about it when he got home.  He went into the office and came back holding a rather flat and very dead little lizard.  Darn it.  I'm not sure just how it happened, but we managed to smash him instead of grab him.  So we showed Harrison.  We almost flushed him down the toilet without saying anything to him, but I decided to just tell him.  He wasn't as upset as I thought he would be.  Still just wanted to keep holding him and holding him.  So we told him he needed to bury Chris the Lizard in the backyard.  He seemed kind of excited about that so his dad went out and dug a little hole and they took care of business.  In lieu of a eulogy, Harrison said "Bye Chris.  Sorry we mooshed you."

    Then he came in saying "Two guys got buried.  Chris and Boo."  Ok, prepare yourself, cuz it is about to get depressing in here.

    Boo is his Grandpa, my father-in-law, Robin, who died just a few months ago. And Harrison had a hard time with it. (We ALL did, but I guess that goes without saying.) I didn't expect that I would have to teach him about death when he is so young.  The day after it happened Harrison and I were driving home and talking about it and I was telling Harrison that eventually everyone dies, and their spirits go up to heaven to be with Heavenly Father and their bodies go into the ground to keep them safe, and it is OK. And he angrily said, "It NOT ok!  It SAD!"

    Well, yeah.  It is.

    And I was worried about telling him his lizard died because of his Grandpa.  I know it was just a lizard that he had for about 4 hours, but still.

    Cuz when someone dies, it is not just their death you deal with.  It is the death of everyone you have lost before, and the death of those you have yet to lose.  It is your own mortality, staring you right in the face.  It is the loss and pain of all those around you.  And you think you will never get over it.

    But Harrison seemed to be ok with his lizard's funeral.  He still says he wants Boo to come back alive whenever he sees his Grandpa's picture, but the pain of it is not what it once was.  (Though I cannot write a post in his honor, or tell you the details or really talk about it in any more specifics than this.  I just can't.)

    I've had a horrible time at funerals ever since my little sister Gaea died, though of course the old wounds don't hurt like they used to, like they are still supposed to.  Even Robin's funeral wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.  Not for his sake but for hers.  Certainly not as hard as I thought it should be.  There are some things we should never get over, you know?  But we do.  Curse you, Time.  You heal even those wounds we don't want  you to heal.  

    The Grass is Always Greener When it is Actually Grass

    I mowed the lawn today.  Or, rather, I mowed the breeding ground for weeds and misery that is conveniently located right outside my front door. I think everyone should have such a breeding ground within walking distance.  But the city made me cut mine!  I got a letter from the Police Department saying that: my yard was an eyesore, I'm a lousy landscaper, and am probably bad at math.  And if I don't do something about the above problems within one week, they will send their rabid secretaries after me.

    I personally think that mowing the lawn should be the man's job.  Because I like to only do things that showcase and emphasize my feminity, and lawn-mowing does not do that.  Even mowing in 5 inch heels didn't help.  It just made me feel stupid.  But the fact is Richard has enough other things to do on Saturdays, and here I was with a gorgeous day.  Why not?  

    First though, I had to get the lawnmower started. And I did NOT want to be starting it out in the front yard where my neighbors and random kids on bicycles could see me. I can't think of anything more embarrassing than the convulsions I have to go through to get the mower started the first time. Except maybe square dancing.  So I pushed the mower all the way around behind the house and by some miracle, and after putting gas into it, I actually got it started.

    So I pushed it back around and got to work.  Though I honestly don't know what the city was making such a big deal about.  I really don't think it had gotten all that tall. 

    Harrison, meanwhile, was furious.  Apparently the weeds are his friends.  He kept telling me to put them back, leave his guys alone, and shaking his fists at me. I just kept mowing though.  I take letters from the police department very seriously.  But it was no day at the beach, believe me.  Our weeds are so juicy that the lawnmower stopped about every 3 minutes because the place where the cuttings shoot out was so clogged the blade couldn't spin any more.  The weeds just piled up in there like Orc bodies at the gates of Minas Tirith.  

    My front yard is not that big, but after a couple of hours I  was getting pretty tired.  And the lawnmower just kept quitting every 3 to 5 minutes and I started telling myself that as soon as I couldn't get it to start back up on the first try I was just going to stop for the day.  So, of course, it started right up, every single time, though I could barely summon the energy to pull the string at all.  Even my sissy little girl pulls were enough to start it up.  Pretty darn good little yard-sale lawn mower.  I mean, it was smoking pretty seriously by the end, but I made it.  I cut the whole thing.  And I looked a little like a sea monster, I was so covered with green.  And my high heels were totally ruined.  

    So now comes the one month stretch of summer where my yard almost looks like grass.  And the nice thing about weeds is that we probably won't have to cut them again this year.  I'm really surprised more people don't go this route.  Even if you can't walk on it in your bare feet.

    So, Good-bye weeds.  You will me missed, but not by me.  

    Don't worry.  There is a whole back yard for him to play in, and the chances of that getting cut are about 1 in 8, so he'll be just fine.