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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Why Don't Men Get the Same Family Courtesy as Women in the Workplace?

     My husband has been helping me with my LinkedIn profile because I haven't really played around with it before and I may or may not be interested in getting a real job in the near future. One day, when I was asking him about something related to it, he stops me and asks, "Do you have any photos of me dressed up, by myself?" I told him that I had some of him dressed up, but it might have one of the kids in it. His response dumbfounded me.

     "I was listening or reading something the other day that said that employers are more likely to pass by your profile if you have a wife or child in that picture." I asked him why and this is what he said. "It's because they think that if you have a wife or child, that you will be a liability because you may take off more time to go to events pertaining to them."

      So that had me thinking: Don't we all work towards having the same amount of time off? Yes, you have to earn the time based on how long you've worked with a company, but it's pretty standard to start off with X amount of days of paid vacay and sick days. If a company didn't want you to use it, then why offer it in the first place? I know, by law, companies are supposed to offer something, although, don't quote me on that because I'm not actually sure.

     When I first graduated from college, I was two months pregnant with my first child. I truly believe that is the main reason why it took me so long to get hired on at a place full time. I was perhaps a little naïve mentioning to those who were interviewing me that I was pregnant, but I had thought it better to be honest than to surprise them so many months later when I would need maternity leave. However, in spite of that miscalculation on my end, I have worked with companies that had very good maternity leave and great benefits for mothers. At one place that I worked at, they understood that when my kids were sick and needed to be picked up or if there was a doctor appointment that needed to be made, I would be able to take off the amount of hours that I needed to or I could make them up by coming in early or leaving later than the work hours I normally worked. It was easy and there was no need to make a fuss over it.

      I understand that I was very blessed to have that job and the opportunity to work there and get those types of benefits, but there was something that I realized. My husband who worked at that same place wasn't quite as able to take those days or hours off. There was a different type of expectation for him. It was understandable if he needed to go to the doctor, but if it was for a child, it may not have been as welcomed.

      Maybe that was him trying to get out of taking the kids to the doctor and that what was ok for me was also for him or maybe it really wasn't, but I suspect that even if it was ok, that somewhere, somewhere else, there is a workplace who does roll their eyes when a man or even woman, asks for time off for their children and that is just sad!

     I don't want parents to take advantage of having children just for extra time off, but we live in a world now where not every home with children has a stay-at-home mom or dad that can just take their kids to the doctor or to practice or whatever event a kid might have. Even if there is a stay-at-home parent, sometimes those parents would like to be able to go to the doctor or other place or meeting without having to take a child with. I mean, c'mon, my child is going to be just as uncomfortable as I will be if they had to go to my woman's doctor. It's common sense that perhaps that father would take the kids for a few hours.

      So now, employers are giving moms the ability to have a more flexible work schedule- which is great, but they should give father's the same courtesy. Not only all of this, but women are more driven than they used to be and some even have more empowering careers and in order for them to move up, they need the help and support from their husbands in order to succeed.

      This is a different world that we're living in, so please, tell me why my husband can't have a child in his pictures?

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Hi, My Name is Brittany; and I Bake Crappy Cakes

      I don't know if you've seen it yet, but Netflix has a new series on called Nailed It. The moment I started watching it, it called out to my heart and I knew that the show was meant for me. You see, the show is about ordinary people who like to bake, but their skills aren't right where they should be in order for something pleasing to come out of the results.

     We've all been on Pinterest of Facebook and have seen what those cute little baked creations and think, "Hey, I think I can do that! It looks easy enough." So we try to make that cute little thing and it either comes out perfect or not so much. I fall into the not so much category.

      I have tried on multiple occasions- more now that I'm a stay-at-home mom, and have failed on many occasions. Just how many times? Well, you're about to see!

 1. The very first cake that I had ever tried to design was a train cake for my oldest son's first birthday. I found a 3D mold cake pan and bought it thinking that it was going to be so easy to make. I had actually tried to make several cake versions to see which cake batter worked best and settled for a Duncan Hines cake. I'm not a very artistic person, and it shows. The cake frosting started to slide almost as soon as I put it on and the cake leaned so much, I made aluminum foil platforms to keep the train upright.

2. I love Halloween and was delighted to see that a friend of the family had made this cake at a 31 party. This right here, is a Kitty Litter cake. I have made this for many Halloween potlucks and it only gets better each time I make it. For this cake, what you do is make a regular yellow or chocolate cake from a box. Then you can either crumble it up and add chocolate or butterscotch syrup to make it sticky, or you can frost it like a normal cake without crumbling it up. It depends on how gross you want to make it. After that, you crush some golden Oreos and split a small portion into a bag and add some green or blue food coloring to it. The Oreos are the kitty litter. Sprinkle Oreos over the cake. To make the poo, I first used Tootsie Rolls that were molded and shaped to look like poo, but I found that if you roll Little Debbie brownies, they look more like poo. Layer the "poo" in strategic spots and then sprinkle the blue or green "crystal" Oreos over the cake to finish it off. Extra grossness award goes to you if you make the cake in a clean, brand new and washed litter box. It has to just come from the store and a brand new litter scoop. This could be a fail, but I see this cake as a success. 

3. As I have mentioned earlier, I am not an artist. For one of my older son's birthdays, he said he wanted a Ninjago cake. At the time, no one had a Ninjago pattern, so I tried my best to make a cake for him. The cake says, "Happy Birthday" and then "Ninjago" as if writing it was going to make everyone understand what the cake is about. Green is his favorite color so I lined it with green frosting and made little kicking "Ninjas" with a darker color of green.

4. I really don't know what this cake was for. I think I tried to make a second cake, one that was chocolate. My younger son celebrates his birthday the same day as my parent's anniversary. I think that I was trying to be nice and include them in the second cake. It says Happy Birthday and Anniversary. I think it was supposed to go beside this "Soccer Ball" on the side. I made the "Soccer Ball" from a round cake pan and then added cupcakes to form a circle around it. Maybe it might have looked more like a soccer ball if I added some black lines to outline the different "squares".

5. My daughter has been the biggest dog lover. One year, she told me she wanted a puppy cake. So I tried. I used several different cake sizes and put them together. It actually didn't look that bad if you look at the first picture. It was when I tried to add color for it to look like a pink puppy that things got messy.

 6. Two of my children have birthdays close to Christmas. One is in December, the other in January. It shouldn't have been a surprise at the time, but my oldest wanted a snowman cake. So I tried. He might have been more of a success if I had a bigger platform to put him on. Instead, he's hunched back and his hat extends onto a plate next to the plateform.

7. One year, I decided to make a Barbie princess cake for my daughter. It didn't turn out too horrible except the top of the dress is made of fondant. It's not very smooth and the pink and purple coloring is really dull instead of bright. I have never made a pretty purple or pink frosting in my life. No matter how much coloring or fiddling around that I do, they always turn out this color. I do not suggest making a cake from a mold because I don't think it bakes correctly. Instead, I would suggest making several round cakes, stack them, and carve them to make the shape. You might waste some cake, but at least it will taste light and fluffy vs. dense.

 8.  This last year, I tried to make a cookie cake for my mother-in-law. I had never made one before, but decided to try it out. The recipe, actually wasn't too bad. I had some extra dough left over, so I made individual cookies. I thought I would wrap them around the cake, but I didn't have enough to go all the way around. Part of the cookie cake crumbled when I pulled it out of the pan, so I had to add a ton of frosting to make up for it. Like I said before, I'm not an artist, so decorating it could have been prettier.

9. My daughter has really gotten into flowers lately. I decided to take a chance and use my Wilton cake piping set and try my hand at making flowers. They weren't terrible when I started to make them, but I think the frosting should have been thicker or something. The flowers kind of melted and again, I'm not an artist, so the stems aren't great, either.

10.  My son told me he wanted a Pokémon cake for his birthday, last year. I tried, really, I did. It is really difficult to make red frosting without it turning pink. So this year, I bought the frosting from a can. The frosting tastes good, but I find that when I frost with premade frosting, that the cake kind of tears up with it and then the cake looks crumby. Instead of making my own black frosting, I bought some icing in a tube. I have found that with those, it either pours out too quickly, or it blasts air from time to time. The black icing came out quickly and unevenly so it made little swirls and waves and if it wasn't doing that, it would blast out air, causing the icing to splatter. Not fun. Maybe if I had a steady hand, it would have looked nicer, but he liked it anyways. 

      I have tried several other cakes throughout momhood, but this post would be super long if I posted them all. I hope that you enjoyed looking at these cakes and got a good laugh out of them. Don't be discouraged if you can't draw or if your baking skills could be better. I have found that NO matter what cakes I made, the only one who laughed at them was me... and maybe a few other adults who tried to tell me that they were wonderful, but I knew deep down inside, they wanted to laugh.

       It's really the thought that counts and I did something good for my kids that they can always remember and look back on. "Remember that time when mom made that cake that was supposed to look like a baby, but instead it looked like a demon?" "Oh yeah! That was the best!" *Insert laughter* 

      If you get the chance and you have Netflix, watch Nailed It. Deep down inside, we are all thinking, "Hey, I could be on this show. I think I might have a shot. How do I apply?" It's funny and I've actually learned a few things from watching. I actually applied to be on the show. There's no indication that they could be doing another season, ever, but if they did, I think that I "Nailed It" with all of these!

Watch this trailer and tell me what you think!

Do you have any cake fails? If you can comment them, I want to see!

Monday, February 19, 2018

New, On Amazon....

Hey everyone!

So.... I've been practicing my writing with this blog. Lately, I've been coming across ads on Facebook for writing contests and decided to try it out. Two weeks ago, I decided to enter the contest. I lost, unfortunately, but I liked my short story enough that I thought I would try to publish it.

If you would like to purchase it to read, you can click this link below. The story is a short story, so I have it priced for $0.99.

I really hope that you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Comment below to tell me what you think!

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Appetizers and Sweet Ideas for the Super Bowl or any Pot Luck

  It's that time of year. The day where people who care about football and those who don't come together to root for opposing teams in a friendly rivalry. If you are like me, you don't really care who wins so you root for the team opposite of those you care about just to get some competition in, or you mostly come for the  commercials, half-time show, and most importantly, the appetizers.

      If you've ever been to a potluck or have had to bring a dish to pass, chances are, you have a go-to snack that you like to bring that's easy to make. If you have hosted an event, you may go one step further and provide a meat dish. 

      I realize, however, that there are some of you who are out there adulating for the first time or are very new to this. Maybe you are attending your first event where you can't rely on your mom to bring something and you are looking for an easy dish to pass. Or maybe, just maybe, you want to venture out and bring something new, something different. Well, I hope that I can help you choose something easy and tasty by making you a list to choose from. Here are some of my favorites as well as suggestions from friends. 

Disclaimer- Not all recipes are mine. The recipes with links are recipes that I found on Pinterest or other websites.

1. BBQ Nachos-
 Ok, so we have this restaurant near me that sells BBQ Nachos- They are amazing, but pricey. One day, we ordered from there and I thought, "You know, these are good, I wonder if I can make them at home?" So I tried it.

Ok, so Sam's Club used to have a pulled pork product that I used to love to buy for this occasion, but they stopped selling it, for some reason. The last time I went, I ended up buying this, and it worked just as well and you can sauce it up, how you'd like. This is the link to it.
If you're going to have a lot of friends and family over, you might want to make two  or more of these. Basically, warm this meat up or throw it into a crock pot to warm. 

Then you'll want to provide toppings:

Jalapeno Peppers- You can find a jar of them in the Mexican food aisle or even find some in the pickle aisle (not always). Get the kind that say they are for nachos because they are already sliced up.

Green Onion- This is a pain in the butt to cut up if you don't have the right knives or cutting apparatus, but they do add to the flavor.

Shredded Cheddar Cheese- buy some already shredded or shred it yourself.

Diced tomatoes- Better if fresh

Sour Cream- I think the Daisy squeeze is easiest.

Tortilla chips- I like the kind that are more authentic, but Tostitos are good, too.

Set up a station and have people layer them how they want. Enjoy! 

2. Deviled Eggs- How could something so easy and delicious have such an evil name? You can use this recipe, or use mine, which is basically, sort of the same.

Here's my Recipe:

Put some eggs in a pot of water. Put the pot onto the stove and turn the fire on. Bring water to a boil and once water is boiled, turn off the heat and wait for water to cool. It would be a BAD idea to reach into the boiling water.

You're going to cut the eggs in half, so be mindful of the amount of eggs that you boil- assuming they all turn out perfect, is going to be doubled, in the end. Do you really want to boil 24 eggs for 48? Decide how many you want or have room for when you bring your dish.

Once the water has cooled, pull egg out, bounce it around on the counter to crack the egg in several places, then try to gently peel away the shell. Once all shells are peeled and some grumbles are made along the way because some eggs didn't want to be separated from their shells and are a complete mess, rinse off the eggs in case any tiny fragments remain.

Then, hold the egg on a flat surface and with a knife, cut the egg in half, the long way. You will know if it's cut the wrong way if the bottom is not the same size as the top.

Carefully pop out the yolk and place it in a separate bowl. Do this with each remaining egg. Place egg whites in an egg container or lay nicely in container with hole side facing up.

If you want to be fancy, you can actually color the egg whites to match your teams colors. The process is here. You can use the recipe listed there, too, if you want, but I prefer no relish. I also don't wait for the eggs to sit for 15 minutes, more like 1, maybe 2.

So now you have all the egg yolks in one bowl, this is what I do next:

Grab some of the miracle whip or mayo that's in your fridge. Grab a hunk of it with a large spoon and throw it into the bowl with egg yolks.  Next, grab some mustard and squeeze the mustard into the same bowl, start with a 2 second squeeze. Next, mix it all together. If it's too dry, add some more mayo. If it's too mayo-y, add another squeeze or two of mustard. Do this until you get the desired consistency and taste.

Once the mixture tastes as desired, grab a plastic gallon baggie. Snip off a small portion at the corner of the bag. Add mixture. Squeeze mixture over the hole in the white yolks. Swirl it until each egg has a pleasing aesthetic look. Last, grab your hidden shaker of paprika, the one that you bought because your mom had one, but you didn't know why you needed it. Open that can and gently shake the can over the eggs, too much paprika and you'll wonder why you took the time to dye the eggs if you were just going to cover it with brownish red powder.

You're finished!

Jalapeno/Banana Pepper Poppers- These are super delicious. When I was pregnant, this was my favorite thing to eat. They are super easy and give you the spicy kick that you need. If you want to make these, you can click here for the recipe. I have also made them with Banana Peppers because I had a ton of them in my garden. They are still flavorful, but are more mild, which is nice when you have children around. 

4. Brownie Peanut Butter Pie- This is one of my favorite desserts, but I don't make it unless I know we will have guests to help eat it because it is so rich and so good. I could eat this all by myself in one, very long day.

The recipe, here, has you use a refrigerated pie crust- which is good, but if you want complete awesomeness, make yourself a graham cracker pie crust.

5. Chocolate Lush- This is pure awesomeness. I don't know if this is the real name, but my Grandma Sue has made this for us forever. It's chocolate, it's cream cheese, it's awesome.

What you need: Refrigerated pie crust or graham cracker crust from above. You're going to need to bake them as instructed. Once cool, mix together chocolate pudding. I have also used butterscotch because my husband doesn't like chocolate.

With a mixer, cream together 1 package of cream cheese, a small container of Cool Whip, and a cup of sugar. You can use powdered sugar, but I like the grainy texture of the sugar.

After the crust has cooled, layer the cream cheese over the bottom. Then add chocolate pudding, and then add a layer of cool whip over the pudding. Sprinkle chocolate chips or butterscotch chips over the top depending on what flavor pudding you used.

6. Cheese Balls- I don't know what it is, but at some point in your life, or at least for me, you're going to love cream cheese. Not only that, you're going to love things mixed with cream cheese. And what's better than things mixed with cream cheese? You've guessed it, being able to dip things in to things made with cream cheese. I don't have one specific recipe, but this link right here, is going to give you a list of 25 recipes for cheese balls. Yum!

So grab a box of crackers, the ingredients to your cheeseball recipe, and share away!

7. Buffalo Chicken Dip-I have only made this dish in a pie pan for my husband and I to eat as dinner. My friends say you can make it in a crockpot which means that it is portable!

If you want it right then and there at home, you can make this as follows: Preheat over to 400.

In a bowl, mix 2 cans of precooked chicken- you can find these next to the tuna. 1/2 cup buffalo sauce- same aisle as regular condiments. 1/2 cup of ranch. 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese. 2 packages of cream cheese.

I use my kitchen mixer to blend all the ingredients together. If you want the dip to be spicier, add some more buffalo sauce, creamier, add more ranch.

Once mixed, pour the dip into a pie plate or some other casserole dish that you have. Shred cheddar cheese over the top until covered evenly.

Place dish in oven for 20 minutes or until cheese starts to brown.

Wait for dip to cool and then eat with chips or crackers. In the summer time, we like to slice up some fresh cucumber from the garden and dip it with that. Some other people use celery.

If you want the crock pot recipe, click here.

8. Veggie Pizza- This dish is something that I've always been skeptical about, until I tried it. I mean, it's understandable; when I see a veggie dish at a party, I roll my eyes. But this is something that you shouldn't knock until you've tried it.

So, most of the recipes that I have looked online, want you to add ranch dressing seasoning. If you want to try it that way, then click here.

If you want to try my recipe, this is what you need to do.

Preheat the oven according to the temperature of a package of crescent rolls. 1 package makes about a 5x7 pan. If you want more to bring, buy more cans. Open the package and unroll the crescent rolls- if you buy the pizza dough rolls, this works too and it's less to rearrange to fit into the dish. Layer the dough to a greased oven safe dish and cook the dough as long as it takes to look cooked- usually 7-10 minutes for my oven. You want it to begin browning, but not be burnt or doughy.

Take it out of the oven when it looks pleasing. Set to the side and cool.

In a bowl, mix together a package of cream cheese, a good hunk of mayo- like a 1/2 cup, 1tsp of garlic salt, 1 tsp of dill weed (Probably in your mother's spice cabinet)- 1/4 tsp of pepper. Spread it evenly over cooled roll crust. If you've doubled the dough, double this mix.

Veggies- Broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots. Cut them up. I like to find the prepackaged bags in the veggie aisle that is on the shelf next to the lettuce that's getting misted because all the ingredients are together. Cut those up into small pieces like you're a pro at doing it. Sprinkle over the dough and mix.

If you're one of those weird people- I mean, if you are someone who likes olives, throw some of those after they've been cut up. If you like mushrooms, do the same. If there is some other veggie that sounds like it might be good that others might also agree upon, throw them on too.

Sprinkle with cheese and cut into slices.

9. Cake Pops- If you like cake, frosting, and chocolate, you'll like Cake Balls. The best part of cake balls is that they are really hard to mess up, unless you don't know how to dip things in chocolate, but even then, it doesn't matter how it looks, only how it tastes, right? They are also very versatile. You can make them with all sorts of flavors. You can make it below, or use this link for pictures and more ideas. 

Ex: Chocolate cake, chocolate frosting, chocolate coating. One of my husbands favorites is carrot cake, cream cheese frosting, white chocolate coating. Lemon cake, white frosting or white cake, lemon frosting, and white chocolate coating. The possibilities are endless.

Bake a chocolate cake mix per instruction on box. Or you can make a cake mix from a box and mix it with a diet soda- less calories, and bake it at the same temp until you can poke it with a tooth pick and nothing comes out.

So, you're cake is baked and it has cooled. Awesome. Now, grab your favorite container of frosting- we have chocolate cake, so lets add chocolate frosting. Mix them both together. You can cut the cake and then put it in a bowl and mix it with frosting, or you could empty the jar of frosting onto the cake and squish it together with clean hands. It doesn't matter how you do it, just make sure your hands are washed and the cake gets mixed really well with frosting. You're going to end up with a cake goo lump in a bowl or dish.

Now you're going to roll this cake goo into little balls and place them on cookie sheets. Once a sheet is filled, place it in the freezer for a 1/2 hours.

Melt some chocolate until it can be easily stirred and looks like a puddle of chocolatey oil. Dip frozen ball of cake into chocolate and place onto the same sheet or a different one. Wait for the chocolate to dry before touching it again.

I've found that using a plastic fork and snapping out the middle to tines makes it easier to dip the balls.

For some reason, white chocolate or any other kind doesn't melt as well, so if you use that kind of chocolate, you have to work quickly.

10. Fruit Pizza- This is also incredibly easy to make, but it can be pricey depending on the season because fruit is expensive.

I usually buy two packages of sugar cookie dough and lay them out onto a greased cookie or pizza sheet until the sheet is evenly covered. Bake at 350 or whatever the temp is on the dough instructions until the dough looks like a golden cookie- not brown because sugar cookies are supposed to be whitish/golden and brown means burnt.

While the cookie cools, mix together a package of cream cheese, a small container of cool whip, and a cup of sugar. You can use powdered sugar for a smoother mix, but I like the grainy texture.  Once cookie has cooled, pour mixture onto cookie and smooth it evenly. 

Add slices of your favorite fruit. I like to line mine out in rows. Usually I add, mandarin oranges, cherries, strawberries, pineapple, blueberries and kiwi. It's your choice of which fruit you like and you can place it on however you like. It's your pizza! 

I've also have seen recipes that used peanut butter cookie dough and they lined it with a peanut butter filling, which is the same as the filling above, they just added peanut butter, and then layered it with bananas and apple 

Keep cool until served. 

     Now, you are ready to try something new or maybe spice your old dish up. No matter what event you're going to, you can use these recipes and they will be a hit.... unless it's somewhere fancy. You might want to try something different if it is. 

      Did you see some of your favorites? Is there something that wasn't here that you think should be mentioned? Leave a comment and tell me what you think!

About Me

My photo
Hello! My name is Brittany and I'm a writer, obviously. As a stay-at-home mom, there are many things that I have to figure out in order to run a house that appears to be more sane than insane. It's not easy to be a parent and I hope that this blog is able to encourage other moms out there to live life happily and to understand that there can be mishaps along the way, but those mishaps don't define you and anything can be overcome with perseverance and will.

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