Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Jell-o Project: Mimosa Mold

Spring is in the air and Jell-o was on sale for a dollar a box. If that isn't the formula for Jell-o inspiration, I don't know what is.

Oh, wait, what about this?

It's a book of all my Jell-o Project blog posts to date. Robert was pretty excited when he saw my book and suggested I get it published. "I just did," I told him, holding up my evidence. "There was a print run of one." (Seriously though, if anyone wants to publish it for reals, call me!)

So, I pulled out Jell-o Collection, my newest and only Jell-o recipe book, and decided to make Mimosa Mold. 

1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 (8 serving size) package of sparkling white grape or lemon Jell-o
2 cups cold seltzer or club soda
1 can mandarin oranges
1 cup sliced strawberries

Directions: Stir boiling water into gelatin in large bowl at least 2 minutes or until completely dissolved. Refrigerate 15 minutes. Gently stir in seltzer. Refrigerate about 30 minutes or until slightly thickened. Gently stir about 15 seconds. Stir in oranges and strawberries. Pour into molds. Refrigerate 4 hours or until firm. Unmold and garnish as desired.

The reactions to the second installment of The Jell-o Project were positive.

Ethan was the least enthusiastic, but found a way to suck away all the Jell-o while leaving the fruit behind. His method didn't even require a spoon. (That's right girl's. He's 14) He was ecstatic. 

Isaac mostly ate his Jell-o salad, but said he didn't like it. "But I ate one of each fruit," he offered.

Robert said, "This is really good," which is more than I could have ever expected him to say and it thrilled me to no end. He even pondered how he might bring some to work for lunch, but gave up on the idea after he couldn't find a suitable container.

Jonah. Oh sweet, sweet Jonah. He was the one who offered the prayer on our meal tonight, part of which--and I'm not making this up--included the phrase, "Thank-you Heavenly Father, that Mom made Jell-o for dinner tonight." After eating the Jell-o he declared, "Mom, this is delicious."

I have to admit, it was yummy. The club soda really added a fun kick and the fresh strawberries and mandarins were delicious. I thought the very fact that they were NOT crushed pineapple would have elicited more of a favorable response from Ethan, but even though he will eat a regular fruit salad with cut up strawberries and mandarin oranges, he would not eat the fruit surrounded by the club soda spiked Jell-o.

It doesn't matter.

I'm back!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Twinkie Mom

I've wanted to make homemade Twinkies for a while, and today I had a little time on my hands, so I went for it. I found this recipe online and luckily they had great instructions for making individual baking vessels. (And yes, I did realize this was a moment of crazy--making little baking vessels out of aluminum foil--but it's not like I was making my own goldfish crackers.)

Here's the finished product. You might notice that one Twinkie doesn't quite fit on the plate. So sad. I had to eat it. As for the rest of the family, I'm making them wait for dessert to try a Twinkie for themselves. 

One downside, the recipe made about twice as much cream filling as we needed, so now I have a good amount of extra cream that seems just too good to toss. What to do?

On a side note, I was listening to a Radiolab podcast about Fritz Haber while making these yummy cakes. But, I'm wondering if from now on, Twinkies will forever be associated with chemical warfare in World War I. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

In Which I Begin to Feel Like Dr. Frankenstein

I've never read the book, but am nevertheless, understanding the great terror that comes from creating a monster. Because like Dr. Frankenstein, I've created a monster. Well, three monsters to be specific.

I knew I was creating monsters when I showed my boys this video. It's eleven minutes long, but a sweet, fun story about a little boy. Watch it.*

Caine's Arcade from Nirvan Mullick on Vimeo.

Now watch my boys' response, which is under a minute:

That was Friday. Today is Sunday and boxes are disappearing. First it was the recycling bin that was raided. Then it was my drawers. I'm finding stacks of zip lock bags sans box, next to the boxless roll of Saran Wrap.

They are wielding Xact-o knives and running through rolls of tape like it was Kleenex during cold and flu season.

There are bits of cardboard everywhere and I'm starting to suspect they missed the part of Cain's video where he cleans up.

It's getting to the point where I can't beat them. But I don't plan on joining them. I plan on curling up in my room and reading a book.

*Cain hangs out at his dad's used auto parts store and creates a complex cardboard arcade. He spends his days waiting for customers who never come. Until one day . . . 

Thursday, April 12, 2012


Someone asked me a few weeks back if I worked.

"I'm just a stay-at-home mom," I replied. And while I know we stay-at-home-moms are not supposed to say "just," I said it anyway. Because sometimes, that's how I feel. I think it's well established that being a full-time mom is a big, thankless job. Can you imagine a job that would require you to care for sick people when you, yourself are sick?

A moment after I answered this person's question, however, I realized that I actually do work. For money. It's just not a lot of money, but I do things. I rattled off a few of those things, and later that day, I realized I'd left a few off the list.

Then this morning, when I realized a deadline was coming up, I realized one more thing I do.

So, mostly for myself, I'm listing them here so I will remember all the jobs I have (besides mother, of course, which is the hardest and most rewarding of all my jobs.)

Job Title Pending - I work for taking orders, doing data entry, customer service, packing and shipping and keeping records updated.

Proofreader - I proofread Vancouver Family Magazine monthly.

Writer - I write a monthly book review column for Vancouver Family Magazine.

Tutor - I tutor several students in writing.

Freelance Writer - I sometimes write articles for magazines, like The New Era, and Vancouver Family Magazine.

There are also several unpaid, non-mom jobs I do:

Young Women's Presidency 2nd Counselor - I work with the 12 and 13 year old girls at church and help them learn leadership skills and also develop spiritually. We work together on goal setting, and once a week we have an activity that I help plan and carry out. I attend leadership and planning meetings regularly.

Art Literacy Volunteer - I receive training on a different artist four times a school year, then present an informational slide show to two classes and lead them in an art project.

Out of all these jobs, being a stay-at-home mom is my favorite and I'm very blessed to be able to have that job.