12 Ways to Lose Your Mind This Christmas—#11

With only four more days to go before Christmas, I’m sure you’re feeling the noose tighten by now. Even those who were blasé about the rapidly approaching holiday (erm…my hubby), are now realizing that crunch time is upon us. You wake up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night, a list of all the gifts you were supposed to buy, running through your head like a stock market ticker. You mentally prepare lists: lists of food to buy, gifts to wrap, stocking stuffers to find, cleaning that needs to be done. And on top of it all are

#11. The “Extras”. The extras are just that—supporting players in the main movie of your very own “Christmas Spectacular”. They’re not the stars and they rarely even have a speaking part, but most people would notice if the movie extras just suddenly disappeared, wouldn’t they?

The extras encompass everything that isn’t a “given” about Christmas—gifts, Christmas dinner, a Christmas tree, etc. The extras are just that—extra stuff that your family has decided to engage in during the holidays for one of two purposes. #1 for “Tradition” (either new or old) purposes, or #2…to stress you out even more. Extras can be going the Nutcracker, having an ugly sweater party, or driving around to look at lights. The extras are supposed to get you in the Christmas spirit, and maybe they do, but not without mainlining TUMS.

One year hubby and I decided we would start a new tradition (because all the other things we did obviously didn’t stress us out enough) and go see a Christmas play in the City. Going to the play itself wasn’t the difficult part, although riding on a train stuffed with people on a Saturday afternoon was no fun, and my son hated the play because it was a musical and he thinks musicals should be abolished from the earth like the plague, and both kids were pissed because we wouldn’t buy them $20 foam fingers at the play—that wasn’t the “bad” part of this trip. We figured while we were in the City, we were going to go see “The Tree”.  Three days before Christmas. On an unseasonably warm, 70 degree day in December. We are obviously idiots.

For those of you who don’t live in the tri-state area, “The City” is New York City, and “The Tree” is the tree in Rockefeller Center. Going to see the Tree is an extremely “tourist-y” thing to do and trying to get near it is kind of like a scene from Indiana Jones and the Holy Grail. Getting anywhere the City can be complicated as well—you know, with all the tourists spilling out all over the sidewalks and everything. I say this like I’m not a tourist myself, but I guess I would be considered one since I’m not a native New Yorker. But there’s a difference between “tourists” (those people with the cameras taking pictures of sidewalk grates, lampposts, and everything in between) and “Jersey/ Philly tourists”. We’re not impressed by anything in the City since we’ve been there countless times. We don’t take pictures (usually) and we don’t walk around with that wide-eyed, deer in headlights look. However, we still don’t know the ins and outs of the City, and you can find us scratching our heads and consulting our phones as we try to navigate through the insane crowds of the actual tourists. And underestimating how far twenty city blocks actually are. And getting halfway to our destination and feeling like our legs are going to fall off if we walk any further and that we need to hail a cab. And realizing that we don’t actually know how one would hail a cab. Do you put your arm up like in the movies? Do you put your fingers between your lips and whistle? Can anyone actually do that anymore? (My Nana could do that, but I’m pretty sure it’s a dying art form.) And then finding out that you need to make reservations to eat any place decent—five months in advance.

Imagine the four of us wandering around the City—overheated, tired, hungry and cranky. We finally get to the tree after what feels like seven hours of repeatedly being beat with a stick like a piñata. At the Tree there is a crowd eighty people deep (I know I tend to exaggerate but this is not even remotely an exaggeration. In actuality, I may have underestimated how many people were there.) We take a quick obligatory picture near-ish the Tree and then begin the long, arduous journey back to the train station. We miss the train by thirty seconds (also not an exaggeration) and end up sitting on the floor of the train station for another hour until the next train comes.

So what did we learn here? Sometimes the extras are no fun. Sometimes the extras are actually painful (the blisters on my feet were legendary). But there’s a reason they’re “Extras”. We don’t really need to do them if we don’t want to. If they don’t bring us joy, then no one will miss it. Don’t beat yourself up because everyone is Snapchatting their pictures in front of the tree or taking pictures at elaborate light displays. If it makes you miserable, don’t do it. Hence why that trip to see the tree was our first and most likely last.

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12 Ways to Lose Your Mind This Christmas—#10

I almost forgot about #10. It’s been quite a few years since we’ve worried about #10 in our house.

#10. Perpetuate the lie of “Santa Claus”.

When I was about four years old, my evil uncle (who was only five years older than me), gleefully ruined my childhood. Yup, he told me that there was no such thing as Santa. I was devastated. Of course I was still smart enough at that age not to let on that I knew. In my head, if you didn’t believe in Santa, you wouldn’t get any presents.

My own kids stopped believing at some point in time at the end of their elementary years. I’m not sure exactly when because like me, they didn’t let on that they were wise to the secret. I would say my son was about ten and my daughter was younger than that because the older uncle sibling always seems to ruin these things. So the last three years or so have been much easier at Christmas time, simply because we don’t have to pretend. We don’t pretend that Santa brought presents at the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve, at the same time he’s bringing gifts to a billion other kids. We don’t have to make sure we wrap all of our other presents in different paper than the “Santa” wrap. We don’t have to fill our own stockings because the kids will ask why we didn’t get gifts—were we naughty??? We don’t have to wait till the kids go to bed to put their presents under the tree. (And of course you have to wait until they are absolutely, positively asleep before you can even think about bringing the gifts down, usually somewhere around 3 am when you can barely stand because you’re so tired—they seem to be on high alert for any noise on Christmas Eve.) We don’t need to track Santa on the Norad Santa tracker (which actually was kind of fun and I still do it anyway…). We don’t have to get up at the butt crack of dawn on Christmas Day to see what Santa brought us. We don’t have to go nuts coordinating outfits and trying to put tights on a two year old to go see Santa. We don’t have to wait on line at the mall for hours with the other sucker parents, turning various shades of red as their kids claw their way off of Santa’s lap. (Seriously, does any kid from ages 18 months to three years old actually sit on Santa’s lap without screaming bloody murder? My oldest refused from ages two to seven.) We also don’t have to take out a second mortgage to pay for those pictures documenting the trauma they’ve endured at the hands of the scary old man. (Confession time: we never actually took the kids to see Santa at the mall—we’ve always gone to see the free Santas at the firehouse, library, school, etc. You don’t have to wait long, you don’t have to feel bad when your kid refuses to sit on Santa’s lap, and you can take all the horrible pictures you want for free.) We don’t have to sit with a five year old who wants to write a painstakingly slow letter to Santa. We don’t have to mail that letter and waste a stamp. We don’t have to sit at the computer for hours trying to compose a video from Santa to the children (Who said technological advances were a good thing??? My parents never sent me a video from Santa!)

In a flash, our kids didn’t believe, and this was one less burden off our shoulders at this already burdensome time of year. God…what a relief! But at the same time…it’s heartbreaking. More proof that they’ve grown up so quickly—so much quicker than I thought possible. I miss the joy believing brought to them. The desire to behave, so that they could impress Santa (and later on, his elf spy). The innocence and ability to believe something so incredibly ridiculous could actually be true. Sometimes I wish I had that innocence back. They’re not so innocent or easy to impress any more. I wish I had savored it a little bit back then, not rolling my eyes and wishing that the dreadful Santa years would be over with. Because they are now…along with my sweet and innocent babies who used to believe.

12 Ways to Lose Your Mind This Christmas—#9

I know I promised 12 Ways to Lose Your Mind this Christmas Season over 12 days, but it seriously was a much more daunting task than I anticipated. I just can’t seem to get myself together, I just can’t seem to figure out which end is up while trying to prepare for Christmas next week. Mostly because of Way #9. If you really want to stress out this holiday season,

#9. Continue on with your regular life. Yup, that’s right. Didn’t you know? Life still goes on during the holiday season. Kids need to get to basketball practice, hubby needs to go to the dentist, you need to go to work (wouldn’t it be nice to have the month of December off to get your $hit together???). Dinners need to be made, dinners need to be cleaned up, grocery shopping needs to happen. Bathrooms need to be cleaned, laundry needs to be done, etc., etc., etc. On top of all the stress of the rapidly approaching holiday…YOU STILL NEED TO DO ALL THE STUFF YOU WERE DOING BEFORE! This means less sleep, crappier meals, more caffeine, and a much crankier you.

And never mind the regular life that you have to hold together—at this time of year, you’re more likely to have a monkey wrench thrown in the works than any other time of year. It’s inevitable that someone in the house will get a stomach bug, strep throat, or the flu. You’ll have to replace the living room rug at midnight on the eve of Christmas Eve because you have a houseful of people coming the next day and there’s puke embedded in the fibers. You’ll need to call the a hvac guy the next day because your heat died. Your kid’s pants for their Christmas concert will be too tight and you’ll have to run out at zero hour to get a new pair, or subject yourself to the passive aggressive whisperings of the PTO moms behind you about how you’re a bad mom. It’ll snow and you will discover your kids outgrew their boots, there’s a rip in one of their coats, and each of them only has one glove. Your youngest child will fall off a ladder while trying to sneak a peak at the gifts hidden on top of your closet and break his arm. You will forget to pay the electric bill and the lights you spent so long stringing will go out. Your basement will flood from a piece of lint stuck in your laundry slop sink. Your dog will eat a tennis ball and you’ll have to run to the emergency vet. Your cat will eat mistletoe and puke it up all over your bed.

MAKE IT STOP!!!!! You should be, at the very least, granted a pass from crappy things happening to you during the Christmas season. How are you supposed to spread cheer when you spill your morning coffee on your lap and ruin your new shirt? How are you supposed to spread good will toward your fellow man when your breaks are squeaking? How are you supposed to enjoy the season when it’s go, go, go from the moment you get up to the time you go to bed? Well, you’re not. What you’re supposed to do is…STOP. Take a breath. No, not that way…a real breath. Let yourself have a good cry. Have your nervous breakdown and then wipe the tears away. Christmas will happen whether you do it all or not. Lower your expectations of yourself—-no, I’m not kidding. Allow yourself to actually enjoy it. Skip the gym, order takeout, watch a Christmas movie, take a mental health day from work…whatever it is you need to do to get through the day. It’s what I’ve vowed to do this last week before Christmas. I’m accepting I can’t do it all and the only person it usually matters to is…me. So what I’m going to do when the stress of everyday life combined with one hell of a holiday season gets under my skin is relax. I’m not taking anything seriously anymore. Christmas will come whether I stress out about it or not, and it’s a hell of a lot more enjoyable when I don’t stress.

I’m going to go off to yoga now and just chill in Savasana. You can join me if you want. Just someone remember to wake me up January 2nd.

12 Ways to Lose Your Mind This Christmas—#8

We’re getting oh so close to Christmas. Maybe you haven’t lost your mind yet. Maybe you’ve decided that this is the year you’ll scale back. You won’t do the outdoor lights or bake. Maybe you’ve taken my advice and got a sweet pre-lit tree. Perhaps the gift gods have shined upon you and you’ve stumbled upon the perfect gifts for everyone. Well, there’s still time to go insane. It’s actually so easy that you almost can’t avoid it.

#8. Play Christmas music. Okay, okay…I know you’re thinking, “Oh my God! Is she the Grinch? How could Christmas music possibly cause you to lose your mind?” Well, consider that it’s December 17th and we’ve probably been listening to Christmas music for well over a month and a half now. That’s right…radio stations, commercials, stores…they’ve been subliminally slipping in the Christmas music since before the day they put their Halloween candy on sale for half price.

The radio stations by me have been playing Christmas music since November 1st. Yup. It’s not even cold yet! We haven’t even had turkey yet! What’s going on? When I was a kid, Christmas music, Christmas movies…they didn’t start till mid December, when everyone was ready for the holidays to begin. What’s the rush???? The rush is for the sole purpose of making you lose your mind by Christmas time.

At first, you’re happy to hear those few little notes of holiday cheer. You start humming along, giddy at the sound. The songs remind you of Christmases of yesteryear. There’s actually some memory reaction that music triggers in our brain, so this whole “playing Christmas music before Thanksgiving” isn’t an accident. Retailers are trying to get us to remember Christmas and feel all warm and fuzzy about it. And SHOP. Shop in their stores that are playing “Joy to the World” while you’re looking for Back to School supplies. And it works. You’re remembering playing “Jingle Bells” on your mini keyboard for your family when you were nine—so you grab an identical (and updated) mini keyboard for your own child, hoping she’ll enjoy it as much as you did (you “lost” it in your closet somewhere around New Year’s, but you never remember those sort of details). As you pass the pre-made gingerbread houses in aisle six with “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree”, you recall making gingerbread houses with your nana. You toss the gingerbread house in your cart as well—your kids will love it. You can make that when you screw up the cookies Then you pass that damn cologne counter in the mall that usually makes you choke, but it doesn’t this time. ‘Cuz they’re playing “Blue Christmas” and you can smell your grandfather’s cologne. With tears in your eyes, you realize you must buy this for your hubby, boyfriend, significant other. (Which is a little creepy.)

The overkill isn’t just in stores. We’ve been playing it for awhile at home now, too. We’ve listened to Christmas music while putting up lights. We’ve listened to Christmas music while wrapping. We’ve listened to Christmas music while baking. We’ve gone to our kids’ Christmas concerts at school, we’ve gone Christmas caroling, we’ve been singing Christmas music at church. We’re hearing Christmas music in the car, on TV, at work…we’re hearing it in our sleep. It’s lost its cheerfulness. It just reminds you that Christmas is fast approaching and you’ve got a ton of crap that still needs to get done. Christmas music becomes that countdown clock in our heads that is tick, tick, ticking away at a breakneck pace. Bing Crosby, Mariah Carey, and Hanson…all singing about how your holiday isn’t as great as theirs. (Well, of course it’s not—I don’t have a maid, a nanny, or a billion dollars.)

All of a sudden, we’re FaLaLaLaLa’d the %&$* out with still over a week till Christmas. At this point in time, we actually don’t want to hear any more Christmas music—ever. We’re dying to turn on the radio in the car and hear Beyonce singing about something that isn’t mistletoe or boughs of holly. You know every verse to “Silent Night” and that’s all you want…a SILENT NIGHT. No Jingle Bell Rock, no Deck the Halls, no Little Drummer Boy.

You vow to take your sanity back. You pour yourself a cup of tea, turn off the radio and sit in blissful silence. For about thirty seconds. Then you jump up and return to your holiday duties…after all, you still have so much left to do.

Or maybe I’m wrong. Maybe Christmas music isn’t stressing you out. You’re one of those people that have “Everything done” (and are so quick to tell everyone on social media about it and how you don’t understand why the rest of us suckers are still rushing around like headless chickens). In that case, you can listen to your Christmas music—in your own car, your own house, your own headphones. But don’t let me hear it…I just may go off the deep end.

The Bad Mommy Cooks—Arizona

Hallelujah, I’ve redeemed myself after my Boston Cream massacre. Arizona was the state we pulled from the hat this week—I should be able to cook a decent meal from Arizona. After all, I lived there for three months. Yes, you read that correctly. Back on ’99, we wanted to try something different before we settled down and bought a house. Travel nursing beckoned me. In theory, it was a fabulous way to see the country and get paid to do it. I would be able to beef up my resume and get experience as a nurse at the same time.

In theory it was a great idea. In reality, it led us to Arizona. In June. July. And August. Otherwise known as THE SURFACE OF THE FREAKING SUN. I thought nothing could be worse than growing up in the humid swamp of New Jersey in the middle of the summer. After all, Arizona is a dry heat. Ha! If I had a dollar for every time I heard that. Let me tell you something…heat is heat. When it’s literally 120 degrees and you can fry an egg on the sidewalk (we actually watched them do this in downtown Oatman), it doesn’t matter a fart if it’s a dry heat—you’re dying either way. Seriously, we had to bring a cooler to go to the grocery store or our ice cream would melt (IN THE AIR CONDITIONED CAR!!!) on the way home.

The place we lived, Bullhead City, was virtually unheard of and barely inhabited at the time. img_5312

This was actually the view from our bedroom window. That grocery store we had to drive to? Yeah, that was 17 minutes away. There wasn’t much around except lizards and tumbleweeds. When you come from a built up area like we do, that’s a bitter pill to swallow. Within a week, we had already gone to the lake and the river and were bored and homesick.   Not only were restaurants for us to frequent in short supply (except McDonald’s), we were dirt poor and couldn’t have afforded to eat in a restaurant anyway. So we cooked a lot out there. Obviously with its close proximity to Mexico, Mexican food is pretty popular in Arizona. Maybe this is why when I cook Mexican/ TexMex food, I do pretty well. I must have absorbed Mexican cooking knowledge as I slept so close to the border or something.

However, I had never made chimichangas, a classic Mexican dish. I decided to attempt it after the disastrous Massachusetts dessert last week. To make it even more authentic, I had hubby whip up his world-famous guacamole. Ok, maybe I was craving it and I claimed it was necessary for the meal. Hey, he fell for it.

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The chimichangas weren’t too complicated either. We decided on beef, but you can make pork or chicken as well. First you brown the beef and add minced onions:

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Then you add the spices (oregano, cumin, chili powder) and garlic. I was nervous that it wouldn’t have much flavor because hubby used up the last garlic clove making the guac (which is now repeating on me as I type this), so I put extra chili powder and added garlic powder. A LOT of garlic powder.

I tasted it and it still was kind of blah, so I added a lot more chili powder. Then I proceeded to get a clump of the chili powder in my mouth as I tasted the beef. Yikes. Then you add tomato sauce and refried bean. I wanted to add the beans, but I was outnumbered. If you make this and use refried beans, send me some so I can taste it the way it was meant to be tasted.

Next you roll the beef into the tortillas and toothpick them in place. (Be sure to remove said toothpicks from the tortilla after it’s fried…it hurts the roof of your mouth big time when you bite into that.)

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You can fry on the stove, but we have a deep fryer, so we used that. (What’s one more mess to clean up???)

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While that fried up, I made the sauce to go on top—tomato sauce with jalepenos and diced green chiles. Hubby diced everything since he’s much faster at it than I am and doesn’t cut himself like I do.

When the rolled up tortillas come out of the fryer, top them with shredded Monterey jack/cheddar, the sauce, shredded lettuce and a dollop of cream cheese.

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Here’s an inside view:

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They were really filling—we could only eat one apiece so we had two left over. I’m not sure that they’ll warm up well though. At any rate, the meal got three thumbs up (the fourth thumb is at work again) and I got the go ahead to make them again in the future! Maybe I’ll try the pork next time—y’all know how I feel about pulled pork.

12 Ways to Lose Your Mind this Christmas—#7

#7. Get yourself The Elf on the Shelf. Yeah I know. I wrote a blog a few years ago about Why I Love That Creepy Little Elf on the Shelf. I was even a guest on some random Canadian radio station, singing the praises of the elf and telling everyone why they needed an elf in their house. And it was all true. I did love the elf (at the time). It was a fun tradition that we had in our house, but let me tell you, I am soooo glad that we don’t have to really deal with the Elf any more. Sure, he’s still around—I think he’s hanging from the mistletoe today—but there is absolutely no pressure whatsoever to move him. Or create an elaborate scenario for him to act out like Elfie has a snowball fight with Barbie, or Elfie is ziplining across the living room, or Elfie drank too much eggnog and is throwing up in the sink…you know, normal things like that. I don’t leap out of bed at 6 am with the sinking feeling I forgot to move the elf and wondering oh my god why are the kids up so early? I also don’t have to wait until my kids go to bed, yawning and rubbing my eyes, just so I can move aforementioned elf.

I laugh at the elf antics posted on Facebook and I feel sorry for the parents who have kids that are still elf age. Because as fun as it was, there was a lot of stress associated with that elf. And it seems so much more difficult now than it was even three or four years ago—the elves are going crazy lately. Not only are they showing up as early as Thanksgiving (5 weeks of elf hiding spots? Are you kidding me??? I could barely handle 2 weeks!), all of a sudden, the elves bring gifts and promises and notes regarding behavior, making the whole elf process way more complicated than it ever was for us. And there’s no way to prevent your kid from knowing what’s going on with other elves and feeling the pressure to keep up. Not only are other moms and dads posting their elf’s antics, the kids are posting to their own social media accounts. Kids are coming home and saying “Jenny’s elf brought her a bicycle and a Nintendo Switch today, why doesn’t my elf ever bring me anything?”

Don’t get me wrong—the elf really helped the kids get in the holiday spirit and it was a cool tradition to have, one we didn’t have growing up. It was priceless watching the kids try to find the elf in the morning…even when I knew they didn’t believe in his magic anymore. It was fun dressing him up in a motorcycle jacket and hiding him in the freezer. It was fun getting hubby to laugh when I had the elf working out in the basement. But like everything else associated with Christmas, it became too much. Just an added stressor at a time when my patience was already stretched thin and I was full of holiday frustration. Like all things with kids, it was a stage that went by quickly…one minute, a stuffed doll was able to keep my kids in line before Christmas, and seemingly the next, they don’t care about Santa…or even presents. They just care about money. Give me cash, they say when asked what they want for Christmas and birthdays now. It makes me a little weepy to think they grew up so fast, to think my days of hiding gifts and assembling Barbie houses at 2 am on Christmas morning have gone away. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to have older kids because the stress of keeping the magic of Christmas isn’t looming over my head like a black cloud. We don’t have to mail letters to Santa or drive ourselves nuts trying to find that one gift they asked Santa for. There’s no waiting till they go to bed to drag gifts out of the basement from behind the furnace. We don’t need to read the Night Before Christmas or even put out cookies for Santa (we do anyway…I like cookies). It’s liberating and disheartening at the same time.

So ladies and gentlemen, make sure you move your elf for your little ones tonight…but don’t stress over it because that’s not worth your time. What’s worth your time is the joy it brings your kids. Enjoy it while it lasts…it doesn’t last forever.

The Bad Mommy Cooks—Massachusetts

Massachusetts is our 13th state. That means we are about 25% of the way done with our state tour. Here’s a quick recap of the first 12 states (each 👍🏼 or 👎🏼 represents a family member):

  • Hawaii 👎🏼👎🏼👎🏼👎🏼 (Chef’s fault)
  • North Dakota 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼 (Bison was better than we anticipated)
  • North Carolina 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼 (Pulled pork is always a winner in my book)
  • Alaska 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼 (Super expensive but oh so good)
  • Kansas 👍🏼👎🏼👍🏼👎🏼 (The kids and I were on the fence with this one)
  • Pennsylvania 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼 (Yah for Philly!—only for cheesesteaks though)
  • New Mexico 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼 (Taquitos were a Mexican party in our mouths)
  • Indiana 👍🏼👍🏼👎🏼👎🏼 (Fried pork wasn’t my thing)
  • Texas 👍🏼👍🏼👎🏼👎🏼 (The chicken fried steak was confusing)
  • Georgia 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼 (Can I give this state 5 thumbs up???)
  • South Dakota 👍🏼👍🏼👎🏼(We were missing our 4th thumb)
  • West Virginia 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼 (Who doesn’t love Pepperoni bread???)

Things were going so well with our cooking experiment. *Sigh* Enter Massachusetts to ruin that. Actually, I ruined Massachusetts because Massachusetts was a two part-er. Hubby made New England Clam Chowder and I made Boston Cream Cupcakes.

Mmmmm. Boston Cream. Sounds delicious, doesn’t it? Yeah, stand by for how I manage to ruin that. First, the clam chowder.

Hubby makes a kick ass, out of this world crab corn chowder. There are celery, carrots, jalepenos, corn, potatoes, and a cream base with bacon. The clam chowder recipe* I found used many of the same ingredients, so theoretically, it would taste very similar, right? Wrong. Turns out, I don’t like clams. Well, I don’t like clams in soup or chowder. Or from the shells. Or anytime you can feel how gross and slippery they are. I had a feeling that would be an issue for me, so I had him buy fried clams (also very Massachusetts) that I could make when the slippery clam chowder made me barf. Don’t like something? Fry it up! Frying makes everything delicious (except pork—pork shouldn’t be fried EVER).I was actually looking forward to the fried clams. The problem was, I never got to make those fried clams because I was too busy screwing up the Boston Cream Cupcakes.

How can you screw up cupcakes, you ask? You used to be the Queen of Cupcakes. Your kids would fight each other for your cupcakes. Your husband’s co-workers would salivate when you showed up with your cupcake carrier. Yeah, well apparently the Queen is dead. In her place is the Un-domesticated Goddess of F’d Up Baked Goods.

In all fairness, the original Pinterest poster of this cupcake recipe warned that it was complicated. And also in fairness, in the middle of making these cupcakes my outdoor Christmas lights blew out again…for the 4th time in two weeks, which was really, really, really upsetting. I may have cried a little bit. I also may have poured more wine than recommended while baking. Oh, and the vet called about my dog at a crucial point of the cream making process, so I may have been slightly distracted when I needed to be stirring to prevent lumps.

So first, the cupcakes. The cupcakes I used to make were light and fluffy and always  overflowed their cupcake wrapper cups. These cupcakes had serious muffin top. In stark contract, these were the cupcakes I extracted from the oven for the Boston Cream Cupcakes:

e5e2da47-b6cc-4703-848e-bab7a530c88c-396-0000004e39afd24c_file How sad is that? (Even Olaf is in shock) The cream filling was even worse. Remember how I said the vet called while I was making it? Yeah well that was at the very moment I added the milk and I was supposed to constantly stir it in to prevent lumps. Unfortunately, the vet’s call got dropped because hubby left and turned the car on and subsequently, my car bluetooth that is sync’d to my phone. Long story short, I was a bit distracted, frantically trying to call the vet back and I didn’t stir too well. Hence the fact I had to use the potato masher later on.

img_5281(It didn’t work, by the way.) When I filled the pastry bag and tried to inject the cream into the cupcakes…well, let’s just say it was an epic fail.

By this time, the clam chowder was done, the butter for the biscuits had just exploded in the microwave, I was in tears, and my night was pretty much ruined. I didn’t even bother to make the chocolate ganache for the cupcakes. I tried to eat the clam chowder but those damn slippery clams got me. So in the end, all I ate was a cheddar bay biscuit (the kind you get from Red Lobster—they sell it in a box—no reason to ever go back to Red Lobster now). Maybe our next state won’t include any baked goods for me to screw up.

*Link to Clam chowder I did not really eat.

Hubby and one child liked it though. Other child did not eat it either. I looks pretty nice, but I’ll stick to the crab corn chowder instead. img_5285P.S., if anyone successfully makes the Boston Cream cupcakes, can you send me one?? I had to make do with a Boston Cream donut instead.

It just wasn’t the same 😢