Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Just one of those days...Experiment #9: Homemade Whipped Cream

For a year, starting when Nora was 15 months, I worked and Nick stayed home. I worked long hours. I had a 20-50 minute commute (depending on traffic) one way. Many days I left before Nora woke and returned after she was asleep. Then I'd come home and do more work.

It was a fulfilling job, but it was horrendously stressful and, to be honest, I remember very little of Nora from that year. I missed it when she spoke her first sentence. I missed going to her first music class and when she learned to do a summersault. I missed spending time with her. Her incessant talking. Her need to be touched. I even missed having to rock her to sleep. It was a huge relief when we moved to Iowa and I could do my work entirely from home.

But on days like today, I long for the ability to just leave the kids in someone else's care and go disappear for a few (or many) hours into my very own work world.

As I look back on the day, it seemed innocent enough. Just a series of slightly annoying events that slowly accumulated into a giant ball of stressed-out Kristin.

To be fair, I think a huge part of the day’s chaos had nothing to do with the girls. It was just the foul mood in which I woke up. I got to bed at 11pm last night and was up from 1:30am – 4, first to feed Lidia, and then to help Nora with some breathing issues. Then Madeline woke up for the day at 4:30 am, hungry (thank you, thank you, thank you, Nick, for getting up with her). And Nick graciously let me sleep as long as he could before having to shower and leave (6:45am).

Thanks to her early awakening, Madeline had an enormously short fuse and, at our play group, just sat and scream-cried for 20 minutes (along with Lidia, who was having especially bad gas today). We had to leave group early (my one constant social event during the week!!). I didn’t get to shower and wash my hair this morning and it was a hot, humid day. Heat index of 96 (thankfully super deodorant was functional!). So, I walked the 7-minute-but-felt-like-60-minute-walk back home, dripping sweat. Lidia was strapped to me and screaming, Madeline screaming, and Nora talking non-stop. With all the screaming, all I could hear from Nora was, “Mama? Mama? (mumble, mumble, incoherent mumble) Mama? Mama? Mama?! MAMA!

Lidia, my normally awesome sleeper, slept only for 20-minute intervals all day, punctuated by banshee-like screams. Madeline was extra whiny. Nora was extra talkative. Lidia pooped about every hour, so I went through my whole stash of clean cloth diapers.

Nora dumped smoothie all over herself and the garage floor. Immediately following her bath, Madeline smeared quinoa and chocolate milk all over herself, the table and the floor (have you ever tried to clean quinoa off anything?!). Lidia spit up all over herself, myself and her freshly laundered blanket.

Lidia pooped through her clothes. Madeline (who is potty training) pooped on the floor. Nora pooped (in the potty, thankfully) as all the other pooping was unfolding and was scream-chanting, “Mama, I’m done! Mama, I’m done! Mama, I’m done!”

Bedtime was a disaster. Lidia was screaming, Madeline was screaming, Nora was whining and cannon-ball bouncing on her bed. Everyone wanted me to hold them. I wanted to scream.

I maybe did scream. I maybe thought to myself, “In the name of all that is beautiful and good, why did I quit my job and decide to stay home?!?” I maybe stomped out of the room and slammed the door like a teenager.

Not my proudest parenting moment.

It has most definitely been a whipped-cream-day. Not whipped-cream-on-desert-day, or whipped-cream-on-fruit-day, but straight-up-whipped-cream-on-my-spoon-and-nothing-but-whipped-cream-day. Although it’s delicious on either of those things, too.

But now I’m sitting here on my deck, writing and listening to the sounds of a perfect summer evening cascading in as the whipped cream dissolves slowly, decadently over my tongue. And I can laugh a little about the day. I think about Madeline’s tear-stained, puffy-eyed face glancing woefully up at me after my tantrum, and she hoarsely whispers, “Sorry Mama. Hug? Kiss mama’s owie.” Then getting the snot-and-tear-soaked sloppy kiss on the cheek and the strangle-esque bear hug around the neck.

Yes, it’s on days like today that I miss leaving home and going to work.

But just for a moment.

Homemade Whipped Cream
I learned this recipe from my mom. She made it on special occasions, but my favorite was on nights when my dad would make his homemade chocolate pudding.

Cost: more than $1, less than $1.25 (no clue how much store bought costs, but really, can you compare???)

Time to Completion: 5 minutes active, plus 10 minutes for utensils to sit in the freezer.

Equipment: Metal bowl that holds at least 2 cups, electric mixer (hand mixer works best) with metal beaters, measuring cups, measuring spoon, rubber scraper.

1 cup heavy whipping cream
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup powdered sugar (more or less to taste)

Put the metal bowl and metal beaters in the freezer for 10 minutes (or more, if you so choose). The cream whips up best if the bowl, beaters and cream are very cold. Assemble all your ingredients before removing from the freezer/fridge.

Pour cream into bowl and mix on highest setting until starting to stiffen (approximately 90 – 100 seconds). Add vanilla and powdered sugar (start with less – you can always add more). Mix until combined, another 10 – 15 seconds. When you are done mixing, the cream should hold it’s shape and not run. Don’t over mix or you’ll get butter. It will keep for a couple days in the fridge. 


1 comment:

  1. Just wanted you to know I think most of us young mothers (well, I was once, long ago) have had days similar to your day. It is so good to read whipped cream helped ease the stress when a bottle of chocolate wine would probably be my choice! You will have better days. Grandma Laura was a very wise woman!

    It is so good to see a post from you! I have been checking off and on and when I read about the family addition, I understood. Congrats by the way! It is so funny (coincidental?) to read of your not quite perfected experiments as I have found a blog I read each day about similar DIY projects. Jillee isn't a perfectionist, though, but she does have an interesting history.
    She has posted on many of the topics you have been experimenting. It is worth the read and may give you some ideas.