Claire and I were discussing brownies the other day when she made the unfortunate mistake of substituting applesauce for oil and was disappointed with the results. I get it, she wanted to be healthy, but let’s all be honest with ourselves…if you are eating brownies you are not making a healthy choice. I’m not judging! I can put a hurtin’ on some brownies, and believe you me; I ain’t churchin’ those brownies up with applesauce, pumpkin, black beans, zucchini, or any other weird substitute. In fact, I like to add Oreos and chocolate chips just to make sure they will make my yoga pants a little tighter. They are the gooiest, most delicious brownies that you will ever eat. And because I’m a good friend I will share the recipe with you here. You can thank me later!
Here are the things you will need:
The secret ingredient to these brownies is love and sweat. Put your hands right in the bowl and squish up the cake mix, melted butter, and egg. Then transfer it all to your prepared baking pan and flatten evenly across the bottom of the pan.
Now you can get some aggression out by smashing up your Oreos. Any Oreo package will do! There are so many to choose from. My favorites so far are mint and red velvet Oreos.
Toss the Oreos on top of the cake mix. If you feel like you want/need more Oreos on there, by all means add them! To ensure the Oreos fuse with the cake mix, cover everything with a can of sweetened condensed mix. Now I know you are thinking this is already going to be a decadent treat and you are right, but to top it off go ahead and add a bag of chocolate chips. If you are like me your teeth will hurt after eating one of these, but your heart and soul will thank you.
Bake at 350°F for 45 minutes or until cooked through. A double oven makes it easier to bake two batches at once. The more brownies you have the more friends you can make…or enemies if you are not sharing.
Enjoy with a glass of milk or a bottle of wine!
9 x 13 inch baking pan
1 Devils Food Cake Mix
1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
12 ounce bag of chocolate chips
14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
14+ Oreo Cookies, broken into bite size pieces
Preheat oven to 350°F and line a 9×13 inch baking pan with aluminum foil, then spray with non-stick cooking spray.
Place cake mix, butter, and egg into a large bowl. Mix to combine. You may need to use because it gets thick.
Press cake mixture into prepared baking pan. Top with broken pieces of cookies.
Pour sweetened condensed milk over cookies and top with chocolate chips.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, until cooked through. Remove from oven.
After 5 minutes of cooling, run a knife around edges to loosen. This makes it much easier to remove from foil. Let cool completely, remove foil from pan, then cut into squares.
Several months ago, my husband and I found out that our precious, sweet baby was actually a little gremlin (circa 1984 Gremlins, not the mischievous type that sabotage aircraft). She’d be cute and cuddly during the day, but every evening as bedtime approached that would all fade away. If you have been a parent for longer than a minute then you probably know this as the witching hour, but if you are like me, a FTM, it is that time in the evening (7 PM for us) when your newborn suddenly begins wailing like a banshee for no apparent reason and WILL NOT STOP!
I planned this story weeks ago to coincide with my first trip travelling with my infant. I intended to give you all lots of tips and tricks for flying with a 5-month old. I polled friends and Facebook for suggestions before leaving. My two carry-on bags were filled to the rim with diapers and toys to entertain DD, but per usual she threw me a curve ball and I ended up not needing a single item in the bags. What worked for me? I nursed DD into a milk coma. At each takeoff I nursed her for as long as it took for her to go to sleep. She slept for about 90% of the flight and was content smiling at the other passengers the rest of the time. My story could end here, but that would not make a very long blog post so instead I’ll share with you what I learned during my 10 days of travel.
In keeping with the Joneses, Claire and I will be using acronyms in several of our posts. Since it may be only our moms reading this blog, I put together a list of frequently used MBAs (mom blog acronyms) so they will not be confused.
BC (before children) my husband and I loved going on dates. Nothing fancy, just simple movie dates, usually matinees (we can’t stay awake during evening movies because we are 87 years old). DH worked at a movie theater in college so when we first started dating he’d take me to the movies A LOT (because it was FREE and I’m a cheap date). It sort of became our thing. We pretty much would go see anything, even if it wasn’t good (i.e., Fired Up, 2009)
During the last few weeks of my pregnancy we went to see every single movie that came out. Some we even saw multiple times (Sisters x3 and Hateful Eight x2). We went to the movies like it was going out of style, and for us, it was. We knew it would be impossible to go out to the movies with a newborn. Okay, maybe not impossible, but extremely difficult and we run the risk of ruining the movie-going-experience for ourselves or someone else in the theater and we just can’t do that. (DH is known for making teeny boppers cry for texting during a film.) If you pay to see something on the big screen, you don’t want to be interrupted by chit-chat, texting, or crying babies. I digress.
Hi, my name is Mallory, and it has been five months since I was last in a movie theater. Now that I’m getting the hang of this mom thing, I’d like to start going out again. I got a hankering for a movie date a few weekends ago and sprung the idea on DH. He was all for it, but there was a small, 15-pound problem. We didn’t have a babysitter and didn’t think we could get one last minute. Okay, no problem! “Why don’t we go to different movie times and take turns watching the baby?” We don’t talk to each other during a movie anyways, so what does it matter if we see it alone? It sounded a little weird and I wasn’t sure DH would go for it, but I think we both needed to get out.
The movie theater is a few miles down the road so DH went to the early showing of Captain America: Civil War and I stayed home and entertained our baby. She was nice and tired when Daddy got home and went right down for a nap. DH handed me the keys and I drove down to the theater. I paid for 1 adult admission and a bag of popcorn then took my seat smack dab in the middle of the theater. Other patrons filed in around me and I started to wonder what they thought of me sitting there all alone: a) is she waiting for her date? b) did her date stand her up? c) is she some weirdo that couldn’t get a date? or d) (the most probable) no one noticed or cared what I was doing.
Once the lights dimmed, I stopped caring what others might be thinking, I started to relax, and settled in for the movie. I was childless. I was alone at the theater and I was happy. I was able to enjoy a whole movie without interruptions and at the loudest volume possible. Of course, I missed my little munchkin the whole time I was gone, but Mommy needed a break. After the movie, I hurried home, smooched my baby’s face off, and put her to bed. DH and I stayed up and discussed the movie over our dinner just as we had done after many dates B.C. It was a great date day and we were finally able to incorporate something from our old life into our new. We have done this two more times since and I think we might make it a regular thing.
Not sold on why this is a great dating strategy? Here is my list of pros:
1) You don’t have to get dressed up for your date – yoga pants, messy bun, no make up – who are you trying to impress?
2) You don’t have to share your bag of popcorn!! You can also take handfuls as big as you’d like and stuff them in your face. If the pieces fall in your lap you can eat’em right up without any judgmental glares from your husband. (This should really be point number one!)
3) You don’t have to worry about your baby. She is home safe with Daddy. If she cries, he knows how to comfort her. As a new mom, I worry about leaving my baby with sitters for this exact reason. I’m sure they are capable, but I just feel better having Daddy there.
4) You don’t have to make small talk before the film. Text and play on your phone at your leisure until the previews start.
5) Not a lot of planning necessary. Check movie times then go to theater.
6) You don’t have to hire a sitter! See #5, not a lot of planning necessary
7) Though the timing is slightly delayed, you can still enjoy the shared experience of seeing a movie on the big screen together!
As of right now, DH and I do not see any cons to movie dating this way. I’d love to hear from other moms, for another round of our MoFoGro: what your dates are like now that you have kids? If you could take a few minutes to complete our survey, I’d really appreciate it.
From the day I announced that I was pregnant, my husband announced he would not be taking part in any of the delivery. He agreed to drop me off at the hospital and come back in three days to pick me up if I could not find a ride home on my own. This is what he told EVERYONE for 9 months!!! Sometimes he would say he’d wait for me to bring him his heir in the waiting room while smoking cigars, but then I’d remind him we were having a girl and of the hospital’s “no smoking” policy and he’d go back to his original plan of dropping me off…or calling an Uber for me. Don’t start sending me hate mail just yet. Of course this was all in jest.
Before our baby’s arrival we took a Baby Care Basics class in which we learned how to swaddle, diaper, bathe, and care for our baby. My dear husband (DH) thought this was unnecessary, but I wanted to be fully prepared. They gave us a brief rundown of what would happen in the hospital as soon as the baby was born so we would know what to expect. I don’t remember everything the lady said exactly, mainly, because I got hung up when she said our baby may come out with feathers and a cottage cheese-like substance all over her. I will get to that later, but eww, gross! DH was already weary about being in the delivery room (read above) and now he was convinced that there would be bad smells and did not want to be a part of it. I assured him there was nothing to worry about, but he told me he’d keep a “smell log” while we were at the hospital, nonetheless, to prove me wrong. Like any good marriage, we spend the majority of our time trying to prove each other wrong. The following is my account of the labor and delivery with my husband’s “smell log” mixed in. I do not remember a single smell, but then again the memory of all the pain is slipping by me more and more every day.
We arrived at the hospital around 7AM on Saturday, January 16, 2016. Contractions started the night before and progressed into the morning. We waited until they were 5 minutes apart just like the doctor told me. I was so excited when we got to the hospital; I was sure the baby would be here shortly. The nurse did a quick check to see how far a long I was. I was only 1 cm! What??? Bummer! They did not send me home though, luckily, because I was leaking amniotic fluid and the risk of infection is higher. Whew! Now it is only a matter of time.
Once I was admitted and settled into my room the nurse asked about my birth plan. I let her know that I was going to do this drug free. My dear friend Claire did it without an epidural so I figured I could too. I’m a brave girl! Plus I read a blog about how you can make childbirth easier by doing 300 squats a day. I did about 300 squats total over the last 3 years so I was basically ready. I mainly had a fear that if I did want the epidural it would not work well on me since I am a redhead and I have had trouble with analgesics in the past. It is a redhead thing, don’t laugh at me. If you don’t believe me you can look it up. It is science based I promise. Anyways, I was going to do this drug free. The nurse wrote it on the board and my husband’s only job was to keep me from asking for an epidural.
I was not in extreme pain at first (DH will tell you I don’t know how a pain scale works), but I was definitely uncomfortable and the contractions were getting worse each hour. After 4 hours, the doctor arrived to check on me. Still 1 cm!!! OH MY GOD, WE WILL BE HERE ALL WEEKEND AT THIS RATE! The doctor was probably thinking the same thing because he started me on Pitocin to speed up the process. Within minutes of receiving the Pitocin my contractions increased tenfold. “¡Ay, caramba!” It took everything I had in me to not immediately start crying. I used the breathing techniques the nurse showed me, which helped a little, but not really. I tried to get into a different position and lay on my side. As I rolled in the bed, I heard a loud “pop” and felt the rush of my water breaking. I made my husband bring me a towel and help me to the bathroom to get cleaned up. He came over to the bed with a pad of paper and pen like a goddamn reporter. This is where his “smell log” began.
“12:11PM Jan 16th 2016: Leaked on towel, smells like chicken and wild rice soup from Panera, mixed with warm cleaning products”
“12:26PM Jan 16th 2016: Wife jams towel between her legs and covers her mouth and nose, presumably to stop the smell from nauseating her”
At this point (1 hour after Pitocin) the contractions were so painful that I honestly thought I was going to pass out. I was crying like a baby and begging my husband to get the nurse. I was positive I was fully dilated and about to give birth…I just had to be with that kind of pain. Right?!?!
“1:15PM Jan 16th 2016: Wife taps out and asks for drugs. Thinks baby is coming out, only 2 cms dilated”
“1:25PM Jan 16th 2016: Doctor stifles laughter when he hears how far along wife is when she asks for epidural”
DH made sure to steal my phone during all of this and text Claire the good news (that I gave up and asked for an epidural). He is so sweet!
“2:19PM Jan 16th 2016: Moaning has subsided while desire for Subway sandwich grow. Still unsure how pain scale works.”
The epidural was the best decision I could have made. It calmed me down and I was able to rest while I became more dilated. There is no way I would have had the strength to push if I had not received the epidural.
“4:10PM Jan 16th 2016: Fully dilated. Thinks she’s done something to move birth along. Misguided”
“5:05PM Jan 16th 2016: Pushing starts. Room begins to smell of a mix of sweat and vaginal mucus. Urine is sprayed everywhere when securing catheter bag.”
They have to take you off the epidural once you are ready to deliver so you can feel when to push. Luckily the effects of the epidural linger for a bit so it is not so bad at first. If you are lucky your baby will slide right out and you won’t have to push for very long. If you are unlucky, you may have to push for several hours. I was unlucky. After pushing with every contraction for 2.5 hours, I was toast and the baby’s head was still not out. The Doc ended up using a vacuum to get her head out. I didn’t care what he used; I just wanted it to be over.
As soon as the head came out, to my husband’s surprise, the Doc told him to pull her out. It was one of the greatest moments watching my husband raise our daughter up over my legs, but also horrifically frightening. I was not expecting her to look the way she did. There was nothing cute about her. She looked like an alien and was covered in slime. Remember that cheese-like substance I mentioned in the beginning? (It is called vernix and it is completely normal; it protects the baby’s skin while in the amniotic fluid.)
They laid her on me and I cried, not from joy, but from disappointment. I was afraid I gave my baby this awful cone head because I could not push her out on my own. Babies’ heads are cone shaped at birth due to passing through the birth canal, but my daughter’s head was 100x worse because of the vacuum. You could see where the suction cup was on her head!! I was freaking out! I asked the doctor repeatedly if her head would ever be normal. He definitely laughed out loud at me and told me she’d look more normal in a few hours. I, of course, did not believe him. I was so worried and upset. One of the nurses saw that I was getting upset over this and threw a cap over her head and quickly cleaned her up for me. Her head did go down after a while and is a completely normal shape now. She also is no longer slimey, except when she drools. She is a beautiful baby and I love every piece of her. I think she is one of the cutest babies ever, but then again I am biased.
As for my husband’s “smell log,” I think we can all agree it is a bunch of BS. There were no significant or memorable smells to ward off fathers from delivery rooms. The nurses and hospital staff do a fantastic job of caring for you and cleaning up anything you may expel. Smells are definitely not something I’d recommend you concern yourself with. I’d be more worried about the alien being that will emerge from your loins. Prepare yourself for that. They don’t show you that in the movies.
Mother’s Day was this past weekend and it got me thinking about motherhood and the type of mom I want to be. Of course I want to be a great mom, but what does that entail? Do I need to be strict? Should I only breastfeed? Will my kid miss out if she does or doesn’t go to daycare? How do I avoid being the reason for future therapy sessions? Should I just start saving for it now?