I wonder sometimes how my mom did it. She managed to keep up with the four of us (I have three younger sisters) and still have a reasonably presentable house. Some of it was the fact that she didn't work outside the home until I was in high school. But I realized that a lot of it was the fact that she put us all to work. =) I'm starting to be able to do that with Brianna--she has some special jobs for which she can earn a total of a dollar a week (aside from the expected picking up her stuff). But there's still a lot that doesn't get done.
It used to really bug me when there were unwashed dishes in the sink and clutter all over the kitchen table. Okay, to be honest, it still does. But I've learned to live with it. The fact is, there are only so many hours in the day. And if I'm going to spend any of them with my kids, something has to give. I'm getting better at doing little bits of cleaning up here and there, either after they're in bed, or it the morning before I go to work. Some of the bigger stuff gets done on the weekend, but the more involved things have to wait for when I have some time off (Thanksgiving week, anyone?). Of course, sometimes things happen that force me to clean up right away...
...like having a caramel volcano erupt on my stovetop. I can't believe I did that! I really do know better. I've made caramel many times before. But it's usually in smaller quantities, so I just didn't take into account how much more quickly the cream would boil over when it hit the hot caramel. Ugh. And I was so happy that I hadn't let the sugar get too dark! Actually, once the bubbling subsided, most of the caramel was still in the pot, and I was able to add the butter and proceed. (And by the way, since I only use unsalted butter, I did add about 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt to the cream before I added it to the sugar.)
Why was I making caramel? For this week's Tuesdays with Dorie, of course! Tammy of wee treats by tammy selected Caramel Peanut Topped Brownie Cake. Peanuts just aren't my favorite, so I decided to go with pecan halves. They looked really nice on top of the cake, and tasted fantastic with the caramel. I cut a couple pieces of cake for Brianna and Gillian (they aren't big nut eaters, though I discovered this evening that Gillian likes cashews) and spooned the pecans and caramel onto the top of the rest. Mmm.
The verdict? Brianna and Gillian really liked the cake. I thought it was a bit dry. What is it with me and cake lately? I can't seem to get it quite right. Sigh. I baked it for the shorter amount of time in the recipe, but maybe that was still too long. I would have preferred something more brownie-like. The topping was fabulous, though. I think Jamie would have really liked it, but he was side-lined with what we think is the same stomach bug that was plaguing Gillian last week. I ended up taking about 3/4 of the cake to the daycare on Monday morning. It got rave reviews and apparently didn't last long. =)
For the recipe, you can certainly turn to the book itself. Or check out Tammy's blog. And if you've been thinking of joining our merry band, now is the time to do it. You only have until October 31st. Oh, and my stove looks great, since I figured I'd better just clean the whole thing while I was cleaning up the caramel. =)