Sunday, March 28, 2010

Engine Trouble

We've had house guests this weekend.  Entertaining ones.  David's cousin and his two little boys, Maddox and Seth (ages 4 and 5) came to St. Louis for their spring break.  They hit the zoo, the science center, and the Magic House.

Maddox is (understandably) a little nervous around Little Mac.  His dad warned him not to pet Little Mac (good advice) and Little Mac was exceptionally snarky this weekend.  She doesn't like (1) loud noises (2) people invading her personal space (3) shrieking (4) running.  Which is to say that four-year-old and five-year-old boys are not on her list of favorite things.  Maddox would jump everytime she Mac growled or barked and say "I don't want that little white dog to get me!"  He asked me why she is so mean.  "She has an attitude problem," I explained, "But we keep her around because we love her anyway."

Last night Mac was tired of company and anxious about the boys walking a little too close to her bed.  She was doing her late-night-freak-out, growling and chasing her ass and sometimes lunging and attacking her bed ferociously.  We have grown accustomed to this, but obviously it's totally obnoxious.  I told her in a stern voice that she needed to lie down and chill out.  Maddox looked up at me with his ridiculously long lashes and said, "But you wuv huh anyway."  It's true.

I did some baking over the weekend (baking is always more fun when you have an appreciative audience and four boys who love sweets inspired me to make cinnamon rolls and strawberry shortcake).

I pulled together the dough for the cinnamon rolls and my poor little handmixer was groaning under the thickness of it.  I bought this handmixer for $10 almost 7 years ago when I moved into my first apartment.  It has served me well but the cinnamon roll dough was just about beyond its capabilities.  Once I had finished up with the rolls and put them in the fridge to sit overnight, I turned to the business of strawberry shortcake.  The yellow shortcake was already done, but I decided that instead of buying a Cool Whip container of chemicals (I know, I am becoming so crunchy I hardly recognize myself), I would actually whip my own whipping cream.  How hard could it be, right?

So I pour the whipping cream in a little bowl and start the mixer.  Same little handmixer that had just barely managed to make the cinnamon rolls.  

I mixed.  It was tired and groaning just a little bit, but since there was no resistance to the whipping cream, I figured it would be fine.

Kept mixing.  It was taking forever and I wondered how people ever whisked this by hand because it seemed like it was going to take hours before it started shaping up into whipped cream.

Still mixing.  I decided to go ahead and throw some vanilla and powdered sugar.  Might as well get it all mixed up.

And still mixing.  David and his cousin and I were watching a basketball game in the kitchen and having a shouting conversation over the sound of the mixer while the little boys chased each other and Cooper over and under the futon and Little Mac barked nervously from the dining room.

It was a never ending process.  I was about to the dig the container out of the recycle bin to see if the cream was expired and maybe that would explain why it was never going to whip up when two things happened at once.

(1) the cream started forming stiff peaks and was indeed becoming whipped cream.

(2) the handmixer started smoking.

The kitchen was filled with the scent of hot, smoking plastic.  The mixer made a whining, whirring noise (different from the groaning of earlier) and then smoke started wafting out of it.  Serious engine trouble, folks!  Overheating mixer! 

There was some shouting, some unplugging, and David took the mixer outside to sit on the deck and cool off.

Fortunately the whipped cream was done and I'd added the vanilla and powdered sugar just in time.

The strawberry shortcake was a huge success.  They hadn't been sure they liked strawberry shortcake, but both boys said they liked strawberries and they like cake.  They weren't sure about whipped cream but they had tiny tastes and declared they liked it.  Little Maddox licked his plate clean, looked at his older brother and said, "I beated you, Seth!" and then asked for seconds.  Both of them ate seconds, which I found totally cute and endearing.  Of course, it was half an hour later that I realized what an 8pm helping of sugar does for four and five year olds and I wondered if holding off on seconds might have been the more prudent choice.  But I was just glad they liked it.

The trusty little $10 mixer, however, appeared to be out of commission.  Permanently.

What to do?

There seemed only one logical choice:

Isn't it lovely?

It was on sale.  And I had a 20% off coupon.  And there was a mail-in rebate.  Also, it's Cardinal Red!

Also, it makes delicious peanutbutter cookies.  I mean seriously, these cookies practically mixed themselves.  Whipped cream will be no match for this baby.


  1. Is the mixer a Kitchen Aid? Awesome, but even better would be a yellow one!

  2. Yes it is a Kitchen Aid. Yellow was cute. I was actually really drawn to the green one. But seeing as I live in Cardinal Nation, I felt it was appropriate to match the decor of my house. And by "decor," I obviously mean bobbleheads.

  3. I'm going to have to figure out how to break my hand mixer too.