Monday, February 20, 2012

Learning Flexibility

There's something to be said about large families and flexibility.  I'm going to believe that learning flexibility in a large family is a good thing so I don't completely go over the edge in guilt over my failure to keep my good intentions.

Case in point was the Valentine's Day baking with Youngest Daughter.  Here is the timeline:

February 13th - I promise to make Valentine's sugar cookies with Youngest Daughter.  We make the dough, chill the dough, and then she trots off to bed with the promise of baking them tomorrow.

February 14th - After dinner, cookies are cut and baked.  While cookies are baking, I run to the upstairs to handle a crisis, missing the beeping of the timer.  Cookies are remembered about the time they are the color of weathered wood.  Youngest Daughter trots off to bed with the promise of trying again tomorrow.

February 15th - Youngest Daughter once again anticipates the baking of the Valentine's cookies.  The calendar now says we are one day past Valentine's day.  After dinner, Older Brother #1 remembers he needs Mom to take him to the store for an item that must be purchased before the next morning's class.  Youngest Daughter trudges off to bed with the promise of trying again tomorrow.

February 16th - Cookie baking is once again anticipated after dinner, at which time Older Brother #2 has an algebraic meltdown, swears he cannot remember one thing for the test tomorrow, and requires mom's attention for 2 hours of angst-filled studying.  Youngest Daughter rolls her eyes as she is promised that we will try again tomorrow.

February 17th - The dough is finally made for the second time and chilling in anticipation of baking.  After dinner, Mom must leave for football registration.  Youngest Daughter begins to make plans for the baking of cookies in the year 2013.

February 18th - The happy day of baking finally arrives.  The calendar now says that we are 4 days past Valentine's Day.  Youngest Daughter does not care.  The day involves a friend, gooey pink frosting, 12 different types of sprinkles and pale, creamy cookies glittered, goo-ed, and glopped within an inch of their lives.  Youngest Daughter slips off to bed knowing that some things in life are, indeed, worth waiting for.

Either that, or she is planning her first appointment with her therapist.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Can I Be Thankful on Valentine's Day?

There it was right on the teacher's web site when I pulled it up at 11:30 p.m. on Sunday night.

"Please bring valentines for your classmates on Monday.  Remember those sweet bags we made last week?  Well Monday we are going to fill them up with valentines from all of you."

Unbelievable.  Valentines needed first thing in the a.m.  No time to shop.  Valentine-less child not an option.  ("All of you" does not mean "all of you except Youngest Daughter.")

So, even though it is not the 4th Thursday of the month of November, I would like to express my thankfulness on this day-before-Valentine's-Day.

*  I am thankful that in my distant past I thought I was a scrapbooker.

*  I am thankful that 2 weeks ago I hid these dye-free lollipops high in the cupboard because the children appeared to be eating them instead of their 3 meals a day.

* I am thankful that while digging through a craft box I found small cellophane bags from a craft so far in the distant past that its memory completely escapes me.

* I am thankful that I bought the red curly ribbon giant jumbo roll at Target instead of the small, do-one-gift-only mini roll.

* I am thankful that since Valentine's Day specializes in sappy, corny sentiments I didn't have to try to be clever.

* I am thankful that under great emotional strain Middle Son agreed to plop all the lollipops head down in the cellophane bags.

* I am thankful that Youngest Daughter was willing to be 5 minutes late to school and help me tie red curly ribbon while waiting in the car.

* I am thankful that I have gotten through another school event without the teacher ever finding out how very much this mom doesn't have it together.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Good and the Bad of the Signs of Spring

I do feel quite guilty rejoicing over the signs of a coming spring!!  After all, here in the South we've had a very mild winter.  Our neighbors from Buffalo, New York scarcely can bring themselves to call it winter.  I can see them trying to keep the chuckle out of their eyes on the several days where the weather hits freezing.

But, still, when those first daffodils pop their heads up, it's all I can do to keep from squealing, jumping up and down, and ordering bathing suits.

And then there are these shoes, fresh from Target for Youngest Daughter.

If those don't just announce spring and start you packing up your wooly sweaters!

There is, of course, another side to the signs of spring.  And that would be the spring fever that gets in to teen-aged boys when the weather starts to warm and the daffodils start to bloom and the flowery shoes start to show up in Target.  It's the fever that assures them that now that it is warm, surely school is over, surely the play time of summer has begun.

Do you see the child above trying to look diligent?  Five minutes before this picture was taken, he was hurling a pen at the cork board to see if it would stick, wrestling his brother, petting the dog, gazing empty-eyed out the front window.  Not addressing the matter of the comparative and superlative forms of an adjective.

Spring Fever!

I hate to tell you, my dear, but you had better close your eyes to the daffodils, ignore the warm breezes blowing up onto the front porch, and turn a deaf ear to the chirping of the birds.  We've got all of February, March, April, and May yet to go.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Cute Cupcakes!

If life was perfect . . . or maybe if I was two people instead of just one . . .

Then when birthday times came, I would make dreamy cupcakes with jaunty little buntings on top of them . . . or decorated to look like little be-whiskered bunnies . . . or elegantly piped, sparkled and jeweled within an inch of their lives.

But life is not perfect . . . and I am only one person.

So, this year when it came time for Youngest Daughter's birthday, I was so glad that a friend had given her the most adorable box of "Cute Cupcakes" decorations.

I could feel the stress of making the perfect cake un-knot itself from my shoulders, as Youngest Daughter's delight in creating her own cupcakes became our new birthday focus.

Love the vintage feel in the colors.  The swirls the polka dots, the sweet little picks.  The fun of doing it all by yourself.

They went to school the next day . . . simple white cupcakes, simple white frosting, beautiful wrappers, sweet picks.

And a happy birthday girl who had made it all by herself!

Let's hear it for simple!

Friday, February 3, 2012

How 'Bout Them 2012 Goals!

Well, it's been a month.  Time for a checkup on the 2012 goals.

#1 - Early to bed, early to rise.  Ooooh, oooh, definite points for this one.  I have been getting up early every morning and have been rewarded by some stunning sunrises!

#2 - Drawers, closets, cupboards, pantries of the M household.  Ahem.  Well, 3 drawers done this month.  At this rate, I should finish half the kitchen by the close of 2012.  ::sigh::  Any person in my household accusing me of desperately racing to clean out drawer #3 so I could take this picture should be assumed to be bitter, biased and uncooperative with the spirit of this post.

#3 - Meal plans and shopping list.  Did a splendid job on month 1.  We are now in month 2.  If I don't get a meal list together by this afternoon, I am in jeopardy of falling of the wagon here.

#4 - Prairie Fire Throw.  Going swimmingly.  I pick it up when sitting with grouchy children doing their math.  Keeps me very calm.

(This is my grandmother's old magazine and sewing box.  I think she would be glad that I'm knitting.)

#5 - Blogging.  Starts my day out with a smile.  Right on track here.

#6 - More time spent with kids out of doors.  Uh . . . well . . . hmmmm.  Let's see.  I did pack them all up one day to head to Hendersonville, NC to go hiking.  Stopped for gluten-free pizza.  Chomped on pizza and sipped Izze Sparkling Sodas.  Drove by thrift/antique store.  Stopped at thrift/antique store.  Shopped thrift/antique store for 1 1/2 hours.  Ran out of time for hiking.  But found this adorable vintage ricer.  Ahem.

Okay . . . so/so.  The great thing about goals:  you may not attain them, but they do keep you headed in the right direction.

How are you doing with your 2012 goals?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


I really, really like to eat healthfully . . . few prepared foods, no additives, etc.

But once in a while a recipe comes along and you make it and your kids taste it and think you are the very-best-cook-in-the-world.

And then you make the cookies for a bake sale and every kid in the class thinks you're the very-best-cook-in-the-world.

And then you get requested to make them every time there's any kind of sale.

And it kind of goes to your head and your concern for the health and wholesomeness in the foods you make is totally swallowed up in the thrill of "making something that everyone loves"!

Yes, I am that shallow.

Yes, these are those cookies!

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 Box Devil's Food Cake Mix
1 Stick Butter
2 Eggs
1 Tablespoon Vanilla
1/2 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1/2 Cup Milk Chocolate Chips

Combine cake mix, eggs, butter (softened), and vanilla.  Mix well.  Add chocolate chips.  Bake for 11 minutes at 350.  Pull out of oven when puffed but not looking completely done.  Let sit for 5 minutes to cool and set.  Do not overbake or they will be crunchy.