Saturday, October 31, 2015

Trick Or Treat!

I have always had a problem figuring out when to speak up, when to shush, and how to say what I mean most effectively. Sometimes I deliberately ignore confrontation, holding my tounge when I'm unsure of how to say what I need to say. Other times I seem to fly off the handle, yelling personal insults or bringing up stuff that doesn't have anything to do with the issues at hand. I also avoid eye contact when I'm saying confrontational things. With this information, how should I handle other people's unruly and rude children? And how should I handle it when other mother's/caretakers are doing things I disapprove of?
We were trick-or-treating with The Boy dressed as Spiderman, complete with yellow golashes, a new haircut, a mask drawn on with dry erase marker, and excitement to match the occasion. The Baby was dressed as a monster, complete with a huge winter coat under his store-bought costume. My husband was carrying him. Two other kids, one as a firefighter Dalmatian and the other as a Frozen character told my boy, rudely, that they were going first to the house. And they almost pushed him out of the way. We let them go ahead of us. While they were at the door, they grabbed handfuls upon handfuls of candy. When they left, I think the guy at the door thought we were together. We had our boy say,
"Trick or treat!"
Then he took one, or two, and said,
"Thank you!"
We looked around to see who those rude kids belonged to, and there were three moms red-cupping it, meaning they brought their alcohol with them in red, plastic, Solo cups. They reeked of alcohol, didn't walk their kids to the door, and didn't prevent the candy-grabbing. Now that I'm writing this, it doesn't seem like such a big deal, but at the time, I was very annoyed. I was upset because I wasn't sure how to respond to the children, or if I should say something to their moms. And I didn't like seeing my boy miffed, and not really being able to do anything. Also, I'm thinking that the door-answerer at the house thought that we were all together.
I have some sad memories of awkward Halloweens; I probably dressed up and trick-or-treated for too many years. One year someone ran up behind and stole my bag. The neighbor boy, who I had a crush on, tried to run after him, and I was so embarrassed I wanted to forget all about it and pretend it never happened. I wish to prevent my boys from having memories such as that.

Friday, October 30, 2015


The kids and I went to IHOP for the Scary-Face pancakes. They were free, normally they cost $4.99 each. I got the Pumpkin Pancake Combo Plate. Our whole bill was listed as $19.99, I tipped $4, and paid $8.98. The kids had a pretty good time. They made a mess. And we had a great time.
I was running a little later than I meant to, and by the time we got there, The Boy said he was starving.

I've been watching only Halloween-themed t.v., and way too much of it. When we watch 'our shows', which is when the kids and I watch t.v., we like Curious George and Martha Speaks. I make myself feel better about letting my kids watch t.v. by reminding myself that they watch public television. However, I know that t.v. of any variety is bad for them. Sometimes that thirty minutes of relative quiet seems unattainable without it. So I don't feel that bad about it because I know my kids are well-cared for.

Monday, October 26, 2015


The pie that took me a really long time to make (no store-bought crust here!) doesn't taste as good as it should. I don't even know what happened.

On the upside, I got my romance novel I put on reserve at the library. And we even had time to go to the park today!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

More Jewel Freebies

We love taking advantage of free events and coupons. The Boy knows the words 'free', 'freebie', and 'coupon'. He asked to go get his freebie today. Which we did, at Jewel, with their free fruit for kids coupon. Which is reusable. The Baby seems to like to be in on the activity. His facial expressions and activities indicate that he understands much of what I say.
Today our free event was at the Old Orchard mall. We made jewelry out of marigold heads, on yarn. With a big plastic needle. Both my boys were interested. The Boy doesn't quite have dexterity to handle a needle, but he tried. Then I let them run around on the playground. We met up with another mom and kid, and we had a great time!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Fat Witch

I got another recipe from Fat Witch Bake Sale.

Peanut Butter Brownies
Makes 12-16 brownies (usually I double my recipes, and I totally forgot this time!)
These guys are pretty rich. I just had a bigger-than-needed piece.
Brownie Batter Ingredients:
8 tablespoons -1 stick- unsalted butter-( I have no idea what kind I used)
4 oz bittersweet chocolate - (not gonna lie, I love me a substitute...I melted an Easter milk chocolate bunny, 2.5 oz and used 2 oz of bought-on-clearance gluten/dairy/nut free chips)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt (I shook my shaker)
Peanut Butter Layer
1 lg egg
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar (I used dark)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter (I used smooth)
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt (shook that shaker!)
1/3 cup chopped roasted, salted peanuts (optional-I did not use these)
Do This:
1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x9 baking pan with butter or cooking spray. Dust with flour and tap out the excess. (This recipe took me forever to complete because I had to stop for dinner and bedtime. My oven was on way too long! And, I used an oval-shaped pan.)
2) To make the brownie batter: In a small heavy-bottom saucepan over low heat, warm the butter and chocolate, stirring frequently, until almost completely melted. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir until smooth. Set aside and cool slightly.
3) In a large bowl, using an electric mixer (I don't have one. Look at these muscles!), beat the sugar, eggs, and vanilla until creamy. Add the cooled chocolate mixture and mix until well combined.
4) Measure the flour and salt and sift directly into the chocolate mixture. Mix until no trace of the dry ingredients remains.
5) Spread a little more than half of the brownie batter evenly in the prepared pan. (I'm pretty sure I put more than half in the bottom. I didn't have a lot to work with for the top.) Put the pan in the fridge to chill while you make the peanut butter filling. Reserve the remaining brownie batter.
6) To make the peanut butter layer: In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla.
7) Using a wooden spoon or spatula (I love my rubber spatula! What a difference the right tool makes.), stir in the peanut butter. Measure the flour, baking powder, and salt and sift directly into the peanut butter mixture. Mix gently until well combined and no trace of the dry ingredients remains.
8) Remove the pan from the fridge and press the peanut butter mixture over the brownie base. It's easiest to do this with clean fingers. Don't worry about being perfectly even. Return the pan to the fridge for 3-5 minutes, until the peanut butter layer firms slightly. Remove the pan from the fridge and spread the remaining brownie batter evenly over the top. Toss on the roasted peanuts, if desired.
9) Bake for 35-40 minutes (I baked mine for about 50 minutes.), or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with only crumbs, not batter, on it. Cool in the pan on a rack for at least an hour. Cut into squares just before serving.
Brownies will last longer if uncut. Store covered on the counter for 3-4 days or 4-5 days in the fridge.

Monday, October 12, 2015


We went swimming at an indoor pool, at the 'old folk's home' in which my grandmother lives. We had a great time! I had a circle-net-floatie for The Baby, who crawled out of it eventually. He went under once. I'm so sorry, baby! The Boy puttered, played with the exercise equipment and balls, and practiced his kicking. I found out I want a new suit. And The Baby's reusable swim diaper, from Babies R Us, worked great. We'll be back next week.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Fat Witch Bake Sale

I've taken to checking out cookbooks from the library. The one I have now is called Fat Witch Bake Sale- 67 Recipes From The Beloved Fat Witch Bakery For Your Bake Sale Or Party
I was able to make a recipe from the ingredients I have on hand.

Thumbprint Blondies With Jam
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup jam or preserves
1/2 cup coarsely chopped skinned, roasted peanuts (optional)

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x9 baking pan with butter or cooking spray. Dust with flour and tap out the excess.
I used a 8x8.25 pan and had to bake longer.
2) In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and eggs until light and fluffy. Beat in the sugar and vanilla until well blended.
I don't have an electric mixer, and I used fridge butter.
3) Measure the flour, salt, and baking soda and sift directly into the butter mixture. Beat just until combined.
The Boy helped with this part, so the 'sifting' looked more like 'dumping'.
4) Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. With a teaspoon, make 12-16 evenly spaced depressions in the batter. If the spoon sticks, dip it in the hot water. Press hard enough so that the indentations reach halfway through the dough but not to the bottom of the pan. Fill each indentation with a scoop of jam or preserves. Sprinkle with the peanuts, if using.
The Boy made the indentations with his fingers, which went as well as expected.
5) Bake for 25 minutes or until the top is golden, and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, or with crumbs, not batter, on in. Cool in the pan on a rack for 1 hour. Cut into bars just before serving.
Because I used dark brown sugar, mine weren't golden brown. But they were delicious! They stay fresh longer if uncut and refrigerated.
Happy baking!

Friday, October 9, 2015


When The Hubs came home, he was annoyed that the house wasn't neat or tidy. It wasn't a complete disaster, but it wasn't ready for guests. I felt obligated to list all the house-related tasks I had completed.

The work that I do is not always tangible. I care for my kids, dealing with toilets and diapers, making snacks and delivering juice. The evidence of this are the juice stains on the floor, the crumbs on table, and the pee dribbles by the toilet. We go on field trips to the library, store, parks, and special events. The evidence of this is The Boy's story-telling and chatter, and the numerous photos I take.

My biggest challenge is flowing from one activity to the next. While I get dressed and put on make-up, the kids watch tv. (I know, I know, awful). Sometimes I can't get us going to the next activity because The Baby needs to drive his trucks, or because The Boy won't put on his pants.

With this work, there are not always progress reports, or markers to show how far we've come. Sometimes I wish there was. But I love this work.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Miss Jamie

I was really excited to bring the kids to the Morton Grove Public Library to see Miss Jamie singing about the farm. We had to park our stroller downstairs. When we got in, The Baby wanted to go up the stairs and leave. And come back, and crawl around. The Boy danced and ran around and was a little disruptive. I was exhausted and really upset. I felt like they weren't listening like the other kids, I thought the other moms were looking at me. And I got really annoyed and upset and I was rude to the librarian. And now I feel awful. How much can I expect from them? Why did I get so upset? How can I prevent this from happening again?

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Freebies And Foraging

I've taken it upon myself to get me and my family daily freebies or foraged/ scavenged items. I get my freebies from, coupons (the fruit for kids at Jewel, or the Jewel MyMixx app), or clubs/ promotions. Or free samples at the store.

My foraged items include such gems as the dandelion leaves I've been harvesting and adding to our meals. The Hubs hates them, but I think they are good for us, and I'm proud I've gotten something from my yard on the table. I also encourage my boys to walk through the allies with me so we can scavenge items. We've found toys, money, and baskets. I believe this is good work. We're getting outside, we're not running to the store, we're helping the environment, and we're honing our skills.