Sunday, August 30, 2009


It is wonderfully easy to sabotage one's waist line. This weekend, I did it with chocolate bread fresh from the oven topped with a blob of slowly melting vanilla ice cream. Feel free to try this one at home.

Chocolate Bread

1 Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix
1 sm. box instant chocolate pudding
4 beaten eggs
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup + 1 cap full vegetable oil
1/4 cup sour cream OR vanilla yogurt
1/4 cup flour

Mix well.

Pour half of batter into GREASED loaf pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips over batter.
Pour other half of batter over chips.

Bake at 350 until a toothpick inserted in loaf comes out clean.
Approx. times and yields are:
1 bundt pan - 45 min (Ususally need 1 1/2 recipes*)
2 large loaves - 28 -35 min
5 small loaves - 18 - 25 min

OPTIONAL: Sift powdered sugar or cocoa over loaves immediately after removing from oven and after cool.

Friday, August 28, 2009


Middle Child has always been little. Meaning, "We'll call it the 10th percentile...", because that's the smallest increment on the pediatrician's growth chart. It was a huge relief to see little darling put on a few pounds this summer. Except that a coach snapped her up for Cross Country this Fall. The kid has a crazy high metabolism to begin with, and now she is running distance. *sigh* I'm offering the higher-end calories to her in the form of her beloved Macadamia nuts, peanut butter crackers, and orange juice in hopes of keeping the well-placed pounds gained over the past few months on her lean frame, but she prefers the low calorie goodies like yogurt and fruit that are intended for keeping my own caboose on track.
Speaking of my caboose, and just in case there was not already an inordinate focus on calories with Miss Katie's running season in full swing, I discovered a weight gain after feeding the digital scale new batteries. The old, spring-loaded scale had been lying to me and feeding the complacency founded in having decided to simply maintain my weight over the hottest months. Once the kiddies went back to school, there would be more time to finish last Spring's Weigh Down.
Eyes bulging, I read the numbers informing me that I was somehow overweight again last weekend. Except that something was screwy. Because days later, I am not fat again. Water weight maybe? Don't know. Don't care. Entirely relieved, but still curious as to how a scale that now reads consistently "not fat" over three days could have said "!" at the start of the week. In order to keep that from happening again it will be necessary to avoid all the high calorie, easy munchies stocked in the kitchen to induce Miss Katie's munching and crunching.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


An article trumpeted the news that multitaskers tend to have less focus than those who tend toward a single task. Uh-huh. Why would one flit from one task to another in the same amount of time if one were focused? This seems entirely rhetorical, but apparently it was news to the researchers. As a mommy of three, my attention has been frayed into an increasing number of strands with the addition of each child, new responsibility, etc. To wholly focus on a single earthly care would require ignoring another of potentially equal importance. Multitasking is often the only way to accomplish the weekly To-Do List without neglecting anyone.
For example, in meeting my own personal needs, I tend to turn to relationships. I meet different ladies to walk for exercise, but those women are friends who are likely to say something in the course of our trek that sets my mind, soul, or heart racing. And some of our walks take us right through the coffee shop for a wee caffeine boost. (Bonus.) The mister and I have found that the children are unenthusiastic about walking with us, so we can guarantee time to talk by simply putting on our sneakers and heading out the door. By combining the way in which I attempt to meet my physical needs (like the need to be able to zip my skinny jeans) with conversational time that can also fulfill emotional, spiritual, and intellectual needs, I'm better equipped to meet the needs of those around me. It's challenging to remember that taking care of Mama is actually a necessary part of taking care of everyone else.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


In a rare occurrence, the house is quiet except for the patter of kitty feet and the dull thump-and-whir of the laundry machines accomplishing my chores. The mister's Morning Man Meeting met early today, so he is away for the moment. Middle Child had Cross Country practice at 6:30, and the little one is still sleeping soundly. The house is my own, and there is no one waiting with a need, a want, just one question, or some such other seemingly small demand on the ever more illusive sands of time slipping through the hourglass of each day.
Those sands seem not to relate precisely to the hands on my watch or the electronic clock on the phone that sounds an alarm marking each scheduled blip on the calendar. The clocks and watches demand. The sands simply whisper in passing. This explains how days fraught with constant commitment can slip away until one discovers that a month or season has somehow escaped without notice. This must be the phenomenon my grandmothers warned me of as a child. They said time would pass more quickly, but that seemed like Crazy Talk. Until time began to pass more quickly.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Fish Guts

In the midst of feeling overwhelmed, I wandered into the book of Jonah. Just after Jonah decided to do what he pleased instead of what he was supposed to be doing, he was swallowed up by a big fish. (Being surrounded by fish guts surely qualifies as a whole new level of funk.) At which point, Jonah decides to pray. I read his words this morning, and felt a bit too much of a connection to what was likely a far more overwhelming situation than any I will ever face.

I practically fell on the floor laughing over a single snippet that seemed to stand out on the page. Ahem. From Jonah 2:5, I offer, "seaweed was wrapped around my head". What I so needed this morning was to laugh myself silly. A mental image of random flights of seaweed adhering to people's heads put a smile on my face, and some much needed laughter into an otherwise ordinary day filled with standard overcommitment.

It also led to the thought that taking the line out of context, it might appear that Jonah was enjoying an exotic spa treatment. Lucky fellow--- a seaweed wrap! I wonder how many people I assume are having a "seaweed wrap" sort of life, when they are really drowning in fish guts? Uh-oh.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Best Laid Plans

The children return to the halls of higher learning today. Invitations went out last week for the "Boo-Hoo/Woo-Hoo Breakfast" to a group of ladies who have celebrated together in years past as our assorted offspring returned to their various schools. Except, it seems that we usually met a couple of days after school started. And now I remember why. Most of the mommies we know are either previously committed or ready to be committed by the first day of school. A double-digit list narrowed to seven who thought they would attend, but by last night we were down to three. Then I ran a low-grade fever during the night. Fortunately, this year's breakfast had already been cancelled. Once the kiddies are out the door, there will be a quiet back-to-school celebratory breakfast with the mister, and then I am unceremoniously crawling back into bed.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


Middle Child wants long, lovely finger nails. She particularly pines for a french manicure. Katie also bites her nails to the quick. This complicates a french manicure, which requires that there actually be enough nail for a white tip. Today, the darling used her own money to purchase a set of "natural length french manicure nail tips". Motherly advice offered the perspective that the tips are somewhat complicated and, despite the name, are not likely to produce a realistic appearance of natural nails. I then shut my mouth, and stepped back while Middle Child picked out a set to purchase.
Back at the house, Katie immediately set to work applying her fabulous press-on nails. It turned out to be more difficult than she anticipated. She approached her father and I with her fingers splayed to fully display the freshly applied nails in all their glory. A wee bit crooked, popping off randomly, and not-so-natural was the general result of her supreme effort. Katie decided to pop off all but the exceptionally well-adhered thumb nail while her sister Erin observed that she would like such a set of nails, too.
The mister questioned the origin of Miss Katie's wondrous nails to which she responded that, "Mom said these never worked for her, but I really wanted to try them out." I quickly interjected that she bought the nails herself, and she left the room. I then added that we might as well let her try such things out so she can decide whether she likes such things or not for herself. Our youngest child blinked once before asking, "How about if Katie wants to get her belly button pierced?" Uh-oh. The mister quickly responded with, "How about if we try it on you first?" which sent her running from the room. I do love that man.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


This morning's walk revealed a young bird standing in the street. The initial delight of being allowed to approach the tiny thing quickly turned to dismay. Uh-oh. The feathered wee beastie was blind, and apparently unable to fly to safety. Herding the creature onto the sidewalk, Walker and I headed on down the street. Having previously discovered a bunny which had suffered play time with her dogs, Walker mentioned that she knew which vets in our area would treat wild animals and strays--- or at least administer the mercy injection. This baby bird was in all likelihood headed for the mercy killing after a terrifying capture and transport to the vet.
After walking, I loaded the girls into the Mom-mobile and dumped ribbon all over the kitchen table to free up the first box I saw for a possible rescue mission. We zoomed out of the drive and cruised down to the corner where the wee birdie was last seen. Only it had failed to stay on the relatively safe sidewalk corner. The blinded thing, too immature to fly yet, had wandered back into the street. There was nothing to do but drive back home with the empty box knowing that the bird's wandering had not really altered the outcome of this day.
Yes, I know my bleeding heart is showing. Yes, I get that whole Circle of Life thing, and I understand why creatures have clutches, litters, etc. in the likelihood that many of their young will not survive. (I am rather glad that the baby bird wasn't a cat toy.) Still. I am sorry for the inability to salvage that young life. So, now I'm off to drown my sorrows in diet soda poolside on this very un-Disney day.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Not So Fast

Eesh. I was just heaving a rather unladylike snort/sigh of relief at the realization that the past two weeks are over today. Today is the beginning of a quiet week. Then the phone chimed. Because I'm taking Middle Child to the dentist in about an hour. After that she needs a ride to a friend's house. She will need a ride back home, too, just as Mommy's ride is due to pick her up to go see The Time Traveler's Wife. The movie starts within an hour of lunch, so some obvious edibles should be left behind for those who are going to be staying home today to satisfy their midday hunger. That thought reminds me that today is Monday. And we need to be two suburbs over for a standing appointment at 6:00 p.m. And back in our own Pleasant Suburb at 7:30 for another one. I wonder if Eric Bana's character will be giving away any secrets in the movie on how this feat can be accomplished week after week?
Because this is the last Monday of Glorious Summer. (Regardless of when the calendar actually declares the first day of Fall, the schools rule the seasons and will continue to do so for at least another decade.) Next week each day will start hours earlier, and the lovies will be scattered at different locations with no two in the same school with the same start or end times. Every reasonable attempt to satisfy the tyranny of the school supply lists has been made, the school sanctioned extortionists representing the PTO, athletic boosters, and band at the Pleasant Suburban Middle School have been paid off during schedule pick up. Elder children have deposited their belongings into lockers that required multiple combination attempts before finding The One That Works. Athletic and band clothing are in the closet, a school athlete sign has assumed its post in our yard, and a window decal will be plastered on the Mom-Mobile as soon as it has a bath. Pleasant Suburban Elementary PTA will be paid off this week where we will be given every opportunity to purchase spirit wear, sign up for committees with purposes that range from the enriching to the hokey, and Meet The Teacher.
Oy. Forget Time Travel. My kids are in the market for another one of these "Mom" things. She is needed for a flexible position which will allow her to consistently stretch time, money, the shirt that accidentally dried on high heat, and patience. Wait. The kids will stretch her patience. I? I will be enjoying my precious lovies while She is doing all the mundane stuff that no one really appreciates anyway. All qualified candidates must be able to perform Julie Andrews' numbers from Disney's Mary Poppins. Let me know if you are interested.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


The mister wanted an iPhone. I thought he should have one. I also wanted one because they are, well, cute. I'm pretty sure, "cute" is not one of Apple's selling points. And I failed to see why I needed a phone that would do anything besides tell me the time, make and receive calls and texts. Really. But. The mister said that he was not going to purchase the sleek and shiny little widget unless I got one, too. I thought for roughly .000005 seconds before happily agreeing.
So. The first thing I find is that I cannot call out on the phone. Thankfully, someone called me. And I could answer the phone. Panic set in as I realized that my husband was leaving the state, and I was going to be Home Alone with the Children without the ability to operate my phone. (Yes, I remember not having a cell phone. Or when "PDA" was something one didn't want to be caught doing. That was then. This is now. Well, for the phone. I still mutter "Get a room!" under my breath at creepy couples.) Uh-oh. What if the so-called "Smart Phone" is smarter than me?
Then the first rays of light shone out from the genius device. The girls and I planned on attending a movie Monday night, but I needed to make a stop along the way. By the time we were on our way again, our matinee movie had already started. Middle Child takes the phone and finds alternate movie start times while I drive down the road. Hmmm. The next day, Walking Buddy asks if I can drive our combined Middle School kiddies to a local water park. I am not certain where it is located. She programs my phone with the address of the water park so I can find it. (Her daughter helpfully pulled up the GPS map and directions the next day as we drove down the highway.) WB also shows me how to silence the ringer so we can go back to the movies again. And I am able to ask the assorted little questions of the mister that come up throughout the day via chat so that it is almost like having him right there in the living room. Nice. I think I can get used to this sort of convenience.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Crazy, -ier, -iest

Crazy days. Make that cray-zee daze. The past weeks have flown by with little enough time for luxuries like sleep. Reading blogs? Um, yeah, no. Posting to one? Bahahaha. Right. Last week, I walked into a coffee shop, to meet a precious friend who asked, "Where have you been?!" Heh? I'm right here. Oh. Blogger. Right. Surely after school starts there will be a few more hours available in each day. And my house will be clean again.
Maybe. Right. I'd post the excuses, but it would just make Gentle Reader tired. Or it might lead to comments revealing that every other Gentle Reader really "has it all together" while I am scarcely treading water in a sea of happy occasions, prior commitments, and unintentional double-bookings that have utterly filled each teensy square on the calendar.