Monday, May 10, 2021

Disappearing Act: Lost Sock Day Poetry


Poetry Monday | Graphic designed by and property of | #poem #poetry

Poetry Monday's once a week.
You may have guessed, on Monday.
I don't participate every time,
But today I've come out to play.

My friends assign each week a theme,
Lost Sock Memorial Day, they chose.
Now it's up to all of us,
to put our thoughts into prose.

Disappearing Act
Second mortgage is what I need,
to keep us all in socks.
Cause one of each pair always hides,
they're sneaky, like a fox. 

And I am quite embarrassed when,
my family looks mismatched.
Happens every day that my,
laundry chore's been dispatched.
Lost Sock Memorial Day poetry | Picture taken by and property of | #humor #poetry
I may not be the smartest mom,
when it comes to domestic chores.
Determined, this stops here and now,
I can win these domestic wars.

Then there it was, I caught a glimpse, 
while shopping one fine day.
A mesh bag for the washing machine, 
to my pleasure (and socks' dismay).
Couldn't wait to try it out,
tied those socks in nice and tight.
Knew that I'd outfoxed the fox,
to my (irrational) delight.

Lost Sock Memorial Day poetry | Picture taken by and property of | #humor #poetry

Start the wash this time with a
rare smile on my face.
I'd beat these sneaky socks and lose
my title of "laundry disgrace."

Detour to the kitchen where,
a dessert I'll start to make,
taking up my time until,
to the dryer, the clothes I'd take.

Very Berry Bars start with a graham cracker crust, followed by a thick berry layer and topped with a creamy berry layer. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #dessert
Very Berry Bars
Very Berry Bars start with a graham cracker crust, followed by a thick berry layer and topped with a creamy berry layer. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #dessert

Dessert was setting in the fridge,
when the washer made its beep.
Opened up the laundry bag,
and inside, I dared to peek. 
"Impossible, this cannot be,"
(questionable words were spoke then too).
Not even in the dryer yet!
One sock, the coup, it flew.
From a secret spot wet orange sock,
thought "ha, you can't cage me.
There's a reason socks both far and wide,
call me the master, Sock Houdini."

Read more poetry, 
you're not through.
Some talented writers
are in this crew:

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Very Berry Bars


Printable Recipe

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup brown sugar
6 TBSP butter, melted
1 TBSP cornstarch
1# bag frozen berries
3/4 cup sugar
1 box (3 oz) berry blue jello mix
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
OPT: whipped cream and/or fresh berries for garnish
*Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 8 X 11 baking pan.
*Mix the graham cracker crumbs with the brown sugar and melted butter. Press firmly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 8 minutes, cool completely.
*Mix together the cornstarch and 1 TBSP water. Set aside.
*In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the berries and sugar to a boil, stirring frequently and using the spoon to break up the bigger berries. Mix in the cornstarch and water and reduce heat just a little. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, then remove from heat.
*Remove about 1 1/2 cups of the mixture from the pan and spread evenly into the prepared crust. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
*Stir the jello mix into the pan with the remaining fruit for a minute before whisking in the evaporated milk. Continue to whisk until fully incorporated, then set aside.
*Once the fruit mixture in the pie crust has been in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, whisk the evaporated milk mixture one more time and carefully spoon evenly into the pie. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
*OPT: top with whipped cream and/or fresh berries for serving.

Friday, May 7, 2021

Familial Variability: Secret Subject Swap


Secret Subject Swap, a multi-blogger writing challenge | developed and run by | #MyGraphics


Welcome a Secret Subject Swap. This month 5 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously   divulging our topics and submitting our posts. Read through mine and at the bottom you’ll find links to all of today’s other Secret Subject participants.



My subject is: An alien has shown up at your house to document human life for their social scientists at home. How would you explain your family and family dynamic to them?
It was submitted by Jenniy of Climaxed.


I check my spam email file frequently. How else would I know how many millions of dollars I might be able to claim in foreign banks for the low, low price of providing all of my personal information?
But the email I found on Tuesday was quite unique:

Family Fact Finding Mission, Secret Subject Swap | Graphic designed by and property of | #MyGraphics #humor

Oh yeah, right, alien beings who use email? And saying they're coming to my house? That's just beyond creepy. Whoever thought this one up had to be high. Like for days.

I had wiped it from my memory banks (so to speak) when a few days later, the one we call Friday, my doorbell rang. When I answered, my eyes bulged and my jaw hit my chest. The person at my door was wearing quite an elaborate costume. And had to be on stilts. Into my mind popped these words "I have been sent by Remmaps of Macs, requesting information."

OK, I'll play.

"Walk around the house to the back deck, I'll meet you there," I said not just because the ceilings in my house are only 10 feet high, but because, joke or not, I wasn't letting him in my house. 

On my way to the back deck I stopped in the kitchen and grabbed a tray. On it I placed a few cups of coffee and some of my freshly baked Pineapple Yam Bread. No reason not to be polite, after all.
Pineapple Yam Bread, yam makes this quick bread moist, pineapple adds flavor and pecans add a crunch. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #bread

Pineapple Yam Bread
Pineapple Yam Bread, yam makes this quick bread moist, pineapple adds flavor and pecans add a crunch. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #bread

Of course as soon as a request for my social security number or credit card came up, all semblance of courtesy would be revoked. Most likely with a well known earthly finger gesture to add a bit of drama to the point.
"Help yourself," I said as I placed the food on the table, sat down, looked up at him and realized he had no mouth (or the costume didn't). Oh well, his loss.
As much as I hate to admit it (since I haven't been able to come up with a logical reason), questions started popping into my head. About our family. Guardedly, I answered them. Names I gave, but I refused to give ages or birth dates, just age ranges. So far, he wasn't pushing, I was able to answer in generalities and no credit card request had been made. He's slick, this guy. Not sure that the amount of time and effort put into this . . . whatever this is . . . provides the best profitability ratio, but that's not my problem.
But I've got places to go (yay, I'm 2 weeks past my last vaccination) and yummies to bake, time to cut to the chase. "What exactly is it that you're looking for?" I asked him.
"Information about the nuclear units earthlings create and maintain. Who leads, who follows, how this works for all in your grouping," is what popped into my head. 

"The dynamic you question is ever changing, but this is how it works for us. I'm the mom and I run the entire family unit. The other adult does what he's told. It didn't start out that way, it's a process, but eventually he realized that food and clean clothes (and pretty much everything else) depends on it. The younger members of the group do all the exact same kinds of things the adults used to do but now deny they ever did. It's true they provide stress, not exactly what you'd expect from a productive member of the unit, but they also provide entertainment and comic relief. No matter the situation, however, the mom has the last word. And everyone knows it."
He started to rise, but I continued. "Times have changed though, and continue to do so. To understand our society and family relationships now, take everything I just said and put it in a blender. Families are more diverse, roles are fluid, frequently not defined. I personally have had and will always love 2 stepmothers, a stepfather, 3 stepbrothers and a stepsister."

"If your system is archaic," he questioned silently, "why maintain it?"

"Because," I told him. "We continue to grow, to evolve, and being open to that makes us more efficient, more comfortable in the roles open to us, and happier. But ultimately we need each other. And that will never change."

He continued to rise. I didn't bother telling him he'd forgotten to get my social security and credit card  numbers, just watched him leave the deck.

"You know," I added, as he walked away, slowly vaporizing, particle by particle, "your time management efficiency would rise astronomically if you had just let me answer that email."
Yup, even with aliens, the mom gets the last word.

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts. Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

Wandering Web Designer 


Part-time Working Hockey Mom

What TF Sarah 

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Pineapple Yam Bread        

Printable Recipe

1 can (15 oz) yams in syrup
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 can (8 oz) crushed pineapples in juice
1 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon 
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped pecans

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 X 5 loaf pan.
*Drain and mash the yams. Beat with the eggs, sugar, and brown sugar. Beat in the oil, then mix in the crushed pineapples with their juice.
*In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Mix into the yam mixture just until incorporated, then mix in the chopped pecans.
*Pour the batter evenly into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for about an hour, or until the center springs back to the touch.
*Allow to cool in the loaf pan for 10 minutes before running a knife around the edges and removing to cool completely.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Small Is the New Big

Individual Berry Cookie Shortcakes. The cookies are made with muffin mix and toffee chips, serve with macerated strawberries and whipped cream for a light summer treat. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #dessert

Small is the new big. 
Profound, I know.
I haven't spent the last year and 6 weeks (but who's counting?) just sitting on the couch eating cheetos and missing my life. I've actually learned a few things as well.
I've learned that I can find ways to fill my day, make the most of staying isolated, without losing my mind (well, without losing any more than about 30% of my mind, but I'm calling that a win).
I've learned that I can let go of control (this was a really hard one), and make the best of what's available. I hate, I mean hate, having someone else choose my meats and vegetables. But for a year I did, every week. I adjusted what I wanted to purchase to what I was willing to take a chance on, and I learned to make due with whatever I got. And actually be grateful for it.
In fact, as we ride the dizzying teeter totter of covid case counts, excess has taken a back seat to minimalism, prioritizing need.
I've learned that sacrifice can actually be reassuring. We have been safe, all of us, but I know people who did contract covid, am aware of how they suffered. I know that way too many have died, and those rising numbers are both terrifying and heartbreaking. But I am fully aware that a month with my son living in my home is the result of sacrifice. It took time (an 8 hour drive each way for him) and forfeiture (we all had to isolate more completely for 2 weeks before he was comfortable making that drive) but it happened. And it was nothing short of revitalizing.
And I've learned that bigger is not better. It's just bigger.

Take the sweet potato, for example.
Small Is the New Big | Picture taken by and property of
Sweet potato? Or football? 
Small Is the New Big | Picture taken by and property of

When I bake potatoes for dinner, if I'm not using reds, I buy a Russet for Hubs, who prefers white, and sweet potatoes for College Boy (when he's here) and I.
But what I got in my last order? Yikes. Maybe if I start roasting this today it'll be ready next Tuesday. Now all I need is a small country to help me eat it.
But I am finally free to choose my own groceries. FREE. Have been for 5 days now, when I reached optimal vaccination immunity. And now that I'm free, what am I doing? I'm going small. Decidedly, deliberately, and joyfully small. 
And not just in sweet potatoes.
I have also officially become a social minimalist. That may partially be covid PTSD, with a smattering of the knowledge that the vaccination status of anyone not in my immediate personal circle being unknown (and now, a new phenomenon, a percentage of people getting their first shot but skipping their second) sprinkled in. But isolation has taught me just how much I value individual, meaningful, eye to eye, in person conversation to my former preference of working a crowded group. 

And I'm embracing individual sized portions not just in my social gatherings, but in the dessert offerings there too. 
Individual Berry Cookie Shortcakes. The cookies are made with muffin mix and toffee chips, serve with macerated strawberries and whipped cream for a light summer treat. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #dessert

Individual Berry Cookie Shortcakes

I recently published a post featuring my Vanilla Blueberry Tartlets. For today I've re-imagined the Strawberry Shortcake. I did it once before, an extremely successful post called Strawberry Shortcake, Nacho Style, but group dishes are a thing of the past, they'll be back, but not quite yet. For now, especially in groups, individual style desserts are my focus. And these Individual Berry Cookie Shortcakes are fun. 

And that sweet potato football? Still got it. For now it's sitting in my pantry, reminding me of just how far I've come, of perspective, and of priorities.

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Individual Berry Cookie Shortcakes

Printable Recipe

Ingredients (makes 12):
1 pint strawberries
3 TBSP sugar
2 pouches (7 oz each) mixed berry muffin mix
6 TBSP oil
2 TBSP milk
2 eggs
1 tsp strawberry extract
1/3 cup chocolate toffee baking chips

whipped cream for serving

*Rinse, hull, and slice the strawberries. Mix with the sugar and set aside.
*Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cover baking sheets with parchment paper.
*Mix together the muffin mix, oil, milk, egg, and raspberry extract. Once incorporated, mix in the chocolate toffee chips.
*Form into 24 balls of equal size and place on baking sheets.. Flatten slightly.
*Bake for about 10 minutes or until the edges start to brown. Allow to set on baking sheet for 1 minute, then remove to cool completely.
*For each serving, place a cookie, flat side up, on a plate. Top with 1 - 2 TBSP of the strawberries, a dollop of whipped cream, then a second cookie, flat side down.