Friday, August 31, 2012

Use your Powers

When Older Son was in kindergarten, the tops of his school papers stopped carrying just his name, and started looking like this:

Use Your Powers | | #MyGraphics

The teacher eventually asked me what this was all about and I was forced to explain that I made the mistake of letting him know that I didn’t like divulging my age.  He had decided to devote himself to announcing my age… publicly… constantly.  Glad she thought it was funny.  I have to admit, though, that despite having been so young, he had to have put some serious brain power into just the right way to torture me. This was the first time I can remember saying to him “if only you would use your powers for good instead of evil.”

 When the boys were in Elementary School, I wanted them to learn to play a musical instrument.  They really weren’t interested in Orchestral instruments, but I thought it important that they be exposed.  There were a few instrument choices available that the school would lend us, making it easier.  What did my kids play?  The String Bass.  That thing is huge.  I’m short, but I am a grown adult and that thing was just about as tall as I am.  So every day my kids walked up to the school with their neighborhood friends.  And twice a week I drove the Bass.  “If only you would use your powers for good instead of evil”.

 Picture posted with permission:

You certainly can’t say that the boys aren’t smart. From an early age they showed that they think things through and even approach issues from unconventional angles when motivated.  Now they are young adults, and the thought they give to accomplishing their goals makes what they did when they were younger look like…well, child’s play.  Unfortunately those goals seem to be the constant.  They were and still seem to revolve around how best to torture me.  Sometimes I feel like we’re plummeting to earth and these boys have the power to pull the parachute cord.  I hope they will choose to use their powers for good instead of evil.  Maybe if I bribe them…

Strawberry Peek-a-Boos | | #recipe

Strawberry Peek-a-Boos

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Strawberry Peek-a-Boos

Printable Recipe

Ingredients, Cookies:                                                     
1 stick butter, softened                                
1 cup sugar                                                
1 egg                                                           
1 tsp vanilla                                                  
1 1/3 cups flour                                            
1/3 cup baking cocoa                                    
¾ tsp baking soda                                        
¼ tsp salt

Ingredients, Filling: 
½ stick butter, softened
½ stick margarine, softened
2 tsp milk
1 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp strawberry extract
¼ cup Strawberry Nesquick (25% less sugar)
½ cup fluff (marshmallow crème)

Directions, Cookie: 
*Beat butter just till smooth.  Beat sugar, egg and vanilla. Mix in flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.
* Roll into 2 logs. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
*Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice logs into cookies and bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 8 minutes.
*While still hot, make a small hole in half of the cookies (if you don’t have a small round cookie cutter, I used an apple corer).  You can make baby sandwich cookies with the center portion you’ve removed.
*Cool completely before filling.
Directions, Filling:  
*Beat butter, margarine and Nesquick. Beat in the fluff, powdered sugar, strawberry extract and milk.
*Pipe about a Tbsp worth of strawberry filling onto the center of a cookie without a hole in it. Gently cover with an equal size cookie with a hole in it, so the filling shows through the hole.
*Opt: stick a chocolate chip onto the chocolate filling in the hole.
*Opt: can put a small amount of strawberry filling between 2 of the “holes” removed from the bigger cookies.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Brothers in Arms

**The following post requires a caveat:  It’s possible it’ll be my last post as I’m anticipating death threats from my sister who will invariably remember the following situations quite differently than I remember them.  I’m sorry but names have not been changed to protect the innocent:

Siblings are a very tricky relationship.  Frequently after a first child parents will say “I want Junior to have a brother or sister to grow up with”.  Truth of the matter is Junior would probably be perfectly happy to have no such thing.  After all, they have been the center of your attention, they don’t need some new baby to come in and challenge them for that title.

I grew up with a sister.  Like with most siblings, sometimes it was a comfort and sometimes it was a challenge.  With siblings looks can be deceiving.  We are very different people, but when Sister started her Freshman year in High School people in the halls would say “Hi, Karen’s sister”.  We grew accustomed to answering to each other’s name during those years.  Later, on vacations or in clubs people would ask if we were twins.  Sister was always kind enough to quickly let them know that I am, in fact, older. 

When she was little I once talked Sister into eating poisonous berries off of a tree in the yard.  I once offered to trim the ends of her hair. When I was done her beautiful waist length hair ended just past her shoulders. 

   Holiday time during my Freshman year in college, I was home from school and borrowed Mom’s new Thunderbird so Sister and I could go to the mall.  Later that night Sister was in her room, door closed and shades down while I explained to Mom that her car was stolen…and then totaled.  When my boyfriend was driving Sister and I home one night and got pulled over  in our driveway  (oops, flashing blue lights and all), guess who was distracting Mom in the back of the house – and who was in her room with the door shut and the shades drawn.

Eventually most siblings come to a place of (at least) detente.  I used to keep an “emergency” $20 bill hidden in my purse.  We worked at the same company for a short time after college.  If Sister made last-minute plans she would send a friend from her office to mine: “Sister wants to know if she can borrow some money for tonight”.  Me: “I only have about $4 on me”.  Friend: “She said to tell you she’ll take your emergency $20”.  At the end of the day, no one knows more about where you’re coming from than your sibling. 

Brothers in Arms | | #MyGraphics

My boys are opposites.  I’m not unhappy about this.  I always say to them about the other “I already have one of him, you be you”.  These boys do not look alike.  One is taller and lean with blond wavy hair and blue eyes.  The other is more substantial with thick dark hair and chocolate eyes with lashes I wish I still had.  One could care less about school, the other’s class ranking wavers around the top 10 out of 600.  One is athletic, the other (literally) walks into walls.  One has a large circle of friends and acquaintances, the other prefers one or two at a time.

When Younger Son was a baby I got my first hint of how it was to be.  Older Son said to me “Mom, I think you should take him back now, his Mother is probably looking for him”. 

 One time when Younger was a baby and Older a toddler, Younger was in the kitchen in his little swing.  Older was in the kitchen as well, and I had stepped onto the back porch.  I shut the sliding door and heard a clunk.  The bar I keep in the track of the sliding door for safety had fallen down into place.  I was locked outside.  I knocked on the door and got Older’s attention.  I pointed to the stick and yelled for him to pick it up.  He waved.  I tried a few times, then went to get my neighbor.  She came over and when she stopped laughing, tried to help.  Younger had started to cry and I was panicking.  A few times we got Older to pick up the stick, but as soon as we lunged for the door he’d drop it back into place.  Then Older walked away.  And Younger stopped crying.  Me:  “Oh no, he’s killed him”.  We grabbed the phone and, embarrassing or not, called Husband to come home from work.   Of course literally 30 seconds before Husband walked in from the garage we got Older to get that stick out of the door.  Husband found us standing in the house.  Fortunately I didn’t have yet another thing to explain as Younger was alive (and asleep). 
There was a time that I thought these two would never, I mean ever, get along.  But it seems that they have already found some common ground.  Clearly they are both trying to kill me.

Homemade Blue Raspberry/Cherry and Watermelon Rum |

Blue Raspberry/Cherry
and Watermelon Rum

Watermelon Slushies | | #recipe

Watermelon Slushies with
home-made Watermelon Rum

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Watermelon Slushies

2½ cups (measure after blended) Fresh chopped watermelon
1½ cups Watermelon Rum (can use Watermelon Vodka)
1 cup Acai Mixed Berry juice (by V8)
Splash of Rose’s sweetened lime juice
Opt: simple syrup or sugar

*Put fresh watermelon chunks into a blender.  Blend until smooth.
*Add Acai Mixed berry juice, a splash of Rose’s lime juice and Watermelon Ru.m
*Opt: if your watermelon isn’t particularly sweet, you can add some simple syrup or sugar and blend again.
*Put into the freezer until it’s partially frozen.

NOTE: Jolly Rancher Vodka (I used Rum) recipe from  Here’s a hint:  Don’t mix blue raspberry and cherry together unless you really like the taste of cough syrup.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Really, 11 Things About Me, too?

Liebster Award, Take 2
Final Take

Blog Awards| | #MyGraphics

I am shocked to say that after only 10 weeks of blogging I have, again, been awarded the Liebster Blog Award; on 8-25-12 by Dawn's Disaster, on 8-26-12 by Thoughts from a mommy, wife and friend and on 10-31-12 by Mommy Needs a Break.  Thank you for all the bloglove.

Blog Awards| | #blogging
The Liebster Awards is given by bloggers to up and coming bloggers as a way to spread the word about smaller blogs who deserve a larger audience.  This award is an honor, but once nominated, you must earn it:

1)  You must list 11 things about yourself.
2)  Answer 11 questions put to you by person awarding you.
3)  Choose up to 11 bloggers with less than 200 followers and list their questions.
4)  Go to your nominees’ pages and inform them of the nominations.

OK, first I want to say that 11 things about myself is an added requirement this time. If the requirements of this award gets any longer, it’ll be like writing “War and Peace”.   

 As if winning the Liebster again wasn’t great enough, I’ve also won another award, the Versatile Blogger Award.  Thank you so much Vicky of The Greek Housewife another great blog I read regularly. For this award I have to list 7 facts about myself and name 7 up and coming bloggers. 

Blog Awards| | #blogging

And just when I thought there couldn’t possibly be any more, Sarah and Jennifer of The Mommy Chronicles made me the recipient of the Laine Blogger Award on 9-3-12.  Wow, thanks Sarah and Jennifer! Josi at That Suburban Momma surprised me with another one on 10-30-12.  If all this recognition goes to my head, I know who to blame.

Blog Awards| | #blogging

Think that’s it? I did too, but on 9-21-12, The Sunshine Award was presented to me on by Rhiannon of Happy Little Feet. And again on 10-20-12 by Vicky of The Greek Housewife. And a third by my friend Meg at on 3-26-13. Amazing!

Blog Awards| | #blogging

Let me just tell you now that Award Season in Hollywood has nothing on me! On 9-22-12 I was awarded the Sisterhood of theWorld Bloggers Award also by Rhiannon of Happy Little Feet.  I am such a fan of both her creativity and of her as a person so this honor is very special.

Blog Awards| | #blogging

Another Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award honor came from Sarah at  The Mommy Chronicles.  Her blog started as her own and has now grown to a 4 person collaboration, a really interesting approach to blogging.And on 10-21-12 a third one from another talented blogger, Jenny at Cassandra's Corner.   On 10-30-12 Michele of Follow me home . . .also gave me Sisterhood Award.  Michele gave me my very first blog award and was my very first blogger friend who truly got me. Never met her but I that girl.

On 10-13-12, I was surprised by another award, the One Lovely Blog Award. This one came from  Marcia, who blogs at Menopausal Mother. As someone who tries to offer a humorous blog, I’m thrilled to receive an award from someone I consider a very funny blogger.

Blog Awards| | #blogging
I must have received every award in the history of blogging, now, right? That’s what I thought, but actually I was wrong again. On 10-23-12, Susan of Fashionably Saving on 11-1-12 April of 100lb Countdown and on 11-12-12 Jessica Marie of Boys Oh Boys honored me with the Beautiful Blogger
Award.  Susan’s blog is a place where she shares information about raising a family on a budget.  April offers honesty, advice and recipes for healthy living. Jessica Marie has a lifestyle/proud mommy blog.

Blog Awards| | #blogging

And, just to stand out in the crowd, on 11-14-12, Courtney of Chewylicious presented me with not one, not two, but three awards, the Liebster, the Laine and the Versatile. That woman doesn’t believe in doing things in a small way, and I’m grateful!

The New Year brought a new award, the Very Inspiring Blogger Award was a gift from The Insomniac's Dream on 1-15-13. And TWO more on 1-19-13 from my friends Sarah at The Sadder but Wiser Girl and April at First Time Mom and Dad. Two months later, on 3-19-13 I was awarded a fourth by the sweet and thoughtful Kristal of Clearly Kristal.

Blog Awards| | #blogging

And on 1-26-13 I received the Epically Awesome Award of Epic Awesomeness from the ladies at The Momisodes. Never heard of that one? Me neither.  That’s because Sarah made it up, which makes me love it even more. On 2-27-12 I got another one from the funny and thoughtful Sarah, who blogs at The Sadder but Wiser Girl.

Blog Awards| | #blogging

Another new award on 1-30-13, the Inspiring Blog Award, came from Starr, of The Insomniac's Dream again. Our friendship started when our paths crossed on FB one night and we moved on to emails. The rest is history . . .

The second one came on 2-8-13 from Molley, another funny blogger at A Mother Life, and a third from my friend Marcia at Menopausal Mother on 2-21-13. She was the first person I trusted to do a guest post on my blog and she made the whole process painless, even fun. And then the very next day I was honored with another, from Darla at Mom's World. Another smile.
Blog Awards| | #blogging
 Another new one! A brand new award I'd never heard of. I'm so grateful to Arielle of Their World We Live In  for the Best Moment Award received on 3-28-13.

Blog Awards| | #blogging

So here goes, 7 things about me for the Versatile Blogger Award:

1) I've traveled to Israel, Hong Kong, Indonesia, England, Venezuela, Mexico, Canada, Korea, Hawaii, St. Croix, St. Lucia, and more!
2) I have para-sailed.
3) I love reading and mysteries are my favorite.
4) Favorite band (and first concert) Aerosmith.
5) I sing, loud, in the car and I don’t get the words right and I don’t care.
6) I love lobster and don’t mind cooking them myself.
7) I love ballet.

Plus another 4 for the Liebster:
8) I love the ocean, now live nowhere near one but have made sure my kids have gone, many times.
9) I love skiing and now live nowhere near a mountain, but have made sure my kids know how to ski.
10) I am so honored to receive these awards again BECAUSE they're awarded by other bloggers, but it’s a lot of work.
11) Honored or not, I’m not doing this again!

My answers to 11 questions:
1)  What is your favorite color and how many rooms in your house are painted it?
Blue (have to say that, I have 2 boys), only one room.
2)  Who is your favorite Disney movie character and are your more similar or different from them?
Ariel. I love to swim and I miss the ocean.
3)  What is your favorite blog (share link, please) and why?
follow me home . . .   because Shel was my very first blog friend and because she inspires me and makes me laugh every single time she writes.
4)  What kind of car do you drive and is it your dream car?
BMW. Love it when my son lets me borrow it.
5)  How many kids do you have and how many do/did you want?
I was pregnant 4 times with 5 babies and have 2 kids. I was grateful beyond belief after the first.
6)  What is the highest formal level of education do you have?
I graduated from college.
7)  Do you have pets?  If so, what type?
No pets.
8)  What did you do on your last "date night"?
Dinner out. I didn’t have to set the table, cook or clean!
9)  Chunky or smooth peanut butter?
10)  What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Mint chocolate chip
11)  Big wedding or small wedding?
Small wedding just days before moving 1500 miles away.

My questions for the blogs I’ve nominated:
) How long did you think about it before deciding to blog?
2) Have you ever just completely taken a day off from all things blog?
3) Have you done guest posts on other blogs?
4) Have you or would you host guest posts on your blog?
5) Have you ever said anything in a blog that you wanted to take back?
6) What’s your favorite season?
7) What’s your favorite song?
8) If you could live anywhere, where would you live?
9)  Name one food you just can’t stand.
10) What’s your favorite secret indulgence?
11) What one thing do you dread the most?

My nominees, check out these blogs, they’re well worth reading:
Michelle at
The Head Peanut at
The Spring Chick at

Thank you again: Dawn, Janna,Vicky, Sarah, Jennifer, Rhiannon Marcia, Jenny, Susan, Josi, Michele, April, Jessica Marie, Courtney, Starr, Sarah, April, Molley, Darla, Kristal, Meg and Arielle. Love sharing the Blogosphere with you all.  I’m overwhelmed with the amount of support I’ve had in such a short time.

Baking In A Tornado Signature| | #MyGraphics