Friday, January 31, 2014

Be my Valentine

Games of tag go around the blogosphere on a regular basis. I’m always both mortified and honored when I’m tagged. Mortified because, although they’re a great chance to get to know more about bloggers personally, I’m uncomfortable posting what I call a “narcissistic me-fest”. I just don’t think people come to this blog to hear me talk about, well, me.

But I’m honored too. Because people, when choosing who to include in the game, choose me. I’m not left standing on the sidelines as the teams of participants grow. I’m especially grateful because everyone knows I never follow the rules, I always change it up a bit and make it mine, and they choose me anyway.

Be My Valentine | graphic designed by and property of | #MyGraphics

Which brings me to today. In one of the December games I was supposed to pick 5 bloggers and name two things I liked about them. Of course I picked 12 people and named one thing.

On that very day I started writing this post. Because although I held myself to 12 bloggers back then, there were so many more I wanted to include. So I’m starting my own game, Valentine-style. It’s very similar to the one Cassandra started last month. I’m asking everyone tagged, if they choose to play, to pick 5 bloggers to be their virtual valentines.

Rules of the game:
1. Pick 5 bloggers who’ve inspired you, meant something to you or been kind to you to be your valentine and tell us all why you chose them.
2. Feature the Virtual Valentine graphic in your post.
3. Inform the people you’ve chosen by sharing with them a link to your post and this set of rules.
4. Leave a link to your Virtual Valentine post on Baking In A Tornado FB page so I know to visit your post.
5. Don’t feel obliged to follow the rules, we all know I don’t.

Now I’m going to prove that I can’t even follow my own rules. At least you can say I’m consistent. So I’m taking this opportunity to continue my list from December with 12 more bloggers. Tag, you’re it. Will you be my Virtual Valentines? I’ll bake you a cake . . .

Chocolate Strawberry Brownie Cake | recipe developed by | #recipe #cake

Chocolate Strawberry Brownie Cake
Chocolate Strawberry Brownie Cake | recipe developed by | #recipe #cake

I just want to mention, as I always do with these kinds of posts that tagging is a compliment but not an obligation. Play only if you want:

You are so much fun and I just love your unpretentious approach to food.

April of 100lb Countdown
Your journey through life and the way that you share it is an inspiration.

You were one of my first blogging friends. I often miss those late nights of group-tweeting and laughing until 2 am. So many great friends from those days are gone from blogging but I’m so grateful to still have your irreverent humor in my life.

Becca of It's Yummi
I am in awe of your amazing cooking and baking creativity. I’m always excited to see what you’ll come up with next.

Cassandra of Dates 2 Diapers 2
I love how you value connections. You’re always working to make new ones and strengthen the ones you have. For me, this is what blogging’s really all about.

Eli of Coach Daddy
You’re the one I look to when I need to be reminded of what’s important in life. It’s all about being a good person and a good role model. You’re both.

You are one of blogging’s great cheerleaders. I love the selfless way you promote causes and other bloggers.

Jennifer of Outsmarted Mommy
When I first “met” you on twitter I thought you were all about humor. But I was wrong, I got to know you and realized that you’re all about heart. I’m so glad you pressed “publish” and added your heart to the blogosphere. It’s a better place with you in it.

Karen of Dinosaur Superhero Mommy 
What I admire most about you is that everything you write, you write with everything you've got. You welcome us in and hold nothing back.

Lorinda of The Rowdy Baker
I love your sense of humor and the bravery you showed by entering blogger idol. You made it far but you know I think they got it wrong the week you were eliminated.
You are a ray of sunshine in the polar vortex. I don’t know how you do it but I’m glad to be a part of it.

Phil of The Regular Guy NYC
 I love living the NYC life vicariously through your blog. And I appreciate knowing I'll always be treated to your comments on my blog and your shares on twitter.

So that’s my second list of 12 (in alphabetical order), now to figure out what to do about that third group . . .

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Chocolate Strawberry Brownie Cake
Printable Recipe
Ingredients, Cake layers:
1 box of Strawberry Cake mix and required ingredients listed on box
1 box instant Strawberry Crème Pudding Mix (can substitute instant Strawberry Pudding Mix if you can't find the Strawberry Creme Mix)
Flour for dusting pans
1 pouch of Brownie mix (10 oz pouch, a box mix will be too much) and ingredients listed on pouch
Baking cocoa for dusting pan
Ingredients, Filling:
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup chocolate syrup
Ingredients, Drizzle:
1 oz unsweetened chocolate
2 Tbsp butter
¾ cup powdered sugar
3 Tbsp milk
OPT: Ingredients Decoration:
White candy melts
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
*Grease and flour 2 round cake pans. Prepare the Strawberry Cake mix as per package instructions but add in the pudding mix before beating.
*Divide the batter into the 2 cake pans.
*Grease a springform pan that’s the same size as your cake pans. Dust it with baking cocoa. Prepare the brownie mix as specified on the pouch. Pour into springform pan
*Put into oven and bake, using package directions as a guideline until brownie is set and until center of the cake springs back to the touch. Put the cake in the back of the oven and brownie in the front as brownie may be done first.
*Remove from oven, gently run a knife around the edge of the pans and allow to sit for 10 minutes.
*Remove cake from pans and allow to cool completely. Remove sides from Springform pan but keep brownie on the bottom until cooled.
*Beat heavy cream until it starts to thicken. As you continue to beat the cream, slowly add in the chocolate syrup and keep beating until stiff peaks form.
*Put half of the chocolate cream onto the bottom strawberry cake layer.
* Run a spatula gently under the brownie to release from bottom of pan, then cover with a plate, flip upside down, remove bottom and turn gently onto the chocolate cream.
*Cover with the rest of the cream followed by the final strawberry cake layer.
*Put unsweetened chocolate and butter into a microwave safe bowl. Microwave and stir in 10 second intervals until smooth.
*Mix in powdered sugar and milk, whisk until smooth.
*Immediately pour onto top of and drizzled down the side of cake.
*Melt candy melts in microwave until creamy. Dip the strawberries, halfway up, into white chocolate. Allow to set, then use to decorate top of cake.
*Store in the refrigerator. Use a large serrated knife to cut.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Baking in a Juicebox

Today’s post is a collaboration. Michelle, who writes at Juicebox Confession and I are playing a game of Mad Libs. You remember those, don’t you? Where someone else’s words are added to already existing sentences?

So without telling each other anything at all about our posts, we each wrote about whatever we wanted, leaving out words. We then requested the kinds of words we needed and fit them into the blanks we’d left in our posts.

The resulting piece? Here’s mine with the addition of Michelle’s words:

Baking in a Juicebox |

If you’re a regular here, you know that I have a son who’s a freshman in college this year and another son who’ll be a freshman next year. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that just before a child leaves for college there are so many things you want to be sure to tell him, make sure he knows or remembers.

In the days of preparation and making lists and packing and making plans and talking and explaining and frantically getting in all the important things your baby needs to know before going out out on his own for the first time, it seems that there are some details that get lost.

My son recently spent a month at home during semester break, and I took full advantage of my do-over. This time, before he goes back to school, I made sure to tell him:

*Call your mother 20 times a day and twice on the weekends.

*You saved $ 7 to use as spending money for the year. It’s important that it last longer than the first 30 minutes.

*Speaking of over-use, you took a year’s worth of contacts to school with you. If you’re already all out, you better plan on wearing your rings because those contacts do not grow on buildings.

*You need to change the sheets on your bed. That’s why I sent you two sets of tires and lots of laundry detergent.

*When it snows, wear a laptop. Same with gloves and boots. Blankets and sneakers just won’t do.

*Don’t do your homework on your phone. Use a plate or find your way to the rodeo.

I paid for a meal plan. 23 meals a day, 5 days a week. So when I look at your debit account I shouldn’t be seeing daily trips to a state park.

Crockpot Fruited Pork Roast | recipe developed by | #recipe #dinner

Crockpot Fruited Pork Roast

*Speaking of food, the “freshman 15 (pounds)” is an understatement. It’s more like 65. So you might want to consider doing some exercise, like singing, poking, yelling or twirling.

*Duct tape your room key to your ear lobe, there’s only so many times I’m paying to replace it.

*Talk to a housekeeper before signing up for next semester’s classes. We have no plans for you to be on the 14 year plan.

*Flying for two weeks to get to a concert out of town is not a good reason to skip class.

*If you’re going to come home for the weekend, please let me know before I get pink eye from hearing toys opening in the middle of the night.

*And while you’re home, let me know if you need supplies and I’ll buy them. Don’t just leave and let me find there are no beds, swings, logs or phones left anywhere in the house.

*Although I’m thrilled that college provides a place for you to dance and bathe and express yourself, could you consider the possibility that the legalization of lipstick and your desire to jump ten hours away to check out the situation for yourself isn’t really what I had in mind?

And as always; be safe, study hard, make good choices. No matter where you are or what you’re doing, know that you are loved.

Be sure to click on this link and jump on over to Juicebox Confession to see how the words I sent her fit into the post she wrote.

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Crockpot Fruited Pork Roast
Printable Recipe
NOTE: Crockpots heat to different temperatures, you may need to adjust heat and cooking times based on your slow cooker. Sauce should not be boiling as it cooks.
3# Pork Loin Roast
15 oz jar Red Currant Jelly
½ cup Catalina salad dressing
1 onion sliced
Small package baby carrots
¾ cup cranraisins
1 apple, peeled, cored and sliced
*Place the pork roast in your crockpot, then put the sliced onions in.
*In a bowl, mix the jelly and the salad dressing. Pour over the pork and onions.
*Cook on low for 2 hours, turn pork, mix the sauce and cook for 3 more hours.
*Remove pork, slice and add back to the crockpot. Add the carrots, cranraisins and apple slices. Try to cover them with sauce as much as possible. Cook 2 hours, mixing after the first hour.

Friday, January 24, 2014

15th Fly on the Wall

Welcome to a Fly on the Wall group post. Today 13 bloggers are inviting you to catch a glimpse of what you’d see if you were a fly on the wall in our homes. Come on in and buzz around my house.

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | developed and run by | #MyGraphics

My husband wanted to look up something on our cable bill. We have TV, internet and my personal email all through this account. He has his personal email elsewhere.

So he can’t get into the account because I have the password set up since I’m the one who has an email through them. No problem, he answers the security question, resets the password, looks up the info he was looking for and it all works out, right?

Well, except perhaps when you change someone’s email password you might consider mentioning it to them . . .

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | developed and run by | #MyGraphics

College Boy made it home for winter break. He came in with all of his electronics carefully and meticulously packed.

And all of his clothes smashed into a garbage bag.

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | developed and run by | #MyGraphics

On the day before New Year’s I had to go to the grocery store. So at dinner the night before I told my family that if I didn’t make it back, it was nice knowing them.
To which my husband said “you need to let me know which stores you’re going to so I know where to go to claim your body”.
My response: “you won’t be able to find it, you have no idea what it’s like out there, those shoppers will just kick me under the endcap and keep right on going.”

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | developed and run by | #MyGraphics

They say this is mean but I think it’s fair. I told my family I had something for one of them and whoever guessed the number from one to ten got it. They kept asking but I wouldn’t tell them what it was. Everyone picked a number and the winner was chosen. Everyone else was very disappointed until they found out that the winner got to reattach the chain to the plug inside the toilet tank.

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | developed and run by | #MyGraphics

I get emails on the Baking In A Tornado account regularly asking me to write posts, link to websites or allow posts on my blog. I got one of those emails the other day and was reading it aloud to my son.
Me (reading): “Have you ever or would you consider making dog treats?”
Smarta$$ Son: “Well, you do claim to make dinner every now and then.”
See, friends, this is what I deal with. And you wonder why I’m always talking about being stressed.

Crockpot Beef Chili |

Crockpot Beef Chili

I loved having College Boy here. But I had gotten spoiled by only one kid driving me crazy and for a while I had two. Here’s an example:
High School Senior is going out with friends, he’s driving. I remind him to unlock the door between the garage and the house so he can get in when he comes home. He doesn’t, effectively locking himself out (yes, of course I checked).

College Boy goes out with friends. He’s not driving so he’s heading out the front door. I ask him if he has his key to get back in, he does but leaves the front door unlocked on his way out, effectively leaving the house open to anyone (yes, of course I checked).

Remember that stress I was just talking about?

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | developed and run by | #MyGraphics

I talk a lot about my younger son, how he’s concrete and literal and often doesn’t understand what’s salient; like what he should let his mom know about.
Last month I talked about the fact that he had been accepted to 2 colleges before I even knew he had applied. As a result we had a long talk about keeping me in the loop.
So a few weeks ago, at 10 pm on a Saturday night, he tells me that he has a few things for me to add to the calendar. I have a large desk calendar and everyone in the family has a color that’s used for them and their schedule goes onto the calendar in their color.
I go to the calendar, get his color pencil and he tells me that he’s lifeguarding for a friend on Monday. I write it in. Then he tells me that he has an interview with MIT tomorrow.
Wait, tomorrow? Guess I’m still not getting through to him on this whole “keeping mom in the loop” thing.

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | developed and run by | #MyGraphics

I hate that my car talks to me. So much so that I answer it back. So here’s a conversation you might hear as I’m pulling into the garage:
Car: “Please fasten your seatbelt.”
Me: “I can’t, it makes it too hard to get out of the car.”

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | developed and run by | #MyGraphics

Speaking of the car, this is a conversation that happened while College Boy was home. I was in the kitchen making dinner and he came in to ask to borrow my car:
Me: “You know what, you could but I have almost no gas.”
College Boy: “That’s OK, I have a few minutes. I can wait while you go out and get some.”

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | developed and run by | #MyGraphics

I was working in the kitchen most of the day of New Year’s Eve. I always make a ton of snacks and dips and appetizers and desserts and put it all out on the counter and whoever comes by can help themselves.
But I was also on social media quite a bit.
I had a cake in the oven and was on FB and said “I really need to get in the shower” as hubs was leaving to do a few errands. He came back, the cake was out of the oven and I was again on my laptop and hadn’t showered.
Me: “I really need to get in the shower.”
Him: “You said that before I left.”
Me: “I can’t get off FB, people keep talking to me, it would be rude not to answer.”
Him: “Put down the laptop and slowly back away. You can do it. I’m here for you.”

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Crockpot Beef Chili
Printable Recipe
2# stew beef
1 cup frozen chopped onion
1 can beef broth
1 bottle beer
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
3 TBSP chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp chili flakes
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp salt
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can corn, drained.
* Place beef broth, beer, tomato paste, chili powder, garlic powder, chili flakes, cumin and salt in crockpot. Mix together.
*Add onions and beef. Cook on high one hour. Reduce to low and cook 4 hours (can be longer).
*Add beans and corn. Cook one hour more.
NOTE: This can easily be made on the stove as well. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Apple French Toast Brunch Dip

Welcome to the first “9 days” post of the year. My friend Amy of Crumbs in my Mustachio came up with this idea and I find it not only fun but a real challenge. 

Here’s how it works: There are 9 bloggers participating in this monthly project. Every month will have a theme and each one of us will post a recipe based on that month's theme. All the recipes will be featured on my Facebook page so be sure to check there daily. January's theme is dips. We're calling it Dippin' Through January. Today it's my turn.

Dippin' Through January |

I have to admit that I had a very hard time coming up with a new dip. Everything I thought of had already been done in one way or another. My friends participating in this project came up with some pretty amazing ideas, both savory and sweet. I wanted to try to do something a little different from what they were doing.

The inspiration for this dip came from 2 things. One is my love of brunch and this family favorite: Berry French Toast Casserole. The other is the Cinnamon Roll cookies I bought for my son.

So here it is, my Apple French Toast Brunch Dip. I made it for the first time on New Year’s day and served it with French Toast Sticks, Cinnamon Roll cookies and apple slices.

Apple French Toast Brunch Dip |
Apple French Toast Brunch Dip

Check out the other dips, 7 have already posted, 2 more are coming. Links to all can be found on my Baking In A Tornado Facebook page on the dates listed below.

1/13 Moore or Less Cooking's Jalapeno Popper Dip
1/14 Tampa Cake Girl's Melting Pot Swiss Cheese Fondue
1/15 Hun . . . What’s for dinner's Rocky Road Brownie Batter Dip
1/16 Crumbs in my Mustachio's Prosciutto Artichoke Spinach Dip
1/17 Lemony Thyme's Crab Rangoon Dip with Wonton Chips

1/20 Cooking from a SAHM’s BLT Dip
1/21 My Apple French Toast Brunch Dip!
1/22 The Rowdy Baker's Succulent Salmon Dip
1/23 Manila Spoon's Yum Yum Dipping Sauce
1/24 Wrap up of all the dips

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Apple French Toast Brunch Dip
Printable Recipe
1/2 can Apple Pie filling
1 (8 oz) Block cream cheese, softened
¼ cup Maple syrup
½ tsp Vanilla
½ tsp Cinnamon
Options for dipping: French toast sticks, cinnamon roll cookies, graham crackers, vanilla wafers, apple slices
* Put half of a can of apple pie filling into a food processor and process until smooth.
* Add the cream cheese, maple syrup, vanilla and cinnamon. Process until smooth.
* Store in refrigerator but bring to room temperature before serving.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Use Your Words

Today’s post is a writing challenge that I hope you find as much fun to read as it was to write. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the post will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge. Here’s a fun twist; no one participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

Use Your Words, a monthly group writing challenge | developed by and graphic property of | #bloggingchallenge #MyGraphics

At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them.

I’m using: snotty ~ cursing ~ cold ~ dud ~ random.
They were submitted by: Stacy Sews and Schools

I’m not sure I can use snotty, cursing, cold, dud and random all in the same story. Oh, wait, I just used them in one sentence. Done!

Yes, I can hear your sing-song voice “cheat, cheat, never beat.”

OK, so here’s a story. This happened a few years ago.

The kids were in school and I decided to get a job. I didn’t stay long for a number of reasons; I didn’t like the job, I didn’t like the culture of the company, and once summer vacation came I wasn’t willing to have my kids sitting around the house all day alone with nothing to do. And, of course, working seriously cut into my baking time.

White Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Squares | recipe developed by | #recipe #dessert

White Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Squares

Anyway, the job was as a sales person for an on-line company. There was no store, just a web site. Obviously, no matter what callers said or did, I could not be snotty. This was extremely difficult for someone who deals with negativity through sarcasm, take my word for it. I got the most absurd callers asking the most random questions about products; a wall mounted wine rack where the wine is held upside down by its neck above the rack, someone wanted to know if you could hang them right side up below instead. Well, there’s this little thing called gravity that makes me fairly certain they’d fall and break. Duh (something I couldn't say).

When I wasn’t taking calls, I’d jump on the company web site and answer emails about products. This was much more tedious as conversations took so much longer. The good news; at least when someone asked you an absurd question by email they couldn’t hear you cursing under your breath as you were politely explaining their idiocy.

There’s one emailer who I will never forget. He was obviously foreign and didn’t have a total grasp of the English language. He was asking about these very large rocking horses. We went back and forth for quite a while. They were expensive so I wanted to be sure to answer all his questions prior to taking an order.

Finally he seemed read to order. Finally. And he would order multiple rocking horses. Score! There was just one final email, this time not a question, a request; he explained that the horses were for a special occasion, a festival of some sort and he needed me to assure him that the horses I sent him were male.

OK, more cursing under my breath and another email: you DO understand that these horses are toys, right?

His response was that we had been working together for a while and before he placed his order he wanted to be sure that he was clear that he was trusting me to make sure that he was sent males.

I’m sure this guy thought his sales person was a dud, but let me tell you this; it’d be a cold day in hell before I’d be caught in a warehouse with my a$$ in the air and my head in the nether-regions of a toy horse checking for  . . . ummm. . . cinnamon sticks and nutmeg.

So I did the only thing I could think of. I forwarded the email to my manager.

Now I know that managers were expected to do anything for a sale. And although mine wasn’t at work for a few hours the following afternoon, I’d like to think that’s because he had a doctor’s appointment.

Rocking Horse Inspection | graphic designed by and property of | #MyGraphics

Be sure to click on these links and read the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

White Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Squares
Printable Recipe
1 box Yellow cake mix
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
4 eggs
½ cup orange juice
½ cup oil
1 tsp pumpkin spice
¼ tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
½ cup cinnamon baking chips, dusted with flour
½ cup white chocolate chips, dusted with flour
8 oz cream cheese, softened
½ stick butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup eggnog, orange juice, apple cider or milk
* Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 X 13 baking pan.
*Beat the cake mix, canned pumpkin, eggs, ½ cup orange juice, oil, pumpkin spice, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves until well mixed.
*Mix in the cinnamon and white chocolate baking chips.
*Pour into prepared pan and bake for 28 to 32 minutes or until center springs back to the touch.
*Cool completely.
*Beat the rest of the ingredients until smooth. Frost the cake.
*Store in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Boss of You

I got a new phone. I realize that this is not earth shattering news and that, in fact, people do this daily. Truth is, even my Mom had a smart phone for over 6 months before I got mine. It would have gone longer but my husband is in charge of researching all things boring techie so it was up to him to figure out what I’d be capable of using would work best for me, which features I need, all that. S0 he did, and then surprised me with the phone last month.

I have two things to say about the people mentioned above. First, I can now understand why my mom had her phone longer. She’s retired and able to spend more time meeting the phone’s needs. No, I don’t work, but I’m still at the stage where I’m handling the daily needs of four  . . . well. . . breathing people.

And my husband? I’m starting to think maybe he doesn’t like me as much as I thought. First there was the roller blades incident and now this. And this is a man who is never without baked goods either. Sheesh.

Spiced Glazed Doodles | recipe developed by | #recipe #cookies

Spiced Glazed Doodles

Let me tell you, having this new phone is a major commitment. It’s not much different from having an infant in the house.

It demands constant attention. I mean between two FB pages, twitter, G+, two emails and texts, that thing is busier than a one-armed paper hanger. Oops, that analogy is probably not politically correct. Forgive me, I’m not myself, I haven’t had much sleep since this baby came into my life.

The Boss of You | graphic designed by and property of | #MyGraphics

I come when it calls. I mean clearly there is something going on that I need to know about, so when that sound rings out, I come running. Pretty much from anywhere in the house. I drop everything to go see what it needs.

It’s very difficult to understand. I mean, I think I know what to do to calm it. I should know what to do to calm it, but I could not answer a call. There’s a big green button that says “answer” but I tapped it, double tapped it, banged it, yelled at it and eventually the caller hung up. Parental fail.

It doesn’t yet understand me either, but I talk to it anyway. When that thing dings and I’m in the bathroom, I often try to stave off the coming tantrum. You can hear me from behind the door calling out in my most soothing, comforting voice “it’s OK, I hear you, I’ll be there in just a miiiiiinute.”

And, of course, this little bundle of joy is not easily calmed. In fact, if you don’t attend to it immediately, it could go into full on meltdown mode. Lights flash and buzzers buzz and it starts jumping and dancing across the table. Then you’re in real trouble.

Here’s one thing I did learn; I have to get my chores done while it’s sleeping. usually after a very active morning of play, there’s a lull. Whether it’s exhaustion or what, I don’t know, but usually there’s a late morning window where it seems to calm down for a short time. If I’m lucky, I can get a shower in or the laundry started.

It doesn’t stay asleep though. Even if I’m very careful not to make any loud noises. Even if I tiptoe. In fact, I even gently shut it off, but when it has a demand to make it just turns itself right back on.

You cannot reason with this little charmer either. I know I can use silent mode, but some things are important. So I’ve asked and explained and even begged that it inform me of only activity I care about and skip informing me of spam, but I still get summoned every time a Russian bot has left a nonsense comment on my blog.

And despite all the time and effort and lack of sleep, I love it unconditionally. I just hope I don’t live to regret those words once we hit the teen years. . . 
 Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Spiced Glazed Doodles
Printable Recipe
Ingredients, Cookie:
1 stick butter, softened
1 stick margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 ½ tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 ¾ cups flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
¼ tsp ground cloves
½ cup cinnamon baking chips
Ingredients, Rolling:
¼ cup sugar
1 TBSP cinnamon
Ingredients, Glaze:
2 TBSP milk
½ tsp vanilla
¼ tsp cinnamon
½ cup powdered sugar
*Cream butter, margarine, brown sugar, 1 cup sugar. Beat in the vanilla and eggs. Mix in the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and spices. Once everything is incorporated, mix in the baking chips.
*Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease your cookie sheets. Mix together the ¼ cup of sugar and cinnamon.
*Roll the dough into approximately 50 balls. Roll each ball in cinnamon/sugar mixture, place on cookie sheets and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the bottoms start to brown.
*Remove from the cookie sheets and cool completely.
*Mix together the glaze ingredients and brush the glaze onto the cookies. Allow the glaze to set completely before moving the cookies.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Secret Subject Swap; A Choice

Welcome to another Secret Subject Swap. This week, 12 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.

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

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:

My subject is I can’t believe I allowed this but. . . 
It was submitted by Follow me home . . .

I can’t believe I allowed this but I let my kids take over a limo. At a funeral.

Death is such a difficult subject. How and when you broach it with a child; the depths of your explanation, your personal beliefs, I honestly don’t know how you prepare for these conversations.

I have longevity in my family. We’re descendants of strong Russian peasant stock. I really didn’t deal with death until much later in life. I was in my late twenties when I lost my great-grandmother.

My kids had great-grandparents too. But when the boys were 9 and 10, I lost my grandpa in the 9th month of his 99th year.

We were all packed to go to Marco Island to my mom’s winter home. It was a vacation we took every winter and we just couldn’t wait to go. It was cold in the Midwest and we had our shorts and bathing suits in our suitcases ready for the next morning.

My mom called the night before we were to leave to tell me that her father had died. She was heading back to her home in Boston and we’d meet her there. As I unpacked the bathing suits and replaced them with sweatshirts and dress clothes, my thoughts were scattered. I thought of my grandpa, my nana back in Boston, my mother who had lost her dad, and my kids.

My sister called from Boston to say that she had made arrangements for someone to watch her kids and mine at her house during the service. We’d sit shiva (observe the mourning period and receive well-wishers) at my Uncle’s house through the week. So plans were made, the tickets exchanged, conversations were had with the kids and we went home to bury my Grandpa.

Chocolate Raspberry Pie-tini | recipe deeloped by | #recipe #drink

Chocolate Raspberry Pie-tini

Before we arrived in Boston I had a change of heart and spoke with my sister again. I had come to terms with a few things and had decided that my children would go to the funeral.

I wanted my boys to know that they are a part of a family in good times and bad. I wanted them to know that death is a part of life; that there are traditions in association with death and they’re meant to bring us some level of closure and of peace. There are ways to show respect when there’s been a death and we’d be doing that, but we’d also be on the receiving end as well.

I did not want my boys to fear death or funerals. I knew that this was going to be a short grave-side service filled with stories and memories, not a funeral of sobbing and wailing. There would be sadness and loss, but not at a level that I felt could scar young children. They would be there with me. They would follow my lead. This would be their introduction. I didn’t choose the time, it chose me, but I was going to go with it.

When it was time to leave for the service, they boys saw the limo and their eyes lit up. They wanted to ride in it and told me so. My first instinct was “no”. The limo was for specific people, we were going in a car.

But then I thought again. I decided to leave it up to them. I told the kids that this limo was not a toy or a ride at a carnival. If that was what they thought they needed to come in the car with me. But if they understood that riding in this limo would be a woman we love going to say good-bye to her husband of 75 years, and another woman we love who had lost her dad, then they could go. And they did.

My boys did so well. Not just that day but all week long. They participated in all of the traditions associated with our religious beliefs. To say that I was proud of them is an understatement. And although I can’t believe I allowed this, I did let my kids take over a limo. At a funeral. And I’m not at all sorry I did.

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Chocolate Raspberry Pie-tini
Ingredients (per drink):
1 squirt of chocolate syrup
1 shot coconut flavored vodka
1 shot whipped cream flavored vodka
1 shot of chocolate cake flavored vodka
2 shots Chambord
Opt: whipped cream and chocolate shavings to garnish
*NOTE: this drink needs to be served cold. Either make it in advance and allow to cool in the refrigerator or put the alcohol in the refrigerator for a few hours before making the drink.
*Put one squirt of chocolate syrup into the bottom of a martini glass. Add all of the liquors in the order named. Garnish with whipped cream and chocolate shavings if desired.