Tuesday, May 22, 2018

BS at PU

When things get really rough, when I'm so stressed or angry or sad (or all three, depending on what's going on at any given time) that I can feel my blood pressure about to blow the top of my head off, I always say the same thing "please, dear G-d, just let me live long enough to get my youngest son through college." 

BS at PU, it's college graduation time! | www.BakingInATornado.com | #graduation #MyGraphics

If you read this blog and/or follow my Baking In A Tornado FB page regularly (you do, right?) you know that last weekend it happened, PurDude graduated. Not really sure that bodes well for my whole head explosion situation. In retrospect, maybe I should have thought a little longer term.

I struggled, 4 years ago, when (after my older son chose a college about an hour away) we packed my youngest up and drove him to school 10 hours away. It was bittersweet, setting up his room, and as you knew I would, lining his window sill with 9 dozen cookies for his new friends and crying the whole way then driving home without him.

Dark and White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies, a crunchy dark chocolate oatmeal cookie sweetened with bursts of white chocolate chips. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #cookies

Dark and White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
Dark and White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies, a crunchy dark chocolate oatmeal cookie sweetened with bursts of white chocolate chips. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #cookies

Four sometimes devastating and often equally delightful years later, we went up to Purdue last week to reverse the process. He's living in a house with a couple of friends instead of a dorm this time, but cookies once again included, of course.

We spent the weekend walking the campus, meeting more of PurDude's friends and visiting some of our favorite places. I'm going to have to admit here, as a mom, that there were places I could have lived without seeing. He'd sent me pictures of the outside of the house he was renting and it certainly was run down looking, but that's part of the whole student experience (or so I thought). I also thought I was paying rent for him to live in a house and all this time it turns out it was a cave. And that bathroom? I may need therapy. 

Speaking of therapy, Purdue has just the place. There was no question that we'd be stopping by Paddy's Sweet Shop for one of their famous milkshakes. This place is so cute, isn't it? 

Pappy's Sweet Shop at Purdue University | picture is property of www.BakingInATornado.com | #graduation

 And we had our share of laughs. Like when we saw this bike and PurDude explained to us that on campus if you leave your bike without locking it up, it won't be where you left it. Don't worry, it wasn't stolen. Everyone knows to just look up.

Purdue University | picture is property of www.BakingInATornado.com | #graduation

 Graduation was amazing. I have to admit I've never been this entertained by a commencement before. Purdue has produced more astronauts than any other school and it happens that 2 are on the International Space Station right now. One of them received an honorary doctorate and since our son's degree is from the school of science, it played out in the graduation ceremony (one of six in total) that we attended. This segment of the graduation was actually done through a live hook-up to the Space Station and concluded with the astronaut addressing the new graduates. NASA even covered it live on their TV channel also.

If you want to see it, the link is to the video on the Purdue FB page is HERE. If you don't want to see the whole commencement, you can scroll forward to the Space Station part. If you do watch it, watch to the very end (even after the waving), it's pretty funny in places, and I love how it ends.

Comments from the International Space Station at Purdue Graduation | picture is property of www.BakingInATornado.com | #graduation

 The highlight for us, of course, was hearing our son's name called and watching him cross that stage to receive his degree. A Bachelor's Degree in Science with a major in Computer Science and a minor in Organizational Leadership Skills. GPA: 3.2. Yeah, I may be just a little proud.  
Among the many obligatory pictures we were sure to get one of PurDude and Neil Armstrong. Now they are both Purdue alumni.

Comments from the International Space Station at Purdue Graduation | picture is property of www.BakingInATornado.com | #graduation

And then it came. Time to say goodbye to his friends and his housemates and work on packing up to come home. We had limited space, his car and our SUV and that's it. We looked into renting a small truck but driving it one way would cost about 5 times what we paid for the items we'd be taking. Cheap college furniture is easily replaced. We had room for one large piece so PurDude had a decision to make, which had the most sentimental meaning to him. 

He was living in a house with 2 roommates so he did have some furniture that we'd bought him: a mini fridge, a desk, a futon, an air conditioner. Whatever he didn't take he was donating to his frat brothers. None of what we bought was expensive and all had served him well for 4 years so it didn't matter to us what he decided to keep. 

So what did he do? In the end it wasn't furniture we had bought him that came home with us after all, it was something he'd acquired along the way.

Gotta keep the Kegerator | picture is property of www.BakingInATornado.com | #graduation

Why yes, that actually is a Kegerator sitting in my garage. 


But if you go inside my house, climb the stairs and walk into the room on the left, there you will find my boy. Temporarily, of course, but for now all is right in my world. Perfect, in fact.

Baking In A Tornado signature | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Dark and White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients (makes about 3 1/2 dz):
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1 stick butter, softened
1 stick margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg, room temperature
1 3/4 cups flour
2 TBSP baking cocoa
1 cup quick oats
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup white chocolate chips

*Melt the dark chocolate chips until smooth when stirred.
*Cream the butter, margarine, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla. Beat in the egg and melted dark chocolate.
*Slowly at first until incorporated, beat in the flour, baking cocoa, oats, salt and baking soda. Mix in the white chocolate chips. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover baking sheets with parchment paper.
*Roll the dough into about 1 inch balls. Place on the baking sheets and press down gently with the heel of your hand. 
*Bake for 12 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes before removing to cool completely.


  1. His graduation sounds so interesting! My son had one of those bathrooms, too! Those cookies look so good - can't wait to try the recipe - though I'll use GF flour. Thanks!

    1. Yes, definitely a fun graduation. Let me know what you think of the cookies.

  2. Woohoo! Congratulations to Perdude!
    I can't believe your youngest has graduated. It wasn't so long ago that you were dropping him off on his college adventure armed with baked goods. Time flies! I'm so glad you were able to enjoy touring the town that was his home. Though I hope the cave burns out of your memory quickly.
    You guys raised a great man.
    Enjoy this special time together.

    1. Thank you, Meg. Very proud, very excited and a little sad to know he'll soon be moving out again.

  3. Perfectly excellent reasons to Kvell! Congratulations to your son and well done Mom! The oatmeal in the cookies certainly makes them healthy as does the triple chocolates. They look fabulous.

    1. Thank you Haralee and yes, oatmeal has the amazing quality of making anything healthy!

  4. How quickly the college years are behind us. It was only a few months ago that I graduated, wasn't it? WASN'T IT? Oh, this wonderful, interim, post-college time, when you can again pretend he is all yours! I know you will make the most of every moment!
    We have been so blessed, having five of our six children within shouting distance. Our youngest is in the process of moving his family to Lake Louise--one of the most beautiful spots in all of Canada. Part of me is jealous. But most of me is weeping for the distance between us now.

    1. I fully understand how you feel about that distance, although it sure does sound like he's going to provide you with a pretty great place to visit.

  5. Congratulations PurDude and while Mom may not understand the whole Keg thing, I get it. So enjoy!

  6. Well done to both of you. My father's youngest brother got his doctorate at Purdue - my father helped to raise him with two other siblings after his mother died (when he was 10) so, in a way, we have a very small link. Very small. I suspect my father, who lived in Brooklyn at the time, didn't bake him cookies, though. (my Dad is gone but my uncle is still very much alive and in his 90's) I will wish for great things ahead for both of you. Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

    1. What an interesting family story, Alana. I'm going to consider it a connection. And thank you for the lovely wishes.

  7. It looks like Purdude has the same fashion sense as my male college graduates. They didn't bother ironing their scarves either :-)

  8. A picture of Neil Armstrong and your son, can it get any cooler?
    Congrats on Graduation, PurDude!
    Let's try and keep Paddy's Sweet Shop in your memories of his Campus Life and not the cave he was living in ;-)
    So what's next?


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