Monday, June 21, 2010

Bittersweet (and the chips are semi-sweet)

So my first baby is finishing his run at the middle school, and will be headed for the junior high (aka sesspool of adolescence). My other baby is closing out her time in elementary school, and is headed for the middle school in the fall. I guess what this means is that I really don't have any babies! There's one box of tissues...sad. The good news is that the people they are both becoming are pretty fabulous, and they've surrounded themselves with some incredible friends. Another box of tissues...happy.

In an effort to keep busy, the oven is on once again. I am currently waiting for the timer to go off on what is part of batch number six of chocolate chip cookies, since last Thursday. There were a variety of causes that led to the homage to Nestle and its fabulous Tollhouse recipe. Three batches were for a coworker's daughter's graduation party and one batch was for the people running the corporate challenge at my aunt's office. The other two batches were the easiest/most cost effective way to say "thanks and farewell" to the myriad of teachers my children felt compelled to acknowledge (yeah, yeah, yeah...I felt it too). The baked goods covered all of our bases at the middle school, once my son reluctantly accepted that they were a fine alternative to gift cards. Since our daughter will be going to that school next year, his departure lacked any sense of finality for me (there could be some fuzzy logic or denial mixed in there, but keep that to yourself, and do not feel compelled to point it out to me).

The waters got a little murkier for the elementary school farewell. Melty morsels sufficed for some. However, it was not only the girl's good-bye, she can draw a swell card with her own message, but rather this mom's good riddance as well. How do I say "good-bye", and perhaps more importantly "Thank you", while keeping in mind that this isn't about me? (Cue another box of tissues!) With the help of my ten year old, we were successful in finding ways that we felt would let people know we were thinking of them. Those people extended back to her first grade, up through her fourth grade teacher. Nobody can shake us that easily...we just keep coming back! Sure there appeared to be some sort of hierarchy to the gifts, but nobody else needs to know that. There were some cards that I had to add my own two cents, but most others are tear-jerkers on their own. It's so funny to me how she is at the kitchen table right now drafting away at things, that sent me running out of the room before she saw the waterworks coming, with a big grin on her face. She clearly has a better hold on "Don't cry because it's because it happened" than I do. I am working on it...really, I am. It is worse to imagine us having spent the past six years someplace we were more than eager to leave.

Lately my musings over what to be when the kids grow up have become tangled with a growing sense of wondering where I belong (that is a whole other blog on its own I think). In moments of panic, I found that I could belong in the halls of the elementary parent, literacy volunteer, spectator. That era ends tomorrow morning when I will "belong" there for the last time (tissue, please). Oh dear, I don't look terribly forward to belonging in front of my washing machine or behind my vacuum cleaner!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

What did I just eat...and why?

Today was not a "hand over the chocolate and nobody gets hurt" kind of day. Rather, it was more about some crunchy salty goodness. But when she got there...the cupboard was bare...yeah, but she didn't have "none"! I spotted a crinkly bag of some sort of frito-lay family chips, Doritos to be exact. Not just any Doritos, the All Night Burger flavor. OK, my 12 year old talked me into these, as he claimed they were "awesome". I guess they are kind of awesome in a "holy crap, what on earth is in these things to make them taste just like a Burger King burger" kind of way. However, that awesome-ness quickly fades as the crunch lives on, and I begin to remember why I don't really go to the BK Lounge anymore. I didn't bother checking the ingredient list as I was certain that would provide no comfort. It took only three chips to seal the deal for me that I'd had enough.

Now the whole idea behind meal flavored chips is a little perplexing to me. Sometimes I like chips with my burger, but not chips that taste like said burger. Plus, if I am in the mood for a burger, a better idea would be for me to just eat one (instead of a bag of chips). It makes me think of the Jetsons with some futuristic food capsule, or Willy Wonka with Mike TV getting his meal flavors out of chewing gum. Ranch flavored chips make sense to me, as they save me the trouble of keeping dip around at all times, and keep the fat content of my indulgence to the chips themselves. I just wish I could see the mystical spice rack that enables the production of the flavor varieties on the shelves. I feel like a scientist when I mix honey and mustard for honey-mustard, and am pretty sure I could time travel when I make pudding or meringue, and see them actually take form!

There was another food finding recently that turned my stomach in another way. My daughter has a fairly strict "no thanks" policy when it comes to eating breakfast, and the realm of breakfast food in general. She mentioned that she tried a Jimmy Dean breakfast bowl at a friend's house, and wanted to obtain some of her very own. The thought of one less battle before 8:00 am held some appeal, so we peered through the glass doors of wonder that are the frozen food section, and there they were! I don't usually hear Jimmy's name thrown around much in the American Heart Association cookbooks we have, so I decided to just quickly scan the nutrition facts. I couldn't focus on the fat content, which is what I was after, because there was the largest number I'd ever seen, on a box panel, flicking me in the eye. It was the cholesterol content..of course I don't remember the grams, but I do remember that the amount was 128% of the recommended DAILY value per serving. Does Jimmy think cholesterol is a good thing? It was almost like having it in plain sight made it ok. I know it's required to have that info on the food, but WOW! Is it just me, or does it seem that product warrants a warning as much as a bottle of wine does?! "The surgeon general warns that you might as well drink bacon grease", or "The Surgeon general recommends that you refill your Lipitor immediately".

I took a moment to come up with my response as my daughter waited (with drooly visions of her bacon, cheese, egg scramble). Then I showed her the numbers on the box, and apologized for being unable to make that purchase. The only concern I had left on the subject was how that information might translate to her friend, who gets to snack with Jimmy after school. A little goofy to think that I can sleep better giving her milk, donut holes and a piece of fruit...breakfast of runner ups?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


And by that title, of course I mean...What The Font?!?!?!?!? A trained chimp could probably figure out blogger, as it is so easy to use, yet I cannot keep a consistent font style in a consistent size (preferably one that doesn't require a page magnifier). And when I do go in to reset any particular post, things go even wackier...sheesh! I think this may be where I need to focus all of my energy and anxiety right now. All of that end of the school year crap can wait, I have bigger issues to take care of! I can't have the fives of people who follow this blog being visually challenged on a regular basis. My little man is leaving for Philly on his first school trip tomorrow, but instead of worrying about that, I should focus on why proper formatting is eluding me so! This could take all of my brainpower (and several handfuls of licorice!)

What's the Deal?

When my daughter and I returned from soccer practice last night, there were some Walgreens bags on the kitchen counter. I was only slightly dismayed that things were muck-a-lucking up my counter, as I was sure the bags were filled with useful items. I also realized that this meant that the men had probably gone for a bike ride, and was pleased at the notion that another hour of eye-burning electronics had not taken place...fresh air and male bonding!

Then I looked in the bags...9 bags of licorice: twists, bites, and pull & peel (I don't even know why I am qualifying this). Um...excuse me? I thought I had splurged a little bit the other day when I bought ONE bag of cherry bites for the snack shack (supplies were actually getting low...and I was actually relieved). I inquired as to what was going on-assuming they were a gift. Nope...Mr Sweet Tooth said they were on sale. I really couldn't fathom what kind of sale warranted more than four bags. Did I miss a new study deeming cherry Twizzlers to contain more antioxidants than blueberries?

I mentioned that it added insult to injury that he left his bags of unnecessary goods on the kitchen counter, that I apparently LIVE to clear off. That is when I was told that the licorice was three for $4.00 and with that purchase he got $10.00 off his next purchase (which I suppose I should be grateful wasn't nine more bags of licorice). He couldn't even blame it on the boy child because he was waiting outside the store, where he kept busy by falling off his bike and having the pedal eat part of his calf.

There were also two boxes of granola bars that he bought for himself. That information was provided when I asked why additional granola bars were being added to our collection of uneaten ones. They were the kind he liked and he was bringing them to work. As some sort of a compromise, he told me to pick out five bags of licorice to keep at home and he'd bring some to work. OK. I got the sense that his feelings were hurt that I was not more appreciative of his financial wizardry regarding the acquisition of an early Halloween. My feelings were a little hurt by his suggestion that I wasn't buying enough teeth rot in my weekly Wegmans run (nor do I select the appropriate Nature Valley goodness).

I maintain that spending $12.00 on something, you don't need, to get $10.oo off your next purchase, in a store we don't purchase much at, is fuzzy logic. Maybe it's just me...and now I feel like a hypocrite if I give in to the cherry Twizzler bites craving I've got brewing!!!! Thank goodness I bought a bag of those myself...might have to move them to my sock drawer if I intend for them to last long enough to prove a stubborn point!