Friday, October 31, 2014

Week 22 - And Halloween too!

Happy Halloween! In honor of sugar rushes all over the country, my offering for the CONTEST this week involves candy! So grab yourself one of those slightly mysterious black or orange paper wrapped chews as I present another piece from my love letter collection.

Dear Necco,

When my friend and I were sitting in the holding pen at our most recent mammograms, I got fidgety, as usual, and started rummaging through my purse.  We couldn’t help but laugh at all of the chocolate Necco wafers that were frolicking around in the bottom of my bag. There was no sign of the original package, but we decided that the loose candy was just the perfect little taste we needed to calm our nerves. Seeing any of the candies with your company name on them really brings me back to being a kid, sharing treats with my family.

My grandparents’ house always had some standards in the cupboard, like Canada Mints and Strawberry Twizzlers. There were lucky days though when I could find a Clark bar or MaryJanes tucked right next to the soup bowls. My friends didn’t always know what a Clark bar was, so I would generally explain that it was sort of like Butterfinger, only better in my opinion. There is no way to convince someone how delicious a MaryJane candy is if they are unwilling to try them, at least that is what I was banking on during the summer when I was twelve years old.

My girlfriends and I used to walk to the grocery store at least once a week. We certainly were not looking to help our mothers out by getting anything actually needed around the house. We were after candy. The other girls bought chocolate and other easily recognizable treats. I bought a bag of MaryJanes. When the neighborhood boys inevitably stumbled into our paths, their eyes quickly focused in on the Twix box, licorice bag or packs of gum. The begging started, soon followed by just stealing the candy. Eventually someone was bound to ask what was in my bag. I usually answered and lifted one of those little rectangles. The name MaryJane did not give anything away, so the secret of how good they were stayed safe. There were no bright colors on the package, no indications of chocolate or artificial hues. I didn’t even know how to describe what they were back then. I just knew that they were yummy. I am sure the way I chomped away, with my mouth open, no doubt, made them no more appetizing.

My children and husband have not crossed over into the land of molasses taffy with peanut butter chews. I have tried, albeit halfheartedly, to convince them, but something about my breathing MaryJane breath on them does nothing for my case. I am fine with having no guilt about keeping them for myself. I do like seeing my mother’s eyes light up when she spots those familiar wrappers in the candy jar though. There must be one left in the bottom of the jar…all of this talk…I hope…maybe the bottom of my purse again?


Did they appreciate my corn syrup laden trip down memory lane? I am not sure as I never heard back from them. However, the candy jar is full of MaryJanes, and I am giddy with anticipation of a Clark bar falling out of someone's trick or treat bag tonight!

Current point total remains at 46

Stop by to check out the competition!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Howdy, Random!

Howdy, Partner! I do believe there is some sort of festivities coming up this weekend...

...or as Fozzie would say, "I hate Halloween AND my hat is backwards!"

Today is National Chocolate Day, and I am sure you cannot fathom how I chose to celebrate! In a related story, here is a very special personal tin of chocolates my mother brought me back from Amsterdam. Mmmmmm!

I know that the pumpkins aren't even completely rotten yet, but the creepy elves have been perched for weeks already. This display at the mall was not to be passed by though, as with both of my kids' names sitting right next to each other, I felt I had no option but to buy them...I am not proud.

We only have a few more hours to celebrate National Chocolate Day, so let's get back to it!


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Superhero Sunday - Sidekicks?

Remember when I told you that Flat Lillian did not travel alone? Well, here is who escorted her across the country...
Oh yes, it is time to get down to some flat business! Sidekicks...engage!
Lillian, your arms are not quite Barbie sleeve friendly, and I don't even want to mention the foot. Kari, I am sorry that your skirt is hanging out the bottom of your gymnast suit. In fact, I am sorry you are wearing a gymnast suit at all, and that it makes me laugh, but I just couldn't help myself! Maybe their first mission should be to head back to wardrobe!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Week 21 - Still having fun!

Its not too sweet, it's a cool refreshing treat, Canada Dry...oops, sorry, I was singing old commercial jingles! Up this week for the CONTEST, Canada Dry ginger ale, it's not too sweet....

Dear Bubble Brewers,

Canada Dry ginger ale was a staple at my grandparents' house when I was growing up. We weren't fair-weather, use-it for-an-upset-stomach reachers for that green and gold label. No, we enjoyed that not too sweet, cool refreshing treat flavor any old time. I think part of my satisfaction with your product comes from the fact that it tastes just like I remember.

I cannot ignore the other benefits of your fine beverages. When our house was hit by a particularly unpleasant round of the stomach bug, I consulted our neighbor, the pharmacist. (I was happy to hear from anyone in a white jacket who would tolerate my whining.) Flat ginger ale was prescribed. I was concerned because I only had two liter bottles of brand new ginger ale on hand, but was relieved to find out that stirring or shaking a smaller quantity would yield the fizzless results I was seeking. I started to make sure there was always a two liter bottle of Schweppes or Canada Dry in the garage. Eventually the kids caught on to my stash and began drinking the soda whenever they felt like it.

When I first thought about writing to your company, I knew I had a great story to share. However, I soon remembered that it was not actually my story. I called my friend to ask her if I could share her tale, and she agreed as long as I described the state of affairs accurately. She and her family were staying with her in-laws for a visit, many hours from home, when the stomach bug struck. Here is where she would like me to clarify: This was not any sort of mild, nor one-directional affliction. The contents of her stomach was rushing to the nearest exit. As her mother-in-law left for the grocery store, my friend made one request...ginger ale.

Sadly, none of the grocery bags held any made with real ginger relief. Her mother -in-law announced that ginger ale only came in two-liter bottles, and that was just too much. She did not know what they would do with all of that soda. Upon hearing this tale, I was at first stunned at the thought of someone not enjoying a nice glass of ginger ale on any random afternoon. I was also struck by her mother-in-law's optimism that more than one person was not going to need some flat Canada Dry. We also had a good chuckle over the fact that we have never really seen a full bottle of stomach settling soda sell for more than two dollars. She was provided with no relief later when her husband was sent to the corner store to "please, get some ginger ale". He returned with Sprite, which is absolutely not the same thing. No lesson was learned, as during a subsequent round of the stomach virus, this same friend sent her husband to the store for ginger ale and saltines only to have him return with Sprite and Ritz crackers. (While both of these are fine products, they lack anti-nausea value.)

I am typically disappointed when I grab a swig of any of the pop flavors I enjoyed as a kid. As I mentioned, Canada Dry and Schweppes ginger ale are still refreshing though. I enjoyed the new flavors that hit the shelves as well, but then was faced with great disappointment when I could no longer find them. The Canada Dry Green Tea Ginger Ale was yummy! Schweppes Grape Ginger Ale was a hit in our home, but I was told it was a holiday/seasonal flavor. I am not sure when it comes back in all of its festiveness. I understand why cranberry is considered a seasonal flavor, and now know enough to stock up. Raspberry seems to be a regularly available item, but I just feel like I can never be too sure. Any information you can provide for me to mark on my calendar would be greatly appreciated.

Effervescently yours,

Andrea Casarsa

Did they bubble over in response to my letter? Well, since this was only the third response I received when this mayhem started, I was pretty excited that my letter had actually been read by another human being. Bethany even had a sense of humor.
I might've shaken the envelope a few times checking for a coupon, but still...ONE POINT for me!
Current total =  46 POINTS

Stop by to check out the competition!

Thursday, October 23, 2014


Today I get to do what I want. I arranged my week so that today was free. I tried to keep the house tidy all week so that today I would not find myself in complete squalor. It is quiet in the house, as everyone else has left for the day. I have been sitting on the couch for over thirty minutes now...because I can. Without the distraction of clutter, I can really focus on just how distracted I actually am.

I have ideas for things I would like to do, but they seem to get a bit tangled in the notions of things I ought to do. I am on a stationary bicycle, peddling like a lunatic and getting nowhere, but at least I am getting some exercise. If my wheels were to hit the ground, I'd be unstoppable! Luckily I'd have the capes for some wind resistance. Make no mistake, the issue is not necessarily how many things I actually have to do, but rather all of the things I can think about that have to be done. 

College applications for my son are not technically my responsibility to complete, but they are looming out there in the wind with the college visits and part-time job quests (yes, you should wear pants for an interview my son) and several other things I have probably not even stopped to consider. I just sort of stand nearby waving a butterfly net trying to catch what I can, afraid if I look away something gigantic will get past me. There is no question that my vision is flawed. I am fully aware that thinking about things does not get them done any more so than putting something in a file called "to be done at a later date" means it will never happen.

Today is for me, and I am trying to make my sole responsibility to appreciate and enjoy my life. I am freeing my hands from grasping at straws, and instead will fill them with peanut m&ms. Yes, today I will eat more than my fair share of candy in the name of joy...and will be sure to save some for tomorrow when I will go back to eating it out of stress.

Happy Birthday to me, and thank you for being part of my incredible life!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

600 + a bit of random

Wow! So this is my 600th post? I should've ordered balloons...and CAKE. I am not sure this necessarily means I have had something fabulous or important to say 600 times, making me even more appreciative that you keep coming back.

Some of you even come out of the computer to visit. Yes, the red carpet and a makeshift raincoat were rolled out this afternoon for Flat Lillian! Even the rain couldn't dampen her spirit! There was so much awesome in her first class travel compartment envelope with her, I had tears of joy, then laughter, then just overall giddiness. I will share each item eventually, but do not want to overwhelm you with jealousy.

I retrieved my parents from the airport this morning returning from their European vacation. I think they fared better than Chevy Chase, but still had tales to tell. My mother gave me some "emergency" Swiss chocolate for my daughter, to tide her over until the suitcases actually get unpacked. I was alarmed as I thought the magnets were trickery...
Seriously? They highlight the fact that there are magnets? Swiss magnets? Are those a thing? It is SWISS CHOCOLATE under that scenic paper! That cow and flag are not distracting me.

And now, this week's random from the coupon circular. Do not fear the sock goblin...
...actually, go ahead! In fact, be terrified!


Friday, October 17, 2014

Week 20 - Near East

Twenty weeks! I wonder if any of you have tried any new products after seeing our rave reviews? That was not the original point of the CONTEST, I was just curious. Up today is another weekly staple around here...

 Dear Near,

Thank you for helping this, sometimes uninspired, mom find a way to add some pizzazz to Taco Tuesdays with your Rice Pilaf Spanish Rice. It matters to me that my family truly prefers the taste of your products, but also that the ingredient list consists only of recognizable items. I think there may even come a day when certain people stop picking out the red pepper pieces. I’m a dreamer.

I have been able to use your familiar branded box to get my family to try some other side dishes. My teenage daughter is a huge fan of your flavored couscous mixes, and being able to make them herself adds to the appeal. I  tried the recipe for the salad on your regular couscous box and found that delicious as well. Suffice to say, I have not hit on a variety I was unhappy with.

Thank you for making dinner time easier on some nights, knowing the side dish is taken care of!

Working up to Tabouleh and Falafel,

Mother, blogger and more adventurous eater than her family

Did they show up in my kitchen for Taco Tuesday? Well, no, but they did send a letter...

One point.
Current total = 45 POINTS

Stop by to check out what Marianne is up to this week.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Assorted random

Hey, you're just in time, there's still some fudge left...
Seriously? Who leaves this much? My daughter, princess of the long good-bye.

OK, this tidbit (Ooh, Tidbits! Remember those thin oval shaped Cheez-It type things? Can you still buy those?) was hand delivered (hence the absence of the red carpet). My dear former work friend, then facebook and blogger friend, and most recently jewelry making and lunch friend, Gina presented this bit of wonderful to me last week.
It was like an early Christmas gift! How is this only $9.95?! Maybe the lack of odor keeps the price down.

Sometimes kids like to cuddle baby dolls, and apparently sometimes baby dolls like to cuddle...
 ...oh for goodness sake! Keep looking away dolly! Somebody tell my nephew to keep track of his stuff! Thank you to my sister for not only sending, but allowing me to share this fabulous window into her life with three kids - 5, 3 and almost 1.

Time to get back to the to-do list, and possibly add some things that I already did...and put "bake cookies" on it!

Carry on with the random...

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Superhero Sunday - Brand

It has been quite some time since I shared the story, and first draft, of Pedomemom's logo. Here she is again...
There has been a bit of talk recently about branding and logos and other technical terms that I can only pretend to understand. I kept trying to decide if I should let Pedomemom be part of that dialogue. She has been sort of lurking in the background these days (and believe me, she is not happy about that). I realized that I never shared the results of her second pass through hair and makeup (aka the desexyfying chamber). Here is how she ended up...
I remember back when her file arrived, I sort of got focused on how her pedometer didn't really look like mine. Then I got my hair cut and wondered if she needed a trim as well. Yes, THESE are the sorts of things that keep me from forward progress. 

The other day, when I forced myself to reconsider these logos for a few minutes, I wondered if version one should win just for simply being the more amusing of the two. As someone who not only wears a cape here and there, but also has a weekly habit of pointing out the ridiculous, isn't she kind of perfect? Plus, if you are going to have an alter ego, why not go big (and sexy, and impractical)? Of course, then I had to find some arguments in favor of version two. She is more practical, and at least has a pedometer. She may have better ideas for how we spend our time and powers. Yes, she is more of who I would aspire to be.

Get your rally cap Pedomemom and prepare for a comeback!
Any thoughts?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Week 19 - Man-o-manicotti

So here we are in week 19 of the CONTEST, and perhaps you are wondering what the wager was? Maybe it was just for bragging rights? Maybe the current projected winner got enough prizes? Maybe it was for cookies? Maybe they have to be hand delivered? Maybe somebody has forgotten what they agreed to? Maybe one of us will run out of letters, does that person lose a point for that week?

Since I am having lunch with my grandmother today (possibly at 10:30 a.m.), I figured it was a good time to post this letter...

Bellissimo Bellisio,

My grandmother was a fine cook back in her day. Now, at almost 92, her stamina for spending much time in the kitchen, as well as her appetite, has decreased significantly. Her desire for great tasting food has not waned at all though. I guess if you aren’t going to eat a lot, what you do have should be tasty. Michelina’s frozen meals are coming to the rescue.

Having Michelina’s in the freezer enables members of our family to share impromptu, yet well-received, lunches at my grandmother’s house with minimal effort. She always appreciates having somebody dine with her, but we do not always come prepared. The cheese manicotti is a favorite, since there are two in each package, and my grandmother likes to share. One is plenty for her and since whoever is dining with her gets the other one, they can feel satisfied and less guilty indulging in whatever cookies inevitably get pulled out.

However, on my most recent turn to get a quick lunch together, I was dismayed to find only one manicotti in the box when I pulled the lid off the heated box. Granted, my grandmother only ate half of the one I put on her plate, but eating just the other half would have been too big of a tease for me. I left her uneaten portion for her dinner.

Missing manicotti,

Mother, granddaughter, blogger

And the response? Two coupons for free entrees! Oops, I passed them on to my mother, before photographing, but this here letter references them!
This looks suspiciously like a form letter, with no recognition of the love I tried to share, but the coupons were greatly appreciated...and FIVE POINTS!


Stop by and check out the competition!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Random mailbox goodies!

Oh, hello there! First, let me apologize for the lack of a Superhero Sunday post this past weekend. I cannot remember if I started wearing a cape because I felt super or if I felt super because I wore that cape, but either way, I was not finding out sitting on the couch watching football. I had spent the morning pacing (although not very far as I had less than 1,800 steps that day) around trying to drum up some interest in things like college applications and brochures. If nobody was going to take me seriously with all of the authority I was attempting to muster, I did not think the cape was going to command much more respect. I know this is a shock to all of you, but my research at this point does not show a strong correlation between a cape and respect among the teen demographic.

Backup has arrived though, as some of you may know. Bad-ass Kari from A Graceful Life. Tattoos, muscles AND a belly ring? Oh, they'll be snapping to attention now. Never mind the tiny detail of their mother playing with what may seem like a paper doll.
Kari had other plans on where we should start though, and she made me get this new piece of Halloween flair for the mantle. I think she has a thing about seasonal mantle decor.
She made herself comfy while I tried to holiday up the place.

Next up on the red "carpet" was this month's fabulous snail mail from Lillian at It's a Dome Life. Ooooh, pretty! I am going to make that into a magnet for my fridge so I can see it fifty times a day because it makes me happy!
To see her collection of awesome, check out her etsy shop!

Now brace yourselves for this next mailbox. I mean really brace yourself because I am going to go out on a limb and proclaim this next tidbit to rival the creepiness of creepy monkeys.
The baby in the hand was what threatened to keep me up all night. Why is the flag up? Who is sending her off? I don't know what the "and more" is, nor do I want to.

Time to move along as it is hard to concentrate with a chorus of "going off the rails on a crazy train" looping in my head. Plus, I should go see what Kari is doing, look at my happy place mini print and try to erase the special delivery vision from my head!

(Might need the wine this week.)

Friday, October 3, 2014

Week 18 - Do you know the muffin man?

Hello and welcome to Friday, as well as this week's installment of THE CONTEST!

On the kitchen counter this week, we have KRUSTEAZ...

Dearest Yummy Crummies,

Who makes the best cinnamon swirl crumb cake in the land? Me! Well, I mean you, but sort of me, right? We’re actually quite a team! Me with the eggs, oil and a spoon, paired with whatever delicious magic you put in those boxes. Oh, the oven! I have the oven, and that seems kind of important, but I still give you the credit you deserve.

Our daughter is a bit non-compliant when it comes to breakfast. (She is a teenager, so I understand that can be an essential part of her current nature in general.) I am not sure if her aversion is to actual breakfast food, or to the time of day at which we are serving it. However, she was hard-pressed to turn down cinnamon crumbled goodness, despite barely being awake.

After such grand success with the notion of cake for breakfast, we branched out into your muffin mixes. Not only was she happily eating, but we’d also found a way to encourage her independent cooking enthusiasm. The only remaining challenge now is to find a product to foster some fine clean-up-after-yourself skills.

Sharing the flour power,

Mother, baker, eater

Blogger at

Did they respond to my half-baked cry? Why yes they did! Heather even read the letter I sent. I get so jazzed about that, plus she sent me some coupons. Score! 
I think I may go celebrate with a KRUSTEAZ chocolate chip muffin. Oh, and if you haven't tried their cinnamon swirl crumb cake, I highly recommend it!

TWO POINTS for me, bringing my new total to 39 POINTS!

Don't forget to check in with the competition! (Her post will be up when she takes a break from worrying about ebola)