It’s Like Crack for Foodies

My dear friend told me about his site, and I have done nothing for hours now but look, and drool. If you like food (I mean really!) and you like to cook (uh-huh) or just like pretty things (it’s food porn, seriously) you MUST go to And EVERY SINGLE one of the HUNDREDS of pages of foodie photos links to a recipe to make the divinity featured. Oh mercy… Help me now!

Rainbow Cake

I got the idea and tutorial here. Omnomicon makes her cake low-fat and low-calorie, but you can make the very same cake using traditional directions with egg and oil and will turn out exactly the same. I did follow her directions using the soda pop- mostly because I didn’t realize that was optional until after I made it- but the cake turned out wonderful anyway. I didn’t eat it (gluten), but the adults who did said it was moist and crumbly and delicious, and it baked up beautifully.

Hairyshoefairy has made it too- first try and second try, using her own technique and getting interesting results. See? You can totally have fun with this cake!

In a nutshell, use two boxes of WHITE cake mix, mix it up as you prefer, and then divide it equally between six bowls. Use food color to dye them as bright or as pastel as you prefer. They will look exactly the same after baking as they do in your bowls, so don’t worry about them changing during cooking.

Grease your pans- I used cooking spray with flour in Calphalon 9″ cake pans, and had no problem at all with sticking. Start with one heaping cup of your base color (this will be most of the batter, leaving about 1/3 cup in the bowl) in the center bottom of your pan. In one pan, start your rainbow in order: Red, Orange, Yellow. In the other pan, do the opposite order: Purple, Blue, Green using the heaping one-cup. Then to finish, make the rest of the rainbow using the remaining 1/3+ cup of each batter to finish each pan. They’ll look like this, opposites of each other:

I left them carefully layered, but as you can see in HSF’s links, she got all crazy with mixing them, and it turned out just as pretty. So remember this isn’t rocket-science and have fun! I skipped Omnomicon’s lowfat frosting and just make regular buttercream, and it worked great. It was definitely a hit, and I’ll make rainbow cake again.

YMCA: Update Thus Far

You can read part one here, and part two here. And a musing on my Yoga class here.

All my life I’ve been on the weight loss roller coaster. I’m not going to delve into why or what it may or may not mean, or the psychological reason or implications- because I don’t care anymore. I can’t do anything about any of it- all I have control of is what I do today. And today, instead of starving myself, bingeing, or eating cardboard fake food, I go to the gym.

I am not dieting. I refuse to ever diet again. If I want an ice cream, I am going to have an ice cream. And an amazing thing has happened- I don’t really care about ice cream anymore. I can take it or leave it. It’s not forbidden fruit, so the temptation is gone. Food is not my enemy anymore. That makes a big difference in how I see myself and my body.

I’ve always been a really good cook, and every time I “dieted” I felt like I had to give up a part of who I am. I don’t do that anymore either. I just try and cook healthier, using more natural ingredients. I laid down a few ground rules for my family. Food has to actually BE food. If we are at the market and the kids are clamoring for something, they have to read the label. If they can’t pronounce the ingredients, or do not recognize them as something eatible, we don’t get it. It makes it easy, and even Abby can tell the difference between “Milk, cream, eggs, sugar…” and “Hydrogenated anything, sodium casseinate, monosodium diphosphate…” It’s so simple, there are seldom any arguments or tantrums- even with Bean, who had to give up a couple of his favorite foods.

My gym time is written into the schedule each week, and if something comes up that conflicts, I try and reschedule. This has done something interesting to how I see myself. Suddenly, taking care of me is important- not just something I fit in after everyone else is taken care of. It’s a subtle but powerful shift in my perceptions.

I like looking better- I am not without vanity- but what I like even more is how strong I feel. My body doesn’t hurt anymore, and I can do things I thought were lost to me. The energy and reserves I have are substantial, and it’s amazing how quickly your body adapts and changes. My heart is more efficient, my body fat is lower, my lean muscle mass is much higher, and I even plowed through a weight-loss plateau without feeling like giving up (for more than a second).

So. I am doing this. If you want to, so can you. Small changes make a very big difference, and our bodies are actively waiting for us to give them what they need. It’s really cool how quickly and amazingly they respond, when we let them lose to do what they were meant to do.

*putting soap-box away now*

The Hotness of Henry

I know this makes me sound like a vapid teenager. I do. Time to fess up to one of my most huge-est most gigantic crushes: Henry Rollins. Oh damn. I’ve seen him before- both in concert and at his spoken-word engagements. He combines a few things I find irresistible: Artistic? Check. Writer? Check. Human rights activist? Check. Incredibly smart and well-read? Check. Tours with the USO? Check. Clean living? Check. Sense of humor en-force? Check. And as a bonus- Neck wider than head? Check. Chin dimple? Oh. yes.

And he’s coming to my neck of the woods in June for a spoken-word engagement. Smelling salts!

“If I lose the light of the sun, I will write by candlelight, moonlight, no light. If I lose paper and ink, I will write in blood on forgotten walls. I will write always. I will capture nights all over the world and bring them to you.”

“I believe that today more than ever a book should be sought after even if it has only one great page in it. We must search for fragments, splinters, toenails, anything that has ore in it, anything that is capable of resuscitating the body and the soul.”

“Why do you think the old stories tell of men who set out on great journeys to impress the gods? Because trying to impress people just isn’t worth the time and effort.”

The thing is, all that aside, the man is committed to his art, his work, and his integrity. That’s what makes the hotness of Henry. The chin dimple is nice, but it wouldn’t make a bit of difference without the mind behind it. And thus my heart does somersaults. It’s the words! Words!

Blog Printing: Call for Advice

Does anyone know how to get their blog printed anymore? I used Qoop once upon a time, and have the first 15 months in bound form- but I haven’t had anything bound since the end of 2006. I tried one of those sites that helps you create a PDF, but I think there’s just too much material here, because I couldn’t get it work. Either that or I am lame. Both are distinct possibilites.

The thing is, I’m worried about losing content and my writing, should anything happen. This is a documentary of my life, and I would hate to lose the last 40 months. (Okay, that’s not true- I wish very much that the last 40 months were a wicked dream I could wake up from, but you know what I mean? Right? Right.)

Anyone? Any ideas or sites you an recommend or know-how to share?

Best Laid Plans

A Very Long Post in which Nothing, and I mean nothing happened the way it was supposed to happen. And by supposed to, I mean the way I wanted it to, the way I needed it to, and the way I planned it to.

Few things rankle me like being late. I hate hate hate being late. Fabric scraps three inches deep in my sewing room and  a play room that needs a snow shovel? Meh, whatever. But late? I can feel my temple start to throb and my blood pressure climb. So I had my day planned out- breakfast, school, gym, chiropractor, grocery store, lunch, bus, school for me, birthday prep for Abby, carpool, chaperone field trip to the inflatable playground fundraiser, home for dinner, baths, bed, done.  Not forgetting that all this would be done juggling three kids, one of whom is autistic and hates tagging along, and another is trying to master her bladder and still “oopsing” quite a bit. Sound like fun yet? Add in hormones just for the cherry on top.

Right off the bat, the train jumped the tracks. I woke up with a sore throat and allergies. I got Jeffrey out the door fine, and had jumped in my gym clothes first thing so I could throw Bean and Abby in the car. I had a 90 minute window to get to the gym and back, and to my chiropractor appointment. Bean decided this, this was the morning that he suddenly hated going to the gym and playing on the rock wall, the playground, and with his buddies. Oh no, nope. He was not going. It went downhill- and it was 9:40 by the time he was calm. Time to reassess.

Okay, I think. I can be flexible. I rearrange the puzzle pieces of my day, and we all jump in the car.

I get to the doctor and we have to wait longer than I planned, but the kids are surprisingly good. Beanie likes my chiropractor, and this helps things go smoothly. But by the time we are done, we have just enough time to run into the produce stand, then zoom home and gobble lunch before the bus gets there.

Bean gets on the bus, and I change Abby into dry clothes, because eating lunch is too important to stop and use the toilet. We are out of milk, bread, peanut butter and popsicles. A real jump to the grocery store is necessary. I have two hours before I have carpool- and I forgot about Bean’s post-school field trip.  Into the car, off Abby and I go to the grocery store.

With all the false-alarm trips to the potty, the grocery takes five times what it should. Also, she likes the Dyson air razor in the bathroom. I am patient. We now have 30 minutes to get to Jeff’s school, and we aren’t even out of the dairy aisle yet.

Pulling into Jeff’s school 32 minutes later, I had forgotten that I agreed to take another girl home- and that with Bean’s field trip I had to pick him up at school and not have him take the bus. Also, the car is full of groceries. Cold food. I drive the girl home, and realize as I’m coming down the hill from her house that I will never make it to Bean’s school (across town) before he gets on the bus. Also, the food thing. Crap.

Executive decision: go home and put the groceries away, and wait the 20 minutes for Bean’s bus to get there. Done and done. And then we wait some more. His bus is almost 15 minutes late, and the other kids are in the car waiting when it finally pulls up. Our time-slot for the field trip was supposed to be 3:30 to 4:30, but now it’s already 3:45. I still feel like, despite my burgeoning anxiety, that I can salvage this… until I get caught in a construction zone detour and cannot even get to the place we’re supposed to go.

When I finally get to the place, the obnoxiously perky and cheery PTA lady tells me, with a sing-song voice, how sad it is that we are late… She chews on her pencil as she confers in actual whispers with the lady next to her about whether we should be let in. I am not amused. I paid, I plan on playing. I am informed we can jump in the next shift from 4:45 to 5:45. Oooookay. Crap. That means I need to revamp dinner plans and get the kids something to eat. The only problem is we are in a BFE office complex in the industrial part of town and the only place I can find is a deli.

Awesome. Bean is hepped-up and so excited he’s ready to jump the tracks, and they don’t understand why we have to wait. Me neither, but I remember that today I am flexi-mom, and drag everyone to the deli. At the cavernous, dark deli, we are the only ones there, and the kids are wild and loud while I try and find something Bean will eat. At a deli. Yeah.

While I was ordering, Jeffrey climbs on the metal railing for the queue, and breaks the whole thing. The insanely loud clatter of metal bars hitting concrete floor sends Bean running and screaming, and Abby pees herself. I still haven’t ordered, and I think I may cry. I find Bean in a corner, and tell him I can get him a PBJ, and he crawls out.

For two sandwiches, two cups of soup, and two pops, it was $22. I know. I wanted to cry. What the heck kind of deli charges $8.95 for a cup of soup and half a PBJ?? But I was stuck. The food came, and lo! look! the PBJ was, of course, on the wrong kind of bread. The soup had celery and red peppers in it, Abby wanted HAM not turkey, and they could not share drinks. I should have just thrown $22 out on the lawn and danced a jig- it would have been more successful.

Once again at the play place, we take off our shoes, Abby is in clean clothes, and we play. When our hour is up, the employees clear out the kids and begin to clean up. I can’t find Bean. The whole play area has been emptied, and the workers are starting to clean and sanitize the place, and no Bean. I put Jeff and Abby in the car, to which Abby bursts into tears because we are leaving Bean forever! and I go back in to find him. I know he’s there somewhere because I have been watching the door like a freaking hawk. The employees help me, and we finally find him in a crevasse on one of the giant slides. On purpose. He didn’t want to leave. I had to drag him to the car, and he honked the whole way home- great keening honks of dismay and misery. Because his mom was so mean.

We get home and he locks himself in the car, refusing to come inside until I take him back to the play place. Sayonara buddy- I’ll bring you a blanket- keep the doors locked. As I jam my keys in the lock, the phone starts ringing. I rush in, dumping everything on the counter, and it’s Bean’s dentist. His oral surgery, which was scheduled for June can be moved to tomorrow morning- do I want the spot? Oh yes. Yes, I do.

They remind me that I am not to bring siblings to anesthetized dental visits. And his appointment is for 7 a.m. Crap, now I need a babysitter. At the butt-crack of dawn- what am I going to do?

The phone rings again. It’s someone from Primary at church who wants me to run the potato-sack races at the Family Fun Run on Saturday at 8:45 in the morning. I am THIS close to the breaking point. I tell her my kids and I were going to participate in the run, and I ask if she knows I’m a single parent? yes, yes she does, can I help? I start to cry. I tell this poor woman more than she ever bargained for in this simple phone call, and end the conversation with me saying No, I can’t. I hang up.

Meanwhile, the kids have found the Nerf Samurai Swords in my closet and are beating the crap out of each other in my room, and the clean laundry that was ON my bed is now all over my room.

Out of sheer exhaustion, I call my RS president and ask her if I can be exempt from people asking me to do anything extra. Just for a little while. This is accompanied of course by the requisite female grief. I cannot print what she told me, but I will say I love my RS president, and she totally gets it, and I won’t be doing anything for a while. I will have a big, invisible placard around my neck that says “hands off!”. I sigh with relief.

It’s now bedtime- and oh look! Abby has peed all over her jammies and her blankets- the ones I just stripped, bleached and re-did yesterday. Beanie starts to keen, because he is hungry. That’s right- because he didn’t eat his $22 PBJ. Go figure.

As I put him in bed, he thinks this would be a great time to freak out about The Dentist tomorrow, and Jeffrey, ever the opportunist, tries to sneak off to my bed while I deal with Bean. Meanwhile, Abby spills a whole cup of water on her new, dry bedding.

(…Shall I go on? Is it quite enough now? No? Okay…)

And then my period started.

The End.

Guest Post: Jeffrey and the Time Travel Watch

Author’s Note: Hi, my name is Jeffrey M. and I am 8 years old. This is my fifth attempt at writing fiction During my stories I want people to have fun on my adventures with me. And I also want people to infer about my story so it’s more exciting.

Walking down the sidewalk coming home from school, I saw a package on my doorstep. It said my name on the box. I took it into my room and opened it. Inside was an old rusty watch. I turned it over in my hand and on the back was a strange symbol. I immediately went to the library to see if I could find the strange symbol in a book.

I put the watch on my wrist on the way to the library. At the library, I asked the librarian for help, but we couldn’t find a book with the strange symbol. I rubbed the symbol with my wrist and I was suddenly dizzy, and when I looked around the library, everyone was stopped in motion, and time was still. I was not scared, because I knew something was fishy.

I fell face-first onto the floor, and time started moving again. When I woke up everything looked different. The watch had given me the ability to travel through time. I looked around and I felt different. The air was dim and the carpet was damp, and nothing looked familiar- except it was still a library. I tried rubbing the watch again, but nothing happened. People were standing around, but they were just staring at me. I think it was because of my “strange” clothes. I asked the librarian what year it was- I knew I was either in the past or the future, but I wasn’t sure which. I asked the librarian what year it was, and he said “It’s January 30th, 1849.”

I was horrified.

I went to the old books collection, which was actually the new books in 1849, and I found a spell-book. In the spell-book I looked up future and there was a picture of the exact same watch that was on my wrist at that very moment. The magic words to return to the future were: zing zang boom crackle crackle coomb.

I said the words, and again fell face-first on the floor. And time travelled back to the future of April 20th, 2010. As soon as I got home, I wrote the magic words down on a folded piece of paper. My mom was making my favorite macaroni and cheese, and had not noticed I was gone time-traveling. After my first adventure with the watch I never had to fall face-first again, and I had a lot more adventures and a lot more fun.


Brotherly Love +10

Setting the Scene:

Bean runs away a lot. It’s part of his coping mechanism- at home and school, it’s not a big deal. We call it “hiding it out” and usually I can just let him hide a few minutes, and then he comes out and is a happy boy. But if you try and keep him from hiding, or exert your will and pull him out before he is done, it’s like nitroglycerin. I’ve learned that the hard way.

The hiding and running in public places is a lot harder to deal with- and when we go out into nature or to the park, he almost always takes off. I’ve leaned to give him a fair amount of latitude- as long as I can see him, I try and roll with it. Today at the park, he took off running- and he kept going. He ran from the playground where we were meeting friends for a picnic dinner, all the way across the park to a baseball diamond on the far side. It was waaay farther than I am comfortable, and I attempted to flag him down and call him back. Which of course sent him further away, and he climbed the bleachers to hide. It was way too far for him to hear had I yelled. And I can yell.

Keeping my eye on him, I got Jeff and Abby in the car, then drove over as close as I could get in the parking lot to the diamond. I was hoping he would see us packing to leave and come back. Nope.

We sat in the car for a few minutes, as I contemplated what I should do. I knew if I walked over to the diamond he would just run. You have to approach him very carefully. Hmmmm…. I rested my chin on the steering wheel and watched his tiny form on the bleachers.

“Hey Jeff, why don’t you take a walk over there and tell him we need to go.” He hopped out of the car and began to jog across the long field. Sometimes Jeffrey is less threatening than I am- at least he knows Jeff isn’t going to punish him.


What happened next was one of the tenderest acts of love and service I have ever seen:

The boys were so far from me that I could not hear anything, and only guess from the pantomime of their gestures what was happening. First, Jeff approached, and the spoke. His arms flailed and he pointed, and Bean climbed higher up the bleachers. Jeff shrugged and started to walk away and head back towards the car, where I waited with Abby. I was unsuccessfully trying to formulate a plan where I could get him and not have him run into the stand of trees immediately behind the diamond.

Jeffrey was part of the way back when he suddenly turned around. Bean was still sitting on the bleachers, and Jeff tromped back up to him. A few minutes of gesturing, then Bean began to climb down. I could not figure out what they were doing- but I could see movement. Then, as they came together from behind the backstop, I could see that Jeffrey had Bean on his shoulders and was giving him a piggyback. My 8-year old son had gently coaxed my six-year old into trusting him, and heading back to the car. And he did it by offering his own back.

Tears sprang to my eyes, and my hands knotted over my heart. What love for a brother. What a tender kindness- and what an amazing heart that he didn’t give up, that he got an idea, and turned back to get his brother.

He carried his Bean across almost the entire field- easily 100 yards. By the time he set him down, they were close enough that I could hear them. Jeffrey’s face was flushed and sweaty, and Bean was delighted by the piggyback, oblivious to the ruckus he’d caused.

Sometimes we just have got to throw out the play-book and let our kids write new rules. Today my eldest son showed some of what he’s made of- and my heart grew three-sizes.

Natural Born Writer

It’s after church and I’m busy making lunch for everyone, and Abby is sitting at the table with her box of crayons- which is her constant companion of late. Her birthday is next week, and she was given a new notebook from her teacher, with a pretty flower pencil. She’s was tickled pink, and told me “I’m going to write in my journal, Mama.” Okay, knock yourself out, babe, lunch will be ready in a few minutes.

While I was cooking, she kept asking me about letter sounds- “Mama, what letters says kuh-kuh-kuh?” and I would idly answer as I poured more milk and checked the oven. When I called the boys for lunch, and went to clear the table, this is what I saw:

Sure enough, she’d begun her journal. I didn’t move a thing to take this photo- let’s take a closer look:

Okay, my daughter will be FOUR next week. Am I wrong to be dumbfounded? I mean, I don’t go around yelping about my kids being smart- they’re regular kids- but does this seem a little… uh… um…  insanely cool to anyone else??

Then I see her, the sweet little girl with pizza all over her face and her white sundress. She has no idea what cool even means- and I hope to keep it that way for a long time. She told me she wants to write and draw. I’d say she’s well on her way. *pitter-patter goes my heart*