Tuesday, December 30, 2008

trading treats tuesday

Sorry about the bloggy silence this last week. I've been in a holiday induced stupor.

And that's my treat today: the Holidays!

PB&J is taking some time off. It's so nice to have him around without his Blackberry in his hands.

We have been getting our fair share of electronica in, however.
The other night, PB&J and I were out for dinner with friends. And suddenly I noticed I was paying attention to the background music and I was thinking to myself, "Yellow, yellow, yellow, green, yellow, green, orange, pedal, blue." Guitar Hero has been going non-stop for days now. There are few things quite as amusing as your little sweet, innocent, six-year-old singing Bon Jovi at the top of his lungs. However, PB&J and I will be glad when they get a little better at GH and we don't have to keep hearing Eye of the Tiger over and over and over.

The Christmas carnage isn't just limited to the soundwaves. It's everywhere.

The kitchen table is supporting all kinds of wildlife.
And Indian Jones Legos have taken over the floor in the Middle Carrotstick's room.
We haven't even started on the puzzles.

Luckily the good doctor didn't have a difficult time piecing together this: 7 stitches on the Littlest Carrotstick's cheek from a pre-snowmobiling slip on the ice.

Remember, it's all fun and games until somebody pokes out an eye -- or gets the side of his face smashed. Just ask PB&J's brother.

Love the Holidays. I don't think we'll ever be the same.

Hope your Holidays were as grueling enjoyable!

What's your treat today?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

merry christmas!

From all of us in the Lunch Room!

(this is my actual Christmas card, hand crafted by me and dear old Photoshop. But I feel like I should have put a disclaimer on the back: I did not cheat! This was really made by me!, 'cause I usually send out totally handmade cards to everyone. To help me feel better about myself, I stuck some ribbon and a brad on it.
To top it all off, I have even more angst 'cause I sent one to my brother and he's a Pixar wunderkind (yes, the real Pixar), and I know he would just pat me on the head and say "well, that's interesting . . . " if he were here and not in California.
But just know, I am sending it to YOU with all the love and good will in my heart. And that's all that matters, right?)

Merry Christmas!

I hope all your Christmas dreams come true!

(you know, peace on earth, good will to men -- that kind of stuff.
Not the new puppy, or the Corvette.
Remember, Christmas isn't about the stuff, it's about the Gift.)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

trading treats tuesday

(on Tuesday, even!)

Dear Family,

I am sad that you are so far away.

You have missed out on all our fun traditional Christmas-time events. Especially the extended family parties, with no less than 113 of your closest relatives. Literally.

This one was significant because all my kids decided they are too old and mature to participate in the traditional Nativity. They wouldn't even be sheep this year. Sad.

But especially sad because You Were Missed.

And because I am missing you so much, you are my treat this Trading Treats Tuesday: La Familia! (it's more important sounding if you say it in a foreign language, but really, is spanish even a foreign language anymore? it's possible it's the U.S.of A.'s official second language.)

But, because I'm always looking out for you, and I don't want you to feel too homesick, here's a special part of Christmas that I know you've been missing:

Great-Grandma's robotronic story-telling Santa.

I pulled it out of storage just to make this video for you. (My kids didn't even know we had one. It's been lurking in the basement for about 5 years now. She gave it to us when she got tired of it. And I feel too guilty to give it to D.I. At least we didn't get the singing snowmen, too.)

Make sure you wait till the end to hear the best part -- "Ho ho ho, I love that story. . . . Let's read another one." It gets the little kids every. single. time. You HAVE to do what Santa says.

What's your treat today?

(And if you're related to me, it'd better be your super awesome oldest (and wisest) sister.)


I'm feeling really ambitious. I am hoping to post TWO whole posts today! I know, hard to believe. I'm trying to make up for my slackerdom.

So, with Christmas just around the corner, here's one more great gift iDea for you. As you know, Apple has the cool gifts to give this year. In tribute to all things "i", presenting:
the very low tech iPillow.

Just please don't put one under my tree. The mere sight of those charts gives me ANXiETY.

iSpy-ed it here.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

texting, one, two, three

Yesterday the Oldest Carrotstick was having a text conversation with her friend Michael Karr. Remember -- she always refers to all her friends by both their first and last names. I suppose that is better than when she called two of her friends "Brandon Three" and "Brandon Four." Oh, whoops. I must recant. She calls most of her friends by their full names, except Michael Karr's two BFFs. Those she calls The Followers or The Clones. Makes me think of Draco Malfoy and his two sidekicks. For some reason, they don't much care for those names. I can't imagine why.

Anyway. Back to the story. The Oldest Carrotstick and Michael Karr were texting. And it went something like this:

OC: Hey!

MK: Hey!

OC: Guess who we just saw

MK: I give up

OC: ur sister at Arby's


OC: U look like her

MK: So ur saying I look like a girl?

OC: No

MK: Yah

OC: No

MK: Yah

(very interesting texts, right?)

OC: I think its cool u look like ur sister. I dont look like anyone in my family

MK: U look like ur mom

(stunned silence)

OC: do not

MK: do too

OC: do not

MK: do too

OC: so ur saying u think my mom is hott?

(stunned silence)

MK: no

OC: yah


OC: Yah!

MK: so ur saying I look like a girl?

And then I took the phone away, 'cause the Oldest Carrotstick was laughing hysterically, and I had to know why.

I used to like that Michael Karr kid.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

trading treats tuewednesday (again)

Ok. So I'm late on my post, again.

But I do have my neighbor gifts all assembled (sorry Kellye -- you're still getting one!) and my Christmas card and Christmas packages are, after waiting in line at the post office for 40 minutes, all in route. (Hurray!)

But that's not what I'm celebrating this week.

Today's Trading Treats TueWednesday is: Snow!

For weeks now the only snow I've had to enjoy was this:
This is my version of a Frozen Charlotte. What? You don't know what a Frozen Charlotte is? No, it's not some obscure band. Ok, well maybe. And no, it's not a drink or an ice cream treat. Read about it here, if you want.

But now we have this:
And I'm so glad. I would really like a White Christmas, to cover up all the yard ugliness.

And speaking of White Christmas, have you watched it yet this year? We did. On Sunday. And it was just like the good old days.

Not that I was around when White Christmas was made. My parents weren't even alive to have eyes for me to be a glimmer in. But I do have a soft spot for old movies -- especially in black and white. And if you've never seen Holiday Inn, might I recommend it to you?

My, but it's yar.

What's your treat today?

Monday, December 15, 2008

on golden chair

Once upon a time, there was a family with a mother who specialized in hare-brained ideas. One day, that mother was visiting the local Deseret Industries. And she found a wonderful vintage gold velour easy chair. It was SWEET! It swivelled and ROCKED (in both ways). But the mother didn’t buy it. It was ridiculous and there was no place in her house for it.

Time passed -- a week or so. The mother kept thinking about that chair. She also thought about Christmas and Christmas Cards. She visited a number of cool photography blogs. All of the sudden, she knew! She had to have that chair so she could have the coolest Christmas Card Picture EVER of her children. But she worried, in her heart, that fate would be against her, and that the gold velour chair would be gone -- as is the way with many things at the D.I.

With bated breath, she ventured back to D.I., dreading the harsh reality she was sure to find in the Large As-Is Furniture Aisle.

When, lo, what did she behold! The chair was still there! It was a sign. She had to have it. Quickly she caught the eye of a nearby Associate, secured a Sold sticker and arranged to pick it up later that evening -- just as a bevy of college-aged girls were eyeing it for their own.

It was fortunate, that at that time, the father of the family was away on his big hunt -- because the mother knew that the father would surely disapprove of the purchase of the chair. Unfortunately, along with his absence, came the absence of the truck which would have been ideal for hauling the chair home.

But the mother had a back up plan. You see, they were a family with too many cars. Yes, it’s true. They had more cars than they had drivers.

But each car had a special purpose and place in the family’s heart.

Take, for example, the mini-van (a relic from the days when the family thought they would have a large family – well, not an Full Sized Econo-van family, but a large-ish family.) But the years passed, the van was paid off, and the family finally realized they were really only a sedan sized family after all. And so it was that the family decided it was time to give up the dream -- and the perfect carpool vehicle – and sell it, so it could bless the lives of some other minivan-sized family.

With that in mind, the family did not renew the minivans registration when it expired in June.

A month passed, they had put off listing the van, and the mother of the family got a new church calling which would require hauling around large groups of giggling girls. The family reconsidered selling the minivan and kept it instead. But they forgot the expired registration.

And the oblivious mother took said van to D.I. and gleefully shoved the coveted chair into the backseat of the minivan.

As she drove home, still euphoric from the find, she chanced to notice flashing lights in her rearview mirror. With a pit in her stomach, she pulled over.

"Do you know why I pulled you over?" The cop asked, bating her.

Was she speeding? Had she neglected to signal? These questions flew through her mind. Instead she responded, falteringly, "No?"

"Do you realize your van’s registration expired THREE MONTHS ago? And that I can legally impound your vehicle?"

"No . . ." she said. But in her heart, the mother was protesting: "Come on!?!! Really??!! Don't you have anything better to do!!?!"

And so it was that the mother of the family, with spirits quite deflated, received a ticket and a summons to appear in court.

Suddenly that chair didn’t seem so golden anymore.

Thus the final cost of procuring the perfect chair for the perfect Christmas card picture became:

$25 chair
$35 safety and emissions
$120 registration
$10 on the spot registration fee, so I could avoid driving around any more than necessary with my illegal vehicle
$35 non-moving violation ticket
Ok - that’s $225, not $210 like I originally said.

The end.

And then there's the crazed old farmer that chased me, PB&J, and the kids off his property with a . . .

But that's a story for another day.

Ok, Kellye, what’s the story behind the most expensive frozen yogurt of all time?

i spy . . .

It's Monday, once again.

How's your Christmas shopping going?

Mine stinks. My friend had all her shopping done in October. OCTOBER! I am insanely jealous. But I will never have it that together, I'm afraid.

If you, like me, are stuck for eye-deas . . .

here's a little something I've had my EYE on.

(It's a Christmas tree ornament.)

You can get it

here, along with this: special (and versatile) little number.

Shocking, isn't it?

Just remember, this Christmas, I've got your back.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Oh, Photoshop, how I love you. You are worth your weight in gold.

I've been working on the Christmas Card this week.
Here are the two pictures I've been using Photoshop to mess around with.

Can you tell I had to get rid of a giant weed in front of the Oldest Carrotstick? I hope not.

Some day I'll tell you about the multiple run-ins with the Law and other authorities I had while trying to get these pictures. And how before it was done my $25 D.I. chair ended up costing me about $210.00.

And I'm not kidding.

They say a pictures is worth a million words. What do you think? It better be worth $210.

Which picture would you choose?

Friday, December 12, 2008

for nicki dear


Here is the recipe you requested. Now remember, it is a secret recipe. Don't tell anyone!

Supernatural Brownies

16 tablespoons butter
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Turn off heat. Set a heatproof bowl over water, and put butter and chocolate in bowl. Melt, stirring occasionally. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs. Add salt, sugars, and vanilla. Stir in chocolate and butter mixture. Fold in flour and nuts. Pour batter into a 9x13 pan that has been buttered/sprayed. (The recipe also suggests lining the pan with buttered parchment or foil.) Spread batter evenly in pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes.

The top will form a shiny crust and the batter will be moderately firm. And you have to spend the money on the good chocolate, or it's just not the same.

Happy Baking!

brownie peanut butter cups

I know.

You've been in a dither all week, wondering how the progressive dinner went and what I made for dessert.

Let me just tell you, I availed myself of the opportunity to try a bunch of recipes from one of my favorite food porn blogs -- Bake or Break, and I baked.

And baked.

I used:

2 whole pounds of butter
18 eggs
and 11 ounces of cream cheese
And a bunch of flour and sugar, that sort of thing.

Knowing that, you know it had to be good -- in a very Paula Dean way, ya'll.

The one bad part?

I put one of the desserts (Vanilla Bean Cheesecake Squares) in my fridge downstairs and forgot about it.

And then I was going to take them to my Book Group Brunch today, and I forgot them again.

Either they don't think they want to be eaten, or it's a sign that they are horrible.

Anyway, here is the official dessert menu:

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake Squares (almost)
White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Blonde Brownies (only so-so)
Supernatural Brownies (so ultra yummy)
Raspberry Almond Tarts (ugly, but yummo -- even though my nephew said they tasted like Pop-Tarts. He can't help it. His Dad lives in Ketchup infamy.)
Lemon Bread (so good)
Pear Bread (surprisingly tasty)

and last, but not least:

Brownie Peanut Butter Cups (amazingly good, and impressive looking).
If my brother-in-law Bill were here, he would have taken a picture of the line-up. But he wasn't, and I forgot. (Bill is studying to be an attorney, but really he should be a food photographer. I think it is his calling in life.)

Here's the recipe for Good Food Friday:

Amaze Your Guests With Brownie Peanut Butter Cups

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon water
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup peanut butter chips plus about 1/3 cup more for garnishing
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips plus about 1/3 cup more for garnishing
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350 . Spray or grease 12 muffin cups.
In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine sugar, butter, and water. Microwave on high for 1 minute or until butter is melted. Stir in 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips until melted. Stir in egg and vanilla extract. Add flour and baking soda, stirring until blended. Allow to cool to room temperature. Then, stir in 1/2 cup each peanut butter chips and semi-sweet chocolate chips. Spoon batter by heaping tablespoonfuls into muffin cups.
Bake for 13-15 minutes or until top is set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out slightly wet. Place pan on wire rack. Centers of brownies will fall upon cooling. If not, tap centers with the back of a teaspoon to make a hole.
Place peanut butter in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 45 seconds, then stir. While brownies are still hot, spoon about a tablespoon of peanut butter into the center of each brownie. Top with semi-sweet chocolate chips and peanut butter chips. Cool completely in pan.

As I said, these look cool, but are surprisingly easy. And very rich and delicious. At least three of my nieces/nephews hid some of these in napkins and took them home with them.

And Jeanne, I would love you to share your yummy dessert with me! Please!
brownie picture by bake or break

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

trading treats tuewednesday

Yes I know. This is late. But I am having problems getting everything done.

My treat today: Old, but Good, Friends.

My good friend moved to Seattle several years ago. But right this second she is in Utah, and today she stopped by the house to say hi.

It was so great to see her. And I'm not just saying that 'cause she reads my blog. 'Cause she doesn't.

Visiting with her tonight was just like it was when she lived two houses away from me. It's nice to have friends like that -- where you can just pick up where you left off.

And she was very polite and listened to all three kids plunk away on the piano.



And . . .

She brought me yard waste for my front porch decorations!

Yard Waste? you ask.

Yes, yard waste. At least that's what people in Seattle have the audacity to call holly. 'Cause holly is just another shrub in Seattle. But here in the desert, it's a joyful holiday decoration.

Go ahead, you can sing it: "the holly and the ivy . . ." That is, if you know the words. Which I don't.

But, behold, my rusty red wagon:

Joyful, indeed!

And triumphant!

What's your treat today?

Sunday, December 7, 2008


once again, I'm looking out for you and the person-who-has-everything on your gift list.

how about this special little number:
for those times when you're feel especially wicked (not that I'm saying you're wicked, it just that sometimes, I know I have been known to laugh my evil laugh, and I'm always wishing I had a moustache to twirl at those moments and I'm just assuming other people feel the same. sometimes. but maybe I'm wrong. In that case see option #2.)


when you need to throw the paparazzi off your trail so you can grocery shop in peace.


perhaps you might just need a disguise.

secret agents might find it

Friday, December 5, 2008

lumps of coal

This weekend PB&J's family is having a progressive dinner. We are the dessert -- 'cause we're sweet like that. But what should I serve? Do you have any suggestions? I'd love some input. You know my anxiety with serving food to others. . .

Anyway, though the food is the most important part, I have been working like mad trying to get all 10 of those bins emptied, so we don't look like Scrooges to the rest of the family. I finally got the last Christmas tree decorated yesterday.

Wanna see?

Here it is:

This is the tree in our little playhouse under the stairs.

Have I ever told you how much I love pom-poms?? And why is it that sticking a little tree in an urn makes it so much cuter?


What's that?

You want to know why I went to the trouble to hang stockings on the mantel and decorate a tree for a playhouse that my kids don't play in anymore because they are too old for that sort of stuff?


I'll have you know . . .

Ummm . . .

That playhouse is an important part of . . .

It's a scientific fact that playtime is a . . .


So what if the boys never played in it and the Oldest Carrotstick is 13. I did it 'cause I wanted to. So there.

And just for your impertinence on Good Food Friday, you can have this:

Sassing the Lunch Lady Is Naughty (not Nice) Lumps of Coal

1 cup whipping cream
2 cups marshmallows
2/3 cup mint candy canes
1/4 c nuts (chopped)
2 cups Oreo cookie crumbs

Whip cream to stiff peaks. Mince marshmallows and candy canes in food processor or chop very fine. Fold marshmallows, candy cane, and nuts into whipped cream. Cover and freeze until mixture is firm. Scoop out balls and roll in cookie crumbs. Return to freezer until ready to serve.

Please, leave me your yummy dessert suggestions!!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

trading treats tuesday

This is what my house looks like right now:


This is when the holidays really come together.
The Thanksgiving dishes aren't quite put away.
And I have already drug out 10 bins of Christmas stuff.

Does that frighten you?

It kind of scares me.
And are you more worried that I am blogging instead of putting away my fabulous turkey dishes?

Take consolation in the fact that I am waiting for the kids to get home from school to decorate the tree.

And they decorated the trees in their rooms last night and I haven't rearranged a single ornament.


I love the holidays!

And my piano is being tuned even as we speak and that fills me with joy. No more waking up to off-tune practicing!

What's your treat today?

Monday, December 1, 2008

garden of eatin'

because we are now officially counting down the days until Christmas,

I thought I'd share a little gift idea with you for those hard-to-shop-for-people.

For the person who has everything,


The Apple Cozy.

Tempting, isn't it?


You can thank me later.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


a post in which I waste your time talking about nonsense and referencing an obscure movie where El!jah Wood does not have hairy feet.

Last Tuesday night, as we sat on the runaway in Atlanta on our way back to the Lunchroom,

the pilot got on the PA system to give a little pilot-y information and update.

As he spoke, he had a slight accent. A slight Russian accent.

Ok. Maybe not slight.

Perhaps it would really be considered quite strong.

PB&J started laughing.

He looked at me and asked "Can this guy be for real?"

He sounded just like the Russian guy in this movie:

(it's a short clip. I promise. -- like 46 seconds -- but you have to wait til the end to hear the Russian.)

And the rest of the flight, whenever the pilot spoke, you could also hear PB&J laughing.

It was premium.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

trading treats tuesday

In a very unoriginal post, this Trading Treats Tuesday,

I am celebrating:

Thanksgiving Feast Favorites!!!!

That's my treat. I love all the traditional foods you get to eat at Thanksgiving. And I can't pick just one thing. Everything we're having is my favorite. Well, maybe turkey's not really my favorite, but it's Tradition!

(say it with me and Tevya:


And that happy, too-full, dying to take a nap and ignore the kitchen full of dirty dishes feeling!

Hurray for Thanksgiving!!!!

This Trading Treats Tuesday, tell me what one food you are looking forward to the most.

One of my friends confessed that her favorite was her dad's made from scratch fake mashed potatoes.

Love it!

So, what's your favorite Thanksgiving food/treat?

"full" picture by itsthinking

Monday, November 24, 2008

gotta get me some cranberry sauce

For a little Thanksgiving Fun, click here.

Friday, November 21, 2008

fruit elixir water

After returning from our trip to Florida I was a little hesitant to see what effect vacationing had had on my waistline.

With great reluctance I forced myself on the scale.

And the scale, bless its little heart, met my request with equal reluctance.

"Umm . . . ," the scale began,

"Well, . . . yah . . . " it hemmed and hawed

"Hey! It's great to see you! Did you have a good trip?" it said, stalling, trying to delay revealing it's secret.

But I pressed on,

That's right. It said "Err, ummmm, we-ell, if you insist. . ."
And then it became obvious that the Disney Walk Your Feet To Bloody Stumps Exercise Plan was not enough to combat the Theme-Park Food and High-Carb Continental Breakfast Diet Plan.

So this Good Food Friday I am going to share a fabulous diet recipe with you. I call it

I Can't Believe It's Water! Magical Fruit Elixir Water

Sliced fruit:

whole mint leaves

Water (or if you're feeling fancy, mineral water)

Place any combination or even just a single selection of sliced fruit in a pitcher, cover with water and ice. Let stand to diffuse the essence of fruit throughout the water.


And repeat.

Several of the hotels we've stayed at in the past year have had different combinations of this fruit elixir water out for consumption by their guests. And I have to say, I'm a fan! I especially like the name elixir. It sounds so fancy and exotic.

If you're feeling really adventuresome, try some sliced vegetable in water -- like cucumber.

But I'd probably suggest you stay away from the broccoli. Broccoli Elixir Water just couldn't be good. No matter how much you tried.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

what's up?

After having spent every second of the last 5 days running around like a crazed madwoman intent on eking every last bit of fun out of our trip, I finally arrived home to my bed sweet bed this morning at 12:48 (which is 2:48 EASTERN, people).

this morning I feel like my brain is floating above my body in a balloon.

It’s a smallish balloon.



(Too bad my voice doesn't sound funny.)

I hope this wears off quickly.

balloon picture originally uploaded by Matt White

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

trading treats tuesday . . .

my treat today:

home sweet home

with MY pillow

and non-public restrooms!

what's your treat today?

Sent from my Verizon Wireless mobile phone

Friday, November 14, 2008

did I tell you we are in Florida?

I would post a recipe for good food friday, but we bought tickets for the happiest place on earth and can no longer afford to buy food.

happy friday!

Sent from my Verizon Wireless mobile phone

Thursday, November 13, 2008

out of the blue, the Oldest Carrotstick just said "that's ok cause your clothes deflate after you wear them."

she was thinking about how she was going to squeeze souvenirs into her packed full bag. She was totally shocked that she said it out loud.

so funny on so many levels.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless mobile phone

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

trading treats tuesday

I had it all planned.

I was going to celebrate teaching your kids Life Skills. 'Cause yesterday I made the Oldest Carrotstick fold her mountain of laundry -- much to her chagrin. So I didn't feel all cranky and cross when I went into her room this morning and saw all her freshly washed a folded clothes like this:
instead of nice and neat in her drawers. I wasn't at all irritated, because she had only wasted her time and not mine, on laundry day.

And I was also going to celebrate the good doctor's pronouncement that the Middle Carrotstick does not require surgery.

But when I checked my Google Reader today, I found this,

And then I knew I had to celebrate Good Friends instead on this Trading Treats Tuesday.

I was going to wax all poetic and say something about how great it is to have good friends. Something really awesomely profound.

Good Friends are a special Treat.

Finding them can be a Feat.

And holding on can be impossible

Especially when they go buy a new house and move away.

Then I realistically thought of the chances I had of writing a really good poem, thought better of it, and wrote a bad poem on purpose.

But, just so you know, the badness of the poem is not an indication of my extremely high regard for Good Friends -- and for all Friends (not just those who've moved away!)


What's your treat today?

Friday, November 7, 2008

bread and butter pudding

This post today is dedicated to: Motherhood.

Because I am such a stinkin' good Mom.

I am such a good mom, that, when the Middle Carrotstick came home from school 4 weeks ago, complaining that his middle finger got hurt in a game of football, I told him "it's just jammed. It will feel better soon."

And because I'm such a good mom, the next morning I made him "Practice (piano) Through the Pain! We must suffer for our art!"

And then, because, you know, I'm such a good mom, I just ignored his finger for the next 27 days.

Finally, this week, he insisted that his finger wasn't any better, that it was still red and swollen and now the skin was peeling off, and wouldn't I please get him a doctor's appointment? And because I'm such a good mom (and because I thought: "hmmm, 4 weeks really is a long time, it should be getting better by now") I took him to see the pediatrician. Just so he would feel better. 'Cause I'm a good mom like that.

And then I only complained a little bit to myself about how much a "just to make sure it's not broken" x-ray was going to cost.

And now, because I'm such a good mom, I feel really really bad that the growth plate in his fingertip is actually BROKEN and that he might have to have SURGERY because we've let it go so long that it is healing CROOKED.

Yah. I'm good like that.

So, if in the future, you see the Middle Carrotstick and it looks like he is giving you:

Just realize it's a sign that he has a really really good mom who's always looking out for him. At least he can still play in his piano recital on Saturday. I made sure I found out.

I think I need to make today's Good Food Friday recipe:

Drowning My Guilt in Whiskey-Free Bread Pudding with Vanilla Sauce

10-12 slices white bread (should be a dense bread)
1 c milk
1 c whipping cream, unwhipped
1/3 c butter
½ tsp salt
5 eggs
2/3 c sugar
1 Tblsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon with 1 Tblsp sugar, (optional)
Cut crusts from bread and cut into small cubes. Arrange in a greased 9"x13" pan and let dry out overnight.
Bring milk, cream, butter and salt to boil. Mix eggs, sugar and vanilla. Stir small amount of hot milk into eggs, then stir eggs into hot milk mixture. Should be very smooth. Pour mixture evenly over bread cubes.
Place dish with pudding in a roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan 1/3 full of water. Carefully place both pans in 350 degree oven for 35-45 minutes, until pudding is golden brown. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Vanilla Sauce
1/4 c butter, melted
½ c sugar
1 c cream or half’n half or milk
1 Tblsp cornstarch
1 Tblsp vanilla

Melt butter and stir remaining ingredients into it. Bring to a simmer for 1 minute or until thickened. Whip to blend. Dribble sauce over pudding.
Surprisingly good with a dollop of whipped cream on top.

This is a holiday favorite in the Lunchroom. And one of my friends even told me it was the best non-chocolate dessert she has ever had.

I might just make and eat the whole thing by myself. Then I can add guilt over Bread Pudding with it's abundance of cream and butter to my list of things to feel guilty about.

Betsy Case and I were joking the other day that our motto might just be:

"We believe in guilt, we have endured much guilt, and hope to be able to endure all guilt. If there is anything else to feel guilty about, we seek after these things."

Just kidding. (But sometimes it feels true.)


bird picture originally uploaded by John Charlton

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

trading treats tuesday

Election time gets our blood a-pumping here in the lunchroom.

Being down in the OC this last weekend, my heart was warmed by all the Yes on 8 signs lining the highways and byways. We only saw one group of protestors.

For weeks now the kids have been singing various jingles:

"B@r@ck Ob@m@, he smells like llama"


"Use your brain, vote McC@in"

The Oldest Carrotstick said she wrote in Mitt Romney's name at their school mock-lection.

And the kids are begging me to let them stay up to see who wins. (that's a big NO.)

It is very much akin to the 2004 presidential election.

Back then, to my chagrin, my kids knew all the words to JibJab's version of "This Land is My Land" and they sang it with gusto.

And the Littlest Carrotstick, even though he was only 2, for some reason known only to his own bad toddler self, was a staunch J*hn Kerry supporter, in a family of Republicans.

I kid you not. Go figure.

It's 7:36. You still have time! Go vote!

Oh, by the way, that's my treat today: Democracy.

What's yours???

Monday, November 3, 2008

welcome home

We are back.

This picture of our hotel room number plate says it all. We had a great time, and now I am coming off my vacation high. I am blaming my sloth and idolence today on a vicious mixture of jet lag, time zones, and daylight savings. Too bad it's not really a very valid excuse, since we only went to CA.

These guys are now coming off their sugar high.

The Littlest Carrotstick was a nerd. He had me and PB&J in hysterics. Unfortunately in this picture, his shorts aren't up quite as high as he likes, and the effect is more geeky kid from the nineteenth century than Steve Erkel. But he really was funny. And I am now officially swearing off tie-dying. The Middle Carrotsticks shirt is my third attempt at it, and I'm still terrible.

Anyway, all that unnecessary information aside, I'm hoping we'll all be back to normal soon.

Let's talk more tomorrow.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

happy halloween

PB&J has been in a real quandry, wondering what he should be for Halloween this year.

Should he dress up as a Hunter?

A Chainsaw Massacre-er?

A Backwoodsman?

Or a Yogi?

Hard to say.

In the end, he has decided to be a Devoted Husband for Halloween, and is taking me out of town for a mini-vacay this weekend.

My Mom and Dad are going to be Surrogate Parents for Halloween. If you see them at the Trunk-or-Treat or at the school costume parade, give them a high-five for me, will you? (And let them know their Parent costumes are very realistic!)

Hope your Halloween is Spook-tacular!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

trading treats tuesday

Part of the Corn Scout slogan is:

"Do a Good Turn Daily."

I, myself, did a good deed today. Not to brag or anything.

And, because I'm all about immediate gratification, I didn't wait to receive blessings in heaven.

I rewarded myself with this:
A strawberry nutella crepe.

And it was oh-so-good.

That, my friends, is my treat this Trading Treats Tuesday:

Strawberry Nutella Crepes.

Warm, gooey, fruity goodness.

Many moons ago, before my little sister Competitive Kate abandoned me, she and I used to treat ourselves and share a Strawberry Nutella Panini. They were really good. Until the stupid restaraunt decided to quit making them. In protest, we withdrew our endorsement of that place entirely (if you're a local, it rhymes with Poopas.) And then Kate moved and that was the end of that entirely. But if she were still here, I would have taken her with me for crepe-y goodness. (Wish you were here. :( Did you send my birthday present home with PB&J??)

If you want to know where to go to partake of such goodness, ask me in the comments and I'll let you know. It rhymes with My Egg Rolls -- but they only sell gelato and crepes, not nasty mass produced chinese food.

Good stuff.

What's your treat today??

crepe picture originally downloaded by LexnGer

Sunday, October 26, 2008

dressed to impress

I came home from my meeting this morning just in time to get the family and go to church.
When I walked in, I beheld the Youngest Carrotstick, sitting at the kitchen table, just finishing his lunch, clean, dressed, and ready to go.

On closer inspection, I noticed his collar looked a little skawampus. And then I realized why.

Friday, October 24, 2008

lettuce wraps

The other day, the Oldest Carrotstick called me and asked if I would take her and some friends to lunch. Trying to be the good mom, the mom you can count on, the mom who chooses her battles and which hill she is going to die on, I agreed.

But I almost disagreed when the Oldest Carrotstick and 5 boys walked over to my car.


Did you catch that?


Ok. At least she couldn't be in love with all of them. But what if they were all on her top five?? Then what????

Deep breath.

Still breathing.

Ok. So. The kids wanted to go to the local chinese all-you-can-eat buffet.

Our very noisy group went in, got our seats, and then went right for the buffet. But when we sat down to eat, it was dead SILENT except for the occasional gasp as the boys paused momentarily to come up for air. The Oldest Carrotstick and I were amazed at the sheer volume of food those boys pounded. I'm sure the proprietor shook his head when they walked in, knowing that his profits for the afternoon would be quickly eaten away.

Finally, a tower of dirty plates later, the ever-hopeful manager was distributing the "it's time for you to leave NOW" fortune cookies, and their growing boy/man-sized hunger was at last sated. But not before the memory of a little fortune cookie prank had snuck to my mind and I couldn't get rid of it.

Cue the flashback:

Several years ago, we went to visit my sister, Farm Girl, and her husband, Mr. Beaver Mtn. in Logan. One night we went to a local Chinese restaurant famed for their Tiny Spicy Chicken and a surprisingly large carp in a disgustingly dirty fishtank. After dinner, Farm Girl told us an ancient Chinese Secret: in order for the fortune in your fortune cookie to come true, after you break open the cookie, you must, without reading it, dip the paper in your drink and then plaster it onto your forehead. Everyone at the table must read it first, before you can take it off and read it yourself. Once you've read it, wad the fortune into a little tiny ball and swallow it. Then, and only then, will all your chinese fortune cookie dreams come true.
I couldn't resist. It was a little like the bridal shower I went to this spring. I couldn't help myself. I, an adult authority figure misused my powers to convinced these silly silly kids to eat paper. One by one, they broke open their cookies, pasted their fortunes on their foreheads, and then looking at me for reassurance -- which I gave them with a big thumbs up -- wadded them up in a ball and tossed 'em back with a swig of lemonade.

It was awesome.

And then they did it again.

And again.

I reassured them that the paper was just a bit of added fiber.

I know they appreciated the added bonus of a little extra regularity.

Even now I have to smile when I think about it. I wonder if their parents will ever let me take them anywhere again.

But, I promise I won't mislead you on this Good Food Friday.

This Good Food Friday, grab a bag of fortune cookies and whip up a batch of

Lettuce Wraps Will Keep You (on the) Straight and Narrow

8 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp dry sherry
2 tsp water
salt and pepper
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken
5 tbsp oil
1 tsp fresh minced ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 green onions, minced
2 small dried chilies, (optional)

1 (8 oz) can bamboo shoots, minced
1 (8 oz) can water chestnuts, minced
1 package cellophane Chinese rice noodles, prepared according to package

Cooking Sauce:
1 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp water
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp. cornstarch
Iceberg lettuce "cups" leaves (or Bibb or Romaine)

Cover mushrooms with boiling water, let stand 30 minutes then drain. Cut and discard woody stems. Mince mushrooms. Set aside. Mix all ingredients for cooking sauce in bowl, and set aside.
In medium bowl, combine cornstarch, sherry water, soy sauce, salt, pepper, and chicken. Stir to coat chicken thoroughly. Stir in 1 tsp. oil and let sit 15 minutes to marinate.

Heat wok or large skillet over medium high heat. Add 3 TBSP oil, then add chicken and stir fry for about 3-4 minutes. Set aside.

Add 2 TBSP oil to pan. Add ginger, garlic, chilies(if desired), and onion; stir fry about a minute or so. Add mushrooms, bamboo shoots and water chestnuts; stir fry an additional 2 minutes.
Return chicken to pan. Add mixed cooking sauce to pan. Cook until thickened and hot. Break cooked cellophane noodles into small pieces, and cover bottom of serving dish with them. Then pour chicken mixture on top of noodles. Spoon into lettuce leaf and roll.

These are yummy. And they are good for you. I'm not lying. Seriously. And the cellophane noodles are cool to make -- they are the ones that puff up really fast when you put them in hot oil. But, the wraps are ok without them, if you don't want to mess with another step.

Really. Trust me! Would I ever mislead you?



I promise.

chinese buffet picture by Midtown Lunch