Joy in the Midst of Heartache

Well, that’s a downer of a title, isn’t it?

Stay with me.

Linking up with my favorite bloggie family: Five Minute Friday.

The theme for today?

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Ok, so, right now the world has that extra bit of merry and bright going on. This makes total sense. We are counting the days before our Savior’s birth.

It’s The Most Wonderful Time of Year, after all.

But, I notice a few things:

I have lights up, all over the house, inside and out. Strings of them, colored, white, all aglow, all day long.

Christmas music plays non stop. Mostly, I choose the soft, lingering melodies of George Winston. They are soft and soothing and I keep them on all the time.

I go to bed pretty early these nights, usually around 8:30. Flannel pajamas are my thing.

Next to my bed is a pile of books and my Ipad and Hershey’s kisses. I keep them stockpiled, and crawl into my bed as a sort of cozy fortress.

I take naps more often.

I make comfort food for dinner. Rich, heavy dishes with lots of calories. Salad does not happen. Chocolate happens.

I watch endless Hallmark Channel Christmas movies. My husband will not watch them with me, but the dog does. Hosmer loves the story line, mainly because they are all very similar. He’s a simple dog, with simple tastes.

I love this time of year. But, you know? It reminds me of those who are gone. It only makes me miss them the more, and I cannot think of Christmas without my brother.

Sometimes all this merriment makes it harder.

Joy to the world, the Lord has come.

So, let me receive it. Joy is deeper than all of this and the Joy Maker is through it and under it and above it.

Joy is all around.

Happiness, bliss, merriment, festivity, those might wane. We might experience a soul poverty at this time, but Joy is not from us. It’s from Him.

It makes me think of this carol, one of my favorites:

In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago.

What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb;
If I were a wise man
I would do my part;
Yet what I can, I give Him –
Give my heart.

Christina Rossetti

I have not posted in so long, and so wanted to come in with trumpets blazing, full of fun and funny. But instead, I wanted to write about the deep joy that answers all the questions.

What can we give him? Just give Him our hearts.

An open letter to funerals.

 

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I sat down to write this morning with about sixty ideas on my mind. There’s a lot out there to discuss. First of all, it’s very important that I try to figure out Pokemon Go. Mainly so I can make fun of it.

But yesterday, our family went to a funeral. And I want to talk about it. My dear friends Christy and Karl – well, Karl lost his dad. Rather unexpectedly.

Don’t you kind of hate that? How we say, “lost”? Like, he just wandered off in Walmart, somehow, and we’ve been searching for him over in the pet food section, but really, sweet Jim was just perusing the candy aisle… And it’s all just a big misunderstanding.

This is the permanent “lost.” Jim is dead. Nobody ever says it that way. I know. It sounds harsh. The truth of it, the new-reality of it is harsh too. The world has been de-Jimmed and it’s very hard.

As far as funerals go, this was a tough one.  At one point, Christy, who was asked to sing one of Jim’s favorite hymns, found herself whisper-sobbing the final verse. A few women in the congregation sang  it for her. I just sat there and ugly cried. It was that kind of funeral. This family has been through a lot. That’s kind of like saying that that final trip on the Titanic was stressful. They have dealt with pain and loss and just, well, aching LOSS, and it’s enough. I have received texts from Christy for months, explaining other heartaches. Other losses, and I want to text back, to both God and Christy:  “Enough. ENOUGH! I think you have your QUOTA! God! Are you listening? Enough for them!”

Ok, two problems with this:

  1. Texting doesn’t really adequately do it. When dealing with searing loss and pain a text message is like, offering an alcoholic a cup of tea in rehab. It’s sweet,the thought is kind of there, but mainly it’s JUST NOT REALLY ALL THAT HELPFUL.
  2. God understands “enough” but it’s not like He says, Ok, I will VERY EVENLY SPLIT ALL THE BAD STUFF around with all the people in the world. I know. I kind of wish He would operate that way? But who am I to try and manage God? I can’t remember to pay the utility bill on time.
  3. But, really, would it not be COOL to have a way to text God??? (That’s three things. I know. So, once again, really pounding home that I am not the best candidate for helping manage the world.)

So,  as for my letter to funerals? Well, it would go like this:

Dear Funerals:

You are there to help us understand someone we love has gone. We don’t want to really get it, especially when the loved one has been so, well, here for so many days of our lives. He just called us last weekend, did you know? He had a joke to share. He was here, with us.

And now, he’s not.

And I guess I thank you, funerals, for helping us understand that.

But really? I want to thank you for something else.

The food. I want to thank you for the food.

I know. This makes me sound kind of like a candidate for yet another anonymous recovery group involving lots of eating, but listen. I thank you for the fudgy brownies and the pulled pork and the jello. The jello! I want to thank you for the piles of chips that my kids don’t ever get to eat at home, but get to eat at funerals. Funeral chips. They bless my children, in all their powdered, preservatived cheesy glory. Poor chip-less children.

I thank you for macaroni salad and that weird green pudding thing with the marshmallows. I thank you for coffee in styrofoam cups. I thank you for sloppy joes and lemon bars and for the Boston Cream poke cake that the pastor’s wife makes.

I thank you for lemonade and broccoli with bacon bits and crinkly paper napkins that don’t really do it when your kid is covered in barbecue sauce and cream cheese frosting.

I thank you for the sweet church ladies who cut slices of walnut cake so large they weighed the plates down as people carried them to the table, ready to slide off at any moment, heavy with glistening frosting and nuts and sweetness. I thank you for watermelon and cheesy puffs and cucumbers sliced thin, drenched with onions and sharp vinegar. I thank you for the pies, all the mysterious quivering salads that we try to eat with plastic forks.

I thank you for the look of concentration on my six-year-old’s face as he lifted a vibrating pile of orange Jello to his mouth, brow furrowed as it slips through the tines of the fork, all the while. He keeps trying.

I thank you for funeral food. Because we all sat down and talked, and ate, and Christy and I actually got to take a breath and laugh a little and share a really amazing brownie with homemade fudge frosting that was pretty much the answer to all the world’s problems.

Or not. Fudgy frosting is not the answer. Jesus is. But, for a moment, as we both nibbled at it and discussed our kids and life and parenting and just everything we haven’t been able to because we live far away… I thank you for that brownie. I thank you too for watching Karl and Brian pickup the needle of their friendship and place it right back down again where they left off (after at least two years) and chatter on about God and faith and blessings, even. Blessings. And how God has provided. Even after Karl saw his father go in the ground.

Blessings. The sweetness of the pie, after watching our fathers, and our brothers, go in the ground.

During Jim’s funeral, Karl spoke, and told us, “My dad always told his wife she was pretty,” and tears filled my eyes, up there in the church. And down in the church basement, Brian turned to me as I was shoveling something in my mouth, and said, “You look pretty.”

Probably not, with chocolate frosting competing with the lipstick, but you know. It made my eyes fill up again.Which blew the mascara, and, you know, the pretty thing was highly subjective at that point. But I believed him. I believed him. And I marveled at it – how a funeral of a good man could help me remember the good man sitting next to me.

And how funerals make us remember brothers who have died and how we miss them and how we thank God for them. And all the other things we forget to thank God for, like life, and sobriety, and small annoying children.

And girlfriends, who get our savage sense of humor, no matter what. And accept texts as the main mode of communication.

And, as God is my witness, that poke cake. I will always remember that poke cake and thank God for it. It was just basically holy.*

Thank you, funerals. For helping us to sit and talk over bad coffee for a bit. For helping us see the big picture, after all. That we all end up in a box, draped in flags or memories or both.

And that we are all so very loved. And it will all be okay.

Sincerely,

Momsie.

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It is my brother’s birthday tomorrow. I miss him. And yes, it’s possible I made my friend’s father in law’s funeral all about myself. That’s my thing. I am very, very good at it. But, knowing Christy, she will smile. She’s very patient with me.

*Oh my GOODNESS, DID YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE? I didn’t even see it MYSELF! I PUNNED but WITHOUT EVEN REALIZING IT. That’s it. I have arrived. Pulitzer material, I tell you.

 

 

Tuesday Takeout and Unmotivated Rhubarb

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Traveling with toddlers can be sort of like watching an episode of The Battle of the Network Stars.  It starts out all exciting and kinda neato; everyone enthused and in really cute little 70’s outfits (myself included).  There’s lots of music and even cheerleaders.  Traveling!  It’s an adventure!  Howard Cosell is narrating!

But by the end of the episode?  Somebody gets socked with a large red whackie thing, and we all end up in muddy water.

Which was pretty much how the Royals game ended up (four-hour rain delay + two toddlers + endless hotdogs + one overly enthusiastic husband + onslaughts of water that made my skin all pruney = GRUMPY, UNDER-ENTHUSED MOMSIE.)

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In today’s epic battle we will pit two tired parents against their nutball toddlers, in a car with only raisins for snacks and a Veggie Tales Singalong CD on repeat. Who will win, I wonder?

 

Here’s the thing:  I think traveling is overrated.  Why go anywhere when, really, we have all we need right here?  Who needs to see other things? We got things?  Lots of ’em.

And, as an added bonus, when we returned and unloaded our “car” (also known as the rolling container of sodden socks, Cheerios, two irritated adults who are married, yes, but not so very thrilled about it at this point, and soggy toddlers) this is what my living room looks like:

 

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Clearly this room has lost its will to live. It’s blurry because I’m crying.

 

So, we traveled. And then, when we got back I was so unmotivated to do anything I seriously contemplated a Barney marathon viewing session as a viable alternative to my Monday.  And you know how I feel about Barney.

I could only fight back this general weariness with the best alternative I knew:

COOKING SOMETHING YUMMY.

 

I had acquired a large bag of rhubarb from a friend and I had all these glorious plans:  Pie!  Maybe some jam!  Perhaps a cobbler!

Oh, who was I kidding. That’s baking. Baking +Momsie = despair and self-loathing.

Instead, I made this:

 

MOMSIE’S RHUBARB SYRUP

 

Chop up some rhubarb in one inch pieces or so (about 3-4 cups)

Put in large sauce pot with 1 cup water and 1 1/2  cups sugar

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Add a dash vanilla  or a coin of ginger or a bit of orange peel.  If this makes you tired, just stick with the sugar.

Simmer gently until sugar is dissolved and rhubarb is tender (about 5 min).  I suggest you taste for sugar – add a bit if needed.

Let cool and then strain out the rhubarb.  (You can keep this too and use as a topping for toast if you are a crazy rhubarb lover like me.)

Voila!  A pretty pink syrup to add to:

  •    ginger ale 0r seltzers
  •    ice cream or yogurts
  •    pancakes
  •    cakes (poke holes in a vanilla sponge and add, then top with whip cream.  Yummo.)

 

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Unmotivated, yes. But with good results.

Huh.  This also sounds a lot like my parenting style.

 

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Throw Back Thursday and #Streamteam

Once, long ago, I had a dream.

It was a slow glowing dream.  All my own.  Never shared it with anyone.  I nurtured and lived for it, but fiercely denied it to anyone who had the guts to ask.

It was:

To be able to wear the off the shoulder sweatshirt and look like THIS:

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Somehow, it never really happened.  Anytime I tried to look like the above, I kinda ended up looking like this instead:

 

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The other day I was driving somewhere, and I actually had no children in the car with me at the time.  I am trying to remember where I was going, but I don’t think that was important.  What WAS important was that THERE WERE NO LITTLE CHILDREN IN THE CAR.  AT ALL. ANYWHERE.  I WAS ALLLLLLL ALONE.

And what do we do when are alone, the few, the proud, the Momsies?

Well, naturally, we contemplate, for just a second or two, that we could just. Keep. Driving.

Once  we acknowledge that is a bit crazysauce, we do the next best thing:  we sing.  Like, we CELINE sing.  We Whitney it.

So, Irene Cara’s “What a Feeling” came on the radio, and of course, I started out with a few slow jazz hand movements to slow everybody down a bit (the imaginary audience was all heated up from the previous Footloose number) and then, I grabbed the mike (steering wheel) and proceeded to belt it OUT.  I OWNED it.  Wrapped that number up and sold it to the highest bidder, I tell you.

I almost cried.  I mean, honestly, “What a feeling!  Being’s believing! I can have it all, now I’m dancing for my life!!!”?  That is good stuff. Solid Gold.

I did injure myself when I tried to do a bit of a head snap with the chorus (“I am music now!” Sing it with me ladies!), but some Icy Hot healed that right up.  So back to dancing right through my life!

I am thinking I might even start to rock this ensemble:

 

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However, without the snake.  And it’s possible I might wanna wear some baggy pants after, say, 30 seconds of the shiny slippery wedgie thingies.  But hey, I kinda get why everyone is on their tippy toes.  Those wedgie things make one want to elevate oneself as much as possible!  Which, we all know, elongates the leg!  Because leg warmers certainly don’t.

Yea, I don’t really know why the snake’s in there either.  Go with it.

 

Anyhow.

Lately it has been pretty clear that I might benefit from a little time away.  (Lawyer inserts here that a huge, collective, “You DON’T SAY?” from the audience might be good.) Work has piled itself upon my head with a sturdy clunk, and so have my sweet toddlers.  Even the cats are needy and mewling all over me all the time, and I generally like their little furry fishy faces, but lately?

MOMSIE NEEDS SOME ALONE TIME.

And this is where my buddy #Netflix comes in.  I am a #Streamteam blogger, and recently I have found myself hoarding our cue for my special Momsie movies.

Movies like:

Screenshot 2014-06-25 23.57.52And (of course):

Screenshot 2014-06-25 23.58.16Nobody puts Momsie in a corner!

 

At any rate, most of these lovelies are my guilty pleasure – I watch them with my cinnamon toast popcorn and cherish the peace and quiet.  But Flashdance?  For some reason, I thought Flashdance might make a good Date Night Movie.

 

And so here’s how that conversation went:

Me:  Wanna watch a movie tonight?

Hubs: Sure!  I uploaded 8 new Star Trek episodes!

Me: No, I was thinking…

Hubs: What?  A Blue Bloods marathon?

Me: Well…

Hubs:  We could watch the highlights from the college world series together!  Romannic!

Me: Um…

Hubs:  No?  Ok.   I have a documentary on aircraft carriers…

Me:  Oh for Pete’s sake.  Never mind.

 

We watched the aircraft carriers one.  Screenshot 2014-06-26 00.21.36It was pretty awesome, actually.

And I hunkered down with  Flashdance later, just me, my codependent cats, and the popcorn.  The next day I broke into the “Maniac” dance at intermittent points  whenever my children started to get on my nerves.

 

Because, as we all know:

 

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Cinnamon toast popcorn:

Ingredients

  •  1/2 cup popcorn kernels
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, or coconut oil melted
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • salt to taste

Directions

  1. Pop the popcorn according to the package directions.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the popcorn and melted butter or coconut oil.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle over the popcorn and toss.
  4. Add salt to taste.
  5. Don’t share.  Eat it all alone while you’re watching your own guilty pleasure.

Enjoy!

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CC courtesy of F_A seelensturm at flickr

 

 

Tuesday Takeout and Points with the Hubs

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Marriage.  Marriage is what brings us together today.

Marriage.  That bwessed awangement.  Dat dweam within a dweam-

 

Ahem, sorry.  Sometimes The Princess Bride just seems to come all busting out of me like that scary hot dog looking monster from Alien.  I do it too with random quotes from Monty Python and pretty much any line from Blazing Saddles.*  Don’t worry though, the Princess does actually pertain to today’s post.  I would never dream of getting off track and just quoting movie lines to you all willy nilly.

(The lawyer just rolled his eyes.  You know, if you do that enough, they’ll STICK that way FOREVER.  Who’s gonna listen to you then, with eyes all over the place? HUH? )

 

I digress.

 

Sunday was Father’s Day, you know.  It is a day to spoil the hubster and make sure he stays prone on the couch for what I think is an abnormally long amount of time.  He doesn’t need to mow the lawn or fix the dryer or even brush his teeth.  We cater to his every whim.

Well, for about an hour or so, then it’s back to reality.

And our reality is this:

You wanna relax on the couch for twenty minutes or so.  = Full body slam by five year old.

You try to actually shut your eyes while on the couch for twenty minutes or so = Four year old hops on too.

You somehow manage to slip into a small snooze on the couch =  Cat joins the fun and sneezes on you with fishy breath.

Anything longer than twenty minutes on that couch =  Body slam thing again with bonus knee in the groin!

 

Once we have figured out that really, we are never going to get a decent nap in again, the malaise sets in. This is unacceptable for Father’s Day, so I remedy it the only way I know how:

COPIOUS AMOUNTS OF FOOD.

First, I started with the balls.  Peanut butter balls, ya’ll.  Because, as we are so fond of saying around here:

“You can never have too many balls.”  (This just never gets old, I tell you.)

 

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EXTREME CLOSEUP OF THE BALLS! What?  The lawyer says this is somewhat inappropriate…  Why?  It’s simply a picture of the hubster’s balls.

(The lawyer is freaking out here.  Sigh.  He keeps saying, “family friendly!”  and “What is your problem?”  and “double entendre, dufus!!” but since I think anyone who uses French phrases in normal speak is an even bigger dufus, I ignored him.  Besides, he’s bourgeoisie.

 

I do realize that the above balls are not.. ahem… roundish.  They are not balls at all.  They are peanut butter, uh… wads?  But still, so tasty!

 

The other item I decided to make for the hubster was his favorite dinner:  deep dish pizza.  It earned major points for his Father’s Day, which is totally the key here.  The points are important, friends.  Those of you are married know what I’m getting at.

MARRIAGE IS A COMPETITION AT ALL TIMES FOR WHO IS THE NICEST.

Currently I am in the lead, but I have to fight for this position all the time.  The hubster’s affability is simply mind boggling, and if I’m gonna stay ahead of the game I gotta use food.

 

Momsie’s Deep Dish Pizza Pie (said with a thick, Sophia Loren accent):

 

The Dough:

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

2 tsp. sugar or honey (I use brown sugar)

1 1/2 cups warm water

2-3 cups flour (I use all purpose, but bread flour or half mixed with wheat works great)

2 tsp. salt

little bit of melted butter – 1/4 cup or so?  (not salted if possible.  If you use salted, reduce the salt in the recipe to taste.)

2 tablespoons butter

 

The Pie:

3/4 cup sauce (I make homemade but any jar variety will work here)

a good handful of onions, pepperoni, olives, pepperoncini, and mushrooms, fresh basil, spinach, mushrooms… (but do saute the mushrooms first because they release too much liquid of put in raw), and whatever else floats your pizza pie.

1 cup mozzarella cheese

garlic powder and maybe a bit of this stuff:

Creole-Seasoning-8oz-LG

The canister says “Great on Everything” and Tony wouldn’t lie!

 

Directions for Making Points:

Proof the yeast by sprinkling it in the warm water with the sugar (I use only 1 1/4 cup and save the last 1/4 cup or so for later  if the dough is not soft enough).

After about 10 minutes when yeast is all bubbly, I stir in 2 cups flour and salt and a bit of melted butter if I am feeling up for melting it.  If I am lazy, I leave it out, or add a bit of good olive oil.  I then stir with a wooden spoon until the dough “clears” the bowl.   If it seems too stiff – add a bit of water.  If too sticky, add flour…  It’s a “feel” thing.  The dough should clear the bowl nicely, but not feel like a lump of lead.

Shape into a ball and place in a greased bowl (I just use the same one I made the dough in) and cover with a towel.  Leave in a warm place for 45 minutes or so to allow to rise.

Punch down dough and allow to rest for about 20 – 30 minutes (in bowl still).  While doing so, preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Melt 2 tablespoons butter in cast iron skillet.  Prep your pie items:  chop onions, mince basil, shred up mozzarella, etc.

(Savings tip:  Buy mozzarella in BULK and cut it up yourself.  You don’t even have to shred it, just slice the stuff.  It will make the same pie, I promise.  And, if you are as cheese crazy as we are, you’ll save like 4oo dollars a month in cheese money.)

 

Press dough into and up the sides of the prepared skillet. “Stipple” the dough with your fingertips to break up air pockets.  Spread pizza sauce around the base of the crust and sprinkle with half mozzarella cheese over sauce; layer it with all your fixins, and finish with the last of the cheese.  If you’re feeling fancy, sprinkle with a bit of garlic powder and Tony C’s.

 

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Bake at preheated oven for 25 minutes, until bubbly and brown.  If you are feeling REALLY frisky, brush crust with butter and garlic when done.  Make sure husband is able to smell this loveliness as it comes out of the oven.

Here’s the really hard part:  LET IT SIT ABOUT 5 MINUTES BEFORE YOU EAT IT.  You have been warned.

 

And that, my friends, is how you achieve gold star, level awesome, super star, I-win-at-everything status.

 

 

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We did not wait 5 minutes. It was worth the pain though.

 

 

 

*By the way, I do try, most of the time, to lay easy on the Blazing Saddles references with the sweet little ones around. It is possible Mel Brooks is not quite toddler material.  Any quoting of him prior to 7 pm means Momsie loses points, big time.

 

Tuesday Takeout and Easter Feasting

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Happy Easter, my Peeps!

 

Yup, I’m still on Easter.

I can’t get enough of it this year.  The flowers, the budding trees, the life all around…

The empty tomb.  My emptied out life – filling up, slowly, with good things.

 

 

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This Sunday was spent with some dear friends.  Sean is the soccer coach at the college where I teach; he and his lovely wife Rae make their home an oasis for his soccer players.  So many of them are from very far away, students with nowhere to go for Easter, so he invites them.  Sometimes they don’t even live so far away, but this home has become a place of love and peacefulness and family.  It is a good center for them.

 

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Rae is the ultimate soccer momma.

 

 

Hi! I'm adorable!  Happy Easter.

Hi! I’m adorable! Happy Easter.

 

And, of course, there was a lot of good food.  Did I mention we had prime rib sandwiches?  Mm. Hmmmmm. .  And two of the girls made  spinach dip from scratch that was all gooey and cheesy and just the best thing ever.  And our friend Elisheva came and brought her world’s best guacamole (along with her cute kids and husband) and I put some of it on my sandwich and the angels sang, I tell you.

And the soccer kids (one from Mexico, one from Peru) who spoke quietly and smiled a lot,  played soccer with my boys in the most adorable way.

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It was a good day – surrounded by children and sunshine and some rain, but the really cool, soft kind.  And lunch at a long table in the garage, smooshed together, laughing and being goofy.IMG_2335

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There was a time when this kind of function would make me itchy, nervous.  Social things were… outside of my element I guess. I felt ajar, like a door was left open in me somewhere, and I had to shut it.

Now, I just let the door swing wide open, and ask friends to come in, and talk, and run around with kids, and then, if tired, I can go home and take a nap.  It’s a lot simpler than I ever thought it could be.

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Now, let me leave you with the wonderfulness that is my Great Aunt Dorothy’s chocolate fudge icing recipe.

This stuff is so good it’s hard to get it on the cupcakes – eat it on graham crackers, or ‘nilla wafers, or with a spoon.  It’s divine.

And you know what? It was divine to share it with these goofballs.  What a lovely day.

 

 

 

 

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Serious talent. For reals. Kristina is pointing at my son, who is in awe of Sean.  It’s all connected, you see.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aunt Dorothy’s Amazing Fudge Frosting:

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3-4 heaping tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ⅔ cup whole milk (sometimes I use coffee and milk)
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla
  • pinch salt, teensy pinch cinnamon (that was my addition; I hope Dorothy doesn’t mind.)
Instructions
  1. Mix sugar, cocoa powder, and milk together in a large saucepan.
  2. Cook over medium-high heat until large bubbles form. Boil one minute. Remove from heat and add butter and vanilla, salt and cinnamon.
  3. Return to medium-high heat and boil for a minute or so, until it thickens. Remove from heat and beat with a wooden spoon until thick and smooth.
  4. Try not to eat it all before you frost the cupcakes.
This stuff is heaven spread liberally on a yellow cake and then sprinkled with toasted pecans (pronounced PEE cahns, please).  Or, just put some in a bowl and have at it.  Who needs cake?
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Tuesday Takeout and Toddler Confusion

 

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Monday is usually pasta night at our house, but today I decided to be a rebel and go for this switcherooni:

Breakfast for Dinner!

I know. Breakfast instead of pasta night?  Living on the edge.

Edge-living, however, confuses toddlers.  When I listed out the menu (as I am asked, every day at about 4 pm, “Wat doin? You making our dinner?  What are we gonna have?  Canna it be mac and cheese? Is der gonna be green stuff init?”) and I rattled off:  “eggs, bacon, hash browns…”  they both furrowed their sweet brows and said: “Dats for MORNING time.  Dis is DINNER. Nighttime.”

“Look, ya’ll, let’s live a little.  Let’s have eggs.  Change is good, wee ones.  And! We are also having BISCUITS.”

Did they respond with joy and gratitude because baked goods were coming their way?  Nope.  We had full out toddler befuddlement due to the fact that my children are weird.  The deal is: Every Wednesday night they attend (with much gusto and anticipation) a church program called His Kids.

But, my kids don’t call it that.  Nope.

They call it:  “BISCUITS!”

It all started way back when the wee blonde was three and we were illegally trying to get him into His Kids (age requirements? Nope, just GO small one, saunter IN, and MINGLE my darling.  Please.  Go away where someone will talk to you about Jesus for an hour and feed you, so your mom can sit and talk to other women and not have to WIPE anything for a bit.  Ok?)

He was, after all, three years old and that’s when toddlers really are like Cute on steroids.  And thus, he christened His Kids “Biscuits” with that adorable toddler lispyness we all love so.

He is now five and it’s still going strong.  The propaganda has spread to Red, so when I told him about our menu tonight he got all confused – was tonight when we go to church and Jesus and candy there and alllll his friends and candy and we get to run around and be as loud as we like because sugar? And Jesus?

Uh.  No.  But did I mention I’m making eggs?

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Best cookbook ever.

 

Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits When You Don’t Have Buttermilk*

2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 generous tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter or shortening or even LARD, very cold
1 cup buttermilk (approx)  OR:  1 cup milk with one tablespoon lemon juice added (the earlier you do this the better to “proof” the acidity in the milk.)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
In a bowl, stir the flour, soda, baking powder, and salt with a whisk to combine.  Add the butter or shortening (I used shortening.  I know.  GASP.  Very bad for you.  Etc. Etc.) and mix with pastry cutter, or fork, until small “pea size” chunks.
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Add the buttermilk.  Or the buttermilk imposter that works REALLY well, because, really, I NEVER HAVE BUTTERMLK.  It’s just an ingredient at which I draw the line.  Martha Stewart probably has oodles of it in her ‘fridge.
Stir dough until it pulls away from the sides (I add a little less than a cup and adjust as needed here).  Do not overstir!
Turn out, knead just briefly to allow dough to come together.  Dough will be very soft and smooshy!  Roll out to about 1/2 inch and then paint with butter (sometimes bacon grease.  I know.  GASP again. Etc. Etc…).
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Fold the dough over and use a small glass to cut out your perfectly soft little circles of goodness.
Paint a bit more butter on top if you wish.
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Place on ungreased baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.
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Give to toddlers and tell ’em:  “This will help you get over His Kids not happening till tomorrow.  Right?”
They aren’t answering.  They’re munching.
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You’re welcome.

And lo, Momsie made biscuits.  And she gave them to her wee ones.  And it was good.  Especially with lotsa jam.