anti-candy strategies.

How to make sure you actually still HAVE Halloween candy by the time Halloween rolls around:

1. Buy candy you hate.

2. Have your spouse take the candy to work until Halloween.

3. Have your spouse HIDE the candy somewhere in the house.

4. Buy replacement candy after you’ve vandalized your house looking for hidden candy.

Thankfully, at the present time, I’m closer to #3 than #4.

St. Augustine, you did not make a good impression on me today.

PinkGirl’s 4th grade class went on a field trip to St. Augustine today and I had to drive because she was in a charity performance for Toys for Tots tonight and she had to be at the theater earlier than the bus was returning.

I think I’m all set and then, last night around 6pm, one of the teachers sent out an email:

“If chaperones want to drive we can’t stop you; however it is a big problem in that the trolley tour that leaves from the Old Jail does not return there. It drops us off at the fort, and you will not be able to get back to your car.”


So I Googled St. Augustine and found a map From the fort to the Old Jail . . . it didn’t seem that far to me, but I didn’t know, so I emailed the teacher back:

“What are my options if I need to get PinkGirl back early? From your email, it sounds like driving my own vehicle would leave me stranded. I’ve never been to St. Augustine and it sounds like you know the ropes. Any suggestions?”

His reply, at 6:16 this MORNING:

“I am sure there are a few parents driving. Maybe you can catch a ride back to the jail or miss the trolley tour and just drive from the jail to the fort. Parking for the fort is at the welcome center across the street. Sorry, but there is no easy way that I know of.”

I’m thinking, they all sound like easy ways to me, unless you can’t WALK. I’m thinking all my treadmill time has prepared me for this. Little did I know.

So PinkGirl rides the cool bus with TVs to St. Augustine and I drive my van and park at the Old Jail with all the other parents who drove. We tour the Museum (GREAT tour guide) and the Old Jail. Here’s my facebook posts during the tour of the Old Jail:

“Trying to stand where the authoritarian tour guide tells us to stand. Got in trouble 3 times already.”

and then,

“Got in trouble with the cranky tourguide again. Now I’m standing as far back as I can to listen to the tour guide behind me. He’s funnier.”

oh. she was bossy. FirstHusband says I have a problem with authority. I say I just tend to ignore bossy people.

But here’s where it all started to go downhill fast. While we were in the Old Jail, it started raining. Did I mention it was COLD? I was wearing three layers and leather gloves. PinkGirl is wearing two layers and gloves, but she’s running around more. And then it started raining.

Not good.

We had lunch on a small porch. All three 4th grade classes and a bunch of parents.

Then on to the trolley ride. So NOW we’re all in an open trolley, in the cold, in the rain and traveling at least 30 miles per hour.

Not good.

By the time the tour was finished 45 minutes later, we were soaked and very, Very, VERY cold. And we had 45 minutes of “free time” until the tour of the fort. The mom I was hanging with was on a quest for coffee and I was right there with her. I hate shopping as it is and there was NO way I was going to shop while I was soaking wet.

After a latte for me and a hot chocolate for PinkGirl ($9.00), we walked to the fort and stood around waiting for that tour to begin. In the rain. I asked our tour guide about options to get back to our vehicles at the Old Jail and he quickly pointed out the trolley stop right in front of the fort. Supposedly, the trolley schedule was every 15 minutes.

umm. hmm.

So PinkGirl goes on the fort tour with her class in the care of my fellow coffee lovin mom and I walk over to the trolley stop with two other moms to wait. and wait. and wait.

Forget it. It’s RAINING and I’m freezing and if I’m going to be in the rain, I’m NOT going to stand still while I’m getting soaked. I’m at LEAST going to be moving toward my destination. We were decked out in some seriously attractive complementary rain ponchos from the trolley company, so my thought was that if we saw a trolley coming our way, we would look pitiful and step out into the middle of the street and flag… okay, maybe not. But the “look pitiful” part worked after we walked about a half a mile. Since the rain ponchos were covered in the trolley company logo, a BUS driver (NOT a trolley, but a WARM, ENCLOSED BUS) pulled to a stop right in the middle of the road and opened the door.

My favorite person of the day, and I don’t even know his name.

I get the van, drive it back to the fort and go looking for our group. They are on TOP of the fort, overlooking the water. And now it’s cold and raining and WINDY.

This is not my happy day.

PinkGirl, however is having a GREAT time. weirdo.

But the SECOND the tour is over, she says, “Mom, can we go now?

Oh, honey, you do NOT have to ask me twice. I have a vehicle and I’m not afraid to use it. We were outta there so fast! A quick pit stop at McDonalds and we were on the road. PinkGirl fell asleep within 20 minutes and stayed asleep till we got off the highway in our little hometown, about an hour and a half later.

My next facebook update:

“I dont know how PinkGirl is even still standing, much less performing in a show tonight. We had to be at school at 6:30 am, we spent most of the day freezing and soaking wet and she fell asleep in the van on the way home from St. Augustine. Her dad had to carry her into the house so she could change clothes for the show. She’s sleeping in tomorrow, I can feel it.”

Then, later:

“PinkGirl just got home from the show – she is TOTALLY wired. But when she crashes, it’s going to look like this. (at the 2:43 mark)”

1/8 cup of chocolate syrup helps the vitamin c and potassium go down.

It’s sometimes a daily challenge to get my kids to eat fruit. In my house, when a kid stands in front of the fridge with the door open, this is my “go to” snack. If I offer this up before they head over to the pantry, they don’t have time to choose carbs over fruit.

Sugar-free chocolate syrup (we don’t have problems with artificial sweeteners)
Banana sliced with my favorite banana slicer and
Strawberries (DO NOT use the banana slicer on the strawberries or you’ll need a new banana slicer)

This never fails to disappear in my house. And it’s just too easy. The kids can go through a pint of strawberries in the blink of an eye. But that’s kinda the goal.

Find more ideas over at Works for Me Wednesday, hosted by Kristen at We Are THAT Family. MY previous Works for Me Wednesday posts are HERE.

Works for Me Wednesday posts prior to February 2009 are archived at Rocks In My Dryer.

EASY Easter Bunny Cake

Wilton also makes this great Easter Bunny cake pan as an alternative.
Wilton also makes this great Easter Bunny cake pan as an alternative.

I originally blogged about this Easter Bunny Cake back in April 2009, but every year around Easter, it’s my most popular post. If you make it, post a link to a photo or comment and let me know how it turned out!

Growing up, my mom often made an Easter Bunny cake like the one below for Easter. My favorite version of this cake is dark chocolate with white icing, covered in coconut!

Like a GIANT Mounds bar – but BETTER!
(page down for more decorating ideas)


Check out this great 8 day devotional and activity guide to help families teach their little ones that Easter is about more than candy and Easter Bunnies!
Check out this great 8 day devotional and activity guide to help families teach their little ones that Easter is about more than candy and Easter Bunnies!


Bake a cake, any cake, in two round cake pans. (Mine will be dark chocolate, in case I neglected to mention that. There is no reason for me to eat cake unless it is chocolate.) Let it cool and then cut it like you see in the photo on the left, below. On the serving plate (my mom always used a piece of cardboard covered in aluminum foil), CAREFULLY arrange it like the photo on the right, below. I’ve also seen the cake arranged so that one of the bunny ears is lopsided. Very cute.



Then, frost and decorate! My mom always frosted it white and covered it with coconut shavings as a base. Dark chocolate cake with coconut – mmmm – just like a Mounds bar. But CAKE!

Here’s some more decorating ideas:

I really like the whiskers and mouth on this one to the left, but I think it’s because it reminds me of a cat – which makes me wonder if this is an easy convert to a black cat cake! DOUBLE DARK CHOCOLATE. (Although at that point, it would be so rich I wouldn’t be able to finish a piece.)

Scroll down and check out a retro, kid friendly how-to video from ZOOM, a PBS show I used to watch as a kid! A Zooma Zooma Zooma Zoom!

The one on the left below looks the most like what we made when I was a kid, and I really like the ears on the one on the right. Are those red hot candies?



This next one on the left has GREAT eyes! And they don’t look too difficult. Love the strong Red Twist outline of the bow tie on the one to the right. I think I would take my favorite parts of each of these guys and put them all together on one cake. Dark chocolate, of course.



Easter Bunny Cake Revisited.

According to my WordPress Stats, I should highlight a post I wrote last year about how to create an Easter bunny shaped cake. In the month of February, that post shows 310 views and in just the first 8 days of March, it has had 149 views!

So, if you want to make a bunny cake for Easter, check out my post entitled “Easter Bunny Cake” from April 8th of 2009 for photos of different decorating ideas.

My favorite is a dark chocolate cake with shredded coconut all over the icing. Like a giant Mounds candy bar.

ibuprofen, eye contact & a retarded cat.

1. I’ve learned that 400 mg of ibuprofen pales in comparison to ANY mg of Percoset. Baby aspirin might be more effective at getting rid of pain. Or a chanting witch doctor.

2. I’ve learned that, with water, I can EASILY take four ibuprofen tablets at the same time. (A BIG thanks to the table-full of women at the 8th grade banquet last night who all informed me that 800 mg of ibuprofen is what I need!) And yes, you BET I’m taking them with food! Chocolate counts, right?

3. I’ve learned that I need to restock my personal mini-van pharmacy.

4. I’ve learned that I need to carry a bottle of ibuprofen and a bottle of water with me everywhere I go for the next few weeks.

5. I’ve learned that I miss my Percoset. I gaze affectionately at the half-full bottle. Then I pop my ibuprofen instead, get in my van and drive to where ever I have to go with no narcotic impairment. 🙁

6. I’ve learned that when doctors say that recovery from an abdominal hysterectomy is 6 weeks, they aren’t just saying that in an effort to protect themselves from a malpractice suit.

7. I’ve learned that when I tell people I had a hysterectomy and a tummy tuck, they only hear “tummy tuck.”

8. I’ve learned that when I tell women I’ve had a tummy tuck, most of them verbally express their jealously of me while abandoning eye contact in favor of staring at my abdomen – while they blatantly rub their own tummy and fantasize about the results of their own tummy tuck. (If I were to ever get the “girls” lifted, I wouldn’t tell. THAT lack of eye contact – and “gesturing” would creep me out.)

9. I’ve learned that the pain (mostly crampy) I’m feeling is INSIDE my abdomen, seemingly from the hysterectomy and not the tummy tuck. I’m thinking that all the organs which previously surrounded my giant uterus are now dukin it out for the newly available real estate. There’s very little incision pain from the tummy tuck. Still too much swelling and numbness. Even the tightened abdominal muscles aren’t really painful. It just feels like I did 2000 crunches. Yesterday.

10. I’ve learned that I really don’t like sleeping on my back.

11. I’ve learned one of my stupid cats believes I’m his personal jumping stepping stone.

12. I’ve learned that my cat can fly. And land on all four feet. Three times in a row.

13. I’ve learned that my cat has a steep learning curve. Or that he suffers from short term memory loss.

14. I’ve learned that this was the PERFECT year and time of year to have these surgeries! It has worked out really, really well.

15. I’ve learned that am incredibly blessed to have such a wonderful, selfless husband who tolerates loves me, even when I’m dishing the cranky because I can’t do anything I’m used to doing.

16. I’ve learned that my kids can be selfless and sweet. Sometimes. When I really NEED them to be.

17. I’ve learned that I need a nap. And a temporary cleaning service. And a rented dumpster for the driveway.

To find out what others learned this week, check out What I Learned this Week hosted by Musings of a Housewife.

I only eat chocolate when . . .

. . . I’m a little stressed out.

Need a few more chuckles today? Check out Friday Funnies hosted by Homesteaders Heart!

If you’ve got time to hang out for a few minutes, check out what else makes me laugh: Pragmatic Compendium’s “laugh!” category.

Check out Would You Like Chocolate With That? hosted by Lisa at Stop and Smell the Chocolate

If you’ve got a few minutes, check out my previous chocolate posts.

chocolate strawberry bunnies

You may recognize the pink fingernails. I’ve posted videos from this lady before. She made chocolate Gobble Berries (turkeys) for Thanksgiving and spiders and ghosts for Halloween. Her level of patience is astounding.

Let me just state. My children will never eat bunnies such as these. This is way too close to crafting for me.

Besides, is it just me or do these bunnies look a little like rats? Their noses are way too pointy. Easter rats. No, that won’t catch on. Easter mice?

If you have anything chocolaty to share, post and link to Would You Like Chocolate With That? hosted by Lisa at Stop and Smell the Chocolate

If you’ve got a few minutes, check out my previous chocolate posts.

chocolate is a serious thing.

Yes. We used to watch this show. And no. I have never been to a Trekkie convention. Nor do I own a Star Trek uniform.

But in my quest to live intentionally, I have to admire Deanna’s viewpoint. It’s one of the main ideas in the book, French Women Don’t Get Fat. “Enjoy what you eat.”

And no. That is NOT her real hair.

If you have anything chocolaty to share, post and link to Would You Like Chocolate With That? hosted by Lisa at Stop and Smell the Chocolate!

Please don’t think less of me . . .

. . . because I laugh out loud during episodes of “Scrubs.”

In this, it’s the guy’s response that gets me every time. Carla is his wife.

If you have anything chocolaty to share, post and link to Would You Like Chocolate With That? hosted by Lisa at Stop and Smell the Chocolate!

Need a few more chuckles today? Check out Friday Funnies hosted by Homesteaders Heart!