Momma Bish’s Chocolate Fudge Skinny Brownies

Skinny Brownies

Looking for a delicious brownie recipe that tastes just like the real rich and fudgy thing? Look no further! My sister and I perfected this recipe nearly 20 years ago and people have been asking for it ever since. Each 2″ x 2″ square has roughly HALF the calories, fat, sugar, carbs, etc of a regular brownie 2″ x 2″ square of the same… more or less… depending on how many of the following recommendations you are willing to take.

Ready?

First, a public apology to my sister for totally blowing our secret. It’s something that needed to be done. How can we possibly keep something so delicious from the world? Doing so would be nearly criminal! I love you. Forgive me. (I’ll bake you brownies to make up for it.)

Okay.  Finally. Here it is… 

Buy a box of your favorite brownie mix. (We like the Betty Crocker Fudge one best.)

Follow the directions on the side of the box.

Here’s the secret.

Make a half ass attempt to dump “all” of the batter into your greased pan. Be certain you don’t scrape the bowl.

Get your biggest spatula out and “smooth” the batter around evenly in your pan. Before removing the spatula, be sure to cover it in batter and toss it quickly (don’t want any to drip) into the batter covered bowl you mixed everything in.

Use the spatula to eat all the batter in the bowl. (Never said these were skinny for the baker.) Be sure to lick the spoon you mixed with and the spatula. Including children in this process is optional.

Feel as though the brownies in the pan aren’t quite low-fat enough? Grab a clean spoon and skim the top of the batter (keep it smooth) from the batter in your pan. You want to be sure you are scraping evenly, as to leave no evidence.

Once you’ve consumed half(ish) of the batter, you can stick that pan in the oven. Shockingly, you don’t need much less cook time!

When you serve your brownies, be sure to cut them out and stack neatly on a plate with parchment between them. Why pre-cut and stack your brownies? Duh.. it’s harder for someone to tell you did some product testing to be sure those brownies were fit for your family, friends, or whatever crowd you are serving.

If you are feeling extra fancy, sprinkle a bit of powdered sugar on top of your brownie mountain!

See… now, each square has about half the calories, fat, sugar, and carbs. Sure, you had to take a few extra steps… and a few bites for the team… but what an incredible mother/friend/daughter/wife/co-worker/PTA president you are for providing a much healthier version of this delicious chocolatey treat!

If you ask me, I think the sacrifice you made toward the health of others is borderline saintly. Bon appétit.

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Pretty sure this recipe was first perfected when Mom entrusted my sister and I to make brownies for a Girl Scout picnic. #sorrymom

Pretty in Pink (Eye)

After a weekend of coddling a kiddo with the icky sickies, a trip to the doctor for a (neg) strep test, and a fever that just wouldn’t quit, my husband gave me the green light on every mother’s fairytale adventure… a childless trip to Costco and Target and quick frolic through the grocery store. (Back off ladies, he’s taken!) A little while (okay, like three hours… because… Target…) later, I returned home (oh, that’s right… I went to the liquor store for beer… a bribe to help my knight in flannel pants help me unload the car). My husband and I unloaded the car, as our adorable little germy ball of love made his way down the stairs. “Hewwo, Mummy,” he mumbled in the most adorable congested voice you’ve ever heard. I looked into my son’s big beautiful HOLY FREAKING BAKED BEANS AND BRIE!?!?!? No. NO NO NO! NAH-OOOOOHH!!!!!!

My heart sunk, as I stared into my two year old’s disgustingly gross oozing eyeball that was puffy and a nauseating shade of devil’s fury red that only someone who has witnessed such a sight can attest to. He reached his clawing little arms toward me, the heat radiating off of them in waves of distortion, (are you gagging yet?) as he moved toward me in a glazed over state, much like a zombie after a fresh and untainted pile of brains.

“PAAATTTRRRIIICCCKKKKK!!!!” I screamed as patient zero suddenly gained a bit of speed. My husband, standing in the kitchen, turned to see a look of absolute horror on my face.

“HAVE YOU SEEN HIS EYE?!?!? OHMYGAWD HE HAS FREAKING PINK EYE!!!”

Now, my husband is rarely rattled and often quick to let me know I’m over reacting… but in an instant, the blood rushed from his face, his mouth began to sink into a frown, he dropped whatever he was holding (thank goodness I did buy eggs… or a baby)… and gasped, “OH SHIT! Pink eye never even crossed my mind!” The panic continued, “Oh my God, I think I have it too!”

As we hurriedly rushed to shove things in the fridge and pantry, grab the kid, and strap him tho the car, my dear sweet husband shared countless careless actions he had taken throughout the day without even thinking. “I wiped his eyes with my fingers and just though it was eye boogers from his nap. I DIDN’T EVEN WASH MY HANDS!”

Sunday night… Doctor’s office is closed… and it’s 8pm… which leaves ONE Urgent Care option. We hurry across town, pull Munchie out of the car and are informed the wait is 90 minutes and our best option is probably just to head to the Emergency Room.

***TIME-OUT***
Please keep in mind… we are an immunosuppressed household and while our reaction may seem a bit overboard (because some families might just wait until the morning)… it’s actually pretty justified. Also, pink eye is disgusting.
***TIME-IN***

After a couple of hours (maybe we should have stayed at Urgent Care, but whatever) we walked out with a positive diagnosis of conjunctivitis (pink eye) and an upper respiratory infection… and a super cool ointment to squeeze into our kid’s eyeball… and a serious lack of sleep.

BUT… whatever. We love our disgusting little petri dish… and I will continue to love him… with the help of my friends Germ-x, Lysol, and the broom I use to pat him on the head and sooth him to sleep from a safe distance.

Organic Friendship

Organic Friendship

It’s no secret that I’ve tampered with Munchie’s pool of friends. (Evidence here and in a couple other random posts I’m too lazy to dig around and find. Don’t get me wrong… I tried… I know they exist… but three minutes was my search limit… because we have a play date in 45 minutes and… #priorities.)

When I was a Stay at Home Mom, I had the ability to pick and choose which play groups we participated in, which story times we attended, which kids I wanted my itty bitty, super precious, adorable little drool monster to hang out with. Not only did I have to like the kid(s), but more importantly (since most of the kids were just floppy little babies, anyway) I could be hella picky about the other moms… because let’s be honest… this was pretty much my only adult interaction (aside from my husband) and I wanted to find a group of friends… not just people I could tolerate.

***Quick note to the awesome play group that meets on Fridays – we don’t hate you… you just meet during our nap time… and you go hiking… and we weren’t really up for that (because I refuse to carry my child through the forest when he suddenly can’t walk and starts rolling around in dirt… and you might judge me for leaving him there to be raised by wolves).***

Jump to last summer, when I was losing my mind and decided that Mommy returning to work was in everyone’s best interest. (Oh my gosh, I am 99% sure I just heard angels rejoice.) As much as I love my family, we all needed a bit of space to grow and truly thrive. (Seriously, going back to work was one of the best things I could have done for our family. I still support every kind of mom, but if you are staying home and feel completely lost… please do something about it! Your whole family will be happier!)

So, off my kid went… with his giant dinosaur backpack and matching lunchbox… tromping into his new school… where Mommy wouldn’t be able to meddle as much in his social interactions… and he would be free to form relationships with other kids on his own (which was slightly terrifying… but also exciting).

In the beginning, these friendships looked more like parallel play… playing next to, but not really with, another child. Now, these friendships have developed into something incredible… and it makes me want to cry (happy tears).

Yesterday, I went to pick Munchie up from school. I got there as his class was about to head outside. Instead of scooping him up and heading home, I sat at a picnic table on the playground and watched him interact with the other kids. He was playing WITH his friends. They were playing chase, kicking a ball back and forth… and the other day, I even saw he and a buddy on the seesaw (of course, he would let his friend get up in the air and then jump off, laughing as his pal plummeted to the ground… but the other kid was laughing too, so meh).

It also seems like he and his friends plot against the teachers a bit, acting like hooligans, sneaking around the playground to have mulch fights while teachers aren’t looking. Munchie has been coming home with mulch in every nook and cranny… dirt under his nails… and absolutely exhausted from playing. (The dirt is evidence of fun and I love it!) On the way home, we talk about his adventures… the kids he played with (sometimes the kids he needs to apologize to). At night, Munchie likes to read us books and often substitutes character names with the names of his friends.

Yesterday, another mom told me that she took her son grocery shopping and he started loading the cart up with jelly beans. “Dude, what are you doing?” He simply responded that he wanted to give the jellybeans to his friends (specifically naming my kiddo and a few others) because he wanted to make them smile. *gush*

Watching this kid grow is an awesome blessing. Watching him create his own little world, surround himself with incredible friends, and THRIVE… well, there are no words. (Except the 700 words I just graced you with. You’re welcome.)

My Toddler Turned Into a Kid… and Here’s Why You Noticed

Toddler Turned Into a Kid

Yesterday, I posted a few pictures of Munchie to my personal social media accounts. Before long, I had a slew of comments on each photo to the tune of… OMG – HE GREW UP OVERNIGHT… and WHEN DID HE BECOME A REAL KID!?!?

I looked at the pictures again and even pulled my husband into the conversation. Looking at the same photos everyone else was seeing, we noted that he certainly didn’t look like a toddler anymore (though he certainly acts like one)… but why were people just noticing?

Maybe it was his hair? Like bathing, haircuts have become hell. Unlike bathing, haircuts are slightly more optional. We’ve certainly been choosing our battles… and his hair is absolutely longer than it’s ever been. Maybe it’s the hair? The bangs over his forehead? Do boys have bangs? Is it just called extra hair? I’m just calling it bangs. (Quick note to the next person that approaches my child in an attempt to trim the mane – LET HIM EAT THE LOLLIPOP! He doesn’t care if hair falls on the thing. He usually keeps it in his mouth anyway! But let’s just say he takes it out and some hair falls on the sticky ball of glassy sugar… he’s eaten worse. )

Then, we noted Munchie’s fabulous “cheese” face. He’s been perfecting that face for MONTHS… and I think he has finally #nailedit. Perhaps the view of his little pearly whites (#thestruggleisreal when it comes to brushing these beauties – I’m seeing a pattern – my kid wants to be filthy – hygiene is not his cup of tea)?

What about his posture? When he cheeses, his posture improves… could that be it?

Or his height? Possibly. I mean, strangers are ALWAYS shocked to learn he’s only two and a half. (Also, people can shove it. I don’t mind the reactions of, “OMG, he looks so much older than that,” but don’t look at me weird when you see me changing his diaper in the restroom… he’s freaking two. Even if he wasn’t two – YOU DON’T KNOW HIM! Don’t be a judgmental douchecanoe.)  But – in these Facebook photos people are commenting on… he’s sitting down.

His clothes? Certainly not. In one of the pictures, he isn’t even wearing pants. In addition to being dirty, he also wants to be a nudist. Oh great… my son is going to be a dirty nudist. (Munchie, if you are reading this as an adult… I love you… but please go take a shower.)

After analyzing the “all grown up” photos, I finally got the idea to scroll through my posts and look at other recent photos. Scrolling. Scrolling. Where the frick were all the pictures of my beloved child?!?! Scrolling… scrolling. There! TWO WEEKS AGO?!?! Scrolling… scrolling… THREE WEEKS AGO?!?! Scrolling… Scrolling… Scrolling… ARE THESE CHRISTMAS PHOTOS?!?!?

Ladies and gentlemen who believe my child transformed into a REAL BOY KID (he’s always been a real boy… since the doctors pulled him out of my abdomen and he immediately started peeing all over the operating room)… he has. Spending pretty much every day with him, the change was gradual… but my lack of photo posts (primarily due to a bit of stranger danger anxiety… but that’s another story) showed Munchie’s transformation from toddler to kid in just a couple of pictures – the majority of which he wasn’t looking at the camera, smiling… or was bundled up like Ralphie’s brother.

I’m really happy people brought this to my attention… or honestly… I would have missed it. My baby is growing… and despite the incredible amount of stubbornness and attitude (don’t look at ME!)… we are loving this stage of his life. HE’S SO MUCH FUN!!!

Random rambling… complete.

 

 

Postpartum Depression – The Struggle is REAL

Postpartum Depression

Staying at home for the first two years of Munchie’s life was an unplanned blessing – but it wasn’t easy. During those years, I watched children from two other families… and I still love those kids to pieces. I wouldn’t change those two years for anything in the world… but something was missing… and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I knew becoming a parent had changed me – and I worked tirelessly to define my role in our new family of three. I tried to be happy with our new groove – attempting to force myself in the cookie cutter role of Mommy – but it seemed to be an uncomfortable fit.

Admittedly, I think I tried too hard to shove myself into the shape of what I thought a stay at home mom should look like – and I had a limitless amount of information at my fingertips to guide me through the process – right? Pinterest, parenting blogs and forums, listening to other moms… articles, magazines, studies from the Mayo clinic and beyond. I had to piece the information together – but, finally, the world had come together to write the parenting manual that previous generations yearned for. My generation was lucky to have access to such a gift. Sure, you have to sift through the information… but you could read all about the ins and outs of being the perfect parent and raising a creative and intellectual genius who would one day save the world.

Convinced I needed to be the perfect mom, create a Montessori learning environment in my own home, offer all the experiences and opportunities right here in my child’s immediate vicinity, I made all the things. I needed all the educational games. We went to all the story times. I took my kid and others to museums, parks, pools, and events.

I rocked the yoga pants daily, paired with t-shirts and hoodies that served as reminders of the past life I had once lived – the organizations I worked for, the camps I worked, places I had volunteered, events I attended. They were billboards of my past life… the pre-baby years… a tribute to the individual I had once been.

I missed that person.

You see… I was trying to jam the old version of myself through this cookie cutter of who and what I thought a mom should be. I was frustrated that I didn’t fit into that mold, but being the stubborn soul that I am, I couldn’t accept defeat. I was going to transform myself into this image of the prefect mom… and I was going to be happy about it, dammit!

As I tried and tried to become someone I wasn’t ever meant to be – my frustrations grew, my anxiety levels skyrocketed, my health plummeted to an all-time (and dangerous) low,  and my relationships with the other two members of my household (my awesome  husband and my totally incredible kid)… the most important people in my life…  well… they were far from perfect.

Then… one day… I snapped. All I remember is screaming in the face of the man I love, collapsing onto the bed, and sobbing… like can’t breathe, ugly crying, complete breakdown… right there on the bed. I was a heap of human… and my husband scooped me up in his arms, held me tight, and told me everything was going to be okay… and that we’d figure this out together.

A quick visit to my therapist, a tweak to my medications, and a shitload of support from my family and friends… and in a matter of days the haze started to lift. I started to see that I didn’t have to sacrifice myself and try to cram my life (my individuality) into some unrealistic mold of what I thought the perfect stay at home mom looked like.

Ultimately, what I learned through my healing was that some parents are cut out to be stay at home parents… but that’s just not the life for me.  Yes, I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to be home for those two years… but doing so made me hold myself to standards that were far too high. Feeling as though I needed to afford my child EVERY opportunity imaginable wasn’t realistic.

We did a lot in those first two years… but it nearly killed me (seriously, stress and anxiety are horrible triggers for UC patients).  Would I trade them for anything? Absolutely not.

Once I began to see clearly, I realized my desperate needed to start relying on more of the “village” to help transform my offspring into an awesome human. I needed it. He needed it. Our family needed it.

I ended up going back to work part-time, where I’m able to exercise my mind and be a contributing member of a team – independent of my family. We enrolled Munchie in an incredibly fantastic preschool – where he is absolutely thriving, making tons of friends, and learning skills I never would have even thought to teach him at two years old.

As for our little family of three – we are more in love with one another than before. We don’t take our time together for granted… we have more energy and patience for one another. We’ve always LOVED one another – but now we LIKE each other and genuinely ENJOY the time we spend together.

A family is a living and evolving system. For the ecosystem to be healthy, we must each find our place, our groove, how we contribute to the organism… which can be tricky, since every family is a little different and continually changing. We’ve learned that communication and flexibility are key to finding how to not only co-exist… but for each of us to thrive.

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We aren’t perfect. What works for our family might not work for yours – but, I can promise you this… if you aren’t happy… you need to talk to someone about it. And if you can’t find JOY in your life… that someone needs to be a professional.

It’s estimated that nearly half of women with Postpartum Depression struggle for more than a year. Some women and doctors have found PPD to last 3 years are more. You aren’t weak. This doesn’t have to be your “new normal.” You can be happy… and you don’t have to walk this path on your own.

If you live in the United States and feel like you need some help – or aren’t sure – and want to confidentially speak with someone who can help guide you in the right direction, please call 2-1-1.

If you live outside the United States, please contact your local mental health or crisis hotline – these incredible people would be delighted to point you in the right direction.

The Day Our Play-Doh Died (and We Made More)

The Day the Play-Doh Died

After a week of continuous assault (thanks to that awesome blizzard), my Play-Doh addicted child had finally squeezed the last ounce of life out of his crumbly play clay (which is now resting in pieces at the bottom of our trash can… and under the couch… and in tiny crevices all over the ding-dang house). When I say my child has an addiction to this dough – I’m not kidding. He won’t go anywhere without it. Though we try to confine the stuff to our main level – he’s managed to sneak it up to his room somehow. I would say via pocket – but we all know my child is a wannabe nudist – so it’s gotta be going up there in his diaper… or maybe he’s hiding it in his cheek like a squirrel (I was going to say like some sort of prison inmate – but we don’t let him watch OITNB).

Shy of sleeping with it (it naps on a high shelf within view), he’s either playing with the stuff or carrying it around in a bowl, cup, basket, or straight in his hand. Munchie doesn’t even have to have it out of the container! He lines up his cans and they talk to each other, watch shows together, sing songs… it’s adorable… and can be a little creepy at times.

Whatever the case… he’s been playing with the same cans of Play-Doh since Christmas… and the stuff was funky. It needed to go. Knowing I couldn’t handle a breakdown (or the therapy costs later on in life when he told a mental health professional that I threw away his best friend) with this much snow left on the ground, I put my crafty pants on and we headed to the kitchen.

I have to give my son’s teacher props – because he almost walked me though the process of mixing up a new batch of dough on his own. (Little kids are gross – so I assume the classes are constantly switching out their supply.) We whipped up a batch of my FAVORITE homemade play dough (from back in the day when I was one of those overachieving stay at home Pinterest moms – but don’t worry – this one’s really simple and by far the most texturally pleasing recipe I’ve found). Munchie mixed all the ingredients together and was excited (and super cautious) to be using the stove to cook our dough.

Since I can’t do anything by the book, we did leave out the food coloring. Instead, we divided the dough in half and added a packet of Kool-Aid (the cheap ones without sugar) to the dough. Be sure you have a stain resistant surface for the kneading!

In a matter of minutes (maybe about 15 minutes… because I let him help with measuring), we had a new batch of play dough, split into two awesome new colors. Blue Raspberry Lemonade and Mango Peach! The new dough smells awesome. An added bonus – I know exactly what’s in it… so if he sneaks a taste (which he will) it’s no big deal (and going to taste like a salt lick).

Three cheers for channeling my inner overachiever Pinterest  SAHM self and saving the day! Now it’s time for my favorite stay at home throwback… NAP TIME!

Penis. Vagina. Nipples. Anatomy.

Penis. Vagina. Nipples. Anatomy.

Blushing yet? We don’t nickname body parts… and that freaks some people out. Sorry… not sorry. Every family is different… and this is just how we roll. Some families are super modest, which is fine – but we don’t go out of our way to shield Munchie from nakedness. (This would also require a certain amount of privacy – something that is a mystical fantasy of parents everywhere.) Bodies are bodies. Everyone has one. Accept it and move on.

Munchie is two and a half – the kid knows he has a penis. Like most boys, he thinks it’s the coolest thing in the world. I know we’ve said before that boys have penises… and having been around friends, he’s been told girls don’t have penises… but I think he forgot… because last week this happened:

Munchie woke up from his nap and walked into our bedroom as I was getting out of the shower. No big deal. I told him to hop up on our bed (because I didn’t want him destroying anything, knocking over the cup of water on my nightstand, etc). He sat there holding his precious lovie while I dried off. As I walked from the bedroom to the bathroom, he scared the Nutella right out of me.

Munchie: *Gasp* OH NO MOMMY!!!
Me: *Alarmed* What’s up Buddy? What happened?
Munchie: *Incredibly concerned* MOMMY PENIS FELL OFF IN SHOWER!!!
Me: (Oh crap. He’s already terrified of bath time.) Awww. No it didn’t, Sweetie. Mommy is a girl and doesn’t have a penis.
Munchie: Why?
Me: Because Mommy is a girl and girls don’t have penises.
Munchie: *confused* Mommy have chicken?
Me: (Chicken?!?! WTF kid?!?!? What do I say to that? WhatdoIsay? WHATDOISAY? Truth… tell the truth.) No, Sweetie. Girls have vaginas.
Munchie: Why?
Me: (TIME FOR THE GOD CARD!) Because boys and girls are different and God only gave boys penises.
Munchie: Oh. Mommy?
Me: *terrified of what is to come*
Munchie: Can I watch Yo Gabba Gabba?
Me: *internal happy dance* Absolutely. Where’s the remote.

Never in my life have I navigated to an episode of Yo Gabba Gabba with such focus, in such a minuscule amount of time.

Fast forward to last night. We’re getting ready for bed… a time of day that is generally presented with a decent number of obstacles, requests, books, songs… and questions. Anything to delay Munchie’s inevitable bedtime.

Munchie: *points to his nipple* Daddy – what this?
Daddy: Uhh… Ummm… That’s your… *looks at Mommy*
Mommy: That’s a nipple.
Daddy: Oh, yeah, Buddy… that’s your nipple.
Munchie: Daddy have nipple?
Daddy: Yeah, Buddy.
Mommy: Look, you actually have two nipples. *Points to them while trying to wrestle a shirt on the tiny being*
Munchie: *lifts shirt… and counts* One… Two. Two nipples. *turns to Daddy* One… two. Daddy has two nipple, too! *Turns to Mommy* Mommy have nipples, too?
Mommy: Yep. Everybody has nipples.
Munchie: *tries to poke my chest* Why?
Daddy: Because, Buddy.
Mommy: *eye roll* Are you asking about nipples because you saw someone feeding a baby? (I know the answer is yes… Munchie nods.) Well, that’s what they are for. Feeding babies. Some babies eat from nipples. Some babies eat from bottles. You are a big kid. You drink from a cup and eat big boy food.
Munchie: Baby eat my nipple?!?!?
Daddy: *fighting extreme laughter* No, a baby isn’t going to eat your nipple.
Mommy: Some mommies have milk in their nipples to feed their little babies, just like (gave and example of family and friends who he has seen breastfeed). Boys have nipples so they don’t look weird in bathing suits. Alright?
Munchie: Okay, Mommy. *grabs his lovie and heads to bed*

Parenting is freaking exhausting. You get hit with curve balls all the time. The questions of your children (and other people’s children) are kind of like seagulls at the beach. Generally terrifying… because you know at any moment, you child could verbally poop out a disturbingly unexpected question that… in your mind you think you are prepared for (because you and your child rearing team have discussed situations like these… but it was in more of a hypothetical, emergency, this won’t happen to us kind of way)… but blood still rushes to your face, you are caught off guard… and even though you think your tiny spawn can no long surprise you… they do… and you look for backup… but if no one else is there to spot you… you might just have to play that one card you have stored in your back pocket that not even a toddler can dispute… and in our family… it’s The God Card.

Munchie: Why?
Mommy: Because… God said so.

The End.

WTF Was Wrong with Little Red?

Little Red

It’s Fairy Tale week in Munchie’s class. In last night’s daily recap email, his teacher explained, “I changed the story so that it was not so morbid with grandma getting eaten. Our grandma got put into the closet because the wolf wanted the basket of muffins and cookies.”

Um – I’m sorry… YOU DID WHAT? As if the story isn’t already screwy enough – you have this “free range kid” running about the forest ALONE to get to her grandmother’s house. I’m sorry – did any helicopter parents call the police and report her parents to CPS? Because if this were my neck of the “woods,” someone surely would have reported such activities to law enforcement and they would have helicopters circling the area to search for that kid before Snitchy Susan so much as hung up the phone – and surely before she had a chance to tweet about it.

Alright – so we are lead to believe a wolf saw Red, intuitively knew where she was heading, beat her to  the Grandmother’s house, gobbled up locked Grandma in the closet, figured out how to put on Grandma’s glasses and night-gown, and crawled up in bed. Yeah – totally plausible.

But wait – it gets better. This kid shows up, busts through the door with her basket of goodies, and then believes that a WOLF is her GRANDMOTHER?!?!?! I’m sorry – was this child on DRUGS? I was all concerned about her running amuck in the forest by her lonesome self – but good gravy! THIS CHILD IS ON DRUGS! (Perhaps someone dropped ecstasy into her bag while she was trick or treating?)

Let’s be honest – in this type of situation you have two options (well, three – but the third is death, so we are skipping that one). Option #1 – RUN! You run as fast as your tiny little feet will take you… and then call animal control. Option #2 – KILL THE WOLF! Granny lives in the middle of the woods – she surely has weapons. Also – Red is a country kid from back in the day – she knows how to hunt. I’m nearly certain of it. Had she played her cards right, she may have been able to trade in her little red poncho for a nice fur coat – and some wolf stew.

Then again, seeing as Red was most likely high out of her mind – she probably hallucinated the whole thing, locked Granny in the closet, and then went to town on those (perfect pun) “baked” goods because she had the munchies.

Children should be terrified of manipulative animals who gobble up grandparents. I don’t buy the whole story… And I certainly don’t believe there’s a moral of any sort… Other than wild animals will eat your face off and drugs are bad.

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FYI – I DID SOME RESEARCH
Turns out there is a moral to this story. Brace yourselves.

Moral: Children, especially attractive, well-bred young ladies, should never talk to strangers, for if they should do so, they may well provide dinner for a wolf. I say “wolf,” but there are various kinds of wolves. There are also those who are charming, quiet, polite, unassuming, complacent, and sweet, who pursue young women at home and in the streets. And unfortunately, it is these gentle wolves who are the most dangerous ones of all.

Source: Andrew Lang, The Blue Fairy Book (London, ca. 1889), pp. 51-53. Lang’s source: Charles Perrault, Histoires ou contes du temps passé, avec des moralités: Contes de ma mère l’Oye (Paris, 1697).

That One Time I Got a Job and Totally Neglected My Blog

A Real Boy

I’d be lying if I said a certain amount of guilt hasn’t kicked in. My memory is the equivalent of apples that have been mashed into sauce… with a little spilled on the floor and gobbled up by the dog… never to return. In a sense, my blog is our “book” of memories, our baby book, the timeline of Munchie’s milestones, bloopers, and the grand adventures of parenting (and life in general).

So – instead of moping around about it – I’m going to do my best to do something I RARELY do. I’m going to photo dump and narrate, in an effort to catch everyone (including myself) up on recent(ish) events. And… here we go – in no particular order…

Bike with Gram

Bike Ride with Gram – Freaking LOVED it… didn’t even complain about the helmet. Looking forward to many more biking adventures!

Blurry Ice Cream
Sometimes the blurry pictures are the best – because they capture the laughter and silliness in all its splendor. I believe this was a late night ice cream date with Gram.

Bubby
Bubby is teaching Munchie to read words and match them to pictures… fingers crossed that this leads to a full ride to college.

church
We spend a LOT of time at church. Munchie goes to school there, I work there… he thinks we live there. It’s a whole thing.

Coffee
Sometimes, you just need some coffee on a blustery autumn morning. Unless you are two – then you get donuts.

eggplant
And… sometimes you just need to eat a raw eggplant at the Farmer’s Market? This is probably one of my favorite things Munchie does… eating raw veggies. Over the summer, he would hike out to his vegetable garden (at the farm… well, he wouldn’t hike to the farm… but once we were there he would trek out to his garden), snap a squash off the vine, plop down… and just eat the freaking thing! Good thing Papaw and Bubby don’t spray those plants with pesticides!

family reunion
Family reunion at the shore – CHECK! It should be noted that, while we spent a week at Myrtle Beach over the summer, he didn’t start talking about the “beach” until we went to the family reunion.

fire truck
Fire truck came to visit school! Something to note here – I had to gray-scale this image because someone has snot on his face. People without kids – you do not know the struggle… and it is VERY VERY VERY REAL. Kids are like faucets. Something is always leaking out of an orifice. Yes, it’s gross… but it’s life… and boogers WILL show up in photos. Get over it.

Fire
Seeing as Bubby and Papaw keep their house, barn, etc warm with wood burning stoves – Munchie learned EXTREMELY early that fire is HOT. Naturally, if something is hot… you should blow on it. And… that’s what he’s doing here. Please note: If we come to visit and you have a candle burning… this kid is going to figure out a way to blow it out. “Fire! Hot! Danger! Blow Out!”

genius
Because sometimes you have to go to Mommy’s appointments and the only toys they have are 150 years old. (Also… he’s a genius.)

Great Grand Parents
Visiting Munchie’s Great Grandparents… where he was fed copious amounts of sugar… and was allowed to pick the M&M’s off donuts so he could have chocolate. (Goober.)

independant
After a couple of days home sick, be figured he would just help himself to the popsicles. Nothing in my house is safe from our tiny climber.

Leading Horses
Still a big fan of helping out on the farm. Ironically, he will get closer to the horses in the field than he will in the barn, where they are gated in. I guess he prefers animals in their natural habitat.

Not Candy
Oh – YES! The day he tried to sneak candy, only to unwrap his precious bounty and find a tampon. Yes, sometimes disappointment is punishment enough. He did have fun swinging it around on his way to the trashcan.

Papaw
Okay, admittedly – this is where I start to get choked up. Papaw (that’s my father in law) is the relative Munchie talks about most often (with the exception of Duke, one of Papaw’s dogs). While no one could ever replace my dad, or the relationship he would have had with my son, I couldn’t have asked, hoped, wished, or prayed for a more loving grandfather for my kid than Papaw. He teaches Munchie all sorts of things, sneaks him treats, and spoils him with incredible amounts of love and laughter. I’m thankful for all of our family members and their love for my little guy… and the way they keep my dad’s memory alive… and love on Munchie… and teach him all the things Pap (that’s my dad) would have wanted him to know.

Okay… wipe your eyes… I’m done.

picture day
This is my kid on school picture day – a ploy to get parents to spend every dime they have on the child(ren) they think is/are the most adorable people in the world. (Though we all know there can only be one most adorable child… and that’s mine.)

Potty
Oh yeah, we got a potty… and sometimes sit on it while we watch TV. Also – for posting this picture, I’m going to be adding several hundred dollars to his future therapy fund. He’ll sit on “Mommy’s big potty”… but only if we blow bubbles. He’s peed once… and I am about to make a bumper sticker to brag about it. (Take that honor students – my kid can pee in a friggin potty!)

saving the world
Helping Seed of Life bag food for families in need. Serving is so important to our family and a BIG part of my dad’s legacy. I’m so excited Munchie has the opportunity to make a difference at such a young age… in this case… feeding families in our community.

Smiles
Teeth – there are so many teeth. We stopped naming those damn things after the first few. Now there are just a LOT of them… and he’s still getting more. FYI – molars are a b*tch.

strep test
Strep Test – which he hated with a passion, but was very proud of himself for living through… and he really enjoyed reenacting. These were a staple of my childhood and I felt horrible for him… but also saw it as a right of passage. Trooper Bish.

Wednesdays
I told you we were at church a lot. Here he is passed out in the youth room. Hey, it happens! Oh, and see that binkie – it’s gone now! A week without a binkie. Woo hoo! The youth love him, the staff adores him. It’s fun.

zulily
Yes, parenting is difficult… it’s the most difficult experience of my life. BUT… we are blessed to have such an incredible support system and community of friends and family who help us raise Munchie. He is by far the greatest gift my husband and I could have ever given one another… and our families… and the world. (You’re welcome.)

Update: Rockbox Complete… FINALLY

Rock Box Complete

Two months later… I finally got the motivation to complete the rockbox! (Original post here.)

Washing the pea gravel was a bit of a pain, but I ended up drilling holes (three cheers for power tools) in the bottom of a Rubbermaid storage bin (like, a ton of them), dumping in a bag of pea gravel at a time, and washing it with the hose (and mixing it up with my hands) until the water pretty much ran clear. I ended up only using three bags of gravel – so filling the box only cost about $10.

The result? Absolute JOY!!! Inevitably, handfuls of rocks have already been thrown… and I’m happy to report that gravel to the face hurts FAR less than cancer sand in your eye.

The Twists, turns, and true tales of a mom and her pint sized human

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