Testing, testing

School is almost over (!!!) for the year, and my kids are deep in exams. The great state of Georgia (and most of the country, it seems) is eager to make sure that No Child Is Left Untested, so between SLOs and EOCTs (Student Learning Objectives and End of Course Tests) and APs (Advanced Placement), I’m pretty sure classes are over and the only thing the kids are currently learning is how many kids can actually walk right off campus with a single test pass. On the rare occasions when they find themselves in class WITHOUT a test, they seem to be engaging in the time-honored learning traditions of 1) watching movies and 2) eating snacks.

With all of this test mania going on, you’d think they’d be studying their little butts off, but you’d be… incorrect. And I am relieved to know that I am not the only person who is struggling with teens who don’t feel the need to study. More on this SUPER-FUN phenomenon over at Alpha Mom.

Comments { 4 }

Ready or not

This whole school year has blown by in about three seconds. While I think to myself, “Wow, this year is just ZOOMING by!” about 428 times a day, I must’ve randomly ALSO thought, “Wow, I haven’t been sick in a long time!” at some point last week, thereby jinxing myself. We had some family visiting for the weekend and I woke up sick on Friday but rallied for their arrival and dinner that night. By the next morning, though, it was clear that I wasn’t going to be able to shake it off. I ended up having a cup of coffee and going back to bed, where I pretty much stayed until yesterday. So that was… not fun. (How sick was I? I was so sick, I sent leftovers to Nerd Night. Blasphemy, right?)

Yesterday I ran a couple of errands and came home and slept for two hours, after. Today I’m shaky but basically upright. Progress! And then I sat down with our big kitchen calendar to fill out the month of May and there’s so much STUFF I am overwhelmed and thinking bed was a much easier place to be, endless hacking cough and all. There’s so much happening and so much changing and I’m not ready. Then again, most of those big changes aren’t about me. Over at Alpha Mom I’ve got a few thoughts about my kid’s upcoming college adventure, only it’s not about the kid you already knew was going to college.

Comments { 5 }

More reasons why I am a little high strung

Did I mention that I—like every other person in the world who likes to cook and bake and who gets periodically sucked into food trends—made some sourdough starter a while back? I did, and now I have returned to that place where I don’t buy bread, I just make a couple of loaves every week. That’s all good and well (I enjoy doing it, the family seems to enjoy eating it, and it’s both cheaper and more nutritious than the stuff from the store), plus I’m experimenting with making other stuff (sourdough pizza crust! sourdough garlic knots! sourdough oh look I’m making something else I can’t eat but you guys enjoy it!) and generally feeling JUST LIKE a homesteader of yore. (You know, if said homesteader had a wheat allergy, drove a hybrid, and had a couple of very spoiled lap dogs.)

Anyway. This morning I went to make some dough for this week’s bread and got my beloved KitchenAid going and I turned my back on it to do something else and shortly thereafter the mixer WALKED OFF THE COUNTER AND CRASHED TO THE FLOOR. It unplugged itself and everything. The results, in no particular order: I had a minor heart attack, the floor was both gouged AND cracked (awesome), I panicked that the mixer was broken (it still works but… I think I need to have it looked at), and I swore a lot at the bread dough. THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS, STUPID SOURDOUGH.

Also (this is not related but it’s another reason I’m high strung), I am busy trying to get my kid ready for a dorm when most “what to buy” lists aren’t geared towards kids who would not, say, remember their own heads if they weren’t attached. So I came up with a supplemental list for those of us whose kids need a little extra support.

Comments { 8 }

Nerd Night: Spicy Gingered Carrot Cake

This weekend I Planted All The Things and Baked All The Things and also managed to burn a spectacular burn across my arm in an impossible location while I was rotating the pans in the oven for this cake. I am talented! Now on my left arm, my tattoo is busy scaling/flaking (“SOON I SHALL REVEAL MY TRUE FORM!” I keep screeching at the children, who have long suspected I am actually Cthulhu underneath all the gray hair and under-eye bags), and on my right arm, I have a 2″ long blister. I’m a mess.

I’m such a disaster, I never even told you to go read my latest advice column over at Alpha Mom, which you should really read if you have a high school senior in your house you are thinking about drowning like an unwanted kitten. (Not that I’ve ever had such thoughts. More than once every few minutes.)

ANYWAY. Recently I scored a deal on a metric butt-ton of ginger chips (I think I paid, like, $7ish for 6 bags) and when it arrived I was all, “Whoa. That’s kind of a lot of ginger chips.” Personally, I love all things ginger and will happily eat crystallized ginger like this straight from the bag, but I knew it would be a harder sell to get the kids to eat it. So: Carrot cake! Surely that would work. Yes? Yes!

ginger-carrot-cake (more…)

Comments { 15 }

In a word: OOF

In the ever-losing game of balancing out the time I spend with each kid so that neither assumes I love the other better—or both of them assume I love the other better, but I feel pretty confident that they are being ridiculous drama llamas—I was thrilled to discover that the day after Chickadee’s birthday, there was going to be a screening of Autism in Love at our local indie cinema.

“Hey Monkey, would you like to go see this documentary with me? I think it’ll be pretty interesting.” I was braced for a shrug or a swift refusal (this would, after all, cut into his gaming time…), but to my delight he agreed right away. (I also invited the rest of the family, by the way. But it ended up just being Monkey and me, which was fine.)

This movie caused me to have A Lot Of Feelings, both because of the movie itself and how Monkey reacted to it. The premise is simple: they follow four autistic adults who are either in or want to be in romantic relationships. Two of them are a couple, one is married (but his wife is in the hospital with end-stage ovarian cancer, and it’s unclear if they ever lived truly independently), and the youngest of the bunch is a young man who really wants a girlfriend but is struggling with… well, everything, seems like, but especially that.

There are highs and lows in the film, but it was the ride home that was most interesting. (more…)

Comments { 22 }

Forever marked

Remember the Very Special 18th Birthday Thing I mentioned yesterday?

We did it.

Comments { 13 }

Nerd Night: Buttered Popcorn Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I’m not gonna lie; I’m a little verklempt today. (Spellcheck insists that verklempt is not a word. Spellcheck is now dead to me.) In just a few short weeks, my blog turns 12, which isn’t all that remarkable, I suppose. But it means that when I started here, Chickadee was just 6. And today, Chickadee is 18.

I once gave birth to a baby and now that baby is a full-grown adult human (theoretically) and I HAVE MANY FEELINGS TODAY. I will give you just a glimpse of some of that, in a minute, but of course we all know the important thing here is THE GOODIES. (Of course.) This morning the kids had traditional birthday cinnamon rolls, as is dictated by family law (prepared yesterday, refrigerated, and pulled out and baked wayyyyyy too early this morning), but yesterday for Nerd Night I made buttered popcorn chocolate chunk cookies.

popcorn-cookies (more…)

Comments { 29 }

Before you ask…

… no, the bathroom isn’t done, yet. I have decided, however, that we’re going to spend 100% of our family and any entertaining-guests time in that damn bathroom once it’s complete, as it will then be the nicest/newest room in the house and I want to make sure our enjoyment of it outweighs these weeks and weeks of ineptitude and incompleteness. (“Welcome to our home! Please follow me to the upstairs bathroom. Now admire it. I SAID ADMIRE IT. Yes, very good, thank you. We think it’s lovely, too. Can I offer you a beverage? No, don’t move, I’ll bring it to you here in the bathroom.”)

In the meantime, I’m working on taking it in stride, as best I can. This whole thing where my kids keep forcing me to grow as a person is REALLY cutting into my righteous indignation, I tell you what. You can hop on over to Alpha Mom to read more about how we’re changing the stories we tell ourselves these days.

Comments { 2 }

Nerd Night: Banana Pudding Bars (and bonus mom-ery)

Nerd Night was on hiatus for a few weeks (Easter and other scheduling issues), and lo, there was much sadness across the land. “Why aren’t you baking us delicious sugary things?” lamented my spawn. It was tragic, truly.

Sometimes I get a wild hair about a certain kind of recipe, and other times a recipe just sort… suggests itself to me. Like, two weeks ago, Nilla Wafers were the Penny Item the day I went grocery shopping, so I ended up with a box of those. And then a week ago, Jello Pudding mixes were B1G1. So I figured I’d make a good ol’ southern banana pudding, but of course both of my children actually don’t like banana pudding because “the texture is weird with pudding and chunks all together,” so I found this recipe for banana pudding bars, instead. If you look at their photo, and then look at mine, you’ll see that mine don’t look anything like theirs, for some reason.


Why? I have no idea. I made the recipe as directed save for three minor changes: 1) I used the entire box of Nilla Wafers (and a little extra butter) for the crust, because what was I going to do with extra Nilla Wafers?, 2) instead of two eggs, I used one egg and one banana (more banana flavor = more betterer), and 3) I added extra white chocolate chips because yum. Also, the recipe says to bake the whole thing for 10-12 minutes (after the crust pre-bake) and that is a DIRTY LYING LIE, because I ended up baking it for… at least 30 minutes. Maybe 35. I think that was just a typo, honestly.

The children report these were “dense and banana-y and delicious.” (They should be, as one pan contains 3+ sticks of butter.) Monkey also added his highest praise of “The texture is very pleasing.”

Now here’s something that has nothing at all to do with baking: (more…)

Comments { 7 }

It’s all about moderation

I mentioned that I’ve been making bread again, right? The thing about homemade bread is that… then you have a lot of bread lying around. Weird how that works. And my first few batches of homemade sourdough didn’t rise quite as much as I wanted them to, plus they weren’t terribly sour, which means they were excellent for things like toast but not so much for things like sandwiches. You know what else homemade, dense bread like that is great for? Overnight French toast.

If you’ve never made this before, go make this overnight bananas foster French toast immediately. And look, I’m not gonna lie… I made this for my kids for dinner, because my children need more calories shoved down their gullets, but this is not health food. (I made it with homemade wheat bread so I’m okay with it.) Just don’t think about it too hard; it has BANANAS which are HEALTHY.

Me serving my kids French toast for dinner: Questionable parenting. Me trying to help a reader grappling with sensitive teenage identity issues: Hopefully better parenting, but I guess only time will tell. And I feel like balancing some compassion and understanding with carbs has its place, too.

Comments { 3 }
Design by LEAP