Thursday, December 27, 2012

Sweets With A Side Dish Of Humor

     If you've been reading my blog for any length of time now, you already know about my love affair with anything sweet. I LOVE to bake---that's a no-brainer. Baking relaxes me.  After all, nothing soothes the soul better than a thick slice of chocolate, peanut butter cake.
     Blogging is another hobby that relaxes me, and when I combine it with a sweet treat, that's my definition of NIRVANA. This past year I've participated in several blog hops and was fortunate enough to come across a blog that immediately caught my attention---and I've been hooked ever since my first visit.  I'm talking about Karen over at I find myself stalking her site daily because the recipes, combined with her funny & heartwarming stories, are a major draw for anyone who loves sweets with a side dish of humor.  I've made several of her recipes, and folks, let me tell you, they are ALL delicious (and addicting). Just the other day I baked her egg nog bread for the three of us....and let me just confess here and now that the loaf was NOT divided evenly into thirds.
     Karen has graciously accepted my offer to do a guest post here and I am honored to have her. Luckily for us, she has brought one of her mouth-watering recipes sure to satisfy everyone's sweet tooth----especially if you have a house full of bottomless pits, also known as teenagers!

Guest Post on Menopausal Mother 

Just this past November I was “talking” to a fellow blogger on FB and she happened to mention that she has a signature cake and offered me the recipe. I suggested she write about it and Menopausal Mother became the first to Guest Post on Baking In A Tornado. Today I’m happy to have packed up my baking supplies and come to visit her back.

My blog is mostly (sometimes I’m guilty of going off on a tangent) about the baking that I do as an outlet for stress relief. Here’s why: 

I didn’t get pregnant easily. That’s actually an understatement. I never thought I’d have children, but I did and there was a time when I was the Mom of two adorable little boys. It was such a fun time for me and I’d like to think that they enjoyed their childhood as well.

As the boys got older they began spending more time with friends than with me. It was during this time that I started baking to keep the kids in snacks and found out two very important things. First, baking relieves stress. I can get lost in a recipe and tune out the world while creating something kids enjoy. Second, bake it and they will come. Literally. I was like the Pied Piper. My house was filled with kids who knew that after school they were assured a good snack and at 5:45 anyone still here got a ride home before dinner. And I knew where my kids were, who they were with, what they were doing.  

And then suddenly, out of nowhere all hell broke loose. My boys declared war, and I was the enemy.  Everyone knows that teenagers are a challenge, but here’s what they don’t tell you: adolescence is a fluid term. It doesn’t strike at any given chronological time. Don’t think that just because your child isn’t a teenager yet means that they won’t act like an adolescent. Put up your defenses, you are not safe.  I’ve developed these warning signs. Forget age, this is what you need to look out for:

1. Their bedroom door suddenly spends more time closed than open.
2. They start using words you don’t know the meaning of and are sure they made up, yet all their friends understand them.
3.  They start dousing themselves in perfume (girls) or Axe (boys), literally until you can’t breathe.
4. They never call, only text, and all those acronyms and abbreviations don’t mean a thing to you. You don’t know whether they’re telling you to throw a party or call 911.
5. Food disappears. All of it. The day you buy it. And nobody took it.

Now once you’ve hit this point, it’s time to start baking.

Crunch Cookies

Because I’m sorry to say, there’s more to come: 

6. You feel the need to “google” what their t-shirt says to be sure it’s OK for them to wear it out of the house.
7. What you once would have called a “messy bedroom” you’re now willing to accept because although it’s certainly not clean, you have to admit it’s clean-ER.
8. When asking them to do something, you’re regularly told “that’s just not going to happen”.
9. You frequently find yourself asking “why in the world would you . . .”
10. The answer to the above is usually “well, you never said I couldn’t . . .”

And once you reach this point your mixer and baking sheets are going to need a permanent home on your counter. Because if you’re anything like me, you’re about to get very busy.

I hope you’ll come visit me at my blog:

Crunch Cookies

1 stick butter, softened
1 stick margarine, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups Cocoa Krispie cereal
1 cup mini chocolate chips

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheets.
*Beat butter, margarine, sugar, egg and vanilla for one minute.
*Mix in flour, baking soda and salt.
*Gently mix in the cereal and mini chocolate chips. Try not to break up the cereal.
*Gently roll into balls and put about 20 on a baking sheet. Press down slightly with the heel of your hand.
*Bake for 12 minutes. 
*Let cool for one to two minutes on cookie sheet before removing.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Five Wishes

     I was tagged in a holiday post two weeks ago by one of my favorite bloggers---Rachel @ She tagged me to list 5 Christmas wishes and to pass the "honor" down to 5 other bloggers. As usual though, I am late to the party and here it is only a few days before the BIG DAY. I'm not vengeful enough to pass this little project along to 5 other stressed out bloggers busy with the whole shopping/baking/decorating/wrapping/getting-drunk-on-spiked-egg-nog thing, so I'm going to share my 5 wishes here and leave it at that. Merry Christmas to the 5 prospective candidates I was GOING to tag (and cause the undue stress of writing a last minute blog post). BOOM! My Christmas shopping is done.


1.  I want to party like a rock star with Santa and his merry band of elves. But there are certain conditions----I am NOT cleaning up after those sloppy, drunk elves, and Santa MUST wear something other than that tiresome, red suit. How about a kilt? Or maybe some jeggings. An industrial strength girdle might be in order too, after all the milk and cookies he sucks up like a Hoover vacuum on Christmas Eve.

2.  I want to ride in a pimped out sleigh with Santa, as long as there is a bottle of cognac in the glove compartment. Rudolph won't be the only one with a red nose. Which reminds me---Santa needs to switch out that nose to an LED light to conserve energy.

3.  I'd like to have my own reindeer. He could live in my backyard, and I could charge admission ( to support my blog habit, of course) for reindeer rides to all the kiddies in the neighborhood. He could also nibble on our grass during the spring so we wouldn't have to mow the lawn as often.

4.  I want all the elves to show up the day after Christmas to dismantle my ridiculously large collection of holiday decorations and neatly pack them away in our attic. Ever notice how those lazy bastards suddenly disappear once the last gift has been unwrapped and the Christmas feast devoured? They don't even stick around long enough to help with the dishes.

5.  I want to live in a world where acorn squash is high in fats and calories, and chocolate truffles are a nutritious element in your daily, dietary needs. While you're at it, Santa, how 'bout a home liposuction kit? Cookies in, cookies more gingerbread on the thighs.

     All kidding aside, what Menopausal Mama really wants for Christmas is peace. I know that sounds cliche, but at my age, I yearn for simplicity---a time when people marveled at a sunset, not the latest technological gadget. I miss respect and the kindness of strangers. Social media, as enjoyable as it may be, has also created a major disconnect in personal interaction.  A certain coldness permeates society now---we live in a world where greed is becoming the norm and compassion has waned. I want to feel safe when I walk down the streets. And I don't want to have to worry about the world my granddaughter will grow up in. I wish, as many do, an end to violence, hatred and racism.
     Despite the frightening things we have been surrounded by lately, there is still beauty to be found--in a smile, a kind word and laughter. Embrace these simple pleasures and you will discover beauty and love in the world, and in love there is hope.
     This is my wish for you, dear readers, and your families.
     And cookies...lots of cookies...

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Secret Subject Swap

     Today I am participating in a fun little blogging project known as Secret Subject Swap, which is the brainchild of blogger Karen @ She has started something special here that motivates other bloggers to get creative by working off a prompt that has been secretly assigned to them by another blogger. Fifteen brave bloggers are participating today, simultaneously revealing their prompts and writing a blog post based on their interpretation of the topic chosen for them. Here are the links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject

     My prompt, "Write a list of things you are NOT going to do today and why"--- was submitted by


* I'm not going to shave my husband's back because if I do, I'm going to get creative and trim it into an FSU logo.

* I'm not going to eat the worm at the bottom of a tequila bottle. Last time that happened, I hallucinated I was dancing with the Care Bears.

* I'm not going to allow my husband to wear my Spanx at the next holiday party because that's just wrong on so many levels.

* I'm not going to unpack my long johns with the butt flap because nobody in Florida wears that stuff.

* I'm not going to ride the Goodyear Blimp today---I don't want a repeat of the Hindenberg incident.

* I'm not going to wear a bra today because baby those puppies were born to be free!

* I'm not going to flush down somebody else's anaconda size mess in the toilet---get a damn plunger and do it yourself.

* I'm not going to ride a donkey today. I might make an ass of myself.

* I'm not going to wear my husband's Depend Undergarments because they have a big pouch in the front.

* I'm not going to get drunk tonight because the last time I did, I ended up crawling on all fours in search of the rabbit hole from Alice In Wonderland.

* I'm not going to try on my skinny jeans today...or any other day. I ate french fries last night....

* I'm not going to strap on a mask and cook liver and onions for my husband (even though he loves it)
 because it always makes me feel like I'm on the set of Silence Of The Lambs.

What AM I going to do today after cooking/dishes/laundry/exercising/facebooking/house cleaning/ and sneaking chocolate?

* Feed a baby panda at the zoo.

* Pour myself a glass of pinot grigio.

* Cuddle my chinchillas.

* Make sure I have enough toilet paper for the week.

* Play tug-of-war with my pug.

* Kick off my high heels and dance to my own tune---the Hokey Pokey!

......and then take a long nap.....

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Holiday Hoarder

     I'll admit it. I have an addiction. I need to attend meetings for this because I am unable to pass a Hallmark Store without stopping for a quick purchase. This addiction has taken over my closets, my attic and yes, my husband's coveted tool shed.  "You know you have a problem," he says. "You need help."
     He's right. It's time I stood up at the local Holiday Hoarders Anonymous meeting and admitted the truth to the world.  "Hello, my name is Marcia, and I'm a holiday hoarder..."
     My obsession started with my first Sesame Street ornament---Cookie Monster---a gift from my father when I was twelve. A joke at the time, but now a sentimental reminder of a great man who was so loved and now gone.
     Fast forward 30 years and 25 plastic Rubbermaid containers later.  We're talking YEARS of accumulated holiday decor, and I don't just mean Christmas. I've got lights for every occasion---from shamrocks to bunnies, turkeys and hearts; pumpkins, goblins, American flags and plastic trees for Arbor Day. The Christmas decorations are the worst because there are Just. So. Many. We need three days and a conveyor belt just to unload the attic.


     This is what my husband despises most. It is the reason he becomes the Grinch and Scrooge all wrapped into one. Our power company sends us a thank you note every holiday season for the amount of lights we use in our yard. Decorations such as a lighted reindeer pulling a sleigh were carefully packed away last season---INTACT. Yet this year when we open the box, our reindeer is now a pile of antlers and hooves. I think that it, along with all the other holiday decorations, intentionally retaliates by knotting itself up during the long, summer months stored in a hot attic.
     And then there is the issue of the lights. Strands and strands of them---once packaged in a neat coil, now a tangled mess that NO ONE wants to deal with. They were working fine last year when we packed them away. They were still working fine when we took them out of the box this year....when we wrapped them around all of our trees, across the roof and around every front window of the house.  We stood back when we were finished, admired the yard, did a few "high fives" and patted each other on the back for a job well done.
     An hour later, only half of the strand of lights on the roof stayed lit. The white icicles across the porch flickered a moment, as if gasping for breath before fizzling out. Even the twinkling angel on the front lawn has a droopy wing and the lights on the other wing were completely burned out. That's what we get for buying our lights at a dollar store. We have no choice but to schlepp to the local Walmart for more lights, but by then the pickings are slim.  I don't want neon beer can lights decorating the front of my house. The alternative is to purchase those giant, inflatable lawn decorations that look like Macy's Day Parade rejects. At night they're not so bad---glowing and erect as if they've been given a high dose of Viagra, but come morning after they deflate---they look more like fiesta-colored condoms strewn across the yard.


     This is just as bad as the outside decor. Remember the fiber optics craze? Yeah, well so do I, because  I collected every Santa, snowman, sled, elf, Christmas tree and reindeer that sparkled, dazzled, danced and sang a cheery, holiday tune. I also have an entire village of little porcelain houses that my husband would like to pillage. What drives him to drink gallons of spiked egg nog this time of year is the cartons of decorations labeled "Assembly Required." On a particularly bad day, he'll claim that these boxes are grounds for divorce.


     "Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree, How Steadfast Are Your Branches!"  Not for my husband. He breaks out in a sweat just contemplating endless hours of affixing lights and delicate ornaments to sappy pine tree branches. So much so that he convinced us to  break tradition this year and switch to the dark side by purchasing a faux tree. Yup. I've got an artificial tree from China, not the mountains of North Carolina. The silver lining in all of this? No more pine needles to clog up the vacuum. I was still sucking up those little escape artists on the 4th of July last year.
     The worst of my hoarding habit is my ornament collection. Hundreds---no, THOUSANDS---lie nestled in layers of crumpled tissues. At this point my husband is willing to dig a large hole in our backyard and tunnel his way to China in order to avoid a day with Bing Crosby, Perry Como and me, decorating our lovely tree.  He is terrified that history will repeat itself---the day we NEVER speak of---THE DAY THE TREE FELL DOWN....when all of my expensive, sentimental ornaments were reduced to glass shards scattered across a hardwood floor. Now we tie that sucker to the ceiling with endless loops of fishing line and guard it like it was Fort Knox. If my husband had his way, all those fragile, glass ornaments would be replaced by rubber ones. Ever see an ornament double as a tennis ball? You get the idea.


     This is the hardest part. I'm torn between feeling relief at dispensing all the holiday clutter and wanting to cling to the sentimentality of the season. Fitting everything back into the boxes from whence  they came is the REAL challenge. There always seems to be more items than what we started off with. And everything has to be disassembled---you need a degree in Engineering in order to fit the decorations back into their original boxes.
     Once everything has been stored and the attic door closed, it's inevitable that we will find a few stray items that were left behind in our weary state of packing. We are forced to schlepp back to Walmart for more Rubbermaid containers. As I am contemplating the aisles of Christmas decorations marked 50% off, my husband is contemplating divorce....or maybe just converting to Judaism. After all, how much room does a menorah take?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Caveman Twitter

       I love the winter season. It's a time for baking pumpkin bread, having a big pot of beef stew simmering on the stove, trimming the Christmas tree, sharing a glass of egg nog, and entertaining friends around our backyard fire pit. We often enjoy a mug of hot, buttered rum while we are chatting by the fire, but sometimes, after several drinks, the conversations turn...weird.
     During a recent fire pit bonding session, my husband went on a rant about social media. He believes that Facebook sucks up too much valuable time ("Why do you need to read a graphic description of Charlie's flu symptoms, or see photos of Erica's new, hoochie mama shoes on Instagram?"). When the kids send him a text, he claims his troglodyte fingers get in the way of texting back. Twitter is worse, he claims, because nobody needs an hourly update on someone else's eating/drinking/pooping/sleeping/nagging/children-driving-me-crazy lifestyle.  "CAVEMEN SURVIVED JUST  FINE  WITHOUT  TWITTER!" he shouts.
     Sure they did. They just clubbed each other over the head to communicate. But what if there WAS such a thing as cavemen Twitter?
     After a few more sips of hot, buttered rum, my husband concocted various scenarios that might have occurred in the days when communication was often reduced to a simple "Ug".  *PLEASE KEEP IN  MIND THAT  THIS WAS A RUM-INDUCED CONVERSATION! We really aren't that weird!* Yeah, right....


     "Me start fire. Ug."
     "Nobody answer."
     "Me start 'nuther fire. Ug"
     "Bigger fire."
     "Now they answer."
     "Where water? Ug."


     "Me need woman. Me want you. Me have small loin cloth. Ug."
     Response: "How small?"
     "Very small."
     Response: "Not interested. Ug."


     "Nuthin' to do in village 2 nite. Ug."
     Response: "Make bear tooth necklaces?"
     "That dumb. Ug. Me chase cantaloupe."
     Response: "WTFug?"
     "Tweet wrong. Antelope. Ug."
    Response: "Vegan now. Berries and twigs only. Granola poops. Ug."


     "Me have newest leopard print wrap. Ug."
     Response: "Me have Victoria's Secrets Bobcat print."
     "Me got mine from Caveman Outlets R Us half price. Ug."
     Response: "Latest monkey butt satchel soft."
     "Bear balls also make good satchel."
     Response: "Sale on rabbit skin thongs. One hare fits all. Ug!"


     "Me took new woman back to cave tonight. Ug."
     Response: "Dinner?"
     "No beaver around. Got crabs instead. Ug. Me no go on second date."


     "Me kill rabbit for dinner. Ug. Interested?"
     Response: "Don't care."
     "What if me kill deer?"
     Response: "Party at my cave. Ug. BYOC (bring your own club).


     "Your son grow up quick. Ug."
     Response: "We call him Stinky Fuss."
     "Me have daughter. Ug. She have three good teeth. Stinky Fuss interested?"
     Response: "No. Son prefers making mollusk shell necklaces. Ug. "Daughter need big man with whale blubber to keep warm in winter. Me go find new cave
     boyfriend at Brontosaurus Burger Barn. Ug."

     Once the fire fizzles out, we decide that Twitter would have been dangerous in the hands of cavemen. My husband still sees no value in it. He'd rather howl at the moon and beat drums to communicate. Guess he'll be shopping for a rabbit hair thong and a monkey butt satchel for his club.


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