And We Wonder Why We Have Money Problems . . .

I was listening to NPR on my way to work today and they had a little blurb (which I cannot find on their website but I swear I heard it!) about a guy in L.A. who carves pumpkins for pay every October.  Some can cost over a hundred dollars.  I don’t think I would pay that much money for something that will rot in less than a week but the amazing thing to me was when he explained that he once carved a basic pumpkin for $25.  You know, triangle eyes, gap-tooth grin.  Apparently the parents thought $25 would be worth not having a mess.

I carved a basic pumpkin the other night.  From set up to clean up, including putting the pumpkin seeds aside for later roasting, it took 45 minutes.  They paid this guy over $25 dollars an hour for a simple jack ‘o lantern.  Now that’s just being lazy.


Cupcake Fun!

Ever since I was a kid I can remember my mom’s magazines like Family Fun and Better Homes and Gardens lying around the house.  These magazines always featured awesome seasonal desserts that looked enticing.  Needless to say, I have been dying to try to make something like they do in those magazines and what better way to try than with a four-year-old?

I found a cupcake recipe on the Family Fun website ( and got the four-year-old really excited to make it.  We baked the cupcakes in the morning and then set out in the afternoon to create these creepy cupcakes.

Well, I learned why people usually don’t make cupcakes like these.  It took FOREVER!!  Putting the legs in the stupid spiders was rather trying on my patience, not to mention putting the legs on the spiders took some motor skills that four-year-old don’t always have.  Likewise, my hand started cramping from frosting the ghost cookies.  And, not surprising, the cupcakes turned out. . . special:

Oooh, those are just odd!

Despite how the cupcakes turned out, the four-year-old had an absolute blast making (and eating) them.  Additionally, the folks at Family Fun don’t have to worry about me taking over their jobs.

And I Emerged Triumphant Over the Corpse

For the last week or so, T. and I have been harassed by what may very well be the last fly of the season.  Since October, our household fly infestation has decreased to point of almost nonexistence, save one tenacious little pest.  When we sat down to enjoy a movie over the weekend he naturally decided to join us, crawling in our bowls and buzzing in our ears.  Despite taking a couple of good swats at him, the fly continued to be a bother.  

Well, the little punk was at it again today while I was baking.  He buzzed around my head and started diving into the spilled sugar and butter.  I tried to ignore him (after all he’s just a little fly, I shouldn’t let him get the best of me) but he continued to edge closer and closer to the bowl.  After shooing him away several times, I finally grabbed the fly swatter.  It was time to end this.
I softly crept up to the table with the swatter at my side.  I could see the fly sitting on the top, rubbing his front legs together.  I brought the swatter by my hip and with a quick swish it smacked the table.  I thought I missed because I saw the fly go soaring through the air.  However, after putting the swatter away and returning to the table I found his little body all folded up.  He wasn’t moving; he was dead.  I had defeated the vile enemy!  I grabbed a tissue to use a shroud and tossed the fly into the garbage can–a fitting end to such a fiend.  
Now you may not see my victory as something noteworthy, nor will a ballad ever be sung about my deadly deed.  But let’s face it:  I’ll probably never accomplish anything that will go beyond the local paper and I’m not the stuff legends are made of.  What I did today was rid my house of one less annoying thing and that is victory enough for me.
P.S.–I also finished my apple crisp.  It is yet to be determined whether or not that was a successful endeavor.        

Conversation With My Husband

Husband (while watching leaves fall off trees):  We have a verb for water falling from the sky.  You know, raining.  Why don’t we have a verb for leaves falling off the trees?

Me:  I dunno.
Husband:  I think we should make one.
Me:  How about “leaving?”
Husband:  No, no, that’s already a verb with a defined meaning.  Something different.
Me:  I know, “falling!”  Get it?  As in the season?
Husband sighs.

Mac and Cheese Fail: How the Internet Saves the Day as I Get a Crash Course in "Soccer Mom"

Some of you may have figured out by now that I’m a nanny.  Now some people like to think that nannies are glorified babysitters, but that isn’t the case with my job.  I do a lot for the family:  take care of the kiddos, do laundry, grocery shop, cook, make sure the dogs don’t destroy the house, etc.  Basically I help keep the household running in a semi-smooth fashion (although admittedly some days it seems like I barely manage to keep the house from burning down).

Anyway, with the oldest child participating in a fall sport, the dinner routine becomes a little ookey, especially since there is a total of two hours and ten minutes from when I pick her up from the bus stop to when she should be merrily dribbling a soccer ball down the field.  That’s two hours and ten minutes to get homework done, get her ready to go, make dinner, and feed the kids–not to mention driving time.  Needless to say I’ve been thinking about meals that my mom used to make back in her Soccer Mothering days.  One evening’s choice:  Macaroni and Cheese.  Easy, right?

Wrong.  I’m an idiot and happened to make chocolate chip cookies that morning, delicious cookies that used the last two sticks of butter.  All I had left was a measly little remnant of some forgotten bit of butter, not nearly enough to cover the double batch of mac and cheese.  Better yet, I realize this five minutes after I start boiling the macaroni and five minutes before dinner needs to be on the table.

Oh no, oh no, oh no, oh no I thought as I watch the macaroni boil.  My first instinct is to check the internet for a solution, but of course the computer is in the basement and I need to get the oldest ready NOW!  However, I don’t see any other solutions, so with two minutes until macaroni becomes mac-a-mush I tell the oldest she must go get dressed (adding in, “I’m sorry the homework isn’t done, you’ll just have to do it later!”) and dash down to the basements.  I throw myself into the chair, type in “substitution for butter in macaroni and cheese,” and scan the results.  I find something that seems reasonable, click off the internet, and sprint back upstairs to drain the macaroni.  As I start mixing the remaining ingredients, the oldest comes back downstairs and informs me that she’s not really fond of mac and cheese anymore.  I tell her, “Sorry, this is what we’re having,” while the voice in my head is going, I couldn’t care less at this point, just eat the stupid thing.  I’m actually sweating at this point and a little out of breath from sprinting up and down the stairs.  In my defense, it is a rather large house. 

As I finish the macaroni, I call for the kids and placed the finished meal on the table.  I glance at the clock:  5 minutes behind is right on time for soccer moms, right?  If so, we’re right on time and the kids are eating the mildly botched batch of macaroni and cheese.  We finished dinner without any further incidents and even made it to soccer practice with time to spare.  So, the life lessons of that after noon are 1) I need some more practice before I get this whole shuttling kids to extracurriculars down and 2)  If you ever are out of butter when making boxed mac and cheese, cooking oil is a good substitute.