Kiss me Lova!

Meet my Pumpkin Spice Kiss! Isn’t he cute? And sooo yummy too! If you love your Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte as much as I do, but don’t love all the calories (380 for a GWPSL) then you will die over this! Same yummy pumpkin spice flavor. But, only 220 calories for 9 Kisses! That’s just a tad more than 25 calories per Kiss! It just doesn’t get better than that… now I just have to try this concoction of adding a couple of these to my coffee as mentioned by Keri.

I think we need a Pumpkin Spice Lovers Club… What to you all think?

Ps. These too were found at the Great Tarjay! I had looked everywhere locally I could imagine and this was the only place that had them.

Are you baking an apple pie?

I love apple pie. Seriously a warm slice a la mode with really rich, decadent vanilla ice cream is one of the finer things in life. It’s even better than Pumpkin Spiced Latte, and go figure, about trice the calories!
In the fall there is nothing better than those comforting aromas coming from your kitchen. And wouldn’t you guess apple pie is one of my all time favorite aromas. Here’s how you can enjoy that fresh baked aroma without adding all those inches to your milieu!
Place a large or medium pan on the stove. Turn the heat to high and get the water to boil. Meantime add a couple of apples* — any kind will do — and cut them in to fat wedges or slices. No need to discard stems or seeds. Add a couple of Cinnamon sticks, and some cloves, even some vanilla if you like. When the water boils, turn the heat to low and soon your home will smell wonderfully delicious! Do be sure to check the water level from time to time and refill as needed.
In the fall we have lots of apples around the house. We eat them and decorate with them. Sometimes they start to turn before they can be consumed. I hate to toss those apples that are a little too ripe for eating, and this is a wonderful way of using them!
You will definitely want to make sure you have a nice blanket, book or a laptop so you can read all my posts (!) and a warm cup of tea to settle down with on a nice cozy spot on the couch as your home fills with the sweet smells of Autumn.

“Buggie Report” Why I am glad yesterday is over but today’s not much better…

Yesterday was Alexander’s true Birthday but we celebrated it on Saturday because Daddy had to take off (for a month… yikes!) and Christopher had a soccer game in Greenwich and it was an all around too crazy kind of a day to try to squeeze in a Birthday party. So glad we had it on Saturday where he was able to be Prince for the Day and open his presents and have his cake and eat it too.

Yesterday was just a strange day. We should have been celebrating the Birthday boy but it just was not possible with everything that was going on. Don was trying to pack and get all his stuff together… our soccer games were on again, off again, on again thanks to the wet fields from Hanna. Alexander was in a rare mood. As was his older sister. My only saving grace was that Christopher was almost angelic all day. (I say almost because I am sure he had to have done something wrong!) My patience was tested on many occasions through the day. Rebecca did not want to go to soccer. She did not want to be at soccer once she was there. She was not at all quiet about that fact. Alexander found every excuse under the sun to whine and when he was not whining he thought I would be fun to cling to, climb on, jump all over. My name is Jessica not Jungle Jim… grrrr….

I did manage to take some simply breath-taking gorgeous action shots of my handsome little devil on the run and caught some magnificent soccer maneuvers. And then my heart sank 12 feet when I glanced down and saw that there was no CF card in the camera. Rebecca was hungry. Rebecca was hot. Rebecca was thirsty. This went on for nearly 2 hours.

The one respite was when someone kicked the ball out of bounds and Christopher came over to the sideline. He looked up for a moment and lost focus. He saw me there with his brother and his sister. The biggest smile came over him as he shouted for all the spectators to hear, “Hi Momma! Hi Owie! I love you Momma! I love you Owie!” He blew us a kiss and he was off.

To tell you the truth I don’t remember much past 5pm last night… I remember blocking out noise — screaming, hollering, etc… Then I remember crawling into bed exhausted and so very glad the day was over.

I woke up today certain that it was going to be better. It had to, really. And it was for a while. A short while. I took the older two to school and as soon as we stepped out of the car Alexander insisted on being carried. I was not about to carry him and so the whining began. And never stopped.

We returned home to bake his Birthday cupcakes for school tomorrow. Of course I had some cleaning and tidying and vacuuming and picking up to do before-hand. Because don’t you always feel the need to get everything spotless before you are about to make a bigger mess? Finally everything is ready and I go in to the fridge to get the necessary ingredients. I notice the fridge is a mess and start to go through and toss everything in sight. I placed a container of pasta salad on the counter. Well, someone didn’t put the lid on properly and the whole thing tumbled out of my hand and landed, splat!, on the floor. Arghhhh. After the fridge had been cleaned and the mess cleaned up from the floor we began our cupcakes. Like always Alexander needs sprinkles. In and on everything. Those too went a tumblin’ down… all over the floor! Finally the cupcake batter is made and poured in to the lined tins. I have averted further disaster and am left to clean our mess. Alexander wants to play with his new Play Doh ice cream parlor toy and I set him up at the table. 10 minutes later he is done. And teeny tiny bits of Play Doh adorn my clean kitchen floor. While I get down on all fours I see Alexander over at my desk from the corner of my eye. This is never a good thing. He is spinning my Rolodex. Index cards come flying out. Not in alphabetical order. Not in any kind of order. I love my Rolodex. I need paper. Electronics can let you down. Paper never does. Unless Alexander, of course, gets a hold of it. Arghhhh. It’s only Noon at this point. The day is young. Too young.

Soon the cupcakes are out and need to be cooled. The banana bread (because I couldn’t bear to throw away any more bananas) is ready to go in. The banana bread should be bananas muffins but the muffin tins were full! Eventually the afternoon passes on and relatively easily. Until I remember the dead mouse at the end of the driveway. The dead mouse that somehow needs to be moved. Off my driveway. And Daddy is not around to help me. I need to put on my big girl panties, suck it up and do it. The Country Mouse and The City Girl. I’ll take Manhattan. Anytime. Eeeeek!!! A mouse! Alexander accompanies me to the garage. We get an old metal shovel. A really heavy one. The kind that could do serious damage if it landed on someone’s head. I went down the driveway with a determination. But the mouse wouldn’t slide onto the shovel the way I thought it would. I could feel it’s solid dead weight. At one point I asked Alexander to get me a big stick. I used the big stick to help nudge the mouse on to the shovel. Finally I had it. There. What next? I hoisted my shovel over my shoulder careful not to let the mouse fall off and walked over to the edge of the property and flung! I screamed. I screamed a lot. Alexander laughed. Alexander laughed a lot. At me!

It’s 9:52 and the kids are in bed. I have just made a delicious marscapone and cream cheese frosting with a little hint of honey in it. The kids will get to have some in the morning on top of their warm banana yogurt bread. I will go to bed dreaming sweet dreams knowing that all three kids will be in school tomorrow. About me missing Alexander the other day? I’m so over it!

Smore Family Fun!

Don had been wanting to burn our overabundance of sticks and small branches that presented themselves all over our back yard during the last storm. He thought that while doing so the kids would have fun roasting marshmallows. And I, of course, wasn’t going to settle with just roasted marshmallows, I wanted to make Smores!
It was a perfectly cool, almost fall-like night — a more perfect night for such an activity could not be found. There was ever so slight a chill in the air. The stars were out in abundance. I couldn’t have asked for a better Smore-making night! But we had to construct them a little differently. My kids are not eating candy. Haven’t since early June. I decided that candy was become a way too common fixture in their lives so I bribed the older two not eat it all summer long. I offered up $100 each. (Alexander is not participating because I still have almost complete control over what he eats and is not as affected by candy as the other two are.) They accepted my offer and have done amazingly well! But how does one make a Smore without a Hershey Bar? We thought of some very clever ways to try to come up with our own Smore recipe. And you know what? I liked them, one in particular, much better! As anti-American as it may sound, I loathe chocolate Hershey bars. Always have. I do not like the flavor and find them way too gritty. Like chocolate flavored chalk, really. So we went out to the grocery store to find some ingredients.
We found a super Butterscotch/Caramel sauce and a dark chocolate fudge sauce. We substituted chocolate grahams for the regular variety. We found we liked those better. They were more flavorful and crispier. The kids also decided they would like to try their Smores with a little Nutella and peanut butter as well. (Not together, separately!) So we got out all our ingredients and we tried many variations. My favorite, hands down, and I will make these for the rest of my life, was the caramel Smore! I took 2 graham squares, placed my melted marshmallow one one half and a generous spoonful of butterscotch/caramel sauce on the other, sandwiched them together and voila! Perfection!
Another wonderful evening to go down in memory!

A Perfect Summer Night

As Rebecca and her father took off for the ice rink last night I needed to come up with a quick dinner idea that would feed everyone quickly upon her return. Despite ordering groceries the day before it seemed as though my pickin’s were slim. I had some frozen chicken breasts, sausages, and hot dogs (not buns though) and assorted veggies in the freezer. In the fridge I had the fresh crowns of broccoli, a ton of fruit, some scallions, cold cuts, bacon that I had thawed that morning and some assorted cheeses. Nothing too inspiring for dinner. I had some lettuce, but it was arugula and mixed field greens. My kids don’t do that!

Once again I would need to let my creativity take control. Typical of me I have huge amounts of pasta in the pantry. I took out the Rigatoni, got the broccoli, scallions, bacon and some garlic and proceeded to cook. What resulted was phenomenal. (I will post this on the food blog in a little while)

When dinner was cooked I went to check on Alexander who had been pestering me to push him on his swing. He was on the couch in the family room. Sound asleep in his brother’s arms. It was adorable. I should have taken a picture. Instead I carried him up to my bed with the hopes this was not just a late night nap. (It wasn’t!)

I poured myself a glass of chardonnay (a perfect summer wine) and read outside on the back deck.

When my Skater Girl came back I had Daddy plug in the lights under the market umbrella and we were all set for a wonderful dinner al fresco with the cool, yet somewhat humid evening air, birds singing, crickets chirping, cicadas sounding off in the distant. I sat back with my meal and my wine in a state of contentment and relaxation. While we were out the skies started to turn their purple twilight hues and the fireflies started to appear. As the sky continued to darken the little bugs began to light up the sky as though they were busily stringing Christmas lights on a grand outdoor tree. The chirping and cicadas could still be heard. Bats came along dive bombing into the trees — looking for cicadas no doubt. Christopher and Rebecca were running around the back yard shouting with joy, butterfly nets in tow capturing the lightning bugs and setting them free. I read some more and sipped some more wine. Eventually we turned off the lights and called it a night.