Always Be My Baby

Eleven-year-old showing off his handiwork.

Eleven-year-old showing off his handiwork.

One morning last week, my 21-year-old son came into the kitchen and asked if I’d help him make a cup of coffee.

Now, if any of you own one of those newfangled Keurig machines, like the one I have, you know that it’s fairly simple to operate. You open the doohickey and stick the plastic K-cup filled with the coffee into the chamber, select the size cup you’d like and press “Brew.”

That’s about it.

But he’s my first baby. He’s the one who benefitted from having a super-young and enthusiastic mommy who was more than happy to lay out his clothes each night for the next day, trim his sandwich crusts and peel his thinly-sliced apples.

Nowadays, I am hard pressed to even buy an apple, much less peel it.

So I suppressed my urge to laugh when he asked for help with the coffee, but when he proceeded to sit down and start to look at his iPhone, I realized he didn’t really want help trying to figure out how to make coffee. He just wanted me to make it for him.

“Okay,” I told him, “you need to walk over to the machine and open it up.”

I walked him through the whole process and, like magic, he was enjoying a hot cup of joe in no time.

A little while later, his 11-year-old brother came into the kitchen and made himself an omelette.

He got out the pan and heated it over a low flame, cracked an egg into a bowl and added a little extra egg whites from a container in the frig, sprayed the pan with Pam and cooked up his breakfast. He doused the entire thing in Frank’s Hot Sauce and sat and watched Drake and Josh and enjoyed his eggs with some hot chocolate he made in the Keurig.

The differences between the first and fourth child never gets old to me. It always amazes me to see how much the younger child has benefitted from neglect. And how much all my hovering stymied my oldest kid’s ability to WANT to do things for himself, which is very different than being actually able to do things for himself. He’s more than capable.

In fact, he showed me that today when I dropped him off to catch the bus that would take him an hour north to start a summer internship. It’s the kind of gig that requires business-casual attire and behaving like a grown up and when he came into the kitchen for breakfast before we left for the bus, it took my breath away to see an adult standing there at the counter pouring a bowl of Reese’s Puffs.

This is not to say that there wasn’t a fair amount of hand holding going on in the week leading up to his first day at work. We went out and bought some big boy clothes, bought his monthly bus pass and did a test run to check out a big commuter lot where he could park all day for free. Reading the bus schedule also proved to be slightly challenging but then again, what does he know? He’s never had to do anything like this before. The younger kids have benefitted their whole lives from their oldest brother’s firsts — from learning to play an instrument to getting into college — he’s paved the way and showed them how things are done.

So it was weird watching him get out of my car this morning and make his way over to the throng of people waiting to board the commuter bus. A part of me wanted to get out and make sure he was getting on the right one, but I resisted the urge and drove away, watching the back of his new jacket slowly recede in my rearview mirror.

He texted me later to tell me he was on the bus and on his way (thumbs-up emoji). “Thank u for ride and everything else mom (lovey and heart emojis),” he wrote. And I knew he really meant that. The two of us may often bump heads but he knows at the end of the day, I’ve got his back.

I know there’s a fine line between being a helicopter parent and simply helping a brother out. I hope I’m doing the latter. And I know that by the time the little guy heads off into the real world 10 years from now, there will probably be less hand holding involved because he’ll have watched his three older siblings go through that rite of passage.

But I’m getting ahead of myself because after this morning, I’m glad I still am the proud owner of a little boy. Someone who will still just wrap his arms around my waist and squeeze for no reason, sing Maroon 5 at the top of his lungs in the shower and occasionally forgets to use shampoo.

Because it goes fast, people. In the blink of an eye you go from handing your kid a Gatorade to a commuter mug and I know people say that kind of stuff all the time and when you’re in the thick of carpooling and chicken nuggets it just seems like it’s never going to end and then some of it does start to wind down and you’re like, “What the fuck?”

You can’t win.

All I know is that I’m looking forward to picking him up from the bus later and hearing about his day over the dinner I’ll make tonight to celebrate his big day. Because he may have graduated from skater duds to khakis and a dress shirt, but he’s still my baby.

Full Nest Syndrome


My all-time favorite New Yorker cartoon says it all.

Lately, I’ve taken to sitting at the head of the big pine table in my kitchen to write, my black-and-white slipcovered chair backed into the bay window that bumps out that back corner of the room. Outside the window over my left shoulder, there’s a tremendous amount of chattering these days coming from the finches who have claimed the white birdhouse that towers above the middle of the garden behind my house.

They’re awfully busy, the little birds, as they flit in and out of their new abode, perched high atop a PVC pipe onto which the vine of a clematis I planted at its base years ago climbs and wraps its tendrils. Soon, my new neighbors will be surrounded by the vine’s big purple flowers, whose tightly closed buds seem be looking up at the birdhouse, their noses pointed in the air, searching for the source of all that chattering.

I’ve noticed that one of the birds is almost defiant as it cranes its upper body out one of the birdhouse holes, chirping aggressively at some unknown predator. He quickly swoops off his ledge and darts back into the yard, only to return with yet another thin twig or piece of debris clutched in its beak to furnish the inside of the birdhouse and prepare for the arrival of its newest family members.


The view from where I sit.

After the long, cold winter sitting in my kitchen surrounded by the quiet of closed windows and school days, May has brought with it a lot of noise and activity, wafting with the warm air through my window screen.

According to my calculations – already a dangerous proposition considering my math skills – I have about 60 hours left of general peace and quiet inside my own house until mid-August. On Wednesday, some time in the early evening, my two college kids will arrive home for summer vacation and the house will be filled once again with debris, defiant chirping and the unpredictable dives and swoops of so many personalities living under one roof.

Prior to their arrival, I’ll be flitting in and out of grocery stores and Costco to make sure our nest is ready for them and stocked with the organic milk and cold cuts I know they like. It makes my little birdies so happy to return home to a Tostito-laden pantry.

Okay, I know, I’ve written about this phenomenon before at some length, my struggle with school breaks. And I also know it pisses my two adult-ish children off, this suggestion that having them home is a bummer or burdensome in some way.

I mean, it is and it isn’t.

What they fail to understand is that it’s not necessarily them, per se, that’s got me so agitated. On the one hand, it’s the addition of extra people who need to be fed, whose laundry needs to be washed and whose personalities need to be managed. And on the other hand, my two oldest children also happen to be the more challenging half of my brood, especially my son. But luckily, their individual Instagram posts to me yesterday for Mother’s Day indicated that they both might know that.

My 20-year-old daughter posted a picture of the two of us mugging for the camera selfie-fish-lips-style at a football game at her school in the fall and wrote, “Thanks for putting up with my crap for 20 years. Love ya ma.”

Plus, she added an emoticon at the end and if you and I have ever texted, you know I’m crazy for emojis. I sprinkle my communication with hearts and the thumbs up signs like a 14 year old.

Her older brother posted a picture of me taken last summer before a “Heroes and Villains” costume party I attended dressed as the less-than-warm-and-fuzzy mother from Arrested Development (black St. John’s knit suit, pearls and my hair in a perfect ladies-who-lunch helmet).

I       I don't understand the question, and I won't respond to it.

Lucille Bluth: I don’t understand the question, and I won’t respond to it.

“Happy Mother’s Day to my very own Lucille Bluth. Putting up with me is a handful but you’ve managed to do it for 21 whole years. God bless. Love you Ma,” he wrote and added to his post the cat with the heart eyes emoji that’s one of my favorites.

Clearly they have the self-awareness to acknowledge that I’ve been “putting up with” a lot of challenges for over the last 20 years.

On the flip side, I missed having those two divas around yesterday to help celebrate Mother’s Day. When the kids were young and I was still married to their dad, Mother’s Day was filled with family. Often, we’d go to church, where other moms would admire my new macaroni necklace or glittery pin, and then to brunch at our beach club, the boys in crisp new chinos and the girls in bright cotton cardigans.

Other years, I’d host a brunch at our house and the kids would run around outside on the thick spring lawn with their cousins while the grown ups milled around the kitchen sipping mimosas.

One year, after my husband had moved out of our house, I flew to Ohio over Mother’s Day weekend to spend time with a good friend while I struggled with whether to end the marriage, and returned home on Sunday for a dinner out at a local pizza place, the six of us crammed in a booth eating garlic knots.

So it was odd to be just me and the two kids still living at home full-time yesterday for Mother’s Day. We went out and hiked for an hour in the woods, which they could not complain about, and then picked up some salads and sandwiches (compliments of my teenager) at our favorite shop nearby and ate sitting around our kitchen island. The kids went outside to play with neighbors and I sat on my bed and read for hours. We showered and went out to an early dinner where we sat by the window overlooking the river and talked about how it was our last weekend of quiet before their siblings returned.

The waiter delivered our drinks and I toasted the end of another peaceful year and we watched a jet ski cut through the river as we raised our glasses to drink.

Here’s the good news: Unlike the summers of long ago, when I would cart the four of them to the beach early each day — our cooler packed with crustless sandwiches and juice boxes — the three older kids will be pretty busy this summer. There are internships, babysitting jobs, classes and the gym to keep them all pretty busy and out of my hair.

And for the first time in a few years, I don’t have to cobble together sports camps and babysitters to farm my youngest guy out while I worked from home during the summer. With no job on the horizon, I get to spend my summer on the beach with him, letting him surf and swim with all his friends in town while I try to get through the tower of books on my nightstand.

I figure that over time, with some of the kids graduating and moving back to the nest after college and others just leaving, all four of the kids will at some point have the opportunity to discover the joy of living in a reduced family. They’ll experience the dinner table set for just two or three people, never having to wait their turn to do laundry and having a quart of milk last longer than one day.

But maybe those birds out back know something I don’t because they really don’t seem to stick around once their nest empties out. One day they’re carrying on, squawking and pooping all over the place, and the next day they’re gone. It’s like they just pull up stakes over night.

I think it’s just going to take a while for me to find out whether they are onto something.







What About College?

IMG_0557Anyone who has seen the Hungtington Learning Center commercial on TV — “Face it! I’m not getting into college!” – has had the pleasure of hearing a dramatic scene taken from the pages of my own life.

Let me clarify: I am lucky in that I haven’t had anyone failing out of school. The kids have taken rigorous course loads, held down after school jobs and gotten involved in things like “Model U.N.” and played the saxophone.

But I am starting the third round of the college search process and while I just assumed things would get easier with each consecutive child—that there would be some type of buy-in at the very least – I find I’m running into the same bullshit now that I did a few years ago when my oldest was a junior in high school.

At issue is the broad assumption held by my children that going to college is a figment of their mother’s imagination. They act as if the four-year academic experience practiced by gazillions of people in the United States is some crazy scheme I cooked up, akin to the notion that beets are delicious and NPR is interesting.

They act like where they’re going to spend the next four years is my problem. They have failed to understand that that ship has long since sailed. I’ve already proved to be a fair-to-mediocre student more interested in a certain boy than things like homework and studying and ended up in a big, state school filled with a lot of people from New Jersey just like me.

And I’ll admit: It’s not easy preventing my own dreams and regrets from getting caught up in the process. There’s tons of things I wish I had done differently when I was their age – starting with turning off the TV in my bedroom – and see their futures as a chance to make better choices. A do-over.

But if I can put all that other stuff aside, what I hope my children come away with is expanded horizons. I want them to understand that while this little upper-middle-class-suburban-microcosm that they’ve grown up in is very nice, there is a whole world out there filled with all kinds of different people and different experiences. I want them to be open to the idea that the possibilities are endless.

Because it took me a long time to understand that the ideas I was operating under were way too small.

I am most surprised that my third child has proved to be as resistant to discussing college as her older siblings. It was no shock that those two quickly dismissed any conversations that began with, “So, do you see yourself at a big school or a small school?” or “What part of the country would you prefer?”

They seemed to view every question I posed as a personal affront.

My oldest son and I took a couple of trips to look at schools, driving together across highways bisecting Pennsylvania and along the Northeast coast, and we probably shared about 10 minutes of conversation for all those hours we sat side-by-side.

That might even be an overestimate.

He’d sit next to me in the passenger seat, or if it was a really long haul he’d stretch out in the back of our SUV, wearing headphones from which blared some very intense-sounding rap music, drowning out not only any attempts at conversation, but the audio book I had downloaded for the trip.

There’s nothing like trying to imagine what it’s like to be shipwrecked in the Pacific or get a handle on characters’ crazy Swedish names with Lil Wayne and Eminem shouting vulgar and angry words in the background. It’s disconcerting.

But I am shocked that Kid #3 isn’t embracing my attempts at helping her find the right school. I actually thought that when her turn came to look at schools, we’d have a lot of fun going on tours together and talking about what we liked best here vs. there while lying on our beds at a Hampton Inn in some college town.

Those are the getaways I should have taken with her three years ago, when she still liked me.

I tried again to start a conversation about college at dinnertime the other night. She bristled as I wondered aloud if a certain state school might be worth looking at, and hissed, “I don’t know,” and I really felt like she was seconds away from barking, “Face it! I’m not getting into college!”

When I in turn got all snippy and informed her that the time had come, like it or not, to start talking about college, she agreed but then told me, “You just go about it in the wrong way.”


And I get it: She’s probably feeling like she’s under a lot of pressure (first round of SATs this weekend!) and in a little bit of denial.

Growing up is scary and talking about it makes it all seem so stinking real.

The Huntington commercial came on early this morning, while my daughter and I bustled around the kitchen with the TV tuned to the local ABC news that comes on before “Good Morning America,” and the familiar, “What about college?” line seemed to hang in the air.

We both looked up from what we were doing and made eye contact and laughed.

“I am so writing about this,” I told her.

And if that’s the only satisfaction I can derive from this whole stage of my children’s lives – aside from the joy of paying for it – I’ll take it.



525,600 Something

tumblr_m5b3djsvv01qknpp3o2_250If I were the mathematical sort, I would try to calculate just how many hours there were between fall and spring semesters at the university that my two oldest children attend.

But as I have a hard enough time counting how many times I’ve squatted on a ball or lifted a weight over my head when I work out, I am going to bypass all addition and assume it’s been around 525,600 (which is a standard measurement of something according to the song from “Rent”).

How does one fill all of those hours between final exams and buying new text books, especially when one’s been forbidden to get stoned in one’s own basement?

Hmmm … well, there’s always exercise and then eating things like mashed potatoes in the afternoon or barbeque potato chips at midnight to balance any healthy benefits of that time spent at the gym.

Then there’s the new PS4 console in the basement that the 11 year old got for Christmas, which the older brother has probably logged more hours playing FIFA and NBA games on for hours at a stretch than the gift recipient.

And thank God for “Criminal Minds,” which seems to be like one never-ending episode playing at all hours in my family room and – while I’ve never seen an entire episode myself – I’ve gathered always seems to involve the removal of some poor victim’s eyeball or eyelid and earnest detectives trying to find the bastard who did it.

We’re starting the fourth and final week that the kids are home for break and it’s gotten so boring around here that my 21-year-old son actually volunteered to pick his younger siblings up after school one day last week. He’s also done some grocery shopping for the family and taken his little brother to the barber shop for haircuts.

Not for nothing, but I’ve likened this kid to the big brother on the ABC show “The Middle,” which is a thinly-veiled representation of my life, minus the very tall husband, and frankly I’d like to sue someone for infringing on my hard-won material.

Axl Heck is the classic teenaged oldest brother: He thinks his parents are “lame,” his younger sister a “dork,” and is always walking around in his boxer shorts, a habit I abhor.

Middle1001(I am sorry but at a certain point, even though I spent years toweling you off after baths and wiping your bottom, I do not want to see you in your underwear. We call that having “healthy boundaries.”)

Coincidentally, the TV in my kitchen was turned to an episode of “The Middle” while I was making dinner the other night and one of the plot lines of the show was how bored Axl was between high school sports seasons.

He’s seen in various poses in his boxers complaining to his mother about his plight while draped over the couch or lying on the kitchen floor with his bare legs propped up on the refrigerator.

“Why don’t you try vacuuming?” his mother suggests and before you know it, Axl is not only vacuuming the rugs, he’s working with the attachments and taking the job more seriously than school and certainly his family.

In a later scene the mom is lying on the couch eating popcorn and taunting her vacuum wizard with how she can toss a piece in the air and catch it in her mouth or even eat the popcorn off her shoulder.

“Nailed it!” she cries after gobbling some off her shirt and spilling the rest onto the couch, making her son crazy with the mess.

Oh, how the tables had turned.

It reminded me of how annoyed my older son was when he went to pick his little brother up from school last week during the polar vortex and found himself sitting in the parking lot for about 20 minutes along with all the moms in town in their SUVs only to learn that his brother had wrangled himself a play date and didn’t need the ride.

“BLERGING BLERGY BLERG,” he shouted at me when I called his cell to tell him the news.

He was clearly agitated but I told him to hang out and wait for our neighbor, who still needed the ride, only to learn five minutes later that he was invited to the same play date.

“BLERGIN BLERGIN BLERGER,” my son choked out upon learning the most recent development in the 5th grade social scene. He had clearly lost his marbles at having wasted all those valuable minutes in the parking lot approximately 1/8 of a mile from our house that could have been spent playing Assassain’s Creed or looking in the refrigerator.

He cursed his brother, the little neighbor and me for conspiring to ruin his life and stormed into the house to yell some more before retreating to the basement and the comfort of PlayStation.

Welcome to my world, I thought merrily as I returned to stalking people on Facebook.

I really can’t wait until he has teenagers.

And may they all be girls. Like, four of them, who think he is the most annoying person in the world.

It’s going to be fun. I’ll make the popcorn.




How Not to Hate Your Teens

photo(72)If you’re like me, you are finding that it’s not always so easy to like all the people who you’re living with. Much less love them.

At least once a day, I find myself in a combative situation or heated conversation with someone I gave birth to.

I even made that observation aloud to one of them this week, in the midst of one such episode, “This is not how people usually talk to me.”

But he just grunted and kept at it.

Not long ago, I posted a friendly link in the Facebook inboxes of my two older kids about a college coed who had fallen asleep (read: passed out) on a front stoop after a night out in freezing cold temperatures and was now facing amputation of one of her limbs due to hypothermia.

I saw it as a cautionary tale that I wanted to share with them so as to avoid future amputations and the need for any prosthesis. God knows their tuition bills are enough to finance.

I had also recently shared a link with my 21-year-old son to an article reporting that smoking too much cannabis can cause man boobs, which he thought was funny.

Apparently, he did not think the frozen girl was funny or valuable in any way because he called me soon after freaking out about it.

“Don’t send me that shit,” the conversation began and quickly ended with me screaming “Fuck you!” into the phone and hanging up.

I promise you: This was never a part of my grand master parenting plan, nor was the moment after I hung up the phone when I had to walk back into the kitchen to find my two younger children – 16 and 11 – sitting on stools and staring at me.

Not exactly the model of conflict resolution I wanted them to see.

Needless to say, the matter was discussed in-depth with my therapist when we next met and she helped me see that while I thought I was using the poor girl’s possible amputation as a teachable moment for my kids, my son viewed it as a message from me that he would be dumb enough to do something like that in the first place.

He was insulted.

And who knows, maybe the day of that terrible conversation I was getting my period, or ovulating or whatever it is nowadays that makes my hormones go a little crazy, which added fuel to the emotional fire.

But historically, he and I are good at pushing each other’s buttons and quickly making the other one crazy. We tend to jump right out of the frying pan and roll around in the fire.

And it’s not just him. I get into tussles with everyone around here. I like to joke that my little guy’s been strapping on his teenager training wheels lately because sometimes there’s that tone in his voice when he has to answer one of my many, apparently, annoying questions, and he’s given some sassy responses lately, too.

Et tu, my sweet young boy?

And while my therapist recommended things like having follow-up conversations with all the kids about the amputation blow up, meditating and making a jar that I put money in every time I act like an asshole (or something like that), I think I have struck upon the perfect antidote to potentially hostile situations with my kids.

Last week I picked up a box full of home movies I had converted to DVDs at Costco and was reminded – at least for a few hours – of how fucking sweet my children were. Are. Is.

Sure, we’ve got boxes of old pictures and photo albums filled with shots from Christmases of long ago. But to actually see the kids in action and hear their little voices – so young and innocent – and watch how we all interacted was wonderful and terrible all at once.

Like, how did we get from there to here?

In retrospect, some of the scenes are classic signs of personalities to come: my older daughter shy and hesitant in the hospital room meeting her new little sister but super-excited for the candy in her Christmas stocking; the little sister – at 4 – decked out in a kooky lingerie-inspired outfit and belting out some made-up song on her Barbie karaoke machine, pausing only to scream at her older brother to stop “annoying” her.

Total diva.

But to me, one of the most compelling moments of those recordings was watching my oldest son open his Christmas presents, circa 2001. He was in third grade and had just turned 9 and apparently Santa really thought he wanted a lot of books that year. But instead of disgust, he happily opened his deluxe Narnia Chronicles set and lifted the heavy Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire tome over his head in victory.

He was that sweet. And I knew just how to make him happy.

Sometimes I tell myself stories about my kids. “He’s always been this way,” or “She’s always been like that.”

And sometimes it’s the truth and other times, it couldn’t be further from it.

But I know that since I watched my son lift that Harry Potter book over his head, I’ve been looking at him a little different over this long break home between semesters. I’m seeing him not in a new light, but the way I used to see him.

The two of us went out to dinner last night and had a great time. The conversation was easy — we talked about everything from Breaking Bad to LeBron James — and there was never any point that I felt like I had to say something annoying, like “Put your napkin on your lap,” or “Use your knife.”

He already knew what to do.

photo 2And I’m reminded that even though he’s a lot taller and hairier than he used to be, inside — and sometimes maybe it’s so deep down in there you’d need an excavation crew to find it — he’s still that same sweet boy I knew all those years ago.

And I’m glad I found him again.










Amy’s Week in Review: Nov. 25-Dec. 1

photo(43)Usually, I try to be clever here.

On Sundays, I like to come up with a little song-and-dance routine to tempt you to keep reading and maybe help you discover something you might have missed last week. Some little gem that escaped you as you scrolled through all the Black Friday e-mails and updates from Twitter.

But I’m too tired for that today.

I just said good-bye to my two college kids, who drove off on their eight-hour trek south back to school.

It was an emotionally draining week, having everyone home and truly feeling the weight of being the parent to four children.

It’s exhausting.

And while I might not have cooked as many meals as they would have liked and didn’t greet them with our larders overflowing with Tostitos and Oreos, just having them all back and under my roof reminded me of the incredible responsibility I undertook when I went and had all those kids.

And I don’t mean to put this on them. We had a perfectly nice week together, for the most part. My big girl and I shopped for our Christmas candles and my son, well, I think we had a nice conversation or two.

It’s just that having one kid – much less four – is a tremendous responsibility and it turns out, there is no expiration date on worry.

After years of asking if other parents were going to be home and monitoring curfews, when your kids go off to college it truly is out of sight, out of mind.

You don’t go to bed wondering where they are and what they are doing. You just assume all is well in College Land.

But when they are back under your roof, you tend to worry more. And not just about their late-night activities.

You worry whether they picked the right majors, are studying hard enough, are getting along with their roommates and if you somehow could have done a better job teaching them everything they needed to know to get along in this world.

You worry that you weren’t everything they needed you to be.

But then you make them some pancakes and hand them some water bottles and they drive off and take some of that worry and a big piece of your heart with them.

And you go back to bed.

While I’m resting, here’s some stuff I considered this week to keep you busy until I can start thinking again.




I’m a Woman, Not a Girl

I’ve been a Bonnie Raitt fan since her breakthrough album, Nick of Time, was released in 1989. Back then – in the last days before I got married – I liked her bouncy music, rough voice and catchy lyrics.

Later, my then-​​husband and I saw her in concert and I think we went again to see her perform locally after her next big album, Luck of the Draw, came out in 1991. (READ MORE … )


IMG_0290Top 5 Things Bloggers Are Thankful For

‘Tis the season for giving thanks, and all that, and for my first Thanksgiving as an official blogger, I’d like to share what’s brought me joy this year:

1. Sweatpants: For the five years he lived in the house I live in now, my ex-​​husband shared a walk-​​in closet with me. He had one side and I had the other and everything seemed to fit inside it perfectly. But once he moved out, and took all his jackets and ties with him, my belongings seemed to multiply exponentially. Now, the closet is jam-​​packed with more blouses, skirts and scarves than you could shake a stick at. But if you stopped by my house on any given day, you’d find me perched at my kitchen island in front of my laptop sporting some type of loungewear. What better way to accommodate an insanely sedentary lifestyle than with elastic? (READ MORE … )


de1086df1000b12064e3dd511ed5571bI Survived Black Friday and Teen Angst, All in One Night

It started out as an attempt to humor my teenage daughter who had seen one-too-many Target commercials encouraging shoppers to prepare for Black Friday as if it was the Olympics of shopping.

Spurred on by the fun we had last year hitting a few stores in the early-morning hours the day after Thanksgiving, coupled with all of those savings she envisioned (she has tons of her own money and is indeed a thrifty shopper), my daughter was gunning to hit some big box stores late Thursday night. (READ MORE … )


A handy way to keep up with me and all my worrying is by signing up to get new posts emailed straight to your inbox. You don’t even have to find me through Facebook. We are separate entities.

Just fill your email address in the “Subscribe to blog via email” box, which is to the right of this post if you’re on your laptop or if you scroll way to the bottom if you’re reading this on your phone. Just keep scrolling, it’s there. Fill in your email address and then go to your inbox where an email will be waiting that you need to open to confirm your subscription.

And feel free to let me know if you’re worrying, too. It will make me feel better.

Care Package Goodies: Easy Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

On the occasion of my son’s birthday this weekend, I put together my first care packages of the school year. I’m generally terrible at this type of thoughtfulness but figured I’d also send something to his sister since I was already going to the post office with one box.

It is also good luck that I have somebody living in my house who still has the energy for things like baking, and she made the following treats for her siblings.

I coexisted for about 24 hours with those things, screaming my name from their cooling racks, and only succumbed to eating one of them. But, oh, it was good.

Think outside the box (LOL, get it?) and bring them along to any gathering and you’re guaranteed to be the most popular girl there. Or dude. There are some dudes out there reading this.

You just whip up some peanut butter cookie mix, plop in mini muffin tins and squish a peanut butter cop on top (or kisses if you, like some of us, run out).



Easy Peanut Butter Cup Cookies


1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker™ peanut butter cookie mix
1 (9-ounce) package peanut butter cup miniatures, wrappings removed

Coat miniature muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray. Follow directions on back of cookie mix pouch. Place about a spoon-sized ball into each section of muffin tin and bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 7-10 minutes or until puffy. Remove from oven and place one unwrapped peanut butter cup on each partially baked cookie. Let cookies cool in tins for 5 minutes (much easier to remove once they’ve hardened a bit) then remove from tins and cool completely on baking rack.

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