Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are just too amazing not to share. I can't take credit. I received the recipe from my friend Kari who received it from her neighbor who received it from someone I don't know, but already like.

Good luck finding canned pumpkin. In case you don't know, there's a serious shortage. Trust me, the search will be worth it. These cookies will make your Halloween weekend. You can thank me later.

1 c. pumpkin
1 c. white sugar
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 egg
2 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
1 t. milk
1 T. vanilla
2 c. chocolate chips
1/2 c. walnuts (opt.)

Combine pumpkin, sugar, oil, and egg.

Stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Dissolve baking soda in milk and stir in.

Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture. Then add vanilla.

Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts (if you care to, I don't).

Spoon onto slightly greased cookie sheets (make them big!) and bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes. My top-of-the line Magic Chef stove (Ever heard of the brand? Neither has anyone else under the ago of 60.) does the job in a little over 13 minutes.

They're moist, cakey, and delicious. I highly recommend them warm.


Farm Boy

People are always asking what W is "into." Elmo? Big Bird? Baby Einstein? No, no, and no. He's into farm animals. Totally obsessed.
Currently, his favorite place is Wagner Farm. The kid can't get enough of those smelly animals.
Here he is admiring the fall crop:


...And Then There Are The Mornings You Spill A Bowl of Grease on Your Leg...

Scene: A small kitchen with really old appliances. A mother runs around the kitchen in heels and dress clothes. A grandmother sits next to a high chair feeding a one year-old child. The mother is running late and motions to grab the travel mugs. She yells to her husband in the other room.

Do you want coffee for the road?

Mother mutters to herself, decides against coffee for both of them. Husband walks into the kitchen and puts on his jacket. He has a hurried look about him as he checks the clock hanging on the wall and then the digital clock on the oven.

Mother notices the bowl of grease from the meatloaf Grandma made the night before. Mother doesn't care for meatloaf or most other baked meats. Grandma made it as a treat for the Husband, since the Mother was working late the night before. Mother motions to the bowl.

I don't want this to sit out all day.

Mother is hurried, tips the bowl in the slightest way to see if the grease has hardened. Meanwhile, she wants to gag. The grease breaks and pours out onto the leg of her pants and her shoe and all over the kitchen floor. Mother and Husband are already running 15 minutes late to leave for work.

Scene ends.

Stink Face

We don't call him Stick Face for nothing.


Destination: Portland

The little guy's first flight is tomorrow morning! Bags are packed. Plenty of books for W, a couple toys, and lots of snacks, because we wouldn't want him to starve again and resort to something like this....

See you next week!


Fennville Goose Festival

You're welcome.

Gypsy Life, Week 3

We're gypsies. Entering the third week of home abandonment. We're frustrated, feeling all over the place, yada yada yada.

How did we get here? How can replacing bathroom tile take so long?

Well, here you go... So, our toilet was leaking and we had to have the tile replaced, as it was cracked and buckling, due to a mixture of moisture and an uneven floor. We got a quote, decided to move forward after pretending that this was something we could do ourselves.

The tile guy tells me to buy the tile THEN call him. OK, I say, and then call back and book him for Tuesday. When he asks if I have tile, I say "uh-huh." I decide I have to know what is under the tile and ask Matt to start pulling it up. We run to the big chain places and can't find anything we like. This is Sunday Week 1.

We plan to go to Century after work on Monday and walk out with new tile for the next morning. NO. Not possible. You have to order tile, people. So, I call our guy and tell him we need to reschedule. It is a week before he can come back. Enter Week 1 of being away from home. We buy a new toilet in this week, a fancy one to match the sink.

The tile guy came last Tuesday and Wednesday to put in the tile and stopped short of installing the toilet thinking it was too big. He wanted us to look at it first. And WOW he was right. This toilet is huge. Toilets are not one size fits all, it turns out. As we're inspecting the giant toilet in our tiny bathroom, I realize that ummmmm.... The floor is not even. At all. I call the tile guy, he agrees to come over the weekend to look at it. This is Wednesday #2.

So, this gives us a little time to return said huge toilet and get a decent sized one, which saves us some dough. We decide to stay home on Friday and Saturday night and live without a shower, which included wiping down every surface from the construction dust. The basement bathroom toilet works just fine, so we'll survive. I brush my teeth and wash my face in the kitchen sink. The tile guy comes Sunday morning, admits his mistake and starts to rip up everything and start over. He worked all day.

Today is Monday #3. He is coming back tonight to finish and we should be back in tomorrow after I wipe everything down again.

That's it in a nutshell. We're gypsies. And we continue our journeying on Thursday with a long weekend in Portland. Will we actually be back in our house by then? It's anyone's guess.


Welcome Back, Mr. Cold.

We're back and so is the cold. The Little Man has something nasty. And lucky me, he's passed it on to me. How does that not happen? Not sure if this is a Michigan strand of the cold, but it's not fun.

Pictures will follow. I promise. I just have to get my act together to upload pictures of all the fun stuff we did this weekend like Goose Festival in Fennville, Michigan. Imagine, if you will, little William head on plywood painted goose body. (Can you say teaser?!?!?)


Bye, Bye Chicago Summer....

It's the end of summer. If you're like me, you're excited for fall, but also wrestle with the nagging internal voice bugging you about everything you didn't get a chance to do, like go to the zoo or the pool. But, then I think of everything we did and I can feel pretty good about it.

First sail on Lake Michigan. Trips to Wisconsin and Michigan. Playing in the sand. Dipping in the lake. Wagner Farm. Lots of Farmer's Markets. First Cubs vs Sox game. First JDRF event. First street festival. Park visits. Muffins at Gilson Park. First wedding. Dined al fresco a lot. Lots of walks. Road trips.

So, there's always next year for the rest of the stuff on our summer to-do list. Now, we need to start ticking things off the fall list. This weekend we'll get one done: Visit Crain's Apple Orchard in Fennville, Michigan. Yessssss, we're off to Michigan!


Anna's B&B

We're frequent guests, so get a really good rate and the accommodations are wonderful. Complimentary dinner, a wonderful rain shower, fresh linens, comfortable beds, coffee in the morning... And there's even child care on site! The cost? Living with your parents... Again.

OK, so we're not technically living there. We're just staying for a week. We ripped up the tile in our bathroom before we bought the new tile. Who knew everything I liked would be "special order" (therefore 72 hours for delivery), which means we had to reschedule our tile guy for next week. (Did I mention we never did the bathroom project on our own? Another story...) Sigh.

So, since we only have one shower and the bathroom floor around said shower has been ripped apart, we've checked back into Anna's B&B. Last time we stayed it was for almost five months, so this should fly by. Right?

It's made us realize that we really do love our little house. Though we've been going back each night after we put William down to pick up new clothes and "get stuff done," I miss walking into my house at the end of the day.

What I don't miss? Our bed. I had no idea how bad our bed is until I've been sleeping so soundly in my parents guest room. Ahhhh. And my back doesn't hurt this week! Go figure.


Me Time and We Time

So, about last week... Remember? I was feeling all good about carving out "me time." My yoga nights. Gettin' my zen on. Well, about that...

You think you have it all figured out. Then there are those nights when you're running around, watching the clock to make sure you get there on time, planning on your "me time" and the little voice in your head says: NO. Maybe your son calls his grandma (your mom) "Mommy." Let's just use that one as an example. (A very realistic example.)

It could have been an accident, as my mom tried to convince me. It could have been the first and only time it has ever happened. I wish I could believe this, but I don't. And I realized I needed to skip "me time" and work in some "we time." We played, we went for a walk, we read some books, we tickled and giggled, we repeated "mommy" while pointing at me again and again.

Suddenly "we time" equaled "me time."


Potty Mouth

This weekend W ripped a picture out of his book and held it up. "Bear," I said. Slowly, he repeated this new word.

Last night he was dining on apples and eggs and I tried to very discreetly slip Howie a piece of apple under his tray. (We don't want W to get into the habit of throwing food on the ground or holding it out to Howie, so try not to let him see us do it or say no when he does.) I thought I pulled a fast one on the little guy, but a second later he picked up an apple and dropped it to the ground as well.

This morning when my mom came over, she picked him up and said "Good morning." His reply: "Goooo morneen."

The time has come for us to clean up our act... Our language needs to get better. We've decided that the choice, colorful four letter words or cringe-inducing phrases must be pulled from our speech. He's catching on too ####-ing fast!


I wrote a post for Chicago Moms Blog about high school violence in response to the Derrion Albert tragedy and weekly news reports of beatings, shootings, and deaths of Chicago teens. Just this morning we were greeted by a new story from the weekend. It's disgusting. But, it is not just a problem in Chicago. It's everywhere.

You can find my thoughts here.


My Domain

Matt doesn't cook that often. He claims it's because I'm always looking over his shoulder and drive him crazy. Or I'm too picky and tell him what he should have done to make the meal better.

"I like to have my domain," I said.

"Yeah, and your domain is the world."

I meant the kitchen, but.... I'll take it.


Olympics Reaction

I'm watching the Olympics announcement.

10:07 am: 3 minutes from the announcement time. I've been on the fence, mostly thinking it would be awesome to have the Olympics, but kinda feeling the concerns. But, I'm nervous. Like butterflies in the stomach nervous. Weird-o.

10:09 am: Voting starts in one minute. I really am nervous. Yay Chicago! I guess I do feel my hometown pride. Can't imagine the stress in Copenhagen.

10:13 am: Boring.... Number assignments seem strange. Chicago is 4 - is that a lucky number? Can you say anti-climactic...

10:17 am: These rules are boooorrrriiiinnngggg. Snore box. (I am obviously not one for fine print.)

10:20 am: I just realized W will be eight when the Olympics actually happen. Will we even live here? Will he have siblings?

10:23 am: Voting is closed.

10:25 am: WHAT?!?! Chicago was cut after Round 1?!?! Holy crap. The least number of votes? Oprah and Obama? The least number of votes?!?!