The End of Summer 2012

You know how I love summer. You know how sad I probably was this Monday evening. School started back last week, but I could at least pretend a little longer. But, nope. As much as Memorial harrolds in my favorite season, Labor Day takes it away disguised as an overly pleasant, bittersweet, three-day weekend. Oh Labor Day, you sneaky little devil. It was a good summer, we spent all but the last 3 weeks living in a hotel and discovering that that wasn’t so bad. There were Mosquito battles, but no one had heat stroke, all in all a good summer. We had GirlChild’s Bday, played in the pool, had my Bday, played in the pool some more, rebuilt a house, had K-man’s bday (I promised to get of my ass & post about his Farm cake soon), we had BoyChild II’s bday party (I know, I am sooo far behind on the cakes/parties), we moved back into the house, went back to school shopping, had Gma’s (My mother & yes this is the adult Luau I am still promising to fill everyone in on as well) Bday, and then started 3rd grade/middle school/high school. Whew! we did have a busy summer! I thought I’d share one last just for summer recipe before I type up all those party posts. This one is a great way to encourage the hydration (and still yummy). So enjoy one last summer recipe for 2012!

Fizzy Fruit Tea

  • Brew 4 bags green tea in your coffee maker
  • Pour brewed green tea into gallon sized pitcher
  • Add 12 oz frozen juice concentrate (try cranberry/raspberry, orange, apple/cherry, or your house’s favorite)
  • Stir well
  • Add ice to mix
  • Once cooled pour into glasses 2/3 full
  • Top each glass with chilled ginger ale (or club soda, either works)
  • If you are being very fancy add fresh berries etc
  • Serve & enjoy!

Hope you all had a great summer! Keep an eye out for all the partying we did. Stay cool till the weather does my friends. 🙂

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Mom of Teen Daughter Seeks Advice

This week I am preparing to go to 3 Open Houses next week. 1 at the elementary school where BC II is entering the 3rd grade, or as any of you who are in the know would say, Big Kid Elementary School (Caps denote the somberness that must be applied to this statement-just ask him). No more recess 3 days a week, it’ll be 2 days but I promise that makes a difference, and honestly I wish they had recess 5 days a week all through elementary school, but no one asked me for a vote. We will go to Open House all bright eyed with the thrill of being a “big kid” firmly implanted in our brains. 1 Open House will be at the middle school as BC I is starting the 6th grade. (Have I mentioned how terrified I am of this?) I have the packets of information regarding what SPD is, reference book lists (with the mention that I own several of them and would loan them to any teacher would wanted to borrow them), his IEP, his medication list with side effects to watch for, and contact info for therapists, psychiatrists, and last year’s school councilor ready to print out. This year I am making 8 copies, since he will have 6 instead of 2 or 3 teachers. We will go to that one with me still faking enthusiasm and confidence, still building up how cool it will be to have lots of teachers, make lots of friends, and have your very own locker (he is most excited about having a place to put his stuff that no one else can even look at, much less touch), and BC I with sparkles in his eyes over finally not being in elementary school where everyone is “so immature”. See why I’m scared? On the same night I go to the Open House for the elementary school I will somehow also go to the one at the high school. (You see, the public school system, having absolute faith in my abilities as a superhero who can time travel, has double booked me that night) I hate it when this happens, and it happens all the time. Just another thing about this time of year, right? I mean, if I were planning an open house at any school in a public school system, I would make sure that the night I picked wasn’t already picked by any feeder schools nor any school that my school was a feeder school to. I mean, there are 3 high schools, for our part of the district, 4 middle schools, and about 7 elementary schools. Wouldn’t it make since to have say Monday and Tuesday nights are all elementary school open houses, Wednesday night be middle school open houses and Thursday night for the high schools? In my area, at least, you can’t have 2 kids at 2 different elem/middle/high schools in the same family, so wouldn’t this solve the issue? But I digress, that wasn’t even what I wanted to write about (sorry I did warn everyone I hate this time of year, I promise to return to sunny optimism and the like soon).

My question is, when I go to the high school Open House (time machine or no) my daughter, who is 14 will cling to my side, insisting that I stay within her sights (while she talks with her friends) and continue to call me Mommy. Right in front of anyone who happens to be around. Now, it’s not that I can’t be called Mommy ( I’m pretty well acquainted with the title at this point), my concern is that when I was going into high school as a freshman I would have actually died before I called my mom Mommy. Anywhere, in private or in public. Now, I’m from the south, we call our dads Daddy for way longer than is normal anywhere else in the country it seems (guys too, it’s not a girl thing). But Mommy? No most of us have been calling her Mom, Mama, or Mother since about the 2nd grade. In fact GC is the only one of my kids still calling me Mommy. This probably sounds like the most insane thing to be worried about, but well, I’m a Mom, I’m supposed to be worried about insane things right? And I am concerned about a pattern I am seeing.

In addition to calling me Mommy, my child (whose first phrase at the age of 1 1/2 was “get offa me” when I tried to hug her goodbye at daycare drop off, I was interfering with her getting to her friends to play with them) constantly wants to sit right next to me (you know in that share your skin way that they usually do at about age 2 to say 5ish?) something she wasn’t interested in prior to this year. She constantly wants to “hang out” with me, if I have a friend around she wants to hang out with us, getting upset when I nudge her off to do her own thing. This all seems so strange to me. When I was 14 I would have counted the ridges in the popcorn ceiling in my bedroom before I voluntarily “hung out” with my mother. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind that we spend time together, I encourage it. But it’s as though she has decided we should be friends. I am not sure where she got this idea. We do have fun together, but I have never (at least intentionally) given the impression that I was her friend. Mom, nurse, chaperone, chauffeur, costume/wardrobe designer, chef, groundskeeper, disciplinarian, teacher, yes to all of those; but friend? No. I actually went so far as to tell her a few weeks ago, that while I look forward to being friends with her when she is in her twenties, I am not desirous to be friends with any 14-year-old, no matter how much I love said 14-year-old. She acted as though I had kicked her puppy (or maybe her). I know that it’s a thing now, parents who befriend their children, but I don’t think it’s right. She should have friends her age, I should be her mom, that’s how I have always believed. I have been raising this once independent girl for 14 years, I don’t consider myself done, and suddenly she has changed (in addition to the crazy hormonal changes that I had at least steeled myself for), she still seems very sure of herself and confident, but at the same time constantly wants Mommy around, like physically right there. I wonder is this a normal part of adolescence, that I myself skipped?

 I do want her to talk to me, to continue to tell be about her friends, her day, boys she likes, things she is considering doing with those boys. Maybe I would feel more normal if she didn’t volunteer all of those things, if I had to ask in that pulling teeth way I have to get information from BC I. I just don’t want to be her friend; I want to listen, help her learn to make good choices, guide her when she needs it(you know, be the Mom of the teenager). What should I do to encourage the continued sharing without encouraging this my mom is my friend thing? I would welcome any advice any of you have. Thanks & I hope you are all enjoying the last few weeks of summer.

Dog Days of Summer

 As I am sure you have figured out, summer is my favorite season, to the point that I become bitter at the idea of it ending soon. Unfortunately my ability to influence planetary rotations, angles, and alignments is still severely lacking so we are once again in the last few weeks of the best time of year. This is the time of year that separates the real summer lovers from those who are just playing at it. I don’t know about y’all but here in the South you have to love summer to like August. We get high humidity and high temps all summer long, but in August it gets serious. Too hot to stand up. Air too thick to mow the grass. At 7 am. It is a common misconception that Southerners are lazy, we sit around under our ceiling fans sipping mint juleps or iced tea and chatting with each other most all day. We aren’t lazy, we just aren’t stupid. Hot air rises, if you sit you are farther from it. Extreme humidity (99% or above for weeks on end, whether it rains or not) can lead to severe dehydration very quickly if you are up and moving around. These dog days of summer are the days where the smartest people are like the dog, lay in the grass under a shade tree, nap, read a book (ok the dog doesn’t read, but you get the idea), eat light, enjoy the relax time. Fall and it’s craziness are just around the corner, no need to rush them. Personally I am not comfortable when the temp is below 73 degrees (at any time of year, in or outdoors. I get dry, itchy skin once the humidity dips below about 65%. I prefer it when being outside forces you to slow down, enjoy things, you can’t move quickly when the air is like molasses. After yesterday’s rant I wanted to share something more happy, since I got that off my chest I feel much better. Thanks for being my sounding board. I hope you are enjoying these last few weeks before the Fall comes and gets us, I know I will.

What is your favorite mid August activity?

Piña Colada Smoothies

 

 

This time of year I love making things in blenders. Creamy, yummy, cold things in blenders. With Crazy Straws. You can’t have a decent frozen beverage without Crazy Straws. This recipe was an accident. I was trying to come up with a desert/snack smoothie that would be delicious but not full of fat and sugar. Oh, and it was winter so frozen fruits were a requirement. But as soon as RedBird’s and my eyes met over our crazy straws we realized I had made low-fat Piña Coladas! Which we immediately put liquor in as soon as the kiddies went to bed. These are the two versions I can up with, enjoy!

Kiddie Friendly Smoothie:

1 container fat-free/sugar-free vanilla yogurt (those really large containers on the bottom shelf in the dairy case whose ounces I can’t bring to mind right now)

1/2 bag frozen pineapple chunks (in own juice or no sugar added)

1/2 bag frozen mango chunks (same as pineapple)

About 1/4 cup skim milk

 Grown-up-lady Smoothie:

1 container fat-free/sugar-free vanilla yogurt (those really large containers on the bottom shelf in the dairy case whose ounces I can’t bring to mind right now)

1/2 bag frozen pineapple chunks (in own juice or no sugar added)

1/2 bag frozen mango chunks (same as pineapple)

About 1/4 cup Cruzan Pineapple Rum, Coconut Rum, Malibu or Parrot Bay Rum

 

Mix all ingredients in blender. (start on chop & gradually work your way to finest setting)

If mixture to too thick for straw slurping add (small amounts at a time) more rum or milk, depending on which is appropriate.

 Slurp away!

An Island cake (part 2)

The ingredients are all listed in part 1. There are several steps to decorating this cake, it will take a while, but they are all very simple. You will want to start with readying your decorations.

Grass: Put the coconut in a ziplock baggie. Add about 3 drops of green food coloring. Seal the baggie. Shake the baggie. (this is a great task to hand the child at your feet asking to help) If the coconut isn’t a medium green throughout, add additional drops of green, shaking the baggie well in between adding the coloring. Now you have grass! You can store this baggie as is in the fridge till you need it and if there are leftovers  you can even freeze it.

Sand: Place about 1/4 of the Nilla wafers into a baggie. Seal the baggie. Smush the wafers, you need to eliminate all large pieces, don’t crush till powder throughout, it will just get mushy on you in the frosting and won’t look right. (this is another great task for that kid whose done making grass)

Ocean: In a medium sized bowl fold (with spatula, NOT a hand mixer) small amounts of the Cornflower blue paste color into the cream cheese frosting. You want the color to be somewhat blended, not smooth color throughout. Leave some portions white and some too dark blue.

Thatch: Take the triscuts and break them length wise into a bowl. You will want the random shreds and the longer pieces.

Plan your cake: Do you have a side of the cake (other than the center) that is slightly higher than the others? That’s where your hut should go. The opposite side will be the ocean, next a strip of beach, the grass up to and around your hut. If there are any natural curves in the surface use those as best you can it will help the separated sections look better.

First frost your land. Use the Lemon frosting all the way to the line for the ocean. This layer should be just as thick as the top frosting layer on a regular cake. Now place one of the small round cakes upside down (so it is perfectly flat on the side facing up) where the hut will go. Frost about 1/2 inch of chocolate across the small cake’s surface. Place the other small round cake right side up on top of the chocolate frosting. Place 4 wooden skewers through all 3 cake layers in the “corners” of the circle, make sure that the skewers are about 1 inch in from the outer edge of the small round cake. Gently cut the skewers level with the top layer of cake. (don’t forget these are here later when you cut the cake!)

Now you will fill in the ocean, fill from the edge you made with the lemon frosting to the end of the pan. Smooth as little as possible, which will make the blue ocean look more like waves and varying water colors.

Next up is sand, use your hand to shield the ocean as best you can. Pour small hand fulls of sand onto the beach at a time until you cannot see the lemon any longer and the beach area is filled out.

Now frost the hut with chocolate. Try to get the entire hut covered as best you can without getting too much chocolate in the lemon. Small errors will get covered by the grass. You want about 1/2 inch of chocolate all around the two small cakes, including the top.

Now the “bamboo poles” that make up the exterior of your hut! Place the  Pirouette cookie wafers one at a time, side by side all the way around the exterior of the small circle cakes. You will want to gently push each wafer all the way through the lemon frosting and the orange cake until you hit the bottom of the pan. Make sure you are pushing them down the sides of the small circle cakes, through the layer of chocolate frosting. (this will help both the cakes to not slide and the “bamboo” to stay straight) The tops of the wafers will stick up above the top of the cake layers. Take 1 cupcake and place it in the center of the hut. Frost all around the top of the hut with chocolate. Use the larger pieces of triscuts to bridge from the center out to the wafers. Sprinkle the shreds into bald spots, completely covering the chocolate with “thatch”.

Now fill in around the hut and all the way to the sand with the coconut grass.

With dry palms, gently press grass and sand slightly into the lemon frosting. (this will help it stay put better). Fill in any bald spots you might have accidentally created.

Place your umbrella in the sand at an inviting angle and admire your handy work!

*Note: the remaining cupcakes are good with or without frosting to hand to little ones who feel they might die if they don’t have a piece of the cake they have been staring at for 3 or 4 days.*

*Also, do not wrap this cake in saran wrap or anything else! Store in open cool dry air. Otherwise you will have a soggy mess with droopy bamboo and all.*

Visit the Luau party page for all the recipes and posts involved in this party!