Friday, February 21, 2020

Grandma's Apple Cake

If there is one thing that brings back memories of my childhood, specifically at Thanksgiving or Christmas, it would be Grandma's Apple Cake. Grandma always had her irresistibly delicious apple cake on the dessert table next to the pumpkin and boysenberry pies. Though boysenberry is my all-time favorite pie, and Grandma made it perfectly, I simply could not resist that apple cake. (Who am I kidding...? I had both. With a scoop of vanilla ice cream too). 

This cake is like no other apple cake recipe I have tried. It is loaded with chunky bits off apple and walnuts and then drizzled with a yummy cream cheese icing. Grandma also added raisins. I ate them when I was ten; but now that I can make the cake myself, there will be no raisins. It's your call if you want to raisin it up. Either way, this cake will not disappoint. 


4 cups apples 
2 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1 cup raisins (optional)
1/2 cup oil
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Peel and chop apples. Break eggs over apples and stir. Add sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, walnuts, raisins, and oil. Mix. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to apple mixture and blend well. The batter will be very thick and lumpy. Place batter in a greased and floured Bundt cake pan. Bake at 375 for one hour. 

Allow to cool for 30 minutes and then remove from pan. Drizzle with cream cheese icing and finely chopped walnuts.
Serves 12.

Per serving: 315 Calories; 12.1g fat; 4.6g protein; 49.5g carbohydrates.

Cream Cheese Icing

1/2 brick cream cheese
3-4 tbs milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbs powdered sugar

Mix all ingredients until thin enough to drizzle over cake. If too thick, continue to add milk, one teaspoon at a time, until you get the desired consistency.

This is Grandma and Grandpa B, with my mom.  All live in heaven now. I miss them terribly. I don't know where Grandma got this recipe but I know it's been in our family for decades. Actually, I think it came from Great Grandma who would have been making this cake in the 1930's. She probably got it from a church ladies' recipe book. Good guess anyway. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Negotiation Training 101

It was not my intent to write two similar stores about the same child back-to-back... but this child continually provides material that just begs me to blog. So, here we go. I give you Daniel and his "attorney speak" - the sequel.

It was a cold, rainy day and I was feeling somewhat lazy. Since procrastination is my super-power, I had allowed the dishes to pile up and had no interest in removing my bottom from the sofa in order to remedy the situation. Then I had this brilliant idea!!!  I could get one of the boys to do the dishes. Certainly they can be bribed, I thought. So I prepared a text for all the boys which offered "things of monetary value" in exchange for doing the dishes. And then I waited.

Moments later I received a reply from Daniel. (Of course it was Daniel. The other two just ignore such texts.) His response did not disappoint.

Ok... so one child has taken the bait, I thought.  I'm certain we can come to an agreement which allows me to continue binge watching "The Good Place", while my dishes disappear. And so negotiations began.  With an ear-to-ear grin, I replied, "both". Seconds later I received another text.

The current stock market?!?!  Who is this child? 
I didn't want to open negotiations by giving him an idea of what I was willing to pay, so I replied in such a way as to draw out his price without giving away my position.

Clearly he didn't want to give his price away either. Excellent, my son. Hold your cards close and wait for the offer.  

There we go! He has named his price. 

Here's your valid point right here, kid!

Listen, I know $10.00 for doing the dishes is pretty steep, however, you must understand the following:

         1) I found this entire negotiation highly amusing and 
         2) On this particular day I really was THAT lazy.

The negotiations continued:



So we came to an agreement. $11 USD and a mint, with the labor fee waived in this specially priced package. Clearly I was TAKEN, but again, the entertainment value alone was worth the cash. Getting the dishes done was just a bonus.

And so... my lazy butt sat on the sofa while my ultra-brilliant son did the dishes. I savored the knowledge that it is unlikely anyone will ever be able to take advantage of my son. Smart little booger that he is.

And for my critics who think a child should never be paid to do "household chores": Y'all need to lighten up. Sometimes it's okay to be silly with the kids. He learned the very useful skill of negotiation, and I got my dishes done. PLUS:  when all is said and done... I'm not sure I actually paid him. And listen, if he doesn't remember, I don't see why I need to. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

I Live With a Thirteen-Year-Old Attorney

My life is a circus. Full Stop!  That is all. 

Some day's I'm not even sure who wears the ring-master hat in this household; though I'm pretty sure the monkeys are in charge quite often. But it's okay because my monkeys are smart little boogers and they entertain me greatly. Case in point:

Every two weeks I spend Sunday and Monday in frantic preparation for the housekeeper's visit on Tuesday. I make every attempt to pick up all the stuff, which includes finishing all laundry. Sometimes I fail in this area and the laundry room floor cannot be mopped for months. The laundry.... OY... it never ends! EVER!

After such an effort to clear out the laundry room, it ticks me off beyond belief when someone decides to bring down their laundry on Monday night. This compelled me to send Army Guy a text like this:

Just two hours before the arrival of awesome housekeeper. I was LIVID!

So this week I decided to be proactive and send out an announcement to the entire family on Sunday night.

Enter Daniel, my genius (smart-@$$) 13-year-old child who, I swear, was born to be an attorney.

This prompted a lively conversation between Daniel, his dad and I. This child is too intelligent for his own good.  Anyway... there was a discussion on dictatorships, sedition, treason and the idea of a revolution with the ultimate goal of a coup to overthrow the government.  To which I replied:

And then Army Guy Posted:

This conversation concluded with the entire idea of a revolution dying a slow, silent death to the soundtrack of crickets chirping in B minor. 

And that’s how you stop a revolution!

Mommy for the win!

Note to self: it really IS time to teach these boogers how to do their own laundry. (Muahahaha)

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

What a Mom Wants

Photo by Norbert Buduczki on Unsplash
Guys, listen up. What I'm about to tell you is GOLD. This is the key to happiness for your wife. Are you ready? The all-time best gift for your wife is this:


It’s just that simple! All she wants is a clean car. She doesn't even know this is what she wants... but she does! And if you can anticipate this desire and meet her need before she knows she needs it, Buddy, you will unlock that place inside where all the gooey, mushy, feelings of great joy reside. You will be her hero; her number one guy! And you will reap the rewards as well.

See, before she was a mom, she enjoyed a sweet ride without nasty car seats covered in last month's spilled milk that now smell like the bottom of the trash cans... the ones on the OUTSIDE of the house. She didn't have old French fries under the seats, chicken nuggets in the cup-holders, or smears on the widows where someone just really needed to know what glass tastes like. She probably didn't have dog hair wafting throughout the air, landing on every imaginable surface and settling into a 2-inch layer of grossness on the carpet. She certainly didn’t have to play “guess that smell” every time she got into the car. 

Until the children came, she wasn’t used to driving a stinking cesspool of germs and grime that would put a Wal-Mart bathroom to shame. Her car used to be a sanctuary of cleanliness that still had that "new car smell" 28 months after you bought it. She used to have pride in her car and was able to offer anyone a lift, without notice, and without having to issue a disclaimer, "Please ignore the car. I have kids".

She just wants a clean car!!!  And you are the guy to make it happen. Take her car for an afternoon without saying a word, and watch how she responds when you return with a like-new mom-ride. You will be THE MAN! If you can swing a monthly detail service...Buddy you are GOLDEN! If not, please consider this gift for Mother's Day, her birthday, Christmas and your anniversary. Pretty much any occasion where you need a gift and are out of ideas... HERE'S YOUR HINT! 

This is what your wife wants. Forget the diamonds, flowers, stuffed teddy bears and pajama-grams. Seriously, DO NOT even consider a Pajama-gram! That's all crap (okay, maybe not the diamonds). But I promise you, if given the choice between a clean car and diamonds, five bucks says she takes the clean car. For the love of all that is pleasant and sanitary and lemony fresh...she just wants an uncontaminated ride. Or a hazmat's your call.


Thursday, October 3, 2019

Book Review: Where the Crawdads Sing

July 2019
Where The Crawdads Sing
Author: Delia Owens
Genre: Fiction
Lori's Book Club Rating: 4 Thumbs Up

#1 New York Times Bestseller
A Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Book Club Pick

"I can't even express how much I love this book! I didn't want this story to end!"--Reese Witherspoon

"Painfully beautiful."--The New York Times Book Review

"Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps." (From the book description on Amazon)

Lori's Book Review 
Our book club was divided on this one. Some loved it and some didn't (the "some who didn't" includes me). I realize I am in the minority here; a lot of people really love this book. It just wasn't a great read for me. It's not that I hated it...I didn't. It just left me feeling sad, and that's not the way I want to feel when I finish a book. 

This is the heartbreaking account of a girl who is abandoned by her mother at the age of six. She is left with an abusive father, neglected and starving. One by one her siblings depart and, eventually, her dad just fails to return home from a trip. By the age of ten she is left completely alone, raising herself in a shack in the marsh land of North Carolina, essentially removed from civilization. Somehow we are to believe that a child can feed and support herself and grow up to be a stunningly beautiful young woman whom the boys in town desire. I just didn't find that plausible. A child left alone will not learn about self-care and hygiene. She will not receive medical and dental care. She will be malnourished; she'll have rotten teeth, mangy, knotted hair and bad breath. In a nutshell, she would be a complete mess of a human being.

Additionally, it is highly unlikely such an uneducated person would be able to become a published author. I happen to know a few things about the publishing industry and it is HARD to get published. In order to receive a publishing contract, an author must come to the table with a huge platform; a following of at least 10,000 people. This is actually more important than the content of the book. Publishers know that in-house editors can fix a manuscript, but they cannot manufacture a following. A publisher wants to know an author can sell books without much marketing budget required from the publisher. The "following" reigns supreme.  

True, this story takes place between 1952 and 1969 and book publishing would have been different then. However, it is still completely implausible to me that an uneducated, wild child who raised herself in seclusion would become a published author. However, I can actually let that go for the sake of the story. I mean...I love time travel novels, so plausibility is not a requirement for me to enjoy a book. What I do require is a story that will leave me feeling content about the character's life experiences. If there is tragedy or abuse, I want to see some resolution. I want my main character to win in the end. I want the Hallmark moment. The more traumas my main character faces, the bigger the "comeuppance" I want to see for the perpetrators. The death of the villain isn't always the best revenge. And though there was some resolution in this book, I just didn't find it good enough. 

Quite honestly, this story broke my mommy heart - up one side and down the other. How on earth does an entire family leave a small child with an abusive dad and not think to take the girl with them? As a mom, there is no way on God's green earth I would remove myself from an abusive situation and not take my children with me...especially a six-year-old girl.  So, though I concede this novel was well written, I just cannot jump on the "what a great read" bandwagon. The "resolution" at the end was not good enough for me. I wanted a happier ending. Without giving the ending away, I didn't want to see that twist. I didn't like it one bit. 

All that said, the fact that the book made me feel so strongly, is a compliment to the author. A writer, who can make the reader FEEL for the characters, has done a fantastic job. So though the story did not resonate with me, the writing was outstanding; just not my cup of tea.

If you like a story that includes child abuse, suffering, abandonment and murder, all wrapped up in one big "who-done-it" mystery, you might like this book. Me...? Not-so-much!  However, since four of the six book club members loved this book, I am still giving it 4 thumbs up.

It's not all about ME, y ‘all. 

Copywrite 2018 - Loretta Monroe