Category Archives: Snow Day

On Grey Days…Beware Bedeviling Baked Goods

February is the grayest month of the year and I can prove it;  even my cooking is suffering a major depressive disorder.


I love to throw things into a pot and see what happens. Sometimes I end up with a miraculous, delicious invention that could hold it’s own in a modest kitchen stadium.


And then, there are those unfortunate choices we live to regret.*

Dinner started out as basic boiled root vegetables. I had carrots, potatoes, onions, a red cabbage. I figured, “Ah heck, who cares if everything is vaguely pink?”

…then I remembered I had the makings of a nice green curry. So, I just kept tossing things in: peas, peppers, coriander, lemon grass, fish sauce, chicken, coconut milk…

Red Cabbage Swamp
Unintentional Red Cabbage Massacre


Red cabbage is so good in many things, but not as a visual aid in Green Curry Recipes. And purple curry is just WRONG!

Every time I made the mistake of looking at my meal, I felt like an institutional stew from a psych ward was staring back at me.

At least it tasted okay…as long as you closed your eyes.

Dessert was not so lucky.

It’s been a long week. My son has had more snow days, half-days and doctor’s visits than usual. I’m starting to twitch trying to keep him occupied.

So, I decided to make some cupcakes…from a box mix.

I think to myself, “You can’t go wrong with a box mix.”**

Then I remembered I wanted to try mixing in a box of pudding…so I go to the internet.

I whip everything together. Plunk some festive papers in the cupcake tray and pop those bad boys in the oven for forty-five minutes at 350 degrees, just like the cobbled-together recipe online says.

I’m watching reruns of Supernatural. The Winchesters battle God’s sister for the sake of the universe and the loving scent of vanilla wafts through the house. The oven is so warm that I can feel my toes thawing.

All is well with the world.

Supernatural Cupcakes
I searched for images of ‘Supernatural Cupcakes’ thinking I’d find Sam and Dean draped in suggestive poses covered in pastry. Alas, I did not. But the internet did not disappoint. Admire these hexed treats. I’m in awe of you, Justina Kropp/Pinterest.

Time passes. I’m distracted by a noise, pause my show, and I get up to check it out when I  realize there is still about fifteen minutes left on the oven timer…

And that’s when it hits me.

Cupcakes are not cakes. Not really. They are precocious infants that might someday grow up to be real desserts.

And they don’t take 45 minutes to bake.

Surprisingly, what I took out of the oven wasn’t entirely inedible.***

“I’ll just make a fantastic frosting and hide my crimes.” I say, with desperate bravado, the hallmark of self delusion.

Back to the internet I go…because I am a slow learner.

I wanted to make a ganache…a rich, chocolatey, mouth-gasm of a frosting.

Ganache, for those of you who don’t know, is fecking awesome when done correctly.

That last part is important.

This is what I made instead:

Crappy Cupcake 1
This really needs the sound track to the shower scene from Psycho. That’s how big a tragedy this was.


“How bad were these cupcakes?” You ask.

I’ll show you.

Exhibit A:

Cupcake vs Mango
I gave my teenage son a choice…cupcake or mango.


I myself was curious to learn whether there was any kind of sugary confection my son would turn down.

This was his answer….

Cupcake vs Mango 2
Yeah. That’s pretty damning.


So, I did the only thing a sad baker can do.

(Besides eat two anyway because. Denial!)

Garbage Cakes
Good Bye, nasty garbage cakes!

They clung to the tray as if saying, “We’re not that bad…give us a chance.”

But no. Sometimes, it’s better, healthier, to let go of the things we cannot change.

And that includes damaged baked goods.

Asterisk Bedazzled Footnotes:

*Recipes, like horses, should never be changed mid-stream.

**I was wrong. Horribly, disastrously wrong. This was the monstrous amalgamation of inattention paired with random recipe Googling–creating a cake-tastrophy.

***But they were totally indelible.


Calendar Mom Drops the Holiday Ball

Crass Consumerism Lite Show




Dear All,

I am spending Christmas Day writing cards to friends because, apparently, I am living the holidays backward. And it started off so promising too…

The cookies were baked and frosted in early December…ready to be handed out to teachers and neighbors instead of requiring exhausting shopping jaunts and wrapping to accomplish. Ta dah!

*She gloated and lo’ the gods of irony did take notice.* 

So, of course, the minute I added the last dragée sprinkle, I came down with the worst bubonic nasal funk, like, EVER. I didn’t dare hand out the frosted ones out to anyone…I liked.

We’ve been eating them all in lieu of chicken soup. (Note: I make something like 100 cookies each season.)


Cookies 2017
Over-sprinkle much?


As a result of the plague, all shopping was done last minute. Like on Saturday, or as I was calling itthe Eve of Christmas.

I gritted my teeth and plowed through the tinsel strewn madness in a frantic bid not to throttle my fellow man–just so I’d have presents to hand out at the family gathering.*

I stayed up all night Saturday wrapping the last-minute what-nots decorated with frills and furbelows and wondering why BBC America wasn’t showing the much-awaited Dr. Who Christmas special.

*A clue, she has not.*

Dizzy with a stuffy head, thrown by the fact I work from home and days are marked by whether I have to shove my kid on a bus or not, things are spectacularly wonky. Festivities happen in spastic fits and starts if they happen at all. To be perfectly blunt, I’m off! In fact, I am so off in my order of traditional holiday crapola, that we celebrated early.

LIKE…a DAY early.

I woke Sunday thinking that it was Monday because I saw a mail van delivering to the house next door. So, Santa came early. I made the traditional pop-n-fresh, cinnamon rolls from a Pillsbury can baked into the shape of a lumpy Christmas tree the way my mom always made for us when we were kids. My son happily opened his giant tube of popcorn and his Orville Redenbacher fun-fun air popper.

It is only after the morning is gone and all the presents are opened that I realize…oh, wait. It’s only the 24th.

Christmas Comes Early - Cinnamon Roll Tree
No…his shirt says “PUCK”…though I understand why you might be confused.


So, here we are, December 25th with nothing to celebrate. The snowy day precludes the emergency ‘road trip’ that I blankly promised my son yesterday with the caveat “If the weather is good.”**

And we woke to this…

Old Man Winter
Neon depiction of actual weather event – The Old Man Winter Blow-Out White Sale!


This wouldn’t be so all-fired tragic if it weren’t for the irony of it all.

My kid, the Calendar King, said NOT ONE WORD about the fact mommy was off by a day.***  I guess all kids dreams of Christmas coming early. This does explain the kind of puzzled looks he kept giving me when I told him to keep opening his presents though…

So, Happy Holidays to everyone… and I might as well wish you Happy New Year. I’ll be with you in spirit/s next Saturday as we toast farewell to 2017!  Because who in their right mind would put New Years on a Sunday of all things! Am I right?

Asterisk Bedazzled Footnotes:

*I was shocked to find other people shopping and leaving me with no place to park but the butt-end of the parking lot. Seriously, why weren’t they all home with their families and snug in their beds?

**Note: all weather is good weather for travel according to my son. The roads could be melting with lava, hail could be denting the roof and Pteradactyls might be making a bid to return from the primordial ooze from which they sprung and he’d still say, “Car ride?”

***Yeah yeah. I know. Non-verbal autistic. But he could have pointed to a calendar or something!

Hibernating with Books

I should have been a bear. Really! Every time January rolls around, I eat a houseful of food and then want to curl up in a ball and bury my head under the covers until June. I look at everyone else around me who seems to be inordinately energized—bothering to wash laundry and cook meals, for example.  Whereas I considered bribing my son with an ice cream sandwich this morning if only he’d get himself up and dressed for school on time.*

Winter break wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected. However, lazy days have their side effects. I slowly devolved from a marginally-together person into an Amazon-Prime-channeling slug. The thought of reading anything besides junk-food thrillers or sexy, slithery beast men who woo their sexual partners with a combination of near-abuse and copious amounts of testosterone-soaked pheromones is un-bearable. (Pun intended. You’re welcome.) This is anything but Prime reading! If you think I am kidding, check out a few of the titles available for “Free” on Amazon Kindle Unlimited.**

Seduced by a Dragon

Stop Dragon My Heart Around (Series–I kid you not.)

Pleasure Island

By the way, I am NOT recommending these. I just searched a random term in Kindle unlimited and grabbed the worst-sounding titles I could find in under ten seconds.

Mid-winter lethargy shows itself everywhere. This post is the first thing that I have written in nearly a month. I’m so lazy, I’m even giving up on double-spacing after the period at the end of each sentence based on the fear it will mark me a geriatric writer of old-school sensibilities. Hmm, that gives me an idea of novel spin-off possibilities:

You wouldn’t believe how hard it was to find a g-rated school marm image.

Sentence and Sensibilities

Definitely NOT written by a Lady

When Elinor and Edward meet–the after-school special begins! First, he drops his participles when she walks past; then he omits his Oxford comma. How ever will she tame his wild ways? Prim school marm, Elinor, disciplines her most recalcitrant student, Edward, for his pitiful punctuation performance.   He then turns the tables on his teacher when he changes into a ferocious werebeast and lectures his proud school mistress in love. Who will punctuate improperly after this naughty remedial class?***

(If this sounds more like Pride and Prejudice—blame my limited knowledge of Jane Austen novels.)

I can’t say whether the plot is Prime-worthy, but musing about it at least whiles away the time between naps. Until the next chapter…I’ll be reading between the sheets.

Asterisk Bedazzled Footnote:

*Child got waffles instead. You’d think the act of depressing the toaster was tantamount to preparing a full-course banquet the exhaustion the prospect gave me.

**“Free” means it only costs your dignity if anyone catches you reading it.

***Their conjugation brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “Teacher’s Pet.”


A Cookie Cutter Philosophy

Cookies! Not just for breakfast, lunch, and dinner anymore!

I am suffering a cookie backlash. It’s something like the brain freeze you get from sucking down a super-sweet slushie too fast. I ate nearly a whole plate of cookies before realizing, “Hey, I am apparently hungry for dinner and cookies…though delicious…sadly, are not dinner.” I blame my son and his cookie-niverous habits for setting a bad example.

Go on. You know you want to!


I am supposed to be writing about my personal philosophy of life as part of my DBT group therapy* Part of my instruction is to “Learn and do challenging things that help me grow and mature as a human being.” So far, all I have managed to do is throw my agnostic self into the holiday spirit like a drunk at an open bar.

In the past week, I have walked the neighborhood enjoying the random display of holiday lights that sparkle and invite; I’ve frosted enough cookies to qualify as a half-baked mad woman; and, I’ve sculpted a snowman and pelted snowballs in pursuit of the perfect snowy day. Perhaps I can find a personal philosophy herein?

Let There Be Light!

The majority of homes in our neighborhood have no decorations at all.** So, as my son and I walked, we passed rows and rows of quiet, well-behaved buildings in order to find the rowdy and unruly ones clad for a festive night life.

There were Simplistic Scenes:

One can be tastefully understated and have fully-lit deer. It’s just that simple.


Perfectly Balanced Perfections:

“As long as our lights run: red, green, yellow, blue, red green, yellow, blueand never burn out… then everything is okay!”

The Whimsical and Charming:


Every life needs a Blue Light Special!


Hazardous and Slap-dash Efforts:

Guess who’s house this is!?

And Truly Dazzling Displays:

The neighbors set the bar a little high this year, don’t you think?


And then there was the show-stopping efforts we traveled to Lansing to admire. I can’t even imagine where one shops to find a Jabba the Hutt inflatable Christmas display.

Have a Very Star Wars X-Mas!


This was from our car…across the street. Yes, that is Darth Vader with a ten-foot candy cane light saber.


We wish you a Jabba Christmas, We wish you a Jabba Christmas, We wish you a Jabba Christmas and a Jawa New Year!


I don’t know whether the way one strings lights says much (or anything at all) about one’s mental health—but my philosophy says the least amount of effort brings the greatest pleasure. That, and you really can’t enjoy your own outdoor decorations. So, it is better to live opposite the house that puts one up—which in my case, is what happened. I get to admire the beauty and they foot the bill! It’s a win-win, really.

No, to find philosophy, one has to go deep into the kitchen. Perhaps all philosophers start out staring at the world around them to find meaning. This is what I discovered while getting baked…er…I mean baking.

The Cookie Maker’s Manifesto

  • No matter how well you follow the recipe, you are going to forget how many cups of flour you have painstakingly scooped half-way through. It pays to buy enough measuring cups for a double recipe.
  • When you go to roll your dough, be prepared for breaks, cracks and just plain wrong efforts.
  • You will burn the first batch. Expect failure.
  • Cute, mini gingerbread houses are bound to be just as hard to construct as real ones.
  • The walls will not want to go up right the first time; you will put them on the wrong way each time; and, you will definitely break a wall pressing too hard.
Frosting makes an excellent spackle.  Remember this the next time you are caulking the tub.


  • Frosting plus cinnamon red hots make a handy-dandy, makeshift chimney to hold up a house and hide foundation-wide cracks.
“Sure. It’s totally on purpose that a house with no fireplace has a chimney. Why do you ask?”


  •  With enough frosting—even badly rolled, overly-floured cookies are edible. And, even if they aren’t, with enough sugar candies, they are at least pretty.


If you can’t find the sweetness of life in your cookies – perhaps you can find it in sublimated aggression otherwise known as snowball fights.

Snowball Epiphanies

It always starts off innocent:

“Let’s build a snowman.”

Winter Wonderland Wrapped in Puffy Snow Suit = Michelin Man in Black


Soon you are bundled to within an inch of your life wondering how the suit that fit last year is so snug? You waddle into the yard and start scooping snow.


You mean for this to be a nice, fun experience…but before long, the balls are flying! (Not pictured because, duh, flying snowballs.)

Teaching my son the value of pre-emptive strikes.


What have we learned from all this? I can’t really say. Perhaps in all the madness of the season hides the reason for the madness?

Shine the Light on Your Anxieties?

I’m not sure if I’ve found the meaning of life in all my wanderings this week. Is it like a colorfully lit, snowy landscape? It can look pretty on the sparkling surface, but the minute you scrape away the white layer the dirt-encrusted reality is unearthed? No…that’s not it.

Cookies as a Panacea?

Can philosophy be found in an oven? If you see a cutesy cookie cutter at World Market—put it down and back away slowly—it is bound to bring you hardship and grief! Nope…I don’t think that is quite right either.



Snowball-ism!  Is violence really the answer?

No matter how well-intentioned, every snowman creation ends up being a frigid brawl dressed like an inflatable sumo wrestler! Ahh. That’s it. That’s my philosophy for the week: Don’t fling the frozen water if you can’t take the cold!***

Of course, when the fair weather returns, I’ll be shopping around for a new mantra. I suspect innate sand castle mortality and nagging mosquito bite b-itchiness are in the offing. Until then, avoid the chill and wait out the winter with a good book and hot cocoa. Everybody cool’s doing it.

Ice Ice Baby!

Asterisk Bedazzled Footnotes:

*Right about now that philosophy would be “Don’t eat just one more! There is no end of ‘just one more’ when it comes to cookies.”

**These are the homes of people who fear giant electricity bills.

***It helps if you pick a seven-year-old as your opponent. Even if you can’t outrun him, you can always squish him in defense.