Monday, October 11, 2010

Egg Beater, Chicken, Front-Back-Side-Pivot!

I butchered another pumpkin this weekend. This one went much more quietly than the last one, who kicked and screamed and took a few years off the lifespan of my blender. I think I am becoming obsessed with pumpkin puree. I want to spread this newfound gospel- to let the people know about the joy that is pulverized pumpkin!

Just what is it about that taste of pumpkin, mixed into something with plenty of butter and sugar and accented with cinnamon? I guess it tastes like fall. And so here is a taste of fall for you: my new favorite cookie recipe which I have blatantly plagiarized adapted from

Iced Pumpkin Cookies

2 1/2 cups flour
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
2 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg, ground cloves, salt
1/2 cup soft butter
1 generous cup pumpkin puree (!!)
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 t vanilla

Combine dry ingredients (except sugar) and set aside. Beat sugar and everything else together in the mixer then add the dry stuff. Drop tablespoons of dough onto a cookie sheet, flatten slightly, then bake at 375 for 10 minutes or so. If you can manage to wait long enough for the cookies to cool (we never seem to be able to do this), you can drizzle them with a glaze made from 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 1 t melted butter, 1/2 t vanilla, and 1 T milk. Or just eat them plain. Either way you'll love these cookies. So much that you just might make this face...

So it was a weekend of pumpkin slaughter, pizza sauce (Brent has tallied that we now have enough pizza sauce to last us through March 22nd. How did he come up with an exact day? There must be some sort of mathematical calculation for this? He is a talented man, that husband of mine), corn, and laundry. Oh yeah, the laundry. Snoozefest. But! I finally got caught up! As in the sheets and towels are all clean, too. This is momentous for me, okay? Seriously, I really do not understand how people with lots of kids do it. I guess if you have a big family you just designate one of your couches for clean clothes and nobody cares if your socks don't match? I truly do not understand this.

The laundry situation was made even more dire over the weekend by the fact that I ran a 5K on Sunday morning during a torrential downpour while Brent and the kids stood on the sidelines getting soaked through every fiber of their beings. But it was totally worth the extra load of laundry because it was MaryAnne's first race (and my first 5K, too!) and we killed it. I mean we didn't win or anything, but we ran steadily and finished strong. A pretty impressive feat for someone who five weeks ago laughed when I told her she should run it with me. We even shelled out the extra five bucks to do the chip timed run and so we got to wear these EXTRA SPECIAL green bibs and had the nifty chips laced onto our shoes. We looked totally legit, man, like a couple of real runners. Because we are.

I got to run an extra leg of the race because we got stuck in traffic on the way there so I had to jump out of the car on the Ferry Street Bridge and sprint over to Autzen in order to make the starting gun. Which they then delayed by ten minutes so as to allow those who had been stuck in traffic the opportunity to leisurely stroll the the start line. Of course.

But as I was making that mad dash to the start I began to think about how much I sometimes really hate running. I know, right? As I am running to the starting line of a race. But still, sometimes I really want to be lazy and sleep in my cozy bed instead of shlepping my entire family out into the rain so that I can run some arbitrary distance and get all hot and sweaty and red faced. My bed is so warm and cozy, you know, and I do so enjoy a quiet morning at home in my bathrobe with the newspaper and coffee and a little parenting break compliments of PBS Kids.

I guess we all need challenges. We must be driven to seek them out. It's a good thing when we dare to push ourselves to do something new or difficult. Rising to the occasion and meeting those challenges is what makes us feel fulfilled in our lives, I think. My challenges right now are to store enough fruits and vegetables in my freezer to last us all winter (this is ambitious, no?), to take Jack's mood swings in stride, to conquer that half marathon (November 20th!!), to keep my laundry demons at bay, to save some pumpkin cookies for tomorrow, and to remember to breathe and to savor the moments in my busy life that seem to want to slip away.

Back to the race. The turnout was impressive (hence the traffic snarl) and I scanned the crowd for kids from my school. I just figured that with all of this "I Heart Boobies" business running the middle school fashion circuit, I'd see some familiar faces out supporting breast cancer research. Nope. Lazy kids. Posers. I totally called them out on this in class today. I saw it as a "teachable moment".

So I'm wondering from you, blog readers, what are your challenges? How are you pushing yourself? I think it's inspiring to hear what other people accomplish when they channel their energy. Sure, this question isn't as exciting as writing about your most horrific public toddler meltdown, but I think it's an important one.

And to reward you for considering leaving a comment, I'll close by sharing with you an embarrassing story about a challenge that I recently faced, that I have deliberately avoided mentioning on this blog in fear that you would demand proof that this actually happened and that I would then have to dance the Hustle for you. Or that you would look for videos of this on YouTube (please do NOT tell me if you find any, I don't want to know!).

I can't dance. Not at all. It doesn't mean I won't dance, but I know that I look like an overcooked noodle with extra knees and elbows when I'm doing it. Give me a drink or two and put me into a dimly lit room with lots of other people and I'll shake my money maker with the best of 'em, but dancing in a public forum, as in for an audience? Not a chance.

But it was the first week of school and we decided to do a staff talent show and blah blah blah I "took a mental birdwalk" and suddenly we had agreed to dance the Hustle at an assembly! Huh? So everybody met in my classroom so we could practice and it was clear from the get go that I was not going to be able to do this. I started having flashbacks to 7th grade PE and the humiliating realization that I have no physical coordination whatsoever. I got super frustrated and tried to laugh it off, but really I was freaking out about this damn Hustle. Everybody else (with a few notable exceptions- you know who you are) seemed to master the dance after the first practice, but I knew that I was going to need an individualized plan of support. Enter my school BFF Kate, who patiently mentored me through the arduous journey of learning the basic dance steps. Then I went home and practiced with a little help from YouTube (see? it has its place) and finally my friend Melanie helped me put the finishing touches on my Hustle. (It's all about how far apart you spread your feet. Who knew?)

The assembly came and I totally rocked it. Or at least I did not fall down or trip over everyone else. I like to think that I rocked it, so let's just leave it at that, and like I said before, if you find and YouTube video evidence to the contrary you can just keep that to yourself.

So again, I pose the question to you, how do you challenge yourself?


  1. So, first of all, yay for us and our drenched selves in those pictures! As far as the challenge - I had to think on that for a day. The easy one is - I want to keep running. When's the next 5K to keep me motivated? But another current challenge - having a handmade holiday. I have some ideas, mostly for kids' gifts, but others are a little harder, hello Jeremy?! And, yikes, the clock is ticking! Okay, thanks for the good check-in about a challenge. I'm off to cut some fabric for that handmade thing...

  2. My current challenge is to shower on an every-other-day basis. At least. I have not risen to this challenge in a few weeks. But I'm not giving up!

  3. I made these cookies tonight and they are super tasty! Thank you!

  4. Hi Cassadie, I know its been a long time but oh how things have changed! Your kids are so cute! This is your long lost cousin(?) from N.Ireland, Andrew. I'm currently up in Canada but heading on a road trip to the US next week(ish). I would love to see you again and meet the rest of the family so hopefully we can arrange something suitable. Could'nt find your email on the blog (which is awesome btw) so I will give you mine.