If A Parent Falls In the Forest And No One Is There To Hear Them, Do They Pick Themselves Back Up?

Now more than ever we need to be empathetic towards one another, especially to those trying to send our children back to school.

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For The Pumpkin Lovers

Ok, this one is for all you pumpkin people out there. Pumpkin beer, pumpkin coffee, pumpkin candles, pumpkin muffins, oh my gosh. Some of the products made with pumpkin out there astonish me. Personally, pumpkin beer belongs in the trash, along with candy corn, and red candy apples. Just give me a warm pumpkin baked good and a latte: cue my happy place.

This recipe will fullfill some of those fall cravings. It is actually my mom’s recipe handed down. She has made this cake since I was a kid. When I would smell the aroma of the this cake baking in the oven, I knew it was that time of year. Helping dad rake the leaves, back to school, colder nights, and trick or treating. I’m holding onto the tradition for my family, and it’s now just one of those things I’m simply expected to make. So I’m passing it on to anyone who wants to try it out. It’s amazing how food brings family together.

When baking, I totally feel the type of pan and tool you use make all the difference. So for this cake, I do suggest a good quality bundt pan and a stand mixer or hand held mixer. I also like to bake this is smaller individual bundt pans to pass out to friends and co-workers. They’ll love you! Pampered Chef has the perfect one.

Better than any pumpkin beer I know.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake

  • 3 cups of flour (sifted)
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 cup of oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 can of pumpkin puree
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 8 oz chocolate chips (I personally put an entire 12 oz bag in. I love it chocolately)

Preheat oven for 350 degrees. Beat eggs, sugar, and oil. Add pumpkin. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt. Add to the egg mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips. Grease and flour a bundt pan. Bake 50-50 minutes. Let cool for about half hour before removing from the pan.

Can you smell this picture?

Maybe I’m a little biased, but this cake is delicious. My family gets excited when I make it just as I used to when I was a kid.

Great for breakfast on the go.

Stop and Smell the Flowers, and Clear Your Mind

Any parent or caregiver will tell you it’s nearly impossible to make time for yourself. A wise woman once told me self care is a necessity in order to have healthy relationships with your loved ones. She compared it to being on an airplane when the oxygen masks fall from the overhead. You have to adjust that oxygen mask on your own self, before you can help anyone else. (God forbid that happens to any of us.) Otherwise, you and your co-pilot suffer. Easier said than done.

Lately, I found myself spiraling out of control, much like that airplane. I’ve been sleeping less, eating more, and developing unhealthy habits. Dealing with added stress as we try to make sense of the unknowns of the approaching school year, and the unknowns of what is happening with my career. In addition, the pressure of keeping my kids entertained while they push back on teacher mom, who is trying her best to prevent any learning loss. All the while struggling to maintain a tidy home and well kept kids so when the husband comes home, he doesn’t think I’ve been lounging around all day in pajamas. I honestly have no idea what I do all day, but it’s not that. Did I mention elections, social injustice, COVID-19, and fires burning? I feel like I’m in a Billy Joel video: 2020 remix. The pressure is bottling up and I need my mask.

“Self! You need to go for a long walk.” What clarity, what simplicity, what freedom! Why haven’t I done this sooner? I really had no reason other then all the excuses I’ve convinced myself of. “I don’t want to leave the kids home alone, that laundry really should get done, I have that thing to do, my head hurts.

Once I found my path, my road not taken, I discovered so much along the way. I discovered what my neighborhood looks like, I met some friendly faces, I learned the names of 2 dogs that looked familar. I noticed nature at work. I was inspired by some landscaping ideas I’d like to try out in my yard, I thought about what my next blog topics were going to be about, I started to envision how my classroom would look once back to school, I stopped and smelled some flowers before the fall arrives and kills them all. I even stopped to say the Pledge of Allegiance. All of these positive thoughts and brainstorming, I could not do within the home. Too many distractions. “Mom, I want milk, Mom, can you buy me Robuks? Mom, can my friends come over? Ma…Ma….Mommy.” Walking brings me a sigh of relief for even a brief moment. I come back home, and it’s all there waiting for me, like a Stephen King novel, I’m afraid of what I’ll walk into. But I am thankful I had an hour of peace and solace from all that has been weighing on me. I come home, and all is well. The house is still standing and no one noticed I was even gone.

So step away, force yourself, it’s okay. You have permission. You’ll thank yourself later.

P.S. Count how many different types of sunflowers you run into along the way.

Rock-A-Bye-Baby

When my sister-in-law had her baby who is now 17 months, she and her husband were one of the lucky ones who were able to put that baby down at night with rarely any issues, and that baby slept through the night from Day 1. I’m not going to lie, I was a little envious. I’d often joke with her that my both my girls didn’t sleep through the night until they were 3. In all honestly, it wasn’t a joke. It was a nightmare. For my in-laws, it seemed magical, almost to good to be true. Perposterous!

From the moment my girls were infants, they never allowed me to put them down at night without a good hour minimum of rocking them to sleep and deceiving me to believe that they were in full slumber. I didn’t understand what was so special about me that they needed to cling to my every move. As most parents wish for, I just wanted them to go to sleep. Tired and withdrawn after a long day of work while juggling infants and toddlers, I just wanted them to go to sleep. “Go to sleep!” I’d scream in my head while rocking back in forth in the most uncomfortable glider I could have registered for. A few nights, I think I screamed it aloud. Other nights, I found the rocking motion made me doze off before them, waking instantly inspecting to see if they rolled out of my arms. Once it seemed like the coast was clear, I’d lay them in the crib like I was handling a granade. I’d creep out of their room like Mommy Ninja, hoping not to step on that one floor board that would undo all that hard work and set off the granade.

The tradition lasts til this day. I tuck my girls in every night, smelling their sweetness as I lay next to them. They still beg me, “Can you sleep with me?” And even though most nights I’m tired AF, I still do it. I do it because they are growing like weeds. I do it because they still cling to my every move. I do it because I know they love me. I do it because I love them. I will continue to tuck them in, until I get the signal that I’m no longer needed.

I take comfort in knowing that if I’m no longer around to tuck them in, they’ll always have each other.