Halloween Decorations

We received an email for our neighborhood association about Halloween decor:


“We encourage families to decorate their homes and yards for the upcoming Trick or Treat night; however, we also ask that your decorations be in good taste and not inappropriate (over-the- top gory and horrific). Remember we are a Family Neighborhood Community. Please decorate within the Resident Guide and please be tasteful and respectful of others that may be sensitive to horrific decorations.”

I read this out loud in a snotty voice to my teenage daughter GG.

She said, “Just for that, let’s put out an actual corpse.”

She gets her attitude from her father.



I made some awesome gumbo last week.


And shh.. don’t tell anyone… I used a mix.

This came out really well and didn’t cost much because I used a leftover bratwurst from the night before and the tail meat from shrimp I cooked for another dish.

It was about 1 1/2 pounds of large frozen shrimp, and I just cut off the tails and saved them in a baggie in the freezer. Then to make the gumbo I peeled the tail shells off and used the little bits of meat inside.

This worked great because my kids hate taking the tails off their shrimp anyways. They always complain.

Wow, are we spoiled Americans or what?

So here’s the gumbo recipe:

  • Cooked bratwurst sausage, chopped up small
  • bits of shrimp meat
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • can of diced tomatoes
  • 6 cups water
  • gumbo mix

In a big pot, melt the butter on medium and cook the shrimp pieces. Add the sausage bits until it’s all cooked together. Scoop out the meat and leave the butter and grease in the pot. Put the meat aside for later.

Put the water and gumbo mix in with the butter. Whisk it until the lumps are gone and increase the heat to high. Keep stirring until it boils. Turn the heat down to low.

Dump in the tomatoes and put the meat back into the gumbo. Simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve with cooked rice.

Oh yeah, and hide the Zatarain’s box and tell people, “It’s my grandmother’s recipe. Takes ALL DAY!”


Have you seen this thing circulating on the internet?

It creeps me out.

Brad Pitt about his Lady:“My girl got sick. She was constantly nervous because of problems at work, personal life, her failures and children. She lost 30 pounds and weighted about 90 pounds. She got very skinny and was constantly crying. She was not a happy woman. She had suffered from continuing headaches, heart pain and jammed nerves in her back and ribs. She did not sleep well, falling asleep only in the mornings and got tired very quickly during the day. Our relationship was on the verge of a break up. Her beauty was leaving her somewhere, she had bags under her eyes, she was poking her head, and stopped taking care of herself. She refused to shoot the films and rejected any role. I lost hope and thought that we’ll get separated soon… But then I decided to act. After all I’ve got the MOST Beautiful Woman on earth. She is the idol of more than half of men and women on earth, and I was the one allowed to fall asleep next to her and to hug her. I began to shower her with flowers, kisses and compliments. I surprised and pleased her every minute. I gave her a lot of gifts and lived just for her. I spoke in public only about her. I incorporated all themes in her direction. I praised her in front of her own and our mutual friends. You won’t believe it, but she blossomed. She became better. She gained weight, was no longer nervous and loved me even more than ever. I had no clue that she CAN love that much.And then I realized one thing: the woman is the reflection of her man.If you love her to the point of madness, she will become it.”

Okay. First off, this is MESSED UP on so many levels.

Love her to the point of madness? So she’ll become WHAT exactly? Mad?

This is freaky. It’s like in Twilight, where Edward watched Bella sleep without her knowing; it’s supposed to be romantic, but it’s just crazy and disturbing.

(I’m not even mentioning the odd grammatical errors in this piece.)


I checked. (Look at snopes if you want.)

And I’m really glad to know it’s a fake.

Because if Angelina looks like she does AND gets showered with flowers kisses and compliments every day, getting surprised and pleased from a husband as hot as Brad Pitt…. AND HE WANTS HER TO GAIN WEIGHT!!!!

…I can’t live in a world that unfair. I just can’t.

Sausage Florentine Potpie

This recipe (modified from tasteofhome/simple) was delicious.

The best thing about it was that the big kids ate the leftovers the next day too. (Seriously!! Like they heated it up in the microwave and ate it after school!!)


  • 1 lb sausage 
  • 1-2 tsp dried onion flakes
  • 3 tsp minced garlic from the jar
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 pkg frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1-2 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 Parmesan cheese
  • 5 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed
  • 4 tsp butter, melted

Cook the sausage with onion and garlic until browned over medium heat. Mix in soup, spinach, milk and cheeses, stir until cheeses is melted.

Transfer to a greased baking dish. Place a sheet of phyllo on top; brush with some melted butter. Repeat with remaining phyllo and butter.

Bake at 350 (uncovered) 25-30 minutes. Let it stand 10 minutes before serving.

This recipe came out well, especially considering I’ve never worked with phyllo before. The only thing is, the package of phyllo contained way more than 5 sheets, and once you’ve thawed the things you can’t refreeze them or even leave them out in the air too long.

Phyllo is a delicate dough, apparently.

Still though, the phyllo crust on top was super good and I wished it had more on it. Maybe in the future I can try layering it or something.

In this case, I made dessert cups with the remaining phyllo.


The recipe I used involved spraying each sheet of phyllo with cooking spray and then sprinkling with sugar. Then you cut each stack of sheets into rectangles and press them into muffin cups. Bake at 350 for about 8 minutes.

I put cream filling in them after they were cooled.

These were okay, but I think butter would have been better.

Click on the better picture below for a butter recipe:

Phyllo Cups

(recipe at yumly.com)

Guilt Assuaged

The twins went on their first kindergarten field trip this week. I didn’t want to go.

I know, I know. BAD mommy.


Little Boy has already been giving me the guilt trip about how the neighbor kids’ mom works at the school and is there ALL DAY. “Why can’t you be at the school all day, Mommy? PLEASE?!”

Listen kid, you don’t want me at the school all day. And neither does the state’s liability insurer.

Anyways, the night before the field trip, Little Boy started giving me the heavy guilt trip. “You can come on the field trip Mommy. The teacher says so. The other mommies will be there. PLEASE?!”

So I gave in and showed up the next morning. But, not having signed up to chaperon, I didn’t know what I should do. I sat around outside the classroom like a stalker for a hour and a half while the teacher got the kids ready. Little Boy saw me out there and barely contained his glee when he waved on the way to the bathroom.

I started to feel like Good Mommy after all. Then…

As they were lining up for the bus, I approached the teacher.

(She was trying to supervise about twenty-five hyped-up 5-year-olds and their sack lunches, so it probably wasn’t the best time to make a good impression.)

I said, “Um, I didn’t sign up to chaperon, but my son really wants me to go on the field trip. Can I go?”

She nicely refrained from rolling her eyes at me, or calling me CRAZY MOM to my face. “I’m sorry, but you had to sign up in advance,” she said diplomatically. “I’ll keep you in mind for next time.”

So I went and held Little Boy’s hand as he walked to the bus, telling him that  I was sorry, but the teacher wasn’t going to let me go along. He was perfectly happy with this explanation.

So I gave him a kiss goodbye and went to my car, trying not to to skip in jubilation.

I managed to get Good Mommy points for coming to the school and making the attempt; PLUS I didn’t have to go on the boring field trip!

Talk about a win-win situation!

This ain’t no “Thinwich”


I bought some sandwich pita bread at the store. “Only 100 calories!” the package exclaimed happily.

So I made a delicious sandwich with it at home.


Using diet bread and lean turkey ought to make up for slathering on the cheese, butter and bacon, right?


By the way, it was delicious! I recommend the pita bread.

And the butter and bacon….

The best chocolate cake ever


I made chocolate cake for my book club meeting.

My friend Renita gave me the recipe. She said it was called “Better-Than-Sex Chocolate Cake.”

I’ll call it Renita’s Cake. We have to keep our “G” ratings around here.

When I first tried the cake, I was suspicious, because it doesn’t have any icing. I don’t really hold with no-icing-cakes.

But this one is AWESOME.


  • Devil’s Food cake mix
  • instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups chocolate chips

Mix all ingredients, saving the chocolate chips for last. Pour it in a greased Bundt pan and bake 35-40 minutes.

Dust with powdered sugar for looks if you want. It doesn’t matter; it’s what’s on the inside that counts, right?

And what’s on the inside is DELICIOUS. Trust me.

As if I weren’t already crazy

image from tacobell.com

Little Girl, my five-year-old, was eating a soft taco from Taco Bell in front of the TV.

(No one can say I don’t feed my kids the best around here!)

While I wasn’t looking, she started picking off the shredded lettuce and tossing it, piece by piece, on the living room floor.

It’s like she read a book called “How To Drive Your Mommy Insane in One Easy Step.”

I took one look at the pile of lettuce detritus and my head exploded.

Well, not literally.

But the reaction was severe enough that Little Girl actually cleaned up the mess without complaint.

Now I’ve got to find and confiscate that book….

Decor in the Twins’ Room


We took off the twins’ closet door, and I hung up a curtain over the opening instead.

The curtain is made of both Princess AND Transformers fabric, in order to accommodate both twins’ tastes.

This makes things easier for the arrangement of furniture, and also makes the room safer. After all, Little Girl cut her finger off in that door last year.

You probably don’t believe that really happened. To read that story click here.

Still, now that it’s done, I recommend the curtain over the door concept for a kids’ room. It makes the closet into sort of a cool playroom.

If you’re interested in the rest of the story of my daughter’s finger, by the way, read these posts: (3/28/12) (4/6/12)

It grew back, by the way. Mostly.

(photo dated 5/19/12)