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Archive for November, 2010

I’ve got high pumpkin pie, in the sky hopes

Friday, November 19th, 2010

I’m sure we all remember my bake-or-buy birthday cake dilemma earlier this year…good times. So, as the year comes to a close, I found myself facing the same question, this time in regards to the pumpkin pie I signed up to bring to Baby #1’s Kindergarten Thanksgiving Feast.

I have to admit, I was pretty jazzed about the feast from the moment I heard about it. Baby #1’s class would be representing the Indians – complete with construction paper feather headdresses, and another Kindergarten class would be the Pilgrims in homemade paper hats and vests. Baby #1 had enthusiastically shared with me how the two classes would be sitting in a pattern: Indian, Pilgrim, Indian, Pilgrim. I was completely smitten with the irreverence with which the two classes were putting aside all politically correct nomenclature, and ignoring the violent truth of 1621. It reminded me of my own early education on the subject – ah, nostalgia.

As I said, I signed up to bring the pie. Now, I am well aware that most people would hop on down to Dupars or maybe even Vons and buy the first pumpkin pie they saw. I think we all know, I am not that person. Instead, I would make the pie.

I have long loved making pies, and my newest obsession, Top Chef Just Desserts, has only added fuel to this fire. (I know, I need to lay off the reality TV.) And so, I decided that instead of using the organic canned pumpkin that I have long used in my pumpkin pie, that this pie would be 100% from scratch. This turned it into a two day project. In between school drop offs, picks ups, etc. I prepared the pumpkin on day #1. Seriously, it wasn’t hard…I doubt I’ll ever use canned again. You just cut it in half, clean out the inside and bake it for an hour and a half. Then, after it has cooled down, scrape the pumpkin from the skin and mash it up. No biggie. On Day #2 (the day of the feast!) I got the pie crust made before we left for school, then dropped Baby #1 off, and returned home to put it all together. No problems here either. In the end, the pie was stunning if I do say so myself and ready to go a whole hour before feast time.

The only downside to this pie making experience has been Hubby #1’s strong belief that I’ve gone round the bend. I can’t count how many times he has told me that “Kindergarteners don’t care,” and questioned if I didn’t have “better uses” for my time and energy. Obviously, this is ridiculous since the time and energy spent to make the perfect pie for 48 five and six year olds is well worth it. I will, however, admit that as I painstakingly placed little pie crust pilgrims around the crust of the pie I did pause to accept the irony that my own little squaw doesn’t like pumpkin pie.

Then, at the feast, a true Thanksgiving Miracle happened. Baby #1 was served a piece of my pie and, after someone covered it with some sort of repulsive aerosol whipped topping, she ate it! I mean, she ate almost all of it. At least 3/4 of it…maybe 2/3, but still – she ate it! I felt fulfilled. I felt like the mother I’ve always dreamed I could be. If only I’d worn heels and pearls, the moment would have been complete. Hubby #1 was wrong. Every second spent was well worth it. Not only had Baby #1 eaten the pie, I’m sure that somewhere deep down she was proud that her mother had been the provider of the truly homemade Thanksgiving delicacy and that she would forever have moments of the wonderful day.

On the way home from school, still glowing from the success of my pie, I commented to Baby #1 how happy I was that she liked the pie I made. She nonchalantly replied,
“I didn’t really like it, I was just being nice.”
I was speechless. Seriously? You’ve got to be kidding me! Oh well, at least I didn’t also take the time and energy to put on those heels and pearls.

I saw the light

Monday, November 1st, 2010

This year I found myself facing a dilemma that I haven’t faced in nearly a decade. I don’t know why it suddenly came up, but it did. The question? To dress-up or not to dress-up.

I have to preface all this with the admission that I live for a costume party. Seriously, few things in life make me happier than getting dressed up. I desperately wanted to make our house-warming party an ’80s theme costume party, but – here comes the #1 factor contributing to my recent lack of costumes…Hubby #1 is a party pooper. So, as Mrs. Party Pooper, I never dressed up for Halloween because we were (sniff, sniff) never invited to any fabulous Halloween parties, and I wasn’t going to be the only adult dressed for the occasion out trick-or-treating with my kids. The not dressing up thing got so deeply ingrained in my head, that wearing a costume almost completely fell off my radar and, I fear, I started thinking like he thinks. Then, I started to see the light.

It all started when we surprised the kids with a trip to Disneyland to see the Halloween decorations last week. (I know, we’re the most super cool parents ever.) In the parking lot, I was startled to see a woman in a full-on Belle costume complete with brunette ringlet wig and yellow hoop skirt.

“Freak alert!” I hissed loudly at Hubby #1 not wanting him to miss the spectacle that I was witnessing.

I felt very superior in my plain old jeans and sweatshirt. As our adventure to the happiest place on earth continued, I realized that there were lots and lots of freaks. I excitedly pointed them out the Hubby #1 as we made our way through the park.

“Plus-sized Cinderella!” “Geriatric Snow White!!” “Grown man in Peter Pan Tights!!!”

Then, around the time we were in line for Dumbo and I spotted a family in full Toy Story regalia – Dad as Woody, Mom as Bo Peep complete with newborn in Snuggly dressed like a sheep, and son as Buzz Lightyear, I had a thought. Maybe these folks were not the freaks. Maybe I was the freak. Maybe they were the cool ones? They’d gone all out. Good for them. I was the loser who wasn’t even wearing orange and black, let alone wearing a costume.

This idea festered in my head for the rest of the week and I decided that I wanted to dress-up for Halloween this year. The problem, of course, was that I (more sniff, sniffs) didn’t have a costume. Finally, I decided on Halloween morning that I would dress up as Fancy Nancy (the little, red-headed girl from the books who likes to make everything fancy). I thought Baby #1 would be thrilled…but she wasn’t. In fact, she acted a little embarrassed that I would even consider that. So, I started going through my closet. The problem was that the height of my costume wearing days was so long ago, and the chances of the same costumes fitting seemed unlikely. Then I found an old pair of overalls, and Farmer Kirsten was born. It was perfect. Everyone was happy.

I proudly wore my costume as we went trick-or-treating; I even talked Mr. Party Pooper himself into dressing up. And guess what…we costume wearers were the majority! It was by far the most fun Halloween I’ve had in a long time, and I’m already starting to think about what I’m going to wear next year.

Happy Belated Halloween. I hope no matter how old you are that you remember you’re never too old for a Halloween costume – except the geriatric Snow White…she was too old for it, but good for her for not caring.