9.27.2012

Battle Buddies


By Julie Weckerlein

Before children, I was the one who was always late to the party, the one making the glamorous entrance after spending a little extra time perfecting the lipliner or hair flip.

Now?

I’m late to the play dates because I have to make 30 trips back into the house, grabbing an extra bottle/diaper/stuffed toy/band-aid/directions before we can finally buckle up and back out of the driveway. No matter how many lists I make, no matter how serious I am about planning ahead, it never fails.

I’m always late.

So it’s fitting that I’m late to the Army of Ermas, squeezing in a singular post before closing time.

But I have to admit, as a longtime lurker, I don’t feel like an FNG. Not when I’ve been following the likes of Stacey Graham, Jason Tudor, and Pauline Campos for years, snickering at the cleverness and laughing at the banter as the Army shared adventures from the front lines of family life.

Because let’s face it: parenthood is psychological warfare.

Nothing challenges, defines, and beats the crap out of our value systems, belief systems, emotions, reasoning, and behavior quiet like the job of raising children, and we get it from all sides.

We get it from Mother Nature as she tap-dances with our hormones from puberty onward. We get it from our spouses or significant others, intentional or not, as they hold us accountable to our promises.

We definitely get it from our children, from the very second they wrap their little hands around our hearts and squeeze, growing too fast and away from us because that’s how it’s supposed to be, even though it hurts.

And we get it from the outside. The pressure. The standards. The labels. The blame. We like to point to television shows, blogs, magazines, books, articles, photos, those other moms who are doing things better, faster, thinner, healthier, more lovely, more perfect. Everywhere we go, there are more than enough things out there ready to amplify our deepest insecurities as mothers.

There’s always incoming psychological artillery, and there’s really no way to avoid it. So, it’s good to have battle buddies.

Battle buddies don’t judge you based on how you’ve named your children.

They don’t judge your yoga pants or your thrift store jeans.

Battle buddies remind you that you don’t have to be the perfect parent by revealing their own imperfections.

Battle buddies get flustered and admit it.


Battle buddies will admit, too, that they’ve rewashed their silverware because it takes too much energy to pull ‘em out of the dishwasher.

They offer advice on romance and dating, for those who need it and even for those who don’t.

They give recipes, cleaning tips, some insight about the other gender.

Battle buddies want to help make things better.


Most of all, battle buddies reach...across tables...over telephones...through blogs: it doesn’t matter; they reach out, and they make you laugh.

Thanks for making me laugh, Army of Ermas.


In 2001, Julie Weckerlein started a little website called Julie and Martin for friends and family to follow her wedding plans. At the time, she was in the Air Force and Martin was in the German Army. But then the terrorist attacks on 9/11 happened, and the site took on a new role. Eleven years later, the site continues to be a reflection of their lives, reaching a worldwide audience with stories about juggling married life with home life with work life and everything in between. Now living in the Washington, D.C. area with two daughters and son, Julie and Martin continue to document their lives on www.julieandmartin.com, which recently earned the 2011 Parents Magazine Readers Choice Award for Best All-Around Mom Blog.





9.26.2012

Bacon, Boobies and Bad Choices




Once on-up a time, a merry band of bricoleur scribblers gathered, under the direction of Stacey Graham, with one goal: to make people giggle, and to do it regularly. With laughter being the best medicine of all, and an ever-invasive portion of the world teetering off its meds, this was a good goal. But as anyone who has peered into an empty Valium bottle (three days before it could be refilled) knows, the best of things may come to an end; sometimes, before you even know it. 

Writing our monthly essays started out sort of like experimental art. Eager to fill slots, I sometimes wrote more than one a month. We had guests, honorary Ermas and writers who slipped in and back out again. We continually shared what I believe were some of the funniest words-in-a-particular-order to be found anywhere. More than once, I approached Terminal Velocity Cackle. That is the point where something’s gotta give. Either I wrangled in a breath, or, as the Supreme Mr. Barber said, I would go on home to be with the Lord. Luckily I’m a fairly decent wrangler.

So many topics have flowed out of our minds, through our fingers and hit the digital page. Dating, marriage, childbirth and labor (in the middle of winter), empty nests, diapers, college, new houses, pantyhose and bra straps. M*A*S*H episodes, laundry, cooking (as a sport!), diets, death and flaming toast -- who among us can’t relate? We’ve crashed hot air balloons, groaned in commiseration about dysfunctional family gatherings and discussed the ever-intriguing Cupcake. Against a few protests, we’ve even discussed bodily functions. We’ve offered advice to our younger selves, and to complete strangers, all the while discussing everyday things like naming our Christmas trees, surviving dog and cat ownership, putting out kitchen fires and deciding whether to love or hate Spandex. 

And finally, we have fulfilled what we set out to do. We wrote, we shared our lives, and many of you found a reason to laugh. We’ve talked about boobies, bacon (Kevin, and otherwise), and bad choices, and now it’s time to climb out of the nest and sail on to our next destinations. If you think that the lot of us are finished, think again. You might have to follow us on our respective blogs to know where we’ve landed next time, but take my word: you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet! 

_______________________________________

Carole Lee is a writer whose inquisitive nature sends her frolicking about after more music, more life, more words and more hedonism, because eventually all of the cupcakes and liquor run out. When she’s not renovating her historic folk Victorian nestled in the middle of Nowhere, Tennessee or wrestling with her geriatric Chow and neurotic Lab, she’s plunking out freelance DIY articles and writing her first novel. Visit her blogs, Irrational Propensity, and Irrational Propensity - Renovations to see what she’s up to lately.

9.21.2012

The Bucket List

By Sara Spock

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I’m going to tell you a secret, my biggest secret. I have a super power. I make the most amazing lists. Lists that deserve to be in the List Making Hall of Fame. Lists that can bring order and control to the lives of many. Yes, I am… The List Master! 

If your task goes down on my list, it will be completed before you can say "flibbertigibbet"! I have lists for every day, lists for the week, the month, the season, the school year, the fiscal year, the actual year, 5-year lists, 10-year lists, and yes, a lifelong Bucket List.   

Most people use a Bucket List for major life goals, epic adventures, and career objectives.  Sure, a few of those mundane things end up on my big, bad list of life, but mostly I use this Bucket List to remind me where I should be and what I should be doing to get there. 

Exhibit A into my neuroses:
1.    Try not to traumatize my children by constantly turning life events into musical theater. They might laugh when they’re 5 and you’re singing to the tune of Mary Poppins “Feed the Birds,” “Feed the toads so they can grow! Two grubs, two grubs, two grubs a toad! Feed the toads so they can grow. Two grubs, two grubs, two grubs a tooooooooaaaadddddddd!”  But show tune time is running out and the Poop Song just won’t ring as true by the time they reach 10.

2.   Extend myself for others. It’s so much fun to crawl into pajamas at 5pm (while singing songs about llamas, pajamas, and mamas) but it would do my brain more good to invite a friend for dinner or get outside and talk to the neighbors. I know, I know. You’re tired from work, and kids, and laundry, and cooking, and cleaning, and singing, and making eye contact with grownups all day, but stop being a sissy! Make some friends and keep them, lady!

3.   Finish projects. Finish poems. Finish stories. Finish novels. Ideas are awesome. Brainstorming is the most creative you’ll ever feel, but writing the words THE END is even more amazing. Stay focused on a project long enough to see it to fruition.  Otherwise, you’ll be filled with wonderful ideas that will never come to – oooh, what’s that? A chocolate covered chili pepper? I wonder if I could bake that into brownies?  Or as a truffle? Or a cocktail? I could go for a beer. Hang on.

4.   Come back to center. Family, friends, work, writing, home, volunteering. So many obligations. I can just see it now. Everyone with a rope, pulling, and me in the middle getting spun around. Eventually, I’ll fall over because I’m a klutz with low blood sugar. Remember what’s important. Take a deep breath, go all Nancy Reagan, and just say NO. This way, you’ll have more time to sing. Llama, llama, llama. Listen to your Mama. Llama, llama, llama. Get in your pajamas.

~Sara Spock is a Mom, Wife, Penn State Graduate, Substitute Teacher, Freelance Writer, and Chocolate Addict. When she’s not crying because this is her last Erma Column, Sara can be found over on twitter where she discusses chocolate, reading, and football. Way too much football.

9.19.2012

Bonus Room


by Bill Mullis

His footfalls echo hollow in the empty space. It looks bigger inside, now that it isn't so crowded. Most everybody has already packed up and left, cleared out their lockers, had their mail forwarded. The desks are bare like the hardwood floor. This has been a working space, things have been created, lives have been changed, the world made a little better.

Looking back, he sees that the door he entered through is now closed, locked, vanished, gone. He smiles a little at how fitting it is. You think you can just stick your head in a door, pop in for just a bit, visit for a while. But you find, eventually, that you can never go out the same way you came in. Because while you were inside, the world outside has changed, blatantly or subtly; or, perhaps, it's you who have changed, subtly or blatantly. But the changes are there, and the way back is gone forever.

Still, he can close his eyes and hear their voices murmuring in the air. There's still laughter, and bickering, a few tears when sadness or joy was shared. And the frustration when the words just wouldn't come out right, when the deadline loomed and the world was insistently butting its nose in. He can walk along the row of desks and feel the spirit still inhabiting the space.

And there they'll be forever, he says to himself. They'll all be gone, like he'll be gone, all gone to other things, to other words, other spaces, but they'll always be here, too. Even when the works are no longer plastered in the storefront window, they'll be here. Even when the storefront isn't here any longer.

Well. Time to go.

They say that when one door closes another opens. That's only partly true. There's never just the one door, and it's never open when you find it. So he walks the length of the room, past the desks, the coffee maker, the chocolate fountain, further back than he's been before, and sees the doors, featureless, set off only by exit signs. He doesn't bother to count them; odds are the number would change every time he tried. They're all identical, but the ritual has to be observed. He passes before each of them, brushing his fingertips against the dark, polished wood, and isn't surprised to feel only that there is in fact something on the other side.

He adjusts his hat and slings the backpack over his shoulder. He raises his cane, pokes it at a random door, and starts to laugh.

Of course. The door he picks wasn't isn't the door he intended. And he's fairly certain it wasn't there a moment ago. And though he has no reason to think so, it's obviously the exact right door.

One last look around, to imprint it on his memory. One last nod to the ghosts of the living. And he turns his back on the room and opens the door. And smiles.

Bonus.


Bill Mullis's own personal door is in the South Carolina Upstate. His online presence is currently limited, but you can reach him at www.facebook.com/bill.mullis or via email at kodbill[at]gmail.com.

9.17.2012

Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon

By Terri Coop

Actually, this post has nothing to do with Kevin Bacon. I just believe that everything is better with bacon. A better title would be "Six Degrees of Peter Straub," or "How a small town lawyer closed down a bar with Erma blogmate Carole Oldroyd, author Jamie Mason, and a by-gawd literary legend." I owe it all to Erma Bombeck. Yeah, I said Erma Bombeck.

Let's see if I can sort it out.

  1. Erma Bombeck pretty much invents the genre of household humor and an entire generation grows up knowing that the grass is always greener over the septic tank. 
  2. A gang of writers get together and come up with the excellent idea of a blog celebrating the legacy of Bombeck with an updated version of her unique slice-of-life humor. Enter "An Army of Ermas." 
  3. Fast forward to a contest to find two more recruits to the army. I entered my essay "The Chihuahua Whisperer" and launched a stormtrooper campaign among my friends and family to vote me in or prepare to spend the next year regretting it. 
  4. Yes! I am inducted into a group of the best, funniest, and most wonderful gang of writers ever assembled. Over the many months of Facebook posts, blogs, deadlines, good times, and not so good times, I come to count many of the Ermas as friends, and some as family. I owe my Honorable Mention from the 2012 Erma Bombeck Writing Competition to the encouragement of this wonderful group. 
  5. Some more fast-forwarding and I get a Facebook message saying, "Hey, can you come to Nashville in August?" Turns out Ms. Oldroyd was hitting me up to be roomies for the Killer Nashville writers' conference. My answer was a definitive, "heck yeah," and I had my conference registration and flight booked by breakfast. 
  6. ::rurrururur:: (fast forward sound, roll with it) to the convention and an innocuous sounding suggestion from author-extraordinaire Jamie Mason, "let's check out the bar before we call it." 
  7. There, sitting a-freaking-lone at the bar, was non-other than Peter Straub. Alone for about fifteen seconds, that is. And a finer, more charming, and funny person you will never meet. However, he would not answer my burning question, "Was it your idea or Stephen King's to kill Henry in The Talisman?" After all these years, that is still a literary open wound. ::sigh:: 
  8. Toss in a side order of Jeffery Deaver and you have a formula for one of the best evenings ever. The blaring GET-OUT-DON'T-YOU-PEOPLE-HAVE-HOMES lights came on far too soon. 
Not Kevin Bacon.

My eternal thanks to the divine Erma Bombeck, who is certainly chuckling at this merry band of modern-day wo(men), and to each and every one of the Ermas. My wish is to someday close down a bar with every one of you. And to meet Kevin Bacon. Or to have bacon cheeseburgers with you all. You know what I mean. Dang it, I've got dust or something in my eye . . .

Terri Lynn Coop writes about car culture and hot rod collectibles at http://carmemorabilia.about.com and has been known to blog at http://readinrittinrhetoric.blogspot.com. Buddy up on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/terri.l.coop or say hello on Twitter https://twitter.com/TerriLCoop

9.14.2012

Portable Pizza Pockets

By Patti Wigington

I'm a big fan of portable food. Anything I can hold in my hand to eat is practically an automatic win. I'm sure lots of other people feel the same way – hence the popularity of products such as the Hot Pocket. They're cheap and they're quick to prepare. They're also easy to make yourself – and you can get a much better idea of what they contain if you prepare them yourself.

I've had to eat gluten-free since 2007, so I made my pizza pockets with gluten-free Chebe pizza dough. However, you can use any kind of pizza dough you like, either homemade or pre-packaged. The key is that it has to be stretchy. One package of pre-made pizza dough will give you anywhere from two to four pizza pockets, depending on how big you make them.

Ingredients:

One package pizza dough
Pizza sauce
Pizza fillings, such as ham, pepperoni, or veggies
Oregano
Mozarella cheese


Roll out your pizza dough so it's about 1/4” thick. Cut into either two or four rectangles – I made two, so I could get a couple of really good-sized pockets, but you can make them smaller if you like. Add a couple of tablespoons of sauce, pizza fillings, the oregano, and some mozzarella, to one side of each rectangle. Make sure that you leave a gap around the toppings of about 3/4” or your fillings will leak out.

Fold the non-topping half of the rectangle over, just like you're closing a book. Press the edges together all the way around – I actually used a fork to crimp mine together, which seems to have done the trick nicely and kept any stray sauce from escaping.

Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes, or until the crusts are lightly browned. Allow to cool for about five minutes, then serve with marinara dipping sauce or (my personal favorite) garlic butter.



Make a bunch of these and bake them ahead of time, then toss them in individual freezer bags – you can reheat them for snacks or lunches by microwaving about three minutes.

9.12.2012

Arts and Gaffes


By Beth Bartlett
Deadly weapons.
I’m not crafty at all. Martha Stewart might as well be a wizard from Hogwarts as far as I’m concerned. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop me from trying to be one of those people who can knit a doily from cat hair or turn a “Twilight” book into a stunning series of origami castles. I have the passion, I just don’t have the skill, patience or survival instinct of a crafter, which is why I’m no longer allowed near glue guns.
This is not a new thing for me. My mother taught me to sew by hand when I was six. I can’t blame her for giving me pointy objects, because she had only known me for a few years. I sewed so much material to my own pants, every pair of jeans I owned came pre-equipped with chaps. After we ran out of Band-Aids, I was the proud owner of a non-pointy potholder loom, which I promptly managed to turn into a Mobius strip of stretchy doom.  Mom finally gave up and bought me an Easy-Bake Oven, which permanently set my culinary skill level for life. (Shut up.)
As the years progressed, so did my failures. When I drew Tippy the Turtle, he came out as a diseased muskrat. If Bob Ross could have seen my paintings, he would have said “Please. Just stop. Let me rescue these trees and get them some therapy.”
In spite of all this, I managed to marry an artist who was also an incurable optimist. He tried to teach me how to build faux Victorian jewelry and knit and watercolor. Like I said, incurable. After 25 years, I thought he had accepted the fact that my only acceptable craft tools were popsicle sticks and painted macaroni.
Recently he presented me with a box emblazoned with the words “Perfect for beginners! Easy to do! For all age levels!” Inside was an etch-by -number kit, where you take a sharp instrument (mistake #1) and with a steady hand (mistake #2) you remove everything from a black-coated metal sheet that doesn’t resemble a detailed Japanese garden in full bloom (mistake #3). I worked delicately, following the lines and scraping bits of black off the sheet to reveal little gold streaks. After a week, he asked me how I was doing. I proudly presented him with an artwork that looked like someone grabbed an angry porcupine and rubbed it hard against Darth Vader’s helmet.
I now have a lifetime supply of popsicle sticks and craft glue.

Beth Bartlett is a freelance writer and humorist who now knows that short shorts and hot glue don’t mix. Feel free to follow her on Twitter (@plaidearthworm) or drop by one of her many sites: www.plaidearthworm.com, www.puregeek.me or www.wisecrackzodiac.com.

9.10.2012

Everything ends -- or how the film "Cocktail" is totally like this website

by Jason Tudor

"Everything ends badly, otherwise it wouldn't end" gets uttered by a bartender named Coughlin in a film called "Cocktail." That he uttered those words in "Cocktail," one of the 1980's 10 Worst "Films With Feathered Hair and Acrobatic Drinking Tricks" doesn't mean the phrase isn't worth examining in light of recent events.

I'll just throw out a few as retrospective: Octomom. Jersey Shore. John Edwards. Crystal Pepsi. The Magic Johnson Hour. 24-hour cable news (Wait. That still exists ...). Even "Cocktail" ended by allowing Tom Cruise to make more movies. This is life's little cruel stubbing of its own toe over and over again.

Conversely, An Army of Ermas ends its run Sept. 30. By no means will it end badly. Rather, it will simply end. And there should be more: fireworks, live sign-off, ticker-tape parade, immigrants selling fake Rolex watches and glowing light sticks. You get the idea.

This thing shouldn't end, but it will. So, in reflection, let's peek at what Ermas has brought you:

-- As of this writing, there are 410 columns written by about 30 different columnists. So, almost every other day for the past two years, one of us has told you about driving Fieros, boob smashing or cooking something delicious. To recap: cars, boobs and food. You win.
-- Much like the mixed drinks Cruise's Brian Flanagan makes, the stories you've been introduced to come from a line-up of funny, talented people with diverse, wonderful backgrounds. Stalk them like old boyfriends. Every single one of them will be more famous than Usain Bolt's after-parties before you know it.
-- If the numbers are right, you've shared this stuff like college kids share good weed (or, at least, that's what the college kids tell me). In other words, Ermas are all over the Web like a snotty cold at a daycare center. Again, that's a good thing. So many of my colleagues deserve that electron-warming loving that only you can provide with the stroke of a 'send' or 'like' button.

There's more to be sure. For my own part, I've scratched out about two dozen columns and waited for the comments to roll in. Sometimes there were many and with others, the crickets kept me company as we watched the stars twinkle in the midnight of the Internet. That's okay. Humor, especially the kind that Erma Bombeck wrote, is tough, like seeing Elisabeth Shue suck it up for 104 minutes next to Cruise's Foghorn Leghorn rooster hair. I won some. I lost some.

And rather than Elmer Fudd blasting Daffy Duck's bill around to the other side of his face for the next 20 days or so, you'll get another version of Looney Tunes. Our version. It's more like the colonoscopy that went A-OK. And, no: it won't end badly, but like "Cocktail" with a brand new bar and twins on the way, it will end.

To quote my beloved editor of this site, "Now, scoot."

Jason Tudor is a writer and illustrator. He is also the creator and co-host of the hour-long podcast "The Science Fiction Show." You can continue to find him at www.jasontudor.com or www.myscifishow.com.

9.07.2012

All the Right Skills in All the Wrong Places

By Amy Mullis

I have one sister to grow plants and one to do crafts.  It’s not that I’m a Diva, I just don’t see a way around that “Police Line - Do Not Cross” tape on my craft box. I don’t know my fertilizer from my fescue or my Popsicle sticks from my pipe cleaners.  I’m not allowed to use a soaker hose or a glue gun without an OSHA representative present.  I have a criminal past when it comes to construction paper.

But sometimes, when the women’s magazines bordering the grocery checkout like sunflowers beckon to me, I push aside that little voice that reminds me of the soccer banner incident.

“Ouch. No need to shove.” The Captain grabbed a Mars bar off the rack as he regained balance.

“You’re the one who brought it up.”

“Well, there aren’t many women who prance around with a soccer banner attached to their crotch.”

“I wasn’t prancing. I was trying to shake it loose.”

“I thought you were angling for a tip.”

“It was attached to my pants.”

“Who could tell?  You were all Soccer Banner through Interpretive Dance.”

“I had a little trouble with the needle and thread.”

“What did it do? Misfire and sew the banner to your shorts?”

“Well at least I’m not the Poster Child for plumbing disasters.”

“Look. ANYBODY can have a toilet where the water goes down.”

“Now I’m afraid of what’s going to come up. That gives a whole new meaning to the words Interpretive Dance.”

“I made one little mistake. You killed a Peace Plant. That started an International Incident that resulted in your mug shot hanging in garden stores around the world.”

“Those things are so needy.  You’d think they could go a few days without water.”

“It was six months.”

“I think those Peace Plants are named wrong.  I’m pretty sure that thing growled at me when I took it out of the trunk.”

The Captain paid the cashier and tore into the candy bar. “By the way, you’re still famous around the soccer fields.  You’re not allowed in without supervision of a responsible child under the age of 17.”

“Cool!  I have an R-17 rating? I guess gardening and sewing are a lot like plumbing. Nobody notices unless you get it wrong.”


Bio:  Amy Mullis lives in upstate South Carolina where she hoards glue sticks and bits of ribbon, and leafs through craft magazines planning for the future.  Her husband, sons, dogs, and cats feel secure knowing that she’ll never find where the pinking shears and glue gun are buried.  Join her for more “Don’t Let This Happen to Me” moments at Mind Over Mullis.  She sends her thanks and love to Stacey Graham, Angie Mansfield and all the Ermas for making life a little bit more exciting for the past two and a half years.

9.05.2012

BBQ Novice


By Tricia Gillespie

Last week I was dreaming of white sandy beaches and barbeque.  I couldn’t get the luscious dark red sauce out of my mind, so I decided to make pulled pork sandwiches this weekend.  I remember seeing, like, thirty thousand barbeque recipes on Pinterest, but when I went looking, I hadn’t pinned a one. 

Huh?  I always Pin when I’m hungry.  They have the most tantalizing photos of food.  I can drool all night and not gain an ounce.  It’s kind of like the patch for smokers, only it’s for food addicts.

So I did what any fearless culinary novice would do: I improvised.  I saw no less than a hundred recipes that used three ingredients – soda, BBQ sauce, and salt/pepper.  Lots of people use diet soda in their BBQ, but I decided to throw caution to the wind and use the real stuff.  I do not think anyone with sweet tea running through her veins would use Diet Pepsi.  Correct me if I’m wrong.


In the lineup is Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce, Dr. Pepper, and Seasoned Salt. 

I sprinkled the roasts with seasoned salt, put the roasts in the crockpot, added Dr. Pepper with abandon, and squeezed about half the large bottle of barbeque sauce all over the meat.  Then I let it cook.

After about seven hours, I drained off some fat from the top, and pulled apart the pork.  I returned the pulled pork to the crockpot and let it absorb all the juice.  In its pulled form, it stayed in the crockpot for another hour.  Then I loaded it on whole wheat rolls, because I’m healthy like that, and gave it another good squeeze of sauce.

The only thing missing was the banana pudding, but I’m on a diet, you know.

Bio:  Tricia Gillespie cooks up fun over on The Domestic Fringe.  When she’s not busy putting out stove fires with sweet tea, she’s finding humor in this reality we call life.  She has two kids, one husband, and a Betta fish named Hot Shot.  She wishes it rained chocolate and French fries, because then she would never cook again.  Go visit her at thedomesticfringe.com.

9.03.2012

Chocolate Chip Surprise Cookies


By Lisa Dovichi

How do you transform a run-of-the-mill chocolate chip cookie into something that your friends will rave about for days? Shh, come closer. It's a secret.

You make them ginormous and give it a surprise chewy chocolatey brownie center (say that 10 times fast)!

Sounds like it should be complicated, right? Nuh uh. It isn't - just a little time intensive. Stick with me, my little chickadee, and I'll tell you how it's done.

You'll need:

  • 1 box of your favorite chocolate brownie mix: prepared per box instructions with the extra egg for cake-like brownies and just under baked -- the brownie should be a little sticky.
  • Your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe: prepared but NOT baked

Directions:

  • Make cookie dough and put in fridge -- chilled dough works best
  • Make brownies and let cool
  • Preheat oven 350 degrees
  • Mash up the pan of brownies
  • Measure 1/3 cup cookie dough, ball it, cut in half and flatten each half into a disk.
  • Measure 3 TBS sticky brownie crumbles and place on one cookie dough disk
  • Take the other cookie dough disk and place it on top -- making a sandwich
  • Seal the edges, place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper with an inch between each cookie.
  • Bake at 350 for 18 minutes or until cookie is golden brown.
  • Cool on wire rack (or not) and EAT!

So super delicious and worth all the time the preparation takes. I swear it.


Lisa lives in Livermore, CA with her husband and three children. She's the author/illustrator of the Sugar and Spice Cook-It-Yourself children books series (coming soon) and works from home as an artist and web designer. In her dwindling spare time she changes diapers, experiments with food, is a sucker for DIY projects, and watches bad movies on Monday night with her husband. To get more Lisa visit: www.meltingbeforeyoureyes.blogspot.com.

8.31.2012

Austentatious Haiku


by Patti Wigington



Truth universal
Such passion might pollute the
Shades of Pemberley

Persuaded by Bath
Love found, lost and found again
Her words pierce his soul

Dark gothic abbey
“Mysteries of Udolpho”
Hearts joined in ruins

Matchmaker matching
Finds herself undone by her
Own willful spirit

Sisters three, one young,
One says too much, one speaks not,
Many mixed signals

Poor girl, country house
Sharp social commentary
Love is right next door

Curled up quietly
Cat in lap, coffee in hand,
So lost in Austen

8.29.2012

Cat Haiku


by Steve Barber
If dogs can have their Haiku, it's only fair that cats get a shot at it too. Theirs, of course, would be...different. Like this:

You have allergies?
Cats have dander. Deal with it.
Now go bring my food.

The plans are in place
To overthrow the humans.
But first I must nap.

I shall bring dead things
And leave them on your pillow.
'Cause that's what cats do.

8.27.2012

Telework: A Haiku

by John Banusiewicz

Teleworking rocks,
And not just because it means
Pants without belt loops.

Working in bare feet
With no buttons on my shirt
Definitely helps.

And when the commute
Means just walking down the stairs,
I can handle that.

Focusing on work
Isn’t an issue at all.
It’s very quiet.

Who could ask for more?
With all the comforts of home,
I have it made, right?

But the small pockets
Of down time my work provides
Are my undoing.

The walk to the fridge
Is twenty-two steps, round-trip.
Damn those Klondike Bars.

Golden Oreos
Go nicely with Klondike Bars,
And they’re right nearby.

And I won’t even
Discuss my relationship
With potato chips.

Elastic waitsbands
Aren’t only for my comfort.
They’re necessary.

8.24.2012

Besties, Beasties and Frenemies: Oh My!



by Beth Bartlett


Doesn’t mind late calls
Refills your wine while you vent
Honey Badger cares.

Makes fun of your shoes
Even Jimmy Choos on sale
Cougars are vicious.

Drunk-dialing your ex
New girlfriend answers the phone.
Snap! Barracuda!

Long neck, stretchy pants
Hears all the gossip, stays mum
Giraffe’s got your back

Mishap avoided;
Turkey knows just what to do.
Put down the hot wax.

What’s white, black and red?
Zebra after dirty jokes
And margaritas.


8.22.2012

Going a Little HAIKU-KOO


By Kathy Tirrell

Dump out stuff in purse,
Fish through pockets, dig through trash.
Keys found in the fridge!

Traffic lights, stop signs,
Allergy eyes, big, bright zit.
RED things drive me nuts!

Son wails on guitar,
Husband brings iPad to bed.
Think I’ll sleep outdoors!

Kathy Tirrell sometimes goes a little cuckoo over things that happen in life, but tries to find the humor in it all.  You can check out some of her observations on “It Bloggles the Mind.”




8.20.2012

Haiku For You

By Lisa Dovichi

4ft's creations
Some things shouldn't be on bread
*Shudders* The horror.

Ran out of stickers
Art project needs enhancement
Bandaids for the win.

Lisa lives in Livermore, CA with her husband and three children. She works from home as an artist and web designer. In her dwindling spare time she changes diapers, experiments with food, is a sucker for DIY projects, and watches bad movies on Monday night with her husband. To get more Lisa visit: www.meltingbeforeyoureyes.blogspot.com.

8.17.2012

Ode to My New House

by Melanie Hooyenga

New house, I love thee.
Every arch and creaky step
Whispers "Welcome home."

Tumbling down the stairs,
I remind myself how much
I love you, new house.

Windows that won’t budge
In the grip of August’s heat
Test my new-found love.

The cobweb-covered
Basement tests this love further,
But my love stays strong.

I have my life’s dream
And won’t let this love falter.
(At least ‘til it snows.)

Melanie Hooyenga is a graphic designer by day and Haiku-writing fool while stopped at red lights (good thing they’re short). She has a neglected haiku blog, Hoo Can Haiku, which features the talents of several Ermas. She recently bought her first home and is chronicling her adventures in first-time home-ownership at melaniehoo.com/hoosblog. You can also follow her randomness at @melaniehoo.

8.15.2012

Bag-For-A-Buck Romance Book-ku

By Terri Coop

It's no secret that I like going to book sales.






Sometimes you find the raw material for dreams.

















Many thanks to literary agent Janet Reid and her outrageous book poetry contest.

Terri Lynn Coop would give the local library $10 a year just to be able to go in and look at the books. It's way better when they let her bring her handtruck and take a bunch home. She is a practical dreamer who writes articles about everything from law to the history of pink fuzzy dice when not hacking away at her novel.

8.13.2012

Kitchen ‘Ku-Boom


by Beth Bartlett



Fire extinguisher
Tops off the soufflé with foam
Mmmmm, creamy goodness.



Helpful kitchen tip:
Burned cookies make great trivets
And they last for years.

8.10.2012

Summer Refrain

By Sara Spock

sprinkler soaks a sun-
drenched lawn while muddy feet squish
blades between their toes

eyes sparkle through paths
of forest shade while grubby
fingers reach for slugs

ice cream melts down a
dimpled chin while sugar highs
crash through toddler brains

~Sara Spock is a Mom, Wife, Penn State Graduate, Substitute Teacher, Freelance Writer, and Chocolate Addict.  When she’s not reveling in the summer-time highs and lows, Sara can be found over at The Hero Complex where she tries to save the world, one. recipe. at. a. time.

8.08.2012

August Haikus




By Jason Tudor

Life

Down the dark canal
Caught by friendly waiting hands
Yea! It’s my birthday!

Signs

In roars the lion
Thunderous gold jungle king
But you’re a Pisces

Hot

Fickle summer’s touch
Parches throats, scorches thin skin
Stay a bit longer?

8.06.2012

Domestic Bliss


by  Carole Lee

Coffee can empty
Stale cereal, and no milk
Going back to bed

Filtered H2O
Personalized “Fido” dish
Drinks from toilet

Sweep, mop, wash, dry, fold
Pick up doggie toys (again)
How much do maids charge?

Fire alarm sounding
Smoke and charred remains brought forth
Supper is ready


Shuffle off to bed
Snuggle up with pillow talk
Notice spouse snoring

8.03.2012

Dog Haiku






Dogs are creatures of few words. How few? Well, none, actually. But if they could speak I'm convinced they'd do it in Haiku.

Perhaps something like this:
 
You know how I do
Disgusting things with my tongue?
Let me lick your face.


I left a present,
Well, not really a present,
On your bathroom rug.

No, it's not my fault.
I begged you to take me out.
Hope you stepped in it.

Steve Barber lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan with Hunny and Tilly the Wonder Dog who just went three straight days without going on the carpet. Hunny's good about that too. Steve's currently working on convincing himself to get back to working on a bunch of half finished short stories. He just may do it, too.

8.01.2012

Anything you haiku, I haiku better.

By Stacey Graham

Distracted shopping -
Went to Target with five girls,
returned with jock strap

And because no haiku post is complete without one about zombies:

Hills full of children,
laughing as they glide down slopes:
zombies make great sleds!