A Tale of Two Halloweens

October 29, 2014

Many moons ago, when motherhood hadn’t completely hardened my soul and sucked out my spirit, I made a rookie mothering mistake. I brought in the mail on an afternoon in early September and casually threw it on an end table, within reach of a child’s sticky fingers.

Within minutes, I heard a cacophony of shreiking and clapping and chatter.

“Mommy!” the girls squealed, thundering into the kitchen like little Seabiscuits.

“We found them! We found them! The perfect Halloween costumes!” They waved a costume catalog–purloined from the pile of mail on the end table–in front of my face. My heart sank into my bowels.

Never, ever, set mail on an end table in September without scouring it beforehand and disposing of the Halloween costume catalogs immediately and ruthlessly. Because if you don’t, your children will find those little fuckers in record speed–it’s like kids have some kind of Costume Catalog Echolocation or something.

And they will always–always!–gravitate immediately to the most overpriced catalog in the pile. The catalog that should be titled: Wallet Suckage.

Wallet Suckage does, indeed, carry darling and inventive costumes for your little goblins to choose from. For a stupefying amount of money. I mean, your kid is going to wear this costume for one day a year–there’s no way you should ever pay more than, like, 5 bucks for a Halloween costume, and Wallet Suckage wants 87 dollars for a Magical Ice Queen costume (not including the fancy hat or the white gloves or the sparkly mask–those are extra).

A Magical Ice Queen costume that Miss D. now had her heart completely set on.


“I found one too, Mommy,” said Miss M. pumping her wee arms and legs up and down in excitement. “Look!”

I had no idea what I was looking at. Some purple and black be-feathered and be-ribboned confection that, inexplicably, included a set of pointy ears.

“What is that?” I said.

“It’s a combination! It’s a bat and a witch put together! Isn’t that neat?”

At 68 bucks, not including the feathery gloves and the bat wings, I wasn’t thinking it was so neat.

I dragged out my wallet, ordered the costumes and cried a little at my own stupidity.

I also vowed to never, ever, toss the mail on an end table in September without plowing through it first.

200 bucks (shipping, you know) and a few days later, the box from Wallet Suckage arrived. The girls were wild with excitement and couldn’t stop talking about their costumes. Every shopkeeper, grocery clerk and passerby the girls came into contact with knew, in excruciating detail, their Halloween plans. And since we ordered the costumes in early September, this went on for weeks.

A few days before Halloween, Miss D. was sitting in her 3rd grade classroom, working on a math drill. The classroom was quiet and the kids were busy at work when my daughter suddenly looked up from her assignment and said boisterously, “Hey, Mrs Lewis! Guess what? My sister’s gonna be a BITCH for Halloween!”

Bat. Witch. BITCH. Get it?

Mrs. Lewis, bless her, has a great sense of humor and when she called me on her lunch hour, we howled and howled.

“You could tell that D. didn’t know what that word meant,” Mrs. Lewis chortled, “but some of the kids did, and they gave me this look like, ‘Uh, whaddaya gonna do about that, Mrs. Lewis?’”

“Oh God, I’m so sorry,” I said.

“Are you kidding?” she said. “Best thing to happen all year.”


Fast forward 4 years.

The BITCH now has Mrs. Lewis as her 3rd grade teacher. In August, when I found out that we’d hit the teacher lotto and scored Mrs. Lewis for round 2 of 3rd grade, I emailed her a note:

The BITCH and I are so excited to spend this year with you!

Now, the Bitch costume has long been retired to Goodwill, but now that Miss M. is in 3rd grade, guess what I’m thinking?

The Magical Ice Queen costume! We still have it and Miss M. can fit in it now, so that’s awesome! I’ll get at least another wear out of that ridiculous, over-priced sucker! Score!

Except for one leeetle problem.

When I pulled out the Magical Ice Queen costume, twirled it around for Miss M. to see and said, “Remember when D. wore this costume? I held onto it so you could wear it, too! Isn’t it lovely?” Miss M. took one look at it and said, “I’m not wearing that.”

“But, it’s so cool looking!” I sputtered.

She stared at me stonily.

“It’s got these sparkly snowflakes on the cape,” I showed her. “And a hat with ribbons.”

“I don’t like sparkly things,” she said. “Or dresses.”

This happens, unfortunately, to be true. Miss M. is about the most un-girly girl in the world. She loathes dresses and will not wear ribbons in her hair and she has never, not once in her life, ever played with a doll.

“But it’s Halloween,” I said. “You’re supposed to go as something different from who you really are–it’s kind of like that SpongeBob episode ‘Opposite Day!’”

Never underestimate the power of a SpongeBob reference.

She narrowed her eyes and scrutinized the dress. “The top part of it looks like it’s itchy.”

As luck would have it, the top part actually is itchy.

I know this for a fact because four years ago, Miss D. came down with the costume in hand and said, “I can’t wear this. It’s itchy.”

And I said, “I’ll get you an undershirt to wear under it but get back upstairs and put that costume on right this minute, because it was one hundred bucks.”

Miss M. glowers and shakes her head. “I’m not wearing that.”

“Are you sure? Why don’t you just try it on, just to see?”

“Forget it, Mom,” she said. “No way am I being an Ice Queen. Queens are stupid things to be for Halloween. The only thing stupider than a queen is a princess, which is, like, the stupidest thing ever.”

Damn. She sort of has a point.

“Put that costume back in the box,” she said. “Besides, I already asked Dad and he said he’d get me the costume I want.”



Anyone need an Ice Queen costume?

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Dear Readers,

I’m over at the Huffington Post today, admitting some pretty tough things as a parent. It would mean the world to me if you’d click here and pop into the Huff Po to say hello, and of course, offer any insights or comments. I’m a little nervous about this one–I might be in for some harsh critics–and I’d love to see some friendly faces.


Much Love,


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Frittata with Orzo and Ham

October 24, 2014

Weekday mornings are a freakshow at my house. Is it just me? Please, let it not just be me.

I don’t get it. Even though I make lunches the night before, make sure homework is done and favorite t-shirts are clean, get the backpacks loaded and ready, set alarm clocks in advance…it’s still chaos. Just pure pandemonium.

Someone can’t find her library book. Or her gym shoes. Or the hairbrush. Someone’s going through a growth spurt of epic proportions and needs three breakfasts before heading out the door. The dog is desperate to go outside and the cat is sneaking dog food and Holy Jesus, who clogged that toilet?

If there’s any trick or shortcut that can make my mornings even a sliver more manageable, I jump on it.

In my case, it’s the humble frittata. If I have slices of frittata on hand, there’s at least one person in the morning who I don’t have to worry about: my husband.

Yeah, I make my husband breakfast on weekday mornings. Doesn’t everyone?

You do, right?


Well, in any case, I do. He works really hard and chalks up some serious hours at the hospital, and I just feel better if I can send him off in the morning with something nourishing in his belly, so he won’t be chowing on a big, greasy bear claw or donut later.

Frittatas fit the bill. I make a huge frittata loaded with goodies on Sunday, let it cool, and then cut it into individual portions, wrap ‘em up, and it’s ready for the week.

A week overflowing with freakshow mornings that I never seem to get a handle on.

This frittata is a little different, because it uses pasta in place of the usual potatoes. I like it because it feels a little bit lighter than the potato-studded variety, and it slices beautifully and keeps together well when portioned out and stored in the refrigerator. My husband likes it because it’s delicious and reheats like a dream.

Even if you aren’t afflicted with freakshow mornings, you should give this a try. It also makes for a terrific lunch or light supper when paired with a green salad (and perhaps a glass of Pinot Grigio).  You’ll love it, I promise.


Frittata with Orzo and Ham

adapted from recipe by Giada De Laurentis

serves 5-6


3/4 cup orzo pasta

6 eggs

1/3 cup whole milk ricotta

1/4 cup sour cream

2 cups diced cooked ham

2 chopped shallots

1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

1/2 cup diced roasted red bell pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper


Preheat the oven to 375.

Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Add the orzo and cook about 8 minutes or until al dente. Drain.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine eggs, ricotta and sour cream. Whisk together until everything is combined. Add the cooked pasta, ham, shallots, parsley, roasted bell pepper, salt and pepper. Stir well to combine.

Pour the mixture into a well-buttered 1 1/2 quart baking dish. Bake for 25 minutes or until just set. Turn on the broiler and place the dish under the broiler for about 5 minutes or until the frittata is golden on top. Cut into wedges.

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A few Fall happenings and Marinara Sauce

October 21, 2014

Birthday Boys

October 16, 2014

Edamame-Orzo Salad

October 13, 2014

Chicken Marsala

October 9, 2014

The Sweetest Gift

October 4, 2014

The Shoes You Have To Walk In

October 1, 2014

A few Autumn changes

September 26, 2014