Intentional Happiness: Zigzag Road

October 13, 2010

Is it just me, or is life lately up and down and crazy all over? It can’t be only me, right? Please tell me that you’re all ringmasters of your own little Freakshow Circuses; otherwise I’m going to have to actually invent and install the Everclear Drinking Fountain. Because mommies need that shit.

Still, this wacko job of mine has it’s moments of Intentional Happiness, and I’m going to share mine today. It’s been a while since I remembered to actively seek the happy, which isn’t good. I have to laugh or else I’ll blubber like the star of a Lifetime movie. So here goes. And if you want more Intentional Happiness, check out BadMommyMoments and Momalom. They’re pretty cool girls to hang out with.

!!! (The Up) This drawing, made by Miss M., which is proof that I am, by far, the most colorful person in the family.

!!! (The Down) The same drawing also, apparently, is proof that I look like a Ten Dollar Hooker. Because look at her! Seriously? What is up with that bird’s nest hair and who the Hell put on her lipstick this morning? I am also not enjoying being shaped eerily like a sausage.

!!! (The Up) Miss D. channeled her inner artist this week, too.

!!! (The Down) She also channeled it on her spelling homework, which she was supposed to be doing on this cookie sheet covered in sugar. Instead, she was rocking her inner Tinkerbell. I’m thinking her test won’t come out so well this week. Also, if you’re going to use that technique as spelling practice, I highly recommend that you buy a gi-normous container of salt and use that. Sugar is not so awesome on every nook and cranny in the kitchen, especially if someone happens to spill water.

!!! (The Up) The face of a girl who didn’t balk too badly about going to school this week. Although Fridays are still mutinous.

!!! (The Down) The tear-stained face of Miss D. as she got off the bus. Mean Girls Suck.

!!! (Lots of Up) The trip to the pumpkin patch this weekend.

!!! (The Down) Realizing that not only do my kids need haircuts like nobody’s business, but also that they’re growing way, way, too fast. Miss M. is in the middle of the growth spurt on steroids and Miss D. can fit into my shoes. Ack!

!!! (Up and Down) Saying yes this year to Miss D.’s annual plea: “Please, can we get a super-huge pumpkin this year?” Also saying yes to Miss M.’s annual plea: “Please, can we each get two pumpkins this year? So Mommy is a rock star for a day. A broke rock star, because that huge honker was almost 39 pounds. And patch pumpkins are 99 cents a pound. Total bill for pumpkins this year? 63 bucks.

!!! (The Up) Having these little goodies ready and waiting for post-patch snacking.

Chewy Caramel Popcorn and Pretzel Bars

from Everyday Food magazine

makes 12 bars

Nonstick cooking spray

12 cups plain popped popcorn (from 1/2 cup kernels or 2 microwave packages)

4 cups coarsely chopped small salted pretzels (7.5 ounces)

2 cups sugar

coarse salt

2/3 cup heavy cream

2 cups miniature marshmallows

Coat a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. In a large bowl, toss together popcorn and pretzels. In a medium saucepan, bring sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 cup water to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil, undisturbed, until mixture is amber in color, 8-12 minutes. Remove pan from heat and slowly pour in cream (mixture will sputter). Immediately add marshmallows and stir until melted.

Pour caramel mixture over popcorn and pretzels and quickly stir with a rubber spatula to coat. Transfer mixture to prepared dish and use a piece of  plastic wrap coated with cooking spray to press evenly into dish. If desired, sprinkle with a little coarse salt. Let cool completely and cut into 12 bars. Store in an airtight container, at room temperature, up to 2 days.

* I was feeling racy, so I melted chocolate and drizzled it over the top of the bars. A little chocolate never hurt anyone, right?

!!! (The Down) Being so satisfied with myself that I forgot to take a picture of them before they were wreckage.

Whether up, down or all around,  I’d still love to hear what made you !!! this week.

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday October 13, 2010 at 8:07 am

I need a “smart girls rule” t-shirt in my size. That’s wicked awesome. I hope your daughter is smart (I presume she is since she’s your daughter) because, if not, wearing that shirt might otherwise peg her as a subordinate to the actual smart girls (they’re smart, they pick up on that stuff).


Tiffany October 13, 2010 at 8:09 am

These are great !!! moments. And our house is a TOTAL freakshow. Completely. I love seeing pics of your girls…and those pumpkins? Awesome!


bryan October 13, 2010 at 8:21 am

My life has been a frickin’ madhouse this past couple of weeks too! You are not alone my friend. I am trying to get the 5 gallon jug of Vodka delivered to my office. What great pictures! the girlies ar beautiful, I think I am doing the pumpkin patch this weekend.


Futureblackmail October 13, 2010 at 8:55 am

I’m sorry? What’s stopping you from inventing and putting into mass production an Everclear Drinking Fountain?


Jennifer October 13, 2010 at 9:06 am

Miss D is quite the artist. Wow. Those flowers are seriously good. And I’m glad Miss M is having a better time at school. I’m sure that makes it easier for you.


Keyona October 13, 2010 at 9:14 am

Adorable! The kids, the post, and the yummy snack….


Phoo-d October 13, 2010 at 9:25 am

Miss M is seriously in a growth spurt! She looks so much taller than when I saw her in June. Wow! Up, down, and all around, this fall has definitely been crazy. You’re not alone!


manisha October 13, 2010 at 9:25 am

I see so much of you in Ms. M! Ms. D has so much talent!
Hey, if you need size 12 jeans, I can have some for you in the next couple of weeks. My kiddo is also growing and makes me wonder where she puts all that food that she eats. I’m pretty sure that if you do take those jeans, it will be the first and last time cos your girls are tall!


Katybeth October 13, 2010 at 10:10 am

The ups the downs the all arounds! Somedays I feel like it’s two steps forward, two steps backwards Ch Ch Cha.
Your girl’s are darling and obviously full of fun, love and mischief.

P.S. I don’t let my 14 year old near the sugar since a 10 pound bag was dropped and burst on my floor.


Stephane October 13, 2010 at 10:11 am

Don’t despise me for noticing: your portrait also seems to depict a somewhat larger bottom than topside. ; ) You think YOU have troubles: Where the heck is Miss D’s hair? (Or is this a post-haircut depiction?!) Love your !!!


Jody October 13, 2010 at 10:21 am

This blog entry is my !!!!!


Stephane October 13, 2010 at 10:28 am

WAIT~I have the answer: the bird’s nest hair, the spastic lipstick, the expanding bottom v. diminishing topside. . . It’s an issue of perspective! She’s depicting perspective from HER perspective. Clearly, both your children are artists of an advanced caliber! : )


Heather October 13, 2010 at 10:39 am

Just stumbled on your blog a few weeks ago. LOVE it!! Love the recipes and the stories that go along with them. Am now a follower. I am going to try these squares out, they sound irresistible even without a picture. Your girls are beautiful BTW.


Jane October 13, 2010 at 11:09 am

Leave it to you to remember the downs with your ups. It’s what I love about you – you keep me grounded! xoxoxoxo


Jenna October 13, 2010 at 11:09 am

I love the pictures of your girls . . . and I’m sorry about the Mean Girls that made Miss D cry. =( I remember those days well, and it seemed like they would never end. But they did!


Jane October 13, 2010 at 11:10 am

P.S. I was scanning the recipe and thinking, what? No chocolate? Then I read your racy comment. You little minx, you!


Sandra October 13, 2010 at 11:11 am

I loved this post with it’s ups and downs. Great idea!
Your girls are beautiful: the up – they are smart, can draw (the red lipstick is definitely a pick me up first thing in the morning, trust me!) are exuberant, know they don’t need to spell because now there is such a thing as ‘spellcheck’…the down – they are so pretty you’ll need a $63 pumpkin to throw at the boys when they start hanging around your front porch!


Gale @ Ten Dollar Thoughts October 13, 2010 at 11:22 am

Miss D’s flowers and Miss M’s smile just made my day. Thanks for all the !!!


Kristen @ Motherese October 13, 2010 at 11:47 am

I would happily watch any Lifetime movie starring TKW. Just sayin’. And your minxes could co-star. That would be !!!

That recipe at the end sounds amazing. I might just have to whip it up this weekend.


Amy @ Never-True Tales October 13, 2010 at 12:08 pm

Life is beyond crazy here, too. I love the drawing of ‘colorful you’, made me laugh. And your girls are so cute!


Allison @ Alli 'n Son October 13, 2010 at 12:27 pm

$63 for pumpkins! Really? That’s craziness, I had no idea they could cost that much. But I’m super cheep, I bought a pumpkin for my kiddo, it was $1.99 at Aldi. That’s probably the only one he will get. But he did pick it out, and it is HUGE. Not 39 lbs huge, but still pretty big.


Eva @ EvaEvolving October 13, 2010 at 12:51 pm

Kitch, these photos make me SMILE – your girls are irresistible!


Kelly October 13, 2010 at 1:05 pm

That artwork is pretty fantastic and I’m jealous of your big, beautiful pumpkins. Mean girls do suck. Can I have that on a tee shirt?


Camille Bright-Smith October 13, 2010 at 1:08 pm

The Up….reading KitchWitch on a down day….the Down….facing my pending move and the permanancy of divorce….the UP facing my pending divorce….the UP…your recipes….the Down….no time for drinks with KitchWitch this weekend….the Down….no time for punkin’s….the UP… of M and D looking so full of life and color that they practically erase all my downs….the Up….another Mommy that gets depicted as a two bit ho*r on drawings by her kids! I do like to rock the bright red lipstick.



Belinda October 13, 2010 at 1:54 pm

Adorable girls!

Yes, I have definitely been feeling that life is crazy all over especially in the fall, my busiest time of year, when I don’t know if I’m coming or going.

This recipe sounds yummy.

Take care!


Corinne October 13, 2010 at 1:59 pm

Your girls are too cute :) Love the pumpkin pictures!


Virginia October 13, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Those sound yummy! I believe I shall need to make them soon.

Um, yes. It is not our normal week and it is insanely insane and I could use a bit more normal next week but doubt I’m going to get it. Le sigh.


TheKitchenWitch October 13, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Stephane: alas, it did not escape me that the backside end is bigger. Kids…they’re so brutal with the truth! LOL at the bald comment. Bald one is actually hubs and guy next to him is Awesome Stepkid R. Not sure if Miss D. pissed M off or what, but D. is out of the picture!

Camille: Sorry about the downs, sweet friend. Hope we can get together soon and make our own ups. xo


Shawna October 13, 2010 at 3:53 pm

So beautiful. Intentional happiness is often hard to do. Love the homework in sugar (even if it wasn’t exactly on task ;). We use sand and it works great!

Happy Autumn!!! The pumpkins are gorgeous.


Heather October 13, 2010 at 6:42 pm

Nothing like a drawing from your kid to get an idea of how the world really sees you ;) Your pics are awesome! I choked a little at $63 for pumpkins! I’m lovin’ the pumpkin farm we go to – no payin’ by the pound around here!


A Canadian Foodie October 13, 2010 at 7:03 pm

We don’t have a pumpkin patch like that here. What a blast to wander around and find your soul mate pumpkin. You ARE a rock star mommy! And. your two adorable daughters appreciate you, I can tell. It is a wonderful time of year!


Nancy C October 13, 2010 at 7:06 pm

This whole post made me happy. Except for the tears on the bus. That’s just hard. There’s something so wonderful about a big pumpkin. Way to go, Mom.

Also, love the lipstick. :-)


Aging Mommy October 13, 2010 at 7:09 pm

Which was is up?!? That’s often how I feel – so no you are not alone :-)

Lovely photos, your girls are beautiful and your Miss D truly is an artist, I love those flowers and I bet she gets a great score on her homework for that delightful Tinkerbell.


elizabeth October 13, 2010 at 7:21 pm

How I wish we had bilingual keyboards with shortcut keys to the upside-down exclamation mark. I feel you could turn ¡¡¡ into a thing, except it’s a pain to incorporate onto the web. It also might be offensive, so maybe we don’t turn it into a thing.

Anyway. Good things include birthday celebrations this past week. Bad things include Amtrak being a bastard (in particular the Quik Trak machines) that printed out only one of four tickets we needed for our trip. Awes. At least we made it back.


Mrs.Mayhem October 13, 2010 at 7:53 pm

You are SUCH a good mom! Two pumpkins each, and big, expensive ones. Lucky, gorgeous girls! Thanks for sharing the photos of your cuties.


Ink October 13, 2010 at 8:05 pm

Love all of these: the drawings and the pics and the posting points. And tee hee re: your lipstick…


Liz @ Peace, Love & Guacamole October 13, 2010 at 9:06 pm

Wait, you did spelling practice in sugar?? I’m trying to wrap my head around that…it’s both brilliant and terrifying. My kids would be scooping up handfuls every time I blinked. (Hey Mom! I just ate “restraint!” How ironic is that??)

And your daughter is so right: smart girls DO rule.


Contemporary Troubadour October 13, 2010 at 10:01 pm

Pretzels AND popcorn??? You’re killin’ me, Kitch; my resolve is weakening by the second. Hang the carbs and hand me the chocolate drizzle!

In all seriousness, though, we are definitely a freakshow circus over here — about to go on tour! All in the name of passing off the ringmaster’s hat, of course.


theUngourmet October 13, 2010 at 11:14 pm

Who cares if Miss D can spell, she’s totally rockin’ the sugar Tinkerbell artwork! ;D

Doesn’t a trip to the pumpkin patch just make it all go away?!

Happy Autumn…and the Everclear drinking fountain is cracking me up. Thanks for the laugh. I seriously needed it!

Oh yes, one more thing. Mean girls completely suck. Big time!


Shelley October 14, 2010 at 1:34 am

Everyone else in your family is sausage-shaped as well, so I wouldn’t take it personally. I love it that you have the colour in the family – but from the photos I suspect your girls are pretty colourful in their own right!


Amy October 14, 2010 at 6:17 am


Grow your own pumpkins! I ended up with four decent ones and just paid a buck for the package of seeds. And I am not a gardener. And my boys always need haircuts. And I can fit into Harry’s shoes. And mean girls do suck. that is why I always carry imaginary purple rocks in my pocket to lob at their heads. Love the post!


Privilege of Parenting October 14, 2010 at 6:30 am

Hey KW, I try to read the tide of feelings spread out across all my clients, kids, friends and bloggers and recent days have definitely seemed to be tumultuous and intermittently excruciating punctuated by sublime moments.

Perhaps our pains potentially connect us with each other, as mean people suck to the extent they suck away our happiness… because they are unhappy, hungry, anxious… swimming in the same befuddling and nerve-racking soup as all of us.

Thanks for sharing the agony and the ecstasy with us… it seems that we can all relate (alone in our individual selves and together in the hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold pumpkin patch where pimps purvey pumpkins… and right they should, as every one is a potential elegant coach to take us and those we love to the ball of our own transformation… and mean girls’ feet don’t fit slippers so well, be they ruby or glass).


SuziCate October 14, 2010 at 7:16 am

Beautiful girls and lots of happy moments. And I LOVE that family picture! (Big red lips really make it!)


Amber October 14, 2010 at 8:04 am

Kitch, this is lovely. There is an up and down to everything, however as we appreciate the ups we can take the downs a little bit better. (Maybe that only makes sense to me.)

As for the busyness? I can relate. Completely.


Christine LaRocque October 14, 2010 at 10:50 am

I just love you. That is all.


Leslie October 14, 2010 at 2:57 pm

Smart girls DO rule! Nice ones, too.
Now, mean girls? WHY?!
I got up at 3 a.m. once this week and enjoyed it on purpose. Intentional happiness for sure.


Christine @ Fresh Local and Best October 14, 2010 at 3:37 pm

Mean girls do suck! I can’t imagine anyone would want to be anything but good friends with such an adorable little girl. I just love seeing the precious wide smiles on your girls’ faces.


Maria October 14, 2010 at 5:59 pm

Oh my goodness! Your girls are just lovely, Kitch! What bright happy smiles! And the pumpkin patch! I CAN’T wait to take my guys to the patch this year!!

Good to have you searching for the !!!, Kitch! Keeps us from getting sick at the FreakShow Circus, you know? ;)


Gibby October 15, 2010 at 7:30 am

Could your girls be any more adorable? I think not.


Rudri October 15, 2010 at 7:51 am

The crazies – we got that here too. But the darling !!! moments made me smile. I could use some of that !!! goodness.

On another note, love the smart girl rules shirt. That totally rocks!


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