Friday, September 26, 2008

Ode To My Metabolism

When I was a girl, a young lass with ‘tude
I never thought twice when eating my food.

For breakfast: a donut or perhaps, maybe, two!
For lunch: a Ding Dong and some chips would do.
Dinner was usually something from Mother
Usually a healthier something-or-other.

I never considered time on a treadmill
Or taking the steps or walking uphill.
Carbs versus protein – oh, please….there’s a diff?
Just give me some chocolate – that’d be terriff!

But then as the hands of age tightened their grip
I noticed a slight change in my thigh and my hip.

A mere glance at a cookie would add several pounds
My rear-end gi-normous, my midsection: round!
A cruel reminder that no longer I could
Enjoy vast amounts of decadent food.

With cardio and weight training, I must challenge the fate
Of an ever decreasing metabolic rate.
Nevermore can I sit: a couch potato I be.
Now sit-ups and lunges in reps of three.

So bye-bye to the sweets and fast-food of my youth
Okay, maybe one French Fry, if you must know the truth.
Or maybe a dozen and a Big Mac is fantastic!
What the heck, I’ll buy jeans with waistbands of elastic!

Here’s to full-figured gals in their primes!
Hourglass shapes – it’s the look of the times.
So eat, drink and be merry, of course moderate…
And save room for ice cream and let’s celebrate!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Chocolate Chip Pancakes...With Ice Cream!

Last Sunday night, being the uninspired mother that I am, I made my boys chocolate chip pancakes for dinner. It is not completely unexpected for me to throw together pancakes on a Sunday night. It is good comfort food. And, apparently, according to my two boys, I make the best chocolate chip pancakes on the planet.

Peanut, my youngest, kept asking for ice cream while I was making the pancakes and I continued to refuse his 9-year old pleas. “No…dinner will be ready in 10 minutes! You do NOT need ice cream before you eat pancakes!”

A 9 year old brain cannot make the connection that ice cream before pancakes is a bad thing…..but is it?

As Peanut was stomping off, a flash of culinary brilliance hit me……What about ice cream WITH pancakes?

“Hold it, Peanut!” I called after him.

He came back in to the kitchen and watched as I served up a plate of pancakes and in the center of the pancakes: a scoop of Blue Bunny® Vanilla ice cream. It wasn’t all too pretty to look at but the look on Peanut’s face said it all. Astonishment. Joy. Total confusion. Followed by more joy.

My oldest son reacted much the same way but, since he is a teenager, the emotions were accompanied by an eye roll. I will take it!

But the pancakes disappeared in record time. Look out Paula Dean, this Mama’s got Chocolate Chip Pancakes….with a cold and creamy ice cream center!! Mmmm!

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Birthday Party

“Peanut”, my youngest son, celebrated his 9th birthday last week and his birthday party consisted of my chauffeuring he and two similarly aged boys to see the “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” cartoon movie.

We loaded up on candy and pop and popcorn and headed inside the theater.

“Peanut” and his two buddies have all seen the Clone Wars before but were dying to see it a second time. While the movie was intriguing (all computer animation), it was uninspiring. I could barely make it through the first viewing, much less go back to see it again! Mid movie, Peanut leaned over to me and said, excitedly (in his candy and pop haze), “Isn’t this movie G-R-E-A-T?” Without hesitation, I, against my better judgment to be brutally honest with my angel, responded in the affirmative and matched the sentiment with a big ol’ thumbs up. After the movie, they all exclaimed, “It was even better the second time!” Really?? Maybe the more times you see it…the better it gets!

After the movie, the boys spent a king’s ransom on video arcade games before returning to our house to play with Star Wars action figures and talk mostly in their “outside voices” despite the fact that I would remind them, continually, that we were actually inside.

After the sugar buzz wore off, they wanted dinner (pizza!) followed by the giant decorated chocolate chip cookie and ice cream - Peanut’s favorite: Blue Bunny®’s Super Chunky Cookie Dough ice cream. After clearing off the pizza plates, I noted that one little guy, the silly red-head, only ate about four bites of pizza. I asked “Red” if he got enough to eat, to which came his wise and worldly reply (and you have to visualize that he is patting his stomach when he said this….keep in mind, “Red” is 8) “Well, these days, I am just not that ‘in to’ eating.” I laughed out loud.

Maybe it was the giant package of Sour Sweet Tarts and the large Dr. Pepper talking, but apparently he and the other boys must have found their stomachs again because they managed to woof down several pieces of chocolate chip cookie and piles of ice cream faster than you can say “chocolate chip cookie and piles of ice cream”.

We actually had a great time and I was glad to be a part of it.

Ahh, boys. I read a quip once (and I wish I could attribute it to someone but wouldn’t know who) that states, “A boy is just a noise with dirt on it.”

And I have two noises who are my whole world.

Happy Birthday to my youngest dirty noise, Peanut. You are half-way to being an adult. Enjoy every last minute of your youth. It goes so quickly.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

...And Speaking of Lipstick: The Cone vs. The Dish Debate

The first official poll of “The Sweet Life” blog is over and the results are in:

The ‘astounding’ (hint of sarcasm) response of 34 total votes tells me two things: 1.) I really need to get more readers to this blog, and 2.) of the choices between eating ice cream in a dish, in a cone, or in their hand….more of my readers prefer ice cream served in a dish.

In fact, 55% of readers prefer ice cream in a dish to the 44% of readers who voted to eat their ice cream from a cone. Surprisingly, no one revealed their preference of eating ice cream straight from their hand. Puzzling. (Picture me, raising my right eyebrow and rubbing my chin)

“Election Fever” has caused me to want to over-analyze everything ad nauseum and the cone vs. dish debate is no different. So, I tried to determine what hidden message is being communicated by those who prefer a round dish to a pointed cone. And this is my deduction:

The closest study I could uncover which compares people who prefer pointed objects to round objects is the “Lipstick Personality Test”. According to the “Lipstick Personality Test” (sorry to any of those voters out there who are guys – you are just out of luck, here), the tip of your used lipstick says a lot about you. If the tip of your lipstick is round and smooth all over (like a bowl!), you are easy going, a peacemaker, even tempered, steady, likeable, and generous. If the tip of your lipstick comes to a point (like a cone!), you tend to be lovable, family oriented, a “doer”, can give orders easily, are domestic, exaggerates sometimes, stubborn over little things, and need to be around other people. Now the caveat to the “pointed cone personality” is that perhaps you prefer the cone but the flat bottom variety? Well, I have a personality for you, too! If you like the bottom of your cone like you like the top of your lipstick – flat – then you are to the point (how ironic!), have high morals, need approval, are careful about appearances, are very dependable, conservative, quick-minded, and love a challenge.

So, now I have a better glimpse into the inner psyche of my entire readership – which is made up of, primarily, my friends and family. How did you vote? Is my analysis accurate? Hmm….maybe I need another poll to determine the accuracy of this poll. Or maybe I just need more to do.

At any rate, check out the various other lipstick personalities and see how you fare. And guys, you can learn about the women in your lives, as well, by glancing at the tips of their lipsticks….just don’t let them catch you digging through their purses or make-up bags. Because that would be just weird.

Until then, I remain……..1SweetMama

Friday, September 12, 2008

Adam Roberts' Musical Tribute To a Malted Milk Ice Cream Recipe

I happened to stumble upon Adam Roberts a few weeks ago when I was surfing the web in an attempt to find someone or something that would be an entertaining highlight to feature in one of my blogs.

This guy is fun, good natured, creative, and quite talented. Among all of his other creative offerings on his website, I happened upon his musical ode to an ice cream dessert.

When I first heard this sweet little rendition, my reaction was, “This guy needs a couple of voice lessons and, perhaps, a hobby.” But after looking further in to Adam Roberts, I learned that his hobbies are food, music, and sharing his light-hearted perspective on those things along with lots of other fun stuff. This guy plays a mean piano and I had to laugh out loud at his hilarious tribute to David Lebovitz’ Malted Milk Ice Cream Recipe. Then I proceeded to forward it to several of my co-workers. Adam’s alter ego is The Amateur Gourmet and he has a pretty cool website and blog, which includes songs, comics, and lots more dedicated to his love of food.

Looking for inspiration for a new song, Adam turned to David Lebovitz , author, pasty chef and aficionado of all things sweet and decadent. Lebovitz’s Malted Milk Ice Cream recipe proved the perfect muse. Just as an aside, you should also take a listen to The Lasagna Song.

Coincidentally, after writing several books, including “The Perfect Scoop”, David Lebovitz authored the book, “Living The Sweet Life in Paris”. Apparently he didn’t know that “The Sweet Life” can also be lived in the “Ice Cream Capital of the World®” (as attested to by myself, 1SweetMama) in Le Mars, Iowa! David Lebovitz has lots of fab "foodie" publications that you should go check out.

Well, Adam, I have subscribed to your blog and look forward to being entertained by you for many meals to come.

Check it out…..then go make your own tub of David Lebowitz’ Malted Milk Ice Cream. No piano required.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Max The Wonderdog

I am divorced. When my divorce was finalized, my ex (“X”) asked if he could have Maggie, the dog . X said he would be willing to assume the role of Maggie’s caregiver. I always felt she was sort of MY dog and we were great walking buddies but I, ultimately, sadly relented and gave full custody of Maggie to him.

Once I settled into homeownership, post-divorce, I, too, realized that, despite the fact that my children were with me 50% of the time, it felt like something was missing. I have owned dogs all my life…..As a youth, there was Sugar and Gizmo, Dixie Rose Lee the poodle-mix, then Daisy Dog.

Then I left for college and married. Once married….X (then, “Not X”) adopted Jennifer the German Shepherd, then Buster, then Maggie. All of these dogs, their presence overlapping in my life like warm cozy security blankets, marked significant milestones in my life.

Enter Max the Wonderdog. Mr. P.O.D. (remember Mr. “Pass-On-Dessert”, my manfriend?) adopted Max as a puppy. At about 6 months, Max’s life was nearly snuffed out by a passing truck. Thousands of dollars and several metallic rods later, Max emerged “Max The Wonderdog”. Max remained a faithful companion and Head of Security for P.O.D. for many years. The two were best buddies. But P.O.D. travels a lot for business and, despite the fact that Max attended doggie daycare 3-4 days a week, it was decided that Max might need to find a new home – one with kids and activity and LOTS and LOTS of love.

This was about the time that I had realized that 1SweetMama needed a man around the house. One who was loyal, protective, and handsome. One who would volunteer to clean up after dinner and cuddle with me at night. Max the Wonderdog, while canine and a maniacal shedder, fit the bill perfectly. He is a large “All-American Mutt” with blended likenesses of Rottweiler, German Shepherd, and Black Lab. He looks fierce, except for when he is smiling, which is pretty much most of the time.

Mr. P.O.D. reassigned Max’s security detail immediately to northwest Iowa. Max agreed to the transfer and the rest is history.

My children and I adore Max, and he us. He takes up his daily post upon my bed where he can scan the yard perimeter from my bedroom window for suspicious activity like the Schwan’s Guy, the mailman, or a random neighborhood squirrel or bird. Mostly, Max hates motorcycles and big trucks and, thus, our yard is motorcycle and truck-free 24/7. I feel so much safer.

All he asks in return is a couple of walks a day and the opportunity to lick out near-empty cereal bowls. And LOTS and LOTS of love.

Until then, I remain….1SweetMama

Friday, September 5, 2008

Always Have "The Hand"

At the risk of seeming “preachy”, today’s blog focuses on a bit of life advice. If you have found yourself a steady reader of my blogs, you will have learned that most of my blog posts are about ice cream and my eternally optimistic perspective on life. In fact, if you recall from one of my earlier entries, I state that my blogs are my view of life “through ice cream-colored glasses”.

Simply put: I tend to be naive enough to believe that everyone – whether they want to admit it or not – is good. It is a fairly nice outlook to have.

I also know that bad things can, and often do, happen to all people. In fact, the phrase, ‘Bad things happen to good people” was probably coined in an effort to make those good people feel “better” when stuck with a bad situation.

I have a philosophy that I believe is more of an antibiotic for easing the emotional infection and bringing down the fever of a bad situation. That philosophy is this: Always have the hand.

By this, I mean: always be the one who is in total control of yourself. Have the hand. Never give the control to the person or to the situation that is consuming you.

I hate hearing when they say or do something that ultimately gives the “hand” to someone else. I tell this to friends of mine in the hopes that they might realize the power of the Hand.

The “hand” means you have the power to control what happens to YOU. Not necessarily over the other person – because that would be mean and controlling – but YOU be the one to manage the situation. When all things are said and done, make sure that you have the Hand, whether you are finding yourself to be right or wrong. If you have the Hand, it is much easier to extend it back later, if necessary. And maybe stick an ice cream cone in it. My personal version of an “olive branch”.

It doesn’t mean that you are right. It doesn’t mean that you are mean. But if you have the Hand, I think you will find that you won’t be left asking yourself, “What did I do??” or “Why did I do that?” a lot less.

So, next time you or someone special are struck with a bad situation, ask yourselves: “Do you have the Hand?”

Just a “sweet” little bit of advice from someone who does view life through those ice cream-colored glasses.

Until next time, I remain….1SweetMama

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Ice Cream Princesses and the Men Who Love Them

It isn’t easy dating someone who is obsessed with ice cream…especially when that “someone” doesn’t really care for sweets!

It is true. 1SweetMama has been seeing “Mr. Pass-On-Dessert” for almost two years now, but imagine my surprise when this wonderful, perfect man of mine – just weeks into the dating process – informed me that he isn’t big on dessert. Now, I had to contemplate the future of this relationship, based on this new information. Handsome. Successful. A total gentleman (and some would say that is his best trait). Treats me with total love and respect. Loves my kids. Is there anything wrong with this guy?

Here it comes…the crack in the bright and shiny veneer: passing on the sweets? Do I tell him, “So long, Darling?” I think not.

We have a long-distance relationship. He lives 800 miles from me. I know….it is crazy. But we try to make it work. He owns a business there and I am co-raising two kids here, with their dad. Neither one of us can move away, so in the meantime, we, alone, are keeping Verizon, Sprint, Southwest and Delta Airlines in business.

We see each other, on average, about two times each month for a weekend. He comes here or I go there. But recently, there have been a couple of big steps made in our relationship…no, no ring (yet!)….I am proud to say that he has given me the second walk-in closet in his bedroom (the long-distance relationship equivalent of “moving in together”) AND I am now allowed to stock his freezer with ice cream. In fact, we have even been known to share a dish or two of ice cream as our evening snack. Ice cream,” he says, “is about the only sweet treat I can really enjoy.”

Mr. P.O.D. (Pass-On-Dessert) may be softening his stances on the issues of sole-proprietorship of his homestead, his deep freeze, and his late-night snack attack. He has succumbed to the power of the “Ice Cream Princess” in that I can now fill both his closet and his freezer with two of my most favorite things: shoes and ice cream, respectively.

And, while, I can’t comment to the definitiveness of the relationship between 1SweetMama and a man who, pre-me, never cared too much for sweets, I can tell you that things are looking up.

Until then, I remain…..1SweetMama