Confessions of a Crazy Cake Mom (and some other news)

One of the many things that makes my “crazy” show is a birthday. I love planning birthday parties and especially cakes. The fact that my two oldest sons are having birthdays within the next two weeks made me decide to write a quick bit about my sickness surrounding birthday cakes.

My birthday cake made by Leslie's Cakes for my...uhh *cough* 29th birthday. Yeah, 29th. That's the ticket.

My birthday cake made by Leslie’s Cakes for my…uhh *cough* 29th birthday. Yeah, 29th. That’s the ticket.

My mom was great about either making me special cakes or ordering exactly what I wanted. I carried that tradition on with my own kids but am far less likely to hire a professional because, well, because I’m crazy. Now I’m not saying I’m über talented and should open my own little cake business (that would be a nightmare waiting to happen). I just like doing it for my kids.  But I thought I would share with you some of my attempts at birthday cakes and cupcakes over the last few years. You can certainly tell which ones I started on the night before the party and which ones I was icing as the party guests were walking through the door and I was still in a bathrobe. (Now, if you want a great looking/tasting cake by a true pro and live in the North Texas area, you should totally check out Leslie’s Cakes. They are amazing!)

Let’s start with some simple cupcakes I made for my two oldest when they decided to have a beach themed waterpark party (one of the few perks of having summer birthdays).

Beachy fun!

Beachy keen!

The decorations were simple: canned icing with blue coloring topped with little fondant shark fins and starfish. The hardest part of these cupcakes are hidden under the icing. They’re rainbow cakes which meant splitting the batter into several containers, dying them different colors, and spooning them into the cups in layers. It was a little time-consuming but had a nice little “wow” factor when the kids bit into them. (Note: we usually try to avoid dyes because of our ADHD/Autism diet but I throw all that out the window for birthdays. You have to just let kids be kids sometimes.)

Simple decorations on a complicated icing recipe (but so worth the effort).

Simple decorations on a complicated icing recipe (but so worth the effort).

Now these are also very simple cupcakes I made for my youngest son’s first birthday. His nursery was an owl theme and of course that was a year before everyone went owl crazy and you could buy it everywhere. I stuck with the theme for his birthday, using the colors in his room and simple fondant owls I cut out with an x-acto (is that right?) knife. The star of this was the icing. It’s a homemade batch of browned butter frosting that’s recipe I got from Martha Stewart. It is freakin’ awesome!! First birthdays are more about the adults anyway so I used this icing recipe knowing it wouldn’t be a favorite with the little one. He did his obligatory duty as a one-year-old and smeared it in his hair and everywhere else before crying over our singing.

Now, here are some cakes I did that are certainly half-ass. I call them “cheat sheets” because I go buy a plain sheet cake from our local Market Street and then decorate them myself. This method insures that I have a nice smooth surface for the base, allows me to spend my time doing the fun part, and keeps me from shanking folks.

Fondant Angry Birds I made myself ont top of a bought sheet cake.

Fondant Angry Birds I made myself ont top of a bought sheet cake.

A last minute monster cake built on top of a bought sheet cake.

A last minute monster cake built on top of a bought sheet cake.

I made smaller cakes at home using what I call a "boob pan" and just iced the crud out of them.

I made smaller cakes at home using what I call a “boob pan” and just iced the crud out of them.

I made candy clay with Candy Melts and corn syrup (so much easier than fondant) for the belt to celebrate my son's first rank up in karate.

I made candy clay with Candy Melts and corn syrup (so much easier than fondant) for the belt to celebrate my son’s first rank up in karate.

And now for my masterpiece. This is hands-down the best looking cake I’ve ever made and I imagine it has something to do with the fact that I actually made it the night before the party. We hired a local wildlife educator name Critterman to come to our home with lots of creepy crawlies. It was a fantastic party. The kids got to learn about a lot of animals and even touch them. My oldest son LOVED chameleons so I went with it and this is what he got…

Chameleon and spider cake complete with a Zinger branch.

Chameleon and spider cake complete with a Zinger branch.

I’m darn proud of the cake even if it’s technically a “cheat sheet.” I baked a round cake that I cut up to make the body of the chameleon and some more of the “boob” cakes to make the spider and leaves. Zingers made the perfect branch and I had to cheat and use pipe cleaners for the spider legs. Obviously it was mixing all of the different colors and doing thousands of little stars that took up the most time, but it paid off.

Isn't he pretty?!?

Isn’t he pretty?!?

And that was a peek into my craziness when it comes to birthday cakes. I’ve had requests for Minecraft, Legos and Adventure Time for these upcoming parties. I’ll past what I end up doing. Now…ON WITH AN IMPORTANT NEWS BULLETIN!!!!

First, I’ve already bragged and gloated on my primary blog that my parody, Fifty Shades of Puddin’

received an unexpected but amazing review on Villara Noir. It got me pumped, so I posted two excerpts from the prequel The Hunger Camp. Go check them out of you want a laugh. Amazon (Kindle) has decided to mark my book down to a buck for some reason (they reserve the right to change your price at their discretion), so go buy a copy and I’ll take that $0.35 royalty and go on a crazy spending spree!! Anyway, my loss but your gain, right?

Second, I’m taking a break from blogging for about 2 weeks. With two birthdays, travel, the end of school, and looming deadlines on real writing projects, I have to take a step back. I’ll be back the first of June with lots of summer-saving tips drink recipes.

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Mommy’s Little Helper Monday: Mother’s Day Edition

Me and my third little boy. I'm smiling so the drugs were still working.

Me and my third little boy. I’m smiling so the drugs were still working.

Did all of you survive Mother’s Day? Was it filled with grocery store flowers and handprint art thrown in your lap as payment for wiping countless asses and noses? My holiday was actually fantastic. Why? Because I spent 75% of it pretending I didn’t have children. Does this make me sound like a horrible mommy? I really don’t give a flying crap if it does or not. I needed it SOOOOO bad, and I think other moms do, too. After eating a breakfast (I never eat breakfast) that my sweet hubby made, I took a shower (I rarely get to do that either), put on makeup and a low-cut dress, and took off for a day of pretending.

The boys all meeting for the first time. The drugs are still working.

The boys all meeting for the first time. The drugs are still working.

I had the top down (the vehicle’s– not mine), the sun on my face, the wind in my hair, and every uncensored Prince, Eminem, Beastie Boys, JayZ, etc… song I have on my phone blaring through the speakers. I set off to use a gift certificate for a pedicure my sweet neighbor had given me for my birthday. I read the address in my usual half-ass/ADD manner and took off to the Shops at Legacy to get my gimpy toe and its equally ugly brothers polished into submission. The Shops of Legacy is a hoity-toity outdoor shopping center in north Plano. The sidewalks were packed with people all waiting for a spot in one of the restaurants, and they all got to hear “99 Problems” in all of its glory as I slowly drove back and forth looking for the nail place. I just smiled and let them all stare with envy at the girl who obviously didn’t have children.

The drugs have obviously stopped working and I've realized that I have 3 freakin' kids!

The drugs have obviously stopped working and I’ve realized that I have 3 freakin’ kids!

And it was all good until I got the bright idea to pull over and read the nail salon address again. It was then that I realized that the shop was on Legacy alright, but it was miles away– much closer to my house. Stupid! So I decided to play it off and went to the mall. I shopped! I shopped for sassy dresses. I’ve gained weight recently so I took dresses a size bigger than what I usually wear into the dressing room with me. They were too big! It was a magical miracle! I’m usually left crying in a fetal position while the flourescent lights highlight every single bump of cellulite I have. I usually run from the dressing room like I’m being attacked by velociraptors. And I keep running all the way to the food court where I stuff a cookie and a Diet Coke down my throat because I’ve decided that’s the way to make me feel less fat. But not this day. This day I actually bought a dress–with gift certificates I found in my wallet. More magic!!!

I then got 2 free pairs of panties at Victoria Secrets. Magical magicness!! Then I found the nail place and had my toes painted Cajun Shrimp while I drank wine. Wine!!! With no kids!!! There was so much magic it was like the entire senior class at Hogwarts had thrown up on me. I felt so good that I decided to go cruise through Target. I got there and discovered Starbucks had their frappacinos half off for Mother’s Day!! Holy coffee beans!! I got a caramel ribbon something–venti!! I sucked that 1000 calories down while I browsed through crap I didn’t need and talked to the BFF on the phone. It was then that I realized I was starting to shake. It was then that I started feeling a little queasy. It was then that I realized wine + massive amounts of sugar and caffeine – food + hypoglycemia = NOT SMART. Not magic.

Screw my blood sugar!! Make it a venti, bitch!

Screw my blood sugar!! Make it a venti, bitch!

I went and sat in my car shivering like a chihuahua. It was ugly there for a bit, but I muscled through. My day of pretending that I didn’t have children couldn’t be over! I drove my ass to the tanning place that I haven’t been to in months. I marched in and used my free Mother’s Day upgrade offer and climbed into this space ship looking bed NAKED! Yep. I decided to tan away those stretch marks so I could really pretend that I didn’t have kids. I was committed to my role. I finished roasting myself with one of those stupid little heart stickers (hey, better than a Playboy bunny) on my hip and drove home. I arrived to a lovingly prepared meal of surf and turf cooked by my sweet, ex-chef hubby, and three little boys lounging in front of the TV in their underwear. I tried to pretend they were just hired help but the undies made that thought a little creepy.

After dinner I lounged in bed, drinking wine and watching Game of Thrones. It was then that I began to slip into a state of deep relaxation…and itch. What the hell? Why am I itching in places that I shouldn’t? I go to the bathroom, drop my jammie bottoms and lift my top…OH, my god!!! I’m sunburned. I’m sunburned in places you NEVER want to be sunburned! And I want to pretend that me having a buzz and being sunburned is just like in my twenties when I’d drink on a boat all day and end up looking like a lobster, but I can’t. I was drunk most of the time in my twenties but I was never stupid enough to tan naked…Wait a minute…STUPID! That’s it! I really did live my day just like before I had kids. I did stupid things. I taunted my hypoglycemia and I burned my crotch. I was in a fairly constant state of stupid before I had kids, so I did it! I did stupid!

The Libation:

I know that you were fearful that after that long-winded story you were going to get duped on the drink, and you are!! Well, sorta. I tried to come up with a Mother’s Day themed drink, but in my opinion anything with a proof label was created for mothers. So, I had to dig deep to come up with something and then it popped in my head. My BFF and I created a drink when we were teenagers and my parents had gone on a vacation. We had to use what we could find and that came down to a packet of Purplesaurus Rex Kool-Aid and vodka. We called them Purple Mother F*ckers! (Do I really have to add some little symbol to these naughty words? It’s not like you don’t say it in your head when you read it. I think that’s the last half-ass attempt at censorship you’ll see from me.) And they weren’t bad. The Kool-aid is a mix of lemonade and grape, and to teenagers it tasted pretty damn good. The sad part is that you can’t buy Purplesaurus Rex anymore. If one of you do find some, let me know.

Purplesaurus

The Duh–I Already-Knew-That-Helpful-Tip:

Take a Thelma and Louise day for yourself...

Take a Thelma and Louise day for yourself…

If you are a mom pick a day to pretend you’re not. After you make sure your kids are safe with a spouse, sitter, relative, or firestation, take a day to just pretend you’re a person without all of the responsibilities you deal with every day. Go be with yourself. If you’re an introvert like me, go by yourself. If you’re an extrovert, gather some friends. Go do stupid shit that won’t land you in jail or maim you (wear bottoms in the tanning bed), and just have fun. Enjoy a taste of freedom. Turn off your cell phone for heaven’s sake. Don’t schedule anything! Make every decision on the fly. We forget what that’s like sometimes when we’re buried under schedules. Hell, we almost have to pencil in our potty breaks. Just go live without worrying about fixing meals or taking kids to violin lessons. Drive down a street you’ve never taken before. Just go! Trust me, you’ll feel so much better when you come home.

...but watch out for canyons.

…but watch out for canyons.

The Funny:

If the thought of me walking around with a burnt crotch doesn’t make you laugh, I don’t know what will. But, if you’re expecting more, go to my other blog Wckedwords. For those of you who don’t know, I wrote a redneck parody of Fifty Shades of Grey called Fifty Shades of Puddin’. It developed quite a little following so I decided to play around with a prequel. Go check out The Hunger Camp for a post Mommy Day laugh.

Mommy’s Little Helper Monday – Tax Day Edition

It’s Monday, but it’s not just any Monday– it’s Tax Day Monday. It’s the day all of the procrastinating folks sift through mountains of receipts and try to figure out how to convince the government that their new bass boat is a business expense and that their dog, Mr. Fluffy-nuts, is actually a child they adopted from Russia (it was the radiation from Chernobyl that made all the kids over there grow extra legs and lick their own butts). For all of you that get healthy refunds and still use an EZ form, I got a special public service announcement for you…

bum giving finger(See, I told you I look horrible before my Monday liquor coffee.) But for the rest of us who aren’t already scoping out new flat-screens, eyelash extensions, and other necessities to spend our refund on, today is a day that feels a lot like a violation. For us it feels like when creepy uncle Gary’s wondering hands get a little too friendly at the family reunion.

So if you’re one of the folks who will be taking a shower all Crying Games style after today, or if you’re one of those lucky people awaiting a refund, there’s plenty of reason to drink this Monday. And on that note…

The Libation:

If you’re doing taxes today you ain’t got no time for fancy drink making, so I’m making this easy enough to do even after hours of brain-draining tax shit. Step 1: drive your ass to your local Sonic. Step 2: Order yourself a slush. Step 3: Pour some vodka, rum, PGA, or whatever else floats your boat into it, and enjoy.

There are 398, 929 possible drink combinations at Sonic (according to them), so if you can’t find something that tastes good with liquor, there is something horribly wrong with you. And because today is tax day, why not be patriotic and order a blue coconut, ocean water, watermelon, strawberry or cherry. And because we’re feeling it in the old pocketbook or bra (yes, I’ve seen women who keep money in their bra), I’m passing on this little hint: All day today you can get your mixer drink half off!! Tax Day Happy Hour, baby!

Maybe you can try a “Why didn’t I keep that !*%&*#$ receipt watermelon cooler”, or a “Can I claim that keg party as a charity event? cherry smoothie”, or even “Uncle Sam kicked me in the (blue) coconuts slush.”

sonic tax (2)

And speaking of hints…Duh- I Already Knew That Helpful Hint:

Apparently there are plenty of other big businesses out there who want to ease the pain of paying taxes (something they don’t know much about) and offer freebies today. Arby’s and Cinnabon are just two of the places who are willing to throw you some salve in the form of carbs. Here is a link for other free crap to help you get through Creepy Uncle Gary’s Groping Day (I laughed quite a bit over the free Trojan Vibrator give-away for L.A. and San Fran citizens…they’ll be the ones smiling at the post office). Another link is here.

So to all of you hard-working, tax paying readers out there, Happy Monday from me and Uncle Gary.

Uncle Gary

Cowardly Lions

Usually this blog is the place I put my funny spin on being an ADD mom raising ADHD boys. I created this blog separate  from my primary blog, Wckedwords, so I wouldn’t bore the folks looking for heavier material with my ridiculous attempts to raise my children without a mental institution getting involved. Today’s post is on the serious side. April is Autism Awareness Month and my oldest son has autism. Life has been hard for him and a couple of years ago I wrote a piece about that struggle. I’m proud of it because outside of my Fifty Shades of Puddin’ series, it gained the most attention of all my posts. It was even read in churches and portions placed in newsletters. It felt good to help shed some light on what it can be like to raise a child with special needs, especially one who is being bullied. The first post I wrote on this blog was actually another serious one about the same subject– A Tale of Three Amaryllis. I hope that you’ll take the time to read them and possibly share  with others who may benefit from reading them. I promise to go back to making you laugh on Friday.

Thank you for your support– Ash

courtesy of wikimedia commons

courtesy of wikimedia commons

April has once again come and gone. It shouldn’t seem different to me than the passing of any other month, but it does. You see, at some point April was designated as Autism Awareness month. During this time store chains ask people to donate money at check-out and tape paper cutouts of puzzle pieces on their walls. More than once I’ve stood there with my credit card in hand, staring blankly at the cashier as she waits for me to answer if I want to add a donation to go towards Autism Awareness. My son is Autistic, but she doesn’t know that. Do I give a dollar so my name can be scribbled on that puzzle piece and taped on the wall when I’ve already spent thousands of dollars fighting for my son? Do I laugh like I want to and say, “Trust me, I’m more aware of Autism than you’ll ever think of being”? Those are thoughts that run through my brain as I slowly nod and pay the extra dollar.

Sometimes I feel like I’m a bad Autism mom because I don’t fight on a public platform. I don’t organize fun runs and social gatherings. I don’t wear a blue puzzle pin on my lapel. I don’t even have an Autism ribbon magnet on my car. Quite frankly, it sucks most of my energy just trying to research and implement what I need to be doing just for my own child; so fighting for the thousands of others seems daunting– even crippling. But saying that I don’t fight publicly is not saying I don’t speak about Autism. I do every day, and I have literally bibles full of materials and everything ever sent home concerning my son’s “special needs.” I’m open with people about what he has to the point that I’m having to stop myself. I tell him he can’t let Autism hold him back, yet I find myself using it as an excuse so that others won’t just think he’s weird, impolite, or just unintelligent. Most people look at me now and say something like “Oh, I didn’t have a clue,” and then I realize that I just labeled him—handicapped him– in the eyes of others. I say I want him to be treated normally, yet I’m making sure he isn’t.

My son’s Autism has made him an easy target for predators. Just like in the animal kingdom, predators are able to pick the easy target out of the crowd. They sense their weaknesses, and once their prey is in their sights– they go in for the kill. My son has more than once been on the receiving end of targeted abuse. At school he has been physically attacked more than once on the playground by the same child who waited for him to wander away from the others as he often does to play by himself. Another child thought it would be funny to try to shove his head in a toilet, but we were lucky that some other kids went for help. At a summer skate camp my son figured out quickly that he didn’t have the same physical skills as the other kids so he resorted to riding his board by sitting down. This annoyed another boy to the point that he hit my son with his skateboard and then stole his shoes and equipment and threw them over a fence where he couldn’t reach them. Each of these encounters has left my son with bruises that run much deeper than his flesh. He always puts on a tuff façade and holds his tears at bay until he finally breaks; and I hold and rock him as he weeps in my arms, and I do my best to hide my own tears as his pain rips at my soul. As his mother I want to be the soft place for him to land, but also the solid, unmoving support that holds him up when he’s feeling weak; so I don’t cry in front of him. I march on like he does until my own wall crumbles and I find myself shut in the laundry room where the sounds of the machines will drown out my crying as I sob into a dirty towel.

These are the times I become consumed with my anger, fears, and sadness while forgetting the blessings of my son and the opportunities he gives me and others to grow as humans. So here it is May, and Autism awareness month has come and gone again without me officially recognizing it. I think it’s because I knew it would be so difficult for me to do and I wasn’t sure what message I wanted to give. I don’t want people to read this and only have pity for him and the others like him. I don’t want the bullies and predators to be the ones whose actions are remembered; so I decided to post below the speech I’ve formed in my head more than once when I’ve been crying in the laundry room. This is the monologue I rehearse in my head, that if given the chance, I would deliver to the bully who’s harassed my son. This is the message about Autism I want to share.

Dear Bully-

Today you made the decision to hurt my son in one way or another. Something inside you whispered in your ear that by making my son feel less, you would feel greater. You chose to put aside kindness and inflict hurt. You and you alone chose to do this. I know that you had reason for doing this. You hurt inside. Someone in your life has made you feel like you made my son feel. For once you wanted to feel like you had the power, and so you chose to make my son feel even weaker than he already does.

I imagine it was easy for you to do. He’s small and doesn’t have many friends around him to help keep him safe. He probably didn’t even fight back at first because he didn’t quite understand what was happening. But you accomplished what you set out to do: you made him feel even more different, more of an outcast, more of a loser. As a mother I can say that I truly ache for you and whatever makes you hurt inside. You did not ask for whatever unfairness has found you, but neither did my son. He did not ask for the doctors to make mistakes at his birth. He did not ask to be born not breathing and have to be revived. He did not ask for countless illnesses and a first year of life that was physically excruciating. He did not ask for a condition that made his clothes feel like razorblades against his skin. He did not ask for sounds and smells and lights to be amplified by his senses to the point of being painful. He did not ask to feel like he isn’t even connected to his own body. He did not ask for Autism. He did not ask for you to remind him that he will never have the “normal” life you do.

You probably would never want to admit that you and my son are similar, but you are. You both feel less about yourself because of someone or something else. But that is where the similarity stops. You see, my son has every right to be just as angry as you. He has every reason to want to go make someone feel as bad as he does—but he doesn’t. Everyday my son chooses to take a different path than you did. He chooses to stand back up and walk back into the groups that make him feel different and bad about himself. He chooses to smile and try one more time to make a friend. He has done this everyday of his life. You knock him down and he gets back up. He chooses not to bully to make himself feel better, and that is why he’s my hero. He is the bravest person I know. His courage runs deep and the saddest thing is that you will never know those things about him because you only saw the outside. You saw a coward where I see a lion.

Maybe if you had taken a different path you could have been friends. Maybe you would have found someone that would have understood your pain and stood by your side, but you chose differently. You physically overcame my son, but know that you did not win. You’ll never win until you learn to choose differently, and my son and I pray that one day you will.

“What makes a king out of a slave? Courage! What makes the flag on the mast to wave? Courage! What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist, or the dusky dusk? What makes the muskrat guard his musk? Courage! What makes the sphinx the seventh wonder? Courage! What makes the dawn come up like thunder? Courage! What makes the Hottentot so hot? What puts the “ape” in apricot? What have they got that I ain’t got?” -The Cowardly Lion The Wizard of Oz

M.L.H. Monday III

You know it's true.

You know it’s true.

Well, congratulations! You obviously survived the holiday weekend if you’re reading this. I don’t know about you, but this is how the Easter holiday typically plays out for me–

Good Friday. Desperate shopping Saturday. Easter Sunday. Half price Reese’s eggs Monday. Regretful Tuesday. Celery sticks and water Wednesday.

Sound familiar to you, too?

Actually, holidays and I have a love-hate relationship. The artsy perfectionist part of me loves the opportunity to use my creativity and skills to make everything sparkly and fun. My ADHD and tendency to run in circles does wonders at throwing wrenches in my Martha Stewart approved plans. I dream of baskets hand-woven from the grass I grew and reaped myself. Organic eggs from my organic fancy chickens that are dyed in organic dyes from beets that I juiced with my feet while dancing with my perfectly dressed children under a maypole laced with violets and pansies. But once my ADHD sticks its dirty little hands in the mix and sucks away my time, the kids are more likely to get a shoebox filled with a Lunchable and a half-eaten Snicker bar that smells oddly like Merlot.

Speaking of Merlot, let’s get on to the first part of Mommy’s Little Helper Monday– The Libation:

I decided to stick with the Easter theme and came up with a cocktail that I’ve christened “The Bunny Tail.”

photoNow, I know what you’re thinking, but it’s not nearly as complicated as it looks. Just follow these detailed instructions and you too can be sipping on a Bunny Tail before you’re kids get home from school. First: Get out a wine glass. Second: Clean the glass (sparkling clean from hand washing with your organic soap and organic cotton dishrag, or glittering from chemicals, or smudged from a spit-n-shine–you choose). Third: Open a bottle of wine by any means necessary (pick out the glass if you had to break it open). Fourth: Pour wine into glass. Fifth: Place holiday-themed Pez dispenser into glass. Ta-da!!! If it doesn’t come out quite right on your first attempt, don’t give up. Everything gets easier with practice and you’ll be making them like a pro in no time.

Now, on to the useful tip that I usually call the Duh–I Already Knew That Helpful Tip, but in keeping with the Easter theme I’ve decided to provide you with a craft idea. I literally have two armoires overflowing with craft supplies, so who better to pass on a little project? This will be my Half-ass Martha project, also known as a “Seriously? It’s Another @!#$&*%  Holiday? Craft.” A little twist to this lesson is that I know not everyone has access to all of the supplies I do, so I’ve dumbed it down to something everyone can do. So, without further ado, meet Corky!

Corky, a special Easter friend.

Corky, a special Easter friend.

I know that I’m really pushing this Monday with the complicated drink and now this intricate craft, but I have faith in you; and besides, you can’t grow if you don’t push yourself. First: find a cork. If you don’t have one there’s something wrong with you go buy a bottle of champagne, drink it, and use the cork. Easy. Second: grab a cotton ball and a cotton swab. Third: cut the swab in half. Pierce two holes on top of the cork and shove those babies in there. Fourth: Glue the cotton ball on the Franken-bunny’s ass. Fifth: draw a cute little face with a Sharpie, markers,  make-up or whatever you got. Done!! Now display your masterpiece right in the middle of your Waterford eggs or whatever priceless treasures you possess like the ones above.

Wow!! You’ve made it through another M.L.H. post. I’m sure you learned more than your “Monday brain” can handle but I have faith in you and the wine aisle at Trader Joe’s. So, happy Monday, folks!! Oh, and ….

Happy April Fools’ to you and Happy Birthday to my mom (you have no idea how appropriate that is for her).