Monday, November 24, 2008

Mmmmmmmm Monday: Buckeyes

This is a great treat to make at Christmas time. They make a nice gift when you need to give just a little something. But, they are delicious anytime. As a vegan I really miss a good Reese's Peanut Butter Cup every now and then and these are an easy way to get my piggy fix.

Here's what ya need:

2 cups all-natural peanut butter
1 cup margarine, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ½ cups sifted confectioners' sugar
4 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Here's what ya do:

1. In a large bowl, mix, mix, mix together the peanut butter, butter, vanilla and confectioners' sugar. Roll into 1 inch balls and place on a waxed paper-lined cookie sheet. (I prefer to use my Kitchen Aid stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Otherwise, I would recommend using an electric hand mixer. Mix the heck out of it until it is nice and smooth.

2. Press a toothpick into the top of each ball (to be used later as the handle for dipping) and chill in freezer until firm, about 30 minutes.

3. Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler or in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir frequently until smooth.

4. Dip frozen peanut butter balls in chocolate holding onto the toothpick. Leave a small portion of peanut butter showing at the top to make them look like Buckeyes. Put back on the cookie sheet and refrigerate until serving.

This recipe makes a ton. Eat them all by yourself, share with friends, or save them for a particularly PMSy day.

*These candies get their name from their resemblance to the nut of the buckeye tree, which is related to the horse chestnut.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Here Comes My Baby

I was recently reminded that November is National Adoption Month. Adoption is a topic that is near and dear to my heart, it is something that touches me on a daily basis.

Three and a half years ago our daughter, Maia Yordanos (a.k.a. The Dani) joined our family. She traveled half way around the world from her birthplace in Ethiopia to be our daughter, The Honeybee’s little sister and best friend and big sister to The Jooch. Every day I look into her beautiful little face and wonder what I did to deserve her. I think about her birth mother all the time and wonder if her heart aches over the choice she made for our daughter or if she has made peace with her decision and knows she did the best she could for the child we share.

There are a lot of things I will have to teach Maia. She will have to learn about her heritage, the food, clothes and language of where she was born. She will need to know about the family that remains in Ethiopia without her. She will need to learn and always know in her heart that adoption isn’t second best and that she is loved just as much as her brothers. She will need to learn how to take care of her hair, and then maybe she can teach me! But, most of all, she will need to know who she is and how to be confident in her own skin, no matter what color it is.

Enjoy some pictures of Maia's homecoming and our joyful family reunion at Detroit Metro Airport on April 11, 2005. (I can't get through it without bawling like a baby.)

I love you Yordanos Mengistu, always.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Left of Center

Lately I have been feeling like the kid who showed up late to the ball field. The teams have already been picked and all I can do is just sit on the bench and watch the other kids play.

I have always been on the wrong side of the curve as far as friends go. I got married at 19, something my high school friends couldn’t fathom. We soon went our separate ways, them to college, me to a full-time job to help support my new marriage.

When we moved to Michigan I had been married for two years. All the friends I made weren’t married yet. When I met my very best group of friends in Michigan they were all in college, I was buying a house and trying to get knocked up.

Once I had my first baby my girlfriends were just graduating from college, still hitting the clubs every weekend and embarking on their new careers. The most we got together was once a month for dinner, when I could get out of the house without kids.

When we moved to New Mexico I was so excited to find a local moms group in our town. I thought finally I would be on the same page as these other women. We are all stay-at-home mothers who live in the same town and have a common need for support and friendship.

I am the type of person to just jump in with both feet and figure out group dynamics later. Everyone was so welcoming and kind and I never felt like it was cliquey. It was nice to have some kind of “built in” friends who had to accept me as long as I paid my dues. It was also a perfect fit because I could bring the kids to every event we have! I had always struggled with finding things to do for myself because Buzzer travels so much and I have the three kids to myself a lot. To be able to attend a book club meeting and be able to bring the kids too was like a miracle.

I had been a member for about 5 months when they asked me to run for club President. I can’t lie, I was flattered. I also thought it would give me ample opportunity to get to know the members of the club better and hopefully to make some of the same friendships I had seen the other woman cultivate.

In July I took over as President and while it has been much more work than I expected and sometimes stressful and taxing, overall it has been a lot of fun. What it hasn’t meant though is immediate and intimate friendship with the other women.

I think I just expect too much from things. When I try something new I have to be good at it right away or I give up. I can’t be bothered to practice and fumble my way along until I get it right. I guess I approach friendships much the same way. I want to be able to slip into a new friendship the way I would an old pair of slippers. I expect to just have someone choose me as their friend right away with all the benefits that includes; lengthy phone calls, impromptu get togethers, shoulders to cry on, etc.

Instead I am on the sidelines looking longingly at the close friendships I see and feel an ache in my chest where my best friend should reside. It seems like everyone has already been paired off with their BFF. I do have a best friend, but she lives on the other side of the country and so I have to be content with emails, instant messages and phone calls. Lots and lots of phone calls. She is totally the bee’s knees and I know I can call her about anything and everything. But it just isn’t the same as having a local buddy to lean on.

I guess I am just going to have to give it more time and not expect that adult life will be the same as childhood on the school playground. I hope that something lasting and meaningful will come out of the acquaintances I have made. If not, and all I get out of it is what I get right now, laughter, adult conversation and a social calendar, I think that will be okay too.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My First Time

Get your head outta the gutter, I am talking about my first time receiving a blog award!

AND, I was nominated TWICE!! My best gal pal Susie Kabloozie over at Knitting Knoobie bestowed the honor, as did Sharon, the snarky island dweller at As Seen On The Bathroom Wall.

The only requirement is that I post a list of six things that make me happy, so here ya go, get yo' grin on:

1. A working oven: My oven has been on the fritz for the last two weeks and completely inoperative for the last few days. Don't you know that now I am just itching to bake a million things and my cookbooks and pantry are just beckoning me to bake, and I can't! The repair parts should be here tomorrow for Buzzer to get us up and running again. By then of course the urge is sure to have passed.

2. Iced tea: I am literally lost without a big jug of iced tea ready to go in the fridge. I would rather go thirsty than have anything else to drink.

3. Being pregnant: Probably the happiest times of my life were when I was pregnant. There is just something about being pregnant that makes me feel special. It helps that I had two really wonderful, easy pregnancies. Plus, I think (and the husband agrees) that I look adorable pregnant.

4. Christmas: What, you didn't read my blog all about how much I adore Christmas? Get to steppin' yo.

5. My kids: Three very little, but very big reasons to get out of bed every day. I don't know what I love more, how much they love me, or how much I love them.

6. My husband: He is the reason for my life. He is like oxygen and water. He is just...I don't know what, but it is something better than words can describe.

Now, I am to bestow the honor on four other bloggers. I'm not sure I even know four who know me back, but I'll give it a shot!

Feathermaye - Check her out for a good time. She's gives good read.

Lattes and Life - Tiffany is a hoot and a liberal, even though she lives in Georgia. A true enigma!

Good Life - This is my real life friend Katie, another mom in the trenches. She does awesome webdesign, bakes a mean scone (from the rumors I've heard) and is into being green. She is also a foodie and has to find ways to enjoy all that is delicious in the world without it being contaminated with peanuts due to her son's severe peanut allergy. Katie is cool. Check out her other blog at: {goodLife} eats.

Alright, those are all the people I could think of. I'm off to my vegan potluck. Thanks for the nominations friends, you light up my life!

Thursday, November 13, 2008


For just about my whole adult life I have battled an addiction. Every year I promise myself it will be different and every year always ends up the same way; resentment, overindulgence and guilt. My name is Megan, and I am a Christmasaholic.

This year I promised myself we would have a low-key, thrifty Christmas. I have a list from the Honeybee and have decided on a few gifts for the Dani and Jooch that won’t break the bank. I told Buzzer there would be a $50 spending limit on gifts for each other this year, and all seemed well. Until today.

Today I had to run to the store that shan’t be named (Wal-mart) for some items for a craft I was planning on doing with the kids. While I was there I thought I would pick up a gift box for a little something I had picked up for my mom. I promised myself I would just pop down to the holiday section, get the box I needed and get out. Just the idea of heading to the holiday section made my heart rate start to quicken slightly.
In my head I was repeating to myself, “I am just buying a box. I am just buying a box. I am just buying a box” to try and keep myself on task and budget. But, when I rounded the corner and saw aisles after aisle of all that is good and spendy about Christmas, I wasn’t sure I would get out of there for less than $100 and a divorce lawyer.

Some people complain that Christmas comes earlier and earlier in retail land each year. I am not one of those people. As far as I am concerned Christmas decorations should go up right around Labor Day. White shoes may be a no-no, but fur(faux)-lined boots, yes sir!

The only problem is I don’t want to blow my wad before I have had a chance to peruse every store’s holiday offerings. As I walked down the aisles loaded with cards, wrapping paper, gift bags and home d├ęcor my palms were sweating, my heart was racing and I could feel goosebumps rising on my legs. I am always so tempted to jump at the first beautiful Christmas card I see and then later find one I like better and I need to buy that one too. And another, and another. I must have 30 rolls of wrapping paper in my garage, but I can’t resist buying one (or four) roll more each year. I literally cannot help myself. If I had the money and the drive my house would be the crazy Christmas house.

This year though I am determined to curb by enthusiasm and maybe even use some of that wrapping paper in the garage. I was successful in my mission this afternoon and left the Christmas section with only the box I went in for. Well, and some tissue paper and gift tags. What?!? I told you I have a problem!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Mommy's Little Guest Blogger

My 7 year-old son, The Honeybee, was so inspired by the election that he sat down and wrote his thoughts. I thought they were perfect to share. Enjoy.

"Barack Obama Won the Election

Well, now the election is over, and all the votes have been counted. Now we should move on throughout these days and look forward to new things.

Our new President, Barack Obama, has gone through a day where people count the votes and call out who the new President will be. So far, Barack Obama has 349 votes, and John McCain only got 176. The 44th President, Barack Obama, has now gone into the Oval Office and now the White House is his.

I think Barack Obama will take good care of the country. His health plan is going to help our country and help our citizens. I think that our new President Barack Obama, is the best President ever. We hope the new President, Barack Obama, and our Vice President Joe Biden, will take good care of our citizens and our country. Hopefully, Barack Obama and Joe Biden will be President and Vice President for 2 years. We hope that nothing will wrong and everything will be the way it always was."

By, The Honeybee

This boy makes me proud to be his mama.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Still Flying High

I know it's over, but I am still just flying high about Obama's win. I want to let go of my annoyance with the Republican party and conservatives everywhere who are being salty about it. But, I saw this for the first time this morning and it brought tears to my eyes once again so I had to share it. Seriously, I have not been able to stop crying for the last three days.

Then I saw this and it made me crack up, and then cry again.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

This Moment

I think my friend Billy said it best when he said that today we were waking up to a brave new world. It does feel like that, doesn’t it? For eight long years I have felt the absence of respect, dignity and hope and the death of the American Dream. We forgot the lessons of 9/11 and the camaraderie and unifying sadness we felt on that day. We have wasted 8 years being feared, hated, and mocked. The last eight years have pitted friend against friend, colleague against colleague and sister against sister. It was a dark and lonely time in America’s history. It seemed all was lost and nothing and no one would be able to restore our faith in America.

Today, I feel a freedom and a sense of peace I have never felt in my adult life. The joy I am experiencing is unimaginable, an unbridled euphoria. I am walking through my day and my feet aren’t touching the ground and no one and nothing can spoil what will undoubtedly go down as one of the happiest days of my life. The tears of joy will not stop flowing and I am absolutely blown away that I could ever feel this strongly about a Presidential election.

My children will always remember President Obama, and will never know the idea that a black man would not be allowed to vote, never mind hold the highest office in the land. My adopted black daughter is going to grow up watching a black First Lady make diplomatic inroads abroad and little black girls make their home in the White House. My son will always be able to remember watching President Obama’s election night speech and casting his own vote for Obama in his school election.

I am not expecting miracles; I am being realistic and cautiously optimistic. I know that the world will not change overnight and there may be a lot of things that he just isn’t able to accomplish. However, there is hope. Hope that things can change. Hope that America can regain trust overseas. Hope that racism is finally going to die a lonely death. Hope that every man, woman and child will have access to healthcare, education and fairness.

I feel badly for those that aren’t able to feel the bliss I am experiencing today. There are those that will waste this moment feeling bitter and angry. To those people I say, life is too short, and this moment too powerful to squander. Lift up your heart and your voice in gleeful celebration of this moment in history, in America and the significance and wonder of it all. This is a brilliant day, as one American Dream has been realized. In the immortal words of Martin Luther King, Jr., “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal”. Rest in peace Dr. King, your dream lives on…

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

And So It Was Done...

I am ready for an inspiring First Family in the White House. What a wonderful night. Sleep well, America, the real work is about to begin.