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You're About to be Redirected to the New Home of Ground Control to Major Mom: 11/9/08 - 11/16/08

Friday, November 14, 2008

Holiday Surprise Cookies

This is Patricia (don't let the Dr. Dave fool you). Tonight we made our first batch of cookies....

...but not before a shopping extravaganza at Costco on Veteran's Day. Bulk packs of eggs, butter, sugar, powdered sugar, oatmeal, dried cranberries, vanilla extract...

...but not flour. There was a great deal on a 25 lb. sack of flour, but I couldn't see myself hauling it home and taking up so much space in my tiny pantry.  Two 5lb. bags of Gold Medal from the commissary was fine.

So, the first batch of cookies: Holiday Surprise Cookies, courtesy of the Quaker Oats company. Hit the hyperlink to go to the recipe straight from the horse's, er, Quaker's, mouth.

I gave Dave the camera tonight and asked him to document our experience so I'd have some nice pictures with which to blog. He told me, "Okay, I'm going to be like Maryann!". He did a great job, he took almost all the photos...

So, to start, we have to come up with a filling...this is the "surprise" in the cookie. In years past, we'd used Wilbur Buds, a Lancaster County, PA staple. In fact, the first time I made this recipe was to keep Dave and me from eating an entire bag of Wilbur Buds we'd gotten for Christmas in one sitting, I think. It was either 1999 or 2000...I can't remember. The beauty of Wilbur Buds is (a) you can buy a combo pack of milk AND dark chocolate together and (b) the buds aren't indivually wrapped.

If I'd had the foresight to order the Wilbur Buds ahead of time I would have. But it was much easier to pick up some assorted flavored Hershey's Kisses from my local mega mart. As can be seen in this photo, we had a lot of unwrapping to do.

From 2008 11 14 HolidaySurpriseCookies

As the boys were unwrapping about 100 Kisses, in 3 flavors shown here, I was preparing the dough. It's essentially a sugar cookie dough replacing about 40% of the flour with oatmeal.
From 2008 11 14 HolidaySurpriseCookies
From 2008 11 14 HolidaySurpriseCookies

Look at those oats -- your cholesterol is lowering just looking at it, right? Don't worry...won't happen: there's 2 sticks of butter in the basic recipe...and I doubled it tonight!

Once the chocolates were unwrapped and the dough was ready, I set up the assembly line in the dining room. The boys were great -- Jake stuffed the chocolate in the dough, and Timmy rolled the little ball of dough in the colored sugar and placed the ready-to-bake cookie on the baking stone. My job was quality control -- I pre-measured wads of dough for Jake to stuff so they'd be uniform in side, and I made sure the cookies were properly spaced on the stone.
From 2008 11 14 HolidaySurpriseCookies
From 2008 11 14 HolidaySurpriseCookies
From 2008 11 14 HolidaySurpriseCookies

Does that look holiday or what?
From 2008 11 14 HolidaySurpriseCookies

We tested the cookies, of course, and everyone in the Vollmer clan gave them a thumbs up!

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Wall!

Okay, now that I've gotten all my political blogging out of the way (see yesterday's), I can go back to my usual housewife/Mom/Air Force wife-type posts, tee hee.

Today I made a trip to Target to get something for my sister's birthday (I know you're reading this, Margaret!) I hadn't been to Target since before Halloween -- yeah, almost 2 entire weeks! So of course they wasted no time assembling the holiday aisles right at the entrance, just past the dollar spot bins.

Since one of the items I planned to get for my sister was just past the holiday items, we had to pass the holiday items.

And then we passed it.

The Wall.

It's part of an aisle dedicated to stocking stuffers. You know what I'm talking about. See the picture above, it's stuff like that. You know your 2-to-8-year-old kids suddenly lean out of the shopping cart and start pawing at everything on the aisle.

Floam, Play Doh, Star Wars action figures, Hot Wheels Cars, Crayola activities, Bratz miniatures, Polly Pockets, candy, puzzles, playing cards. Arranged in bins along the aisle, top to bottom.

Today Timmy was walking alongside me instead of riding in a shopping cart, since I was only running in for one thing, so he was able to easily reach into a bin filled with Star Wars Galactic Heroes miniature 3-packs. $9.99. This was rather cute, though, as the figures were "decorated":



"No! Christmas is still 6 weeks away! Why don't we ask Santa for it?"

"Because I'm going to ask Santa for a GeoTrax airport!"


About a minute later: "Mommmmmmmmmmmy, I'll be SOOOOOooooo SAAAAD if I can't get this...."

"Would you like to spend your own money on it?"



And that's exactly what we did. I came home and took $10 out of Timmy's wallet.

I'm not trying to be mean. I've been VERY good about not getting the kids toys every time we go to the store. And now that Jake never comes with me to the store, I try even harder to avoid it.

And so it begins. For the next 6 weeks the kids' senses (and mine) will be inundated with the sights and sounds of the holidays. While most of it is wonderful and magical, they're also going to get flooded with Toys R Us wish books, Star Wars Clone Wars toy commercials, and Pixos ads.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Veteran's Day Message

C-130 landing at Ramstein AB, Germany for some R&R during a Bosnia deployment, Jan. 1, 1998. Dave was deployed to Bosnia for an overlapping period of time, but we were in separate locations.

First of all, Happy Veteran's Day! To my fellow Veterans out there, thanks for reading my blog and for serving our great nation.

But allow me to stir the pot a little. I posted this NY Times article on my Facebook profile this morning and it generated quite a bit of commentary.

I was livid when I read this -- I've been through enough Public Affairs training in my day to understand that the military's relationship with the media is a delicate one. If you shut them out, they'll just come up with their own information and possibly send the American public the wrong message about what the Dept. of Defense is up to. So the DoD's position is to allow the media as much access as safety and security will allow. This is how we had such great coverage of the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, and also why ABC's Bob Woodruff and his cameraman were injured by an IED in 2006. (I'm glad they're recovered!). The journalists are aware of the risks for such media coverage.

Anyway, this article claims "senior officials" told the NY Times about some "secret orders" for "secret missions" into Pakistan and Syria to covertly chase down Al Qaeda.

I do not know whether this information is true or not. As the Army used to say about speaking about topics unrelated to what you do, "Stay in your lane." I don't know anything about this.

I'm upset because the media publishing a story full of the word "secret" probably means that America's people, resources and national interests might be risked. We are not in a vacuum -- Pakistan and Syria have now perked up their ears like a dog hearing the word "Walk?", and even Al Qaeda probably knows this story now and will act accordingly. Go into further hiding, find other nations for safe haven, or otherwise change their tactics.

Or...they can go on the offensive, and something bad can happen to those Special Operations forces.

And if you REALLY want a good time, delve into the 300+ comments this story has generated. I was pleased to see how many Americans feel that the secret missions were justified, but also horrified by some of the not-so-nice things foreigners had to say about the situation.

Bottom line: New York Times, your story was poorly timed and probably put the lives of American servicemembers at risk. And whoever you "senior officials" are, are you sleeping soundly at night?

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