Mourning the loss of a beloved snack

I knew it was coming. The countdown to the end started months ago. I didn’t want to face the truth…My beloved Original Cheddar Cheez it Grooves were being discontinued…being replaced by what they claim is a similar flavor. BUT IT’S NOT EVEN CLOSE.

It was a day like no other. After getting a Walmart pickup, which should have included said grooves, and unloading the car, something is different. From afar, my red boxes of cheesy goodness appeared to be what they should be. But when pulling one out of the bag, the truth was revealed. These were not my Original Cheddar Cheese Cheez It Grooves! “Bold Cheddar?!” What is this?? Walmart must have made a mistake. I look up the item on their website and horror washes over my face. Where my cherished Original Cheddar should be stands a picture of the Bold Cheddar flavor. And the nail in the coffin…Bold Cheddar on the Kellogg’s website. The Bold Cheddar flavor has officially usurped Original Cheddars’ role.

I race to my pantry to count how many boxes I have left of my hallowed grooves. 1…2…3…wait…no…there has to be more!! Three. That’s all that remains. These three boxes are all that’s left of this light and crispy crackery wafer covered in a powder of the most delectable salty cheddar seasoning I’ve ever tasted.

I formulate a plan and visit Walmart’s shipping website (instead of the pickup website). And there! After typing “original cheddar,” the picture of the old box appears!! Hope surges through my body! I order 10 boxes (like the crazy person I am). The order is confirmed and relief sweeps over me. I will have more original cheddar! Then I get another email saying that the order will be delivered from a local store earlier than expected. Awesome. I’ll get them sooner! I go to the porch to bring in the obscene amount of boxes that would have all been packed in one large shipping box, disguising my OCD purchase, but were instead in bags. Lots and lots of bags.

I open the first bag and my face drops. Bold Cheddar. I move to the next. Bold Cheddar. I erratically tear into all of the bags: Bold Cheddar Bold Cheddar Bold Cheddar Bold Cheddar Bold Cheddar Bold Cheddar. NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! I should have known since they came from the same store that these would be the same imposters.

New plan. Perhaps other stores still have some of the old flavor left on their shelves. I must buy them all! I scour the aisle in Mejier. Bold Cheddar. I comb the shelves at Target. Bold Cheddar. I check another Walmart. Bold Cheddar. I think I’m going to have to start accepting this new reality. A reality without Original Cheddar! A reality I’m not quite ready to accept.

So I mourn for only a few moments because I’ve got work to do. I must preserve the 3 boxes I have left for as long as possible. I set off to separate them into individual snack sized bags. The final number is in….sad drum roll….30 bags. 30 bags, EVER. I must make them last. I try to eat a bag only every few days. It works. The pile of bags stored inside the box dwindles, but slowly enough that I don’t panic right away.

But last night was THE NIGHT. I reluctantly plucked the final bag from beautiful original cheddar box. I brought it upstairs, got in my cozy bed, and settled in for a snack and some tv. I ate the grooves one exquisite crunch at a time, savoring each and every spec of cheesy salt from every cracker. As the bag grew emptier, my mood turned glum. I was trying to enjoy them, but the sadness of the coming inevitability hindered my indulgence. And finally, there was only 1. One lone cracker left. I popped it in my mouth, sucked the cheddar salt clean off it (the only proper way to them), and then they were all just…gone.

Life will have to move on. I will attempt to move on to Bold Cheddar but it will never be the same.

What favorite food or drink of yours went to the chopping block? I have had so many others too. This is just the latest.

(as I was writing this, I was thinking, I don’t think I looked at Jewel!! They have been my go to for all things discontuned at other stores. Maybe they still have some there??? Maybe this isn’t the end??? I really shouldn’t get my hopes up. But I may stop there today and report back here!)

Magicked out Mama

This magical mama is tired. Exhausted from the week’s enchanted activities.

Late at night, already tucked into bed, hurting, tired, and really not wanting to get back out of bed at 11pm, the Tooth Fairy glittered her way into the room of sleeping babes twice this week. Once, even visiting the bedroom of the child who did not lose a tooth because said child left cute signs all over the hallway to visit her and read the letter she wrote and try out the trampoline she built for fairies (she had made this trampoline before she even realized that a fairy was DEFINITELY coming that night).

The job of being the Tooth Fairy is one of the most anxiety inducing duties in the parenting job handbook. YOU HAVE TO GO IN THEIR ROOM WITHOUT WAKING THEM UP. You painstakingly slowly turn the doorknob, and it inevitably lets out a large click no matter how hard you try to keep it silent. As you tiptoe into the room, you hit the one spot in the floor that creaks like the rusty gate of a 100 year old haunted house. Your knee and hip pop with the sound of a golf ball striking against a putter. The child stirs, letting out adorable, tiny moaning sounds and turning their head or body in a new direction, which either stops your heart completely or makes it beat right out of your chest with panic. The excuses you rehearsed ahead of time as to why you might be in their room suddenly fall right out of your brain. You hide behind their bed like a monster ready to scare the ever living daylights out of the child, praying they lay still once again.

As they settle, you lean down, and slower than a sleepwalking sloth, you begin to slide the envelope holding the prized tooth out from under the pillow and your kid’s 75 pound head. Once released, you gingerly slip the quarters under the pillow, where they undoubtedly scrape together and let out a small “clink.” (every damn time.) You restart your heart, again, quickly shove the envelope inside your shirt, and start the slow creep back to the door. Repeat cautious turning of the knob, run to the other side of the door, quietly turn the knob AGAIN, and then run away!! You get back into your room, close the door, and collapse on the floor. You did it!!

After two teeth in one week, and a Leprechaun visit to boot, this magicked out mama is really hoping for a much needed reprieve from the sneaky charms needed to create these childhood memories. But the stories they tell and the looks on their faces make it all worth it.

Baby songs

It started in an expected place. It was during one of my umpteenth viewings of the Robert Downey Jr. movie Heart and Souls, a movie that came out in 1993…17 years before I would have my first baby. But in the movie, the mother character has a special song she sings to her kids every night. She then dies and becomes one of the souls that are stuck with Downey Jr. throughout his life. Later in the movie, they try to find people from their lives. She hears a policeman singing that same song to his daughter and she knows that has to be her son because that was their special song that she made up. So as a teenager, I knew…I wanted special songs for my kids.

Fast forward to 2010. My baby is here. A little boy. I sing lots of songs to him early on. “You are my Sunshine” is strong in the rotation (and still special to me now because of that). I break out “Once Upon a Dream” from Cinderella quite a bit (That is still very special because I sang that to him while in my belly…it’s about not having met yet, but you would know them and love them right away when you meet them! Very fitting for a baby in the belly). And “Good Night My Someone ” from Music Man is another favorite. “Sailing” (based on Nsync’s version) is another special song we share. But not too long after he came into our world, I decided I wanted that special song just for him. So I set out to write it. It didn’t take long. Being a music teacher, I could come up with a melody pretty quickly. The words aren’t anything fancy, but they are his and his alone. And he still requests it to this day at age 10.5.

“Little Baby Ryan”

Little baby Ryan, I love you, I love you, yes I do.

Little baby Ryan, I love you, and I hope you love me too.

Little baby Ryan, I love you, I love you (kiss 3 times), yes I do!!

Little baby Ryan, I love youuuuuuuuu. And I hope that you love me to-o-ooo.

Next is 2013 when my baby girl arrives. She must have a song as well. She was already been hearing mommy singing “A Whole New World” from Aladdin, “Part of that World” from Little Mermaid, “Be My Baby” by the Ronnettes, and “Can’t Keep my Eyes off of You” by Frankie Valli. But she too needs her very own song. I sat with pen and paper, working out a few rhyming lines that could speak my love for my baby girl. Eventually I came up with the song that is now hers forever.

“Baby Sarah”

Baby Sarah, close your eyes, slumber time is here.

Cuddle close sweet baby girl, mommy’s always near. (repeat verse 1)

Baby Sarah, dry your eyes, never shed a tear.

Snuggle close sweet baby girl, mommy’s always here. (repeat verse 2)

And so now my two beautiful children have a song of their own to hold on to forever.

Hoping for pretty little blossoms

The last two days I have pushed my body past it’s breaking point in the name of gardening and spring beauty. But if I get daffodil and tulip blooms in a few weeks, I will be okay with the day or 2 of extra pain I endured (so worse than my “normal” chronic pain)! So let’s hope all the work and ache is worth it!

In October 2019, finally, after years of wanting to do it, I planted tulip, daffodil, and hyacinth bulbs. I had never done it before, so was really hoping I did it right and that they actually came up in the spring. As spring 2020 began, my efforts were rewarded with little peeks of green, sprouting from the cold earth. I was beyond excited. It worked!

As they began to bloom, I was both happy and a little disappointed. I was so thrilled to finally have early spring flowers! I had envied them in other’s yards for years. And now mine was finally graced with their delightful presence. But…the daffodils seemed lonely, sparsely popping up throughout the mulch. And the tulips, supposedly red, yellow, orange, and a few other colors, were all pink or pinky purple. I have no idea what happened with the colors. One lone scarlet tulip eventually bloomed among the rest. But I don’t know where the rest of the colors went! And the daffodils…well apparently I just didn’t know what I was doing when planting them. As I walked around our neighborhood, I realized that daffodils look best in bunches. And mine were not even close to bunched. Each plant was companionless.

As they began to spring forth from the ground again this year, I decided that I would try to fill them in this coming fall. That meant probably having to mark where each flower was since it would be hard to figure out where to plant the new bulbs otherwise. I wasn’t looking forward to that.

And then, as I was walking into Walmart the other day. I saw a possible solution! They had potted bulbs that were just coming out of the dirt. So not like fully blooming plants like you often see inside the store in the fresh cut flower department, because I know those need to be dried and planted in the fall. But this was outside, looking like they do in my yard. I thought this was worth a shot. I could possibly get more spring colors in my yard THIS year. AND I could plant them, being able to see where my current flowers are located. So no marking for the fall. I bought a whole bunch and set out to plant them as soon as possible.

Back to the beginning. I love gardening, but it really, really wrecks my back and sucks out my energy. So I hope it’s worth it. I hope in the coming weeks, I see new flowers gracing my yard with a burst of new colors. For my back’s sake and also because I just so very much want more pretty little blossoms in my yard. If not, then on to the fall.

Give me a break

The words just aren’t flowing today. I have been trying to write my slices a day ahead of time so that I always have something to post and can post early. But yesterday, I had a medical procedure and was super tired the rest of the day. So no slicing yesterday.

Today, I keep staring at the several drafts I have…ideas that I have been writing down throughout the month. But I just don’t feel into writing any of them today. Not sure why.

So I’m just going to give myself a break. Sorry everyone, this is all you get for today. Hopefully tomorrow, the writing bug will bite again.

Happy Friday!

If it’s not you, it’s not anyone.

A Justin Bieber fan, I am not. At least, not usually. Every once in a while, however, he’ll throw one out there, that despite my strongest efforts, I just can’t help myself, and sing along. And maybe even fall in love with.

His new song, “Anyone” is one of those songs. It’s the lyrics. It’s the melody. It’s the beautiful accompaniment. It’s most assuredly the bridge, that builds and builds and finally leads to a thick, beautiful texture of instruments all supporting the words “YOU, are the only one I’ve ever loved.” The words and the music shimmer like fireworks exploding in the sky.

As my love for this song has grown, as has my daughter’s. When it comes on in the car now, she can be found singing it at least as loud as I am. I look to the backseat through the rearview mirror. I smile when I see her little face showing the expression of the song and of her musical soul. She sees me and smiles back, then we both continue singing. When the bridge comes, I slowly turn the volume knob to the right, to add to the drama that is already present in the song. The apex of the crescendo comes, and we both begin dancing in our seats.

We’re in the living room now. The song’s subtle opening notes trickle from the speakers. We begin to sing along. The bridge to the song begins, and we both let the song take us. We match the ethereal, wordless chant and respond to the powerful bass through intensifying movements of our bodies. When the pinnacle arrives, we take each other’s hands, sing into each other’s eyes, and dance freely, fervently…together, mother and daughter.

My heart swells with joy…exhilaration…gratitude…contentment. There is nothing that gives me greater pleasure than experiencing music with my children. And my, does my daughter experience it. With her entire being. Just like her mommy.

I don’t want the moment to end. I wish I could capture it and keep it forever…

I suppose I just did.

In case you’re interested…here’s the song:

I wanted to wear this, but I’m just not feeling it

I roll over in bed, hoping it’s much earlier than it is and that I can fall back asleep for a little while longer. But suddenly, my Grey’s Anatomy theme song alarm begins to emanate from my night stand. Nooooo….

I snooze. And snooze. And snooze again. But finally angrily throw back the covers and begrudgingly trudge out of bed and towards my daughter’s room. I knew this morning, the first school day after daylight savings, that she would be the toughest to get out of bed because if you wake her up earlier than her body does, watch out. Even if normally is the earliest riser in the house. But it’s got to be on her terms.

Because she is not my snuggler, I take any opportunity I can to cozy up to her. So whenever I have to wake her up, I always climb into bed with her. She’s less opposed to it when she’s half asleep, lol. I softly brush her cheek. Feel her warm little body next to mine. Take in her sweet smell. It is lovely. But it didn’t take long before a small groan escapes from her lips and she pulls the covers over her head. I get it little one. Believe me, I get it.

A series of kicks and thrashers ensues as she rages against daylight savings time and this early morning wakeup. But after many injuries to my legs and torso from her furious and wild fit, she has calmed down and is finally ready to get out of bed. I leave her to her morning routine.

I come downstairs to see her tall and lanky frame in the gauzy pastel colored dress I bought her the other day. I tell her I love it, and that she looks beautiful. She mumbles out a thank you. And then with exhaustion in her voice, “Yeah, I really wanted to wear this today…but I am just not feeling it.”

Boy do I feel that in my bones little daughter of mine. But off we go to start our day.

She did manage a smile for a picture. And left the dress on for quite a while despite of the bad start.

Check your pockets

After your second covid shot,

When extreme vaccine fatigue hits,

And you are about to pass out in your bed for 14 hours,

Check your pockets.

White chocolate truffles cannot fulfill their dessert destiny,

If they melt in pants.

Sadly mine did not fulfill that destiny. 😒😱

Free Cone day, without the cones…or the free.

For years, it has summoned the beginning of Spring. Like bulbs bursting forth from the ground and buds unfurling on the branches, this yearly ritual gives us hope that Spring is on its way.

No, it’s not firing up the grill, opening day at the baseball stadium, or lawn mowers filling the neighborhood air with the smell of cut grass.

It’s Free Cone Day at Diary Queen!

Every year, people gather to snatch up their delectable treat, free of charge. It’s only a vanilla cone, chocolate and swirl included if you’re lucky, but it seems like so much more.

It’s huddling inside the car together, taking licks of our creamy delicacy while bundled up in our warm winter jackets. It’s sitting on the curb on a warmer March day, wiping dripped vanilla off toddler faces. It’s the excitement of the score when they include flavored dips this year. It’s the joy on the faces of my little boy and little girl when they see me approach with my hands full of cones.

It’s a memory. A tradition for us that has meaning and love attached to it. A custom that ushers in Spring for our family.

Last year, like so many other things, our tradition was canceled. But we looked to 2021 for a familiar return to our Spring ice cream ritual. Alas, again, Free Cone Day is not to be.

So…we decided to make our own free cone day! Sort of. Minus the cones. And free-ness. But we had a Dairy Queen day! On a day near when Free Cone Day might have been. And for even more fun, we rode our bikes there, which I just love to do. And it was a “sit outside with only a sweatshirt” kind of Dairy Queen day this year, which are always a little more fun than the “keep the car running so we don’t freeze” Dairy Queen days.

It may not have been exactly the same, but we’ll take it in these strange times. And we turn our hopeful eyes to Free Cone Day 2022.

And this morning on Facebook, this memory popped up for 2016! Free Cone Day with my littles!!