Monster Pudding Cups for Halloween

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I love to make special treats for my daughter to take to school, especially at holiday time. Here’s a quick and easy treat for Halloween! Not only are these fun and easy to make, but they’re cheap so you can make enough for the whole class!

Ingredients:

Vanilla Pudding (follow instructions on package)

Green or Purple Food Coloring (just a few drops until you get the color you want)

Clear plastic cups, spoons and a magic marker (for drawing faces)

Any spooky topping and/or decorations you wish (I used candy worms, chocolate cream cookie crumbles and colorful plastic spider rings. The kids loved them!)

Monster Pudding 1

Monster Pudding 2

Monster Pudding 3

Red Candied Apples

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Every year I make caramel apples and I promise they’re coming too, but I decided to give red candied carnival apples a shot.

They turned out pretty good but I’m sure practice will make perfect!

If you make these, please be really careful while working with the sugar. If you don’t have enough leftover at the end to dip that last apple, resist the urge to use a spoon to drizzle the goo onto that final apple or risk burning yourself. Trust me. It’s not fun!

Here’s the recipe I went with after a bit of trial and error:

Ingredients:
12 apples (I used MacIntosh because that’s what I had on hand but I’m sure Granny Smith or any other variety would work great too)
12 Popsicle sticks
4 cups white sugar
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
A few drops red food coloring (or you could use another color if you like or even a food coloring substitute like beet juice or seeded/juiced raspberries work great too and add a nice flavor)
Parchment paper or an aluminum foil-lined pan (not wax paper!)

Combine sugar and water and boil on high until the temperature reaches 300 degrees (F) on a candy thermometer. This takes a while of rapid boiling and frequent stirring. If you don’t have a candy thermometer (or a deep fry thermometer) available, every once in a while drop a little of the mixture into a cup of cold water. When the mixture forms a hard ball, then it’s done. Tip: The coating is supposed to be “like glass” or hard candy.

While you’re making the coating, prepare your apples. Wash them. If you’re using store bought apples, you’ll want to remove the waxy film. I use a solution of 2 parts water to one part vinegar to do so.

Once they’re clean, dry them off and insert the sticks.

Once mixture is ready, remove from heat and stir in the droplets of color. Then quickly (but carefully) dip the apples one at a time into the mixture, being sure to coat the whole apple. Then place it gently onto the parchment paper or aluminum foil lined pan (do not use wax paper because the heat will melt it onto the apples – yuck!).

Once all the apples are dipped, let them cool and enjoy!

Toast(ed)

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As promised, a blog dedicated to Champagne Concoctions…

Like many of you, I love champagne. I love the triumphant pop of the cork, the festive fizz, the easily overflowing glasses and, of course, the bubbles… anyone who follows my blog knows I have a fondness for bubbles.

Not only is champagne fun to drink but it’s a lot like a celebration in a glass. Even if you have nothing in particular to celebrate, it makes you feel like you do and there’s nothing wrong with that. And while I have no problem drinking champagne straight up (and occasionally with a straw); it’s always fun to get creative. So add whatever you like but here’s a breakdown of what I consider some highly successful and yummy creative champagne concoctions.

Popular Concoctions: These are some champagne fan favorites. For those of us who love champagne (me!!) or just simply don’t like beer (me too!!), these creative, festive drinks are especially fun. There seem to be many variations and new versions get added each New Year, but here’s a brief list of my all-time favorite favorites. If you haven’t tried one of these yet, I suggest you get started!

  1. Poinsettia: Chilled champagne, about 3 oz cranberry juice (or POM is also yummy), splash of triple sec or Cointreau. I’ve also heard a variation of this called a Pretty Woman (maybe because if you drink too many, you might end up in a bandeau tube dress in Richard Gere’s hotel room?)
  2. Bellini: 2 oz peach juice or puree, 4 oz champagne (the colder the better so might I suggest pre-freezing the peach juice in ice cube trays)
  3. Frozen Bikini: Add 2 oz vodka, 2 oz peach Schnapps,   3 oz peach nectar, 2 oz OJ, splash of lemon juice to a chilled glass, then fill the rest of the way with chilled champagne. Drop in a strawberry if you’re feeling especially sassy.
  4. New York City (AKA: Metro): 4 oz chilled champagne, 1 oz Vodka, splash lime juice, splash Cointreau, splash cranberry juice. You’ll be singing New York, New York in no time.
  5. Blushing Bride: Chilled champagne, Peach Schnapps, Grenadine

Nameless (and faceless) Concoctions: Here’s a list of concoctions I’ve come up with on my own over the years, although (since everything old is new again) others have probably concocted the same or similar versions. Fair Warning: These are simple but dangerous!

  1. Equal parts X-Rated Fusion Liquor (it’s pink and sort of tastes like pink grapefruit juice) and pink champagne (Barefoot Bubbly is my fave).
  2. Champagne with just a splash of grenadine (or any cherry syrup) and a lime twist (or squirt of lime juice if you don’t feel like twisting). I almost always love the taste of lime and cherry mixed together.
  3. Champagne Jell-O Shots: These are popular and there are a ton of different recipes available. Here’s mine: Add 1-six ounce box Jell-O (any flavor, I like strawberry if you want to use pink champagne or grape if you want to use white champagne) to 2 cups boiling water (stir till dissolved), add 2 cups cold champagne (pink or white). I use a turkey baster to divide the concoction into tiny cups (I use thin plastic cups or I double up paper cups which can be found at any party store). Chill to set. Note #1: For stronger shots, add just 1 cup of boiling water, then add an extra cup of champagne once solution dissolves. Note #2: I also make a mean margarita Jell-O shot but I’m saving it for Cinco de Mayo… though since it’s green, maybe I’ll post for St. Patrick’s Day.
  4. Chilled champagne is perfect all alone but I like to add fruit (grapes or strawberries are perfect additions) and even a 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract to make simple champagne even better! Fruit is good for you!
  5. Raspberry (or any fruit flavored) vodka and champagne (I don’t measure when I do this, but if I did it would probably be about a 1:2 ratio, give or take). So easy… so go easy.

Champagne Punch: Great for parties of 2 or more! This is a sampling of awesome punches I’ve discovered along the way. Bust out your fancy punch bowl (or perhaps a less risky shatter-proof Tupperware or basic plastic bowl if your parties tend to get wild) and get to spiking!

  1. Classic Champagne Punch: 2 liter bottle of ginger ale, bottle of champagne, container of orange sherbet  (empty contents into bowl, serve)
  2. Pink Punch: 1 bottle pink champagne, 2 containers frozen pink lemonade concentrate, 2 containers frozen cranberry or fruit juice concentrate, 1 bottle chilled red wine, 1 quart chilled club soda, ice cubes
  3. Hawaiian Punch: 2 liter bottle Hawaiian Punch, 2 cups Malibu Rum, 1 cup Southern Comfort, 1 bottle champagne, 2 liter bottle Pineapple soda, jar of maraschino cherries, 1 bag frozen pineapple (cubed), ice cubes (Note: coconut shell bikini and grass skirt optional)
  4. Sucker Punch: 1 bottle champagne, 1 cup vodka (vanilla is nice in this), 1 cup tequila, 1 cup rum, 2 cups peach Schnapps (sucker!!), 1 can frozen OJ, 1 can frozen pineapple juice, 1 can frozen cranberry juice, 2 liters tonic water, ice, (add club soda if the punch tastes too sweet)
  5. Margarita Punch: 1 bottle champagne, 4 cups clear tequila, 4 cups triple sec, 1 bottle of either lime margarita mix or sweet n sour mix, 2 liters lemon lime soda, 1 cup Agave Nectar (if available), 1 cup lime juice, 4 limes (sliced and quartered), crushed ice, (serve in margarita glasses with salted or sugared rims as an option)

Champagne Floats: Add a scoop of frozen, mashed, sliced or diced strawberries, peaches, pineapples, grapes or berries to champagne and it’s almost like a delicious, nutritious, fizzy dessert! Prep the fruit in advance, store in freezer bags and keep frozen till needed. It’s also fun to add a spoonful of sorbet (any flavor, I like raspberry) or water ice (for yews Philly folks) to a glass of your favorite bubbly (kind of like a party punch but for a party of one).

“My-mosas”: Who doesn’t love mimosas? I know I do. I often joke with my brunch buddies and say they should be called “moremosas” because I like them so much. Occasionally, instead of adding OJ to champagne, I like to add any one of the following: mango nectar (it’s thick so just a splash will do!), Welch’s grape juice (it’s like grape soda, only better!), V-8 Splash (why not drink your veggies?), cranberry juice (yummy, festive and good for the kidneys!).

Born Again Virgins: Non-alcoholic “champagne” concoctions can be made by substituting the champagne for anything fizzy (i.e., tonic water, ginger ale, sparking grape juice). I call these Born Again Virgins. When I host a party, I like to serve both alcoholic and nonalcoholic options so everyone can join in on the fun. It’s a nice way to include your designated drivers, people who can’t or don’t choose to drink, pregnant and nursing women and even kids/teens. Remember: You don’t need alcohol to have fun!

If you come up with or come across new yummy champagne or mock-champagne concoctions or cocktails, please share them by leaving a comment. I’d love to add more bubbly fun to my list.

Most importantly, please be safe and responsible! If you’re going to drink, I suggest doing so in the safety and comfort of your own home and/or with friends or family whom you trust to take care of you. If you’re going to be out and about, it’s always a good idea to select a designated driver in advance and leave your car keys at home. If you (or your friends) aren’t fit to drive but need to get from here to there, please call a cab, a friend or ask someone who hasn’t been drinking to help. Don’t drink and drive. You know better!

AAA offers a wonderful FREE service called Tipsy Tow for folks needing a ride home. You don’t need to be a member; simply call 1-800-AAA-HELP between 6pm on 12/31 and 6am on 1/1 and they will come get you. That’s sure to save lives. Thank you, AAA!

Have fun and be safe!

Here’s to you! Happy New Year!

Just Another Day in Iowa

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The other day,  while on my way to meet up with my super-awesome sister-in-law, Randi, with plans to tag along with her and participate in my first ever cookie exchange, the strangest thing happened…

Well strange by my apparently somewhat sheltered city girl standards anyway.

I was alone in my car driving down (or would it have been up?) Highway 34 (just past 360th Street) toward Carson from Malvern when I saw something that seemed rather odd in the not-too-distant distance. While it didn’t appear to be a car or vehicle of any kind, I wasn’t quite sure at first what it was. But whatever it was, it was definitely in my lane and coming my way fast.

Thinking maybe it was just something or someone passing something or someone else, I looked to the left of it and in the other lane there was a caravan of vehicles all bunched up beside and behind it, moving slowly, sort of like a funeral procession. I was perplexed.

I glanced back and as it continued getting closer, I realized it was a horse.

A fucking horse!!

And (damn it) it was coming right at me! If having a horse galloping full-speed-ahead into the direction of my front bumper wasn’t bad enough already, no one was riding it. I didn’t know what to do. So I slowed down and eventually came to a complete stop right there in the middle of the road. Then I did what I think anyone in my position would have done: I closed my eyes and hoped for the best. And in the event that the horse had exceptional hearing or was taking subliminal requests, I whispered the words, “Please jump!”

When I opened my eyes, the horse was in the other lane passing me.

Feeling happy that it hadn’t actually attempted to jump over me, since in retrospect it may have miscalculated and crashed through my sunroof, I removed my foot from the brake and, with my heart still beating out of my chest, pressed gently on the gas pedal and speed dialed my husband.

He and I talked for a few minutes and I eventually calmed down as he casually said things like, “Welcome to Iowa.” After assuring him that I was indeed fine and so were the five dozen homemade baby cheesecakes I’d been transporting, I told him I loved him and hung up the phone.

But then, mere (not mare… get it?) minutes later, before I had the chance to fully relax, something else happened. I spotted deer (plural) darting across the road ahead of me.

I’m not going to lie. I was a bit startled by them at first, having heard horror stories about deer-in-headlights type accidents and having seen my fair share of Allstate Mayhem (I love that guy!) commercials. But still I felt confident that I could handle the situation. Shit, I’d just survived my first potential head on horse collision! Compared to that, this was just Bambi (or Bambis?).

Besides, I’d been warned about this. My husband and practically every other member of our family and close friends had been warning me since we moved here about the dangers of deer this time of year. And they taught (or at least told) me what to do if I happened to encounter one (or in this case, about eight or so).

No problem. I got this! After all, I’m an Iowan now. So I simply slowed down (again), put on my hazard lights this time, stayed as alert as possible and carefully watched back and forth from side to side for more deer. Easy-peasy.

It wasn’t scary. On the contrary, it was beautiful. What I got was the equivalent of a front row center seat as these delicate, majestic creatures jumped one by one clear across the road and darted off into a field. It was probably one of the coolest, most peaceful experiences I’ve ever had while driving.

Well… That was until I saw the white pickup truck coming from the opposite direction screech to an abrupt halt onto the side of the road. The truck had stopped so fast that I thought for a second that maybe it had hit one of the deer. Suddenly, I was concerned for the driver and any potential passengers, as well as the deer. But my concern quickly morphed into pure panic when two men in bright orange vests flung open the doors to the truck and jumped out wielding weapons. Before I could think or even blink, one of them ran into my lane, waved his gun in the air (like he just didn’t care) and immediately opened fire!

Are you effing kidding me, Iowa?

For the record, he missed. And for obvious reasons I’m totally relieved.

So we’re clear, I don’t stand on either side of the gun issue. Americans currently have the right to bear arms and, while I choose not to do so (and certainly not without the correct bra), I’m not trying to rain on anyone’s rights or strike up a debate. Don’t get me wrong. I’m no fan of violence and I adore cute furry things with faces just as much as the next gal, but I also occasionally like to eat them. Sorry. And, that said, I’m grateful to farmers and hunters and all other people who get their hands dirty so that I don’t have to.

But even though I have no personal, political or moral dilemma or issue with hunters or guns, I’d prefer not being shot by one. So if you enjoy hunting and/or if you’re planning to shoot a gun for any reason, please spare me the details and (for the love of God) aim that thing away from my face.

This was not my first time in the presence of an overly anxious, obviously desperate dude with a gun. I don’t mean to brag, but when I was 17-years-old, I got held up at gun point. That’s right, bitches. I apologize; I’m not sure what just came over me. That bitches comment just felt right in the moment. Anyhoo, I was a freshman in college at the time, working the register at a Wawa (if you’re unfamiliar, it’s kind of like a 7-11 only better) in Philadelphia.

It was right smack in the middle of the day, during the dinner rush when a man pointed a gun at me and told me that if I gave him all the money in my drawer, then he wouldn’t shoot me in the face. Once I pushed past the panic and remembered how to open it, I gave him the entire drawer. It and the sum of its contents were not worth my face or my life.

In case you’re wondering, I did not see my life flash before my eyes that day, nor did I have any sort of out of body experience, probably because I had zero plans of losing my life that day over a drawer full of hoagie money. Nope. Not me. Sure, I was scared beyond comprehension. I was only 17. But I managed to refrain from passing out, throwing up or shitting my pants.

And despite my latest Iowa encounters with the runaway horse, deer and even the overzealous hunters, I did none of those things the other day either.

I admit that I briefly considered running over the dude with the gun just to teach him not to phuck with a Philly girl. But I quickly thought better of it. I know better than to antagonize an armed and possibly intoxicated a-hole.

So I opted instead to speed up and give him a friendly Iowa wave (and not just my favorite finger) as I passed him and his buddy as-quickly-as-possible. I needed to get on my way. Like I said, I had a cookie exchange to get to.

Deck the Halls with Cookies and Candy! Fa-lala-lalaaa…

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My holiday baking and candy making extravaganza begins today!

A self-proclaimed chewy-gewy treat addict, I’ll admit I’ve waited all year for this. I’ve always loved to bake and get otherwise creative in the kitchen.

I think all of us creative types need a second imaginative outlet. If you’re primarily a painter, perhaps you also like to sing? If you’re a musician, maybe you also act? Many writers I know turn to the kitchen, whether it be baking or cooking or creative drink making (and drink drinking), for the release of that unspent pent up artistic energy.

While I too partake in the occasional drinky-drink for various inspired and not-so-inspired reasons, personally I love baking. It satisfies my creative needs and soothes my soul, much like writing. And in recent years, to the gratitude of my family and friends, I’ve added making candy and canning jellies and jams to my repertoire! And, of course, I never do anything half-assed (my father taught me that lesson!). Nope. I joyfully frolic in complete creative obsession!

Back before I became a wife and mom, I would compete with myself year after year. If I made 20 different types of cookies one year, I had to make at least 21 varieties the next. Spending the majority of my 20s living and working in North Jersey and New York City, it often seemed that the size of my apartment and closet-sized kitchens were counter-proportional to the quantity of cookies and cakes I chose to make.

But that’s when I learned to improvise. Add a little extra creativity to the mix, so to speak, and you can make anything work. For example, when I ran out of counter space, I turned to the coffee table, sofa, chairs and window sills. One year, I had an army of gingerbread men strategically spread throughout my tiny one bedroom apartment. They had already invaded my kitchen, living room, bedroom and even my bathtub. A dozen or so of them were waiting outside, perhaps planning their next attack from my fire escape.

Competitive and obsessive? Who me?

Well if the snow shoe fits!

The Christmas following the birth of my daughter, it got worse. With a new bundle of joy and a recent kidney disease diagnosis, all of our money was going to diapers and doctors. We were flat broke. While I could’ve given up my festive holiday hobby, I decided instead to get even more creative with it. So I got my supplies on sale and made my own packaging, decorations, ornaments and wrappers. Since these were the only gifts we could afford to give, I wanted to make sure each one was made with love. I wanted my family and friends to feel special and know that even though we’re struggling financially (and at times, physically), we love and cherish them very much.

At first, I struggled with it. I thought my loved ones would feel slighted. I wondered if they thought I was being selfish, cheap or stingy. But you know what? I was worried for nothing because in comparison to gifts we’d bought over the years and wrapped with pretty and expensive paper, ribbons and bows, the people in our lives seemed to appreciate these homemade gifts even more. And perhaps more than they loved receiving and consuming them, I loved making and sharing them.

In regards to our financial situation, well we’re not out of the woods yet. Far. From. It! We’re all in the same boat, and the economy has taken a paddle to everyone’s bottom line.

Had I known the economy was going to crash mere months after I quit my job to take a huge risk and become an aspiring novelist… well, I would have still done it. No guts, no glory. Right? No pain, no gain? I guess I’m a glutton for more than just sweets. Let’s just say, I’m bound and more-than-determined to stay the course and live life by these sorts of mantras until I achieve my dream. Then at that point, I’ll continue doing it for shits and giggles.

So today, I start my annual making and baking for the holidays. In round one, I will be making candy cane kiss cookies from scratch and itty-bitty baby cheesecakes with homemade toppings. My homemade toppings will be comprised of jams and jellies I’ve made and canned throughout the year. Tomorrow, I’ll add the classics: oatmeal raisin, chocolate chip, meringues and snickerdoodles for a few of my favorite elves.

Round two will be all about candy. Val’s Candy Workshop has already been prepped. I’ll be making coconut cream bon-bons, peppermint patties, peanut butter cups and brittle. Plus I got tons of candied fruit, pretzels, cookies and some other homemade goodies with which to experiment.

This year, the secret password is fondue.

Nothing says “Merry Christmas” like chewy-gewy calories and chocolate covered everything! We can worry about burning it all off in the New Year.

Happy National Mustard Day!

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I love mustard.

And before you ask… no, not enough to marry it. But maybe just enough to casually fool around. Besides, I’m already married.

But mustard and I go way back. Growing up in Philly, I’d put mustard on my pretzel. Nothing beats Gulden’s (not Golden’s, Gulden’s) Spicy Brown Mustard on a Philly Soft! And you’ll probably think this is gross but I’d often pair the combo with a Yoo-hoo. My mouth is watering.

“What kind of wine would you like with your meal, ma’am?”

“Oh, I’ll have some yummy chocolate flavored water please! And could you bring me a huge vat of mustard for this pretzel? Thanks!”

Gosh, I haven’t had a Yoo-hoo since college. But let’s get back to mustard. This is, after all, a very serious blog about mustard.

I love all kinds of mustard. I’m a huge fan of yellow mustard, spicy mustard, honey mustard, fancy mustard sauces, mustard mixed with interesting ingredients (like Jack Daniels or horseradish or pineapples), mustard seed, mustard powder, the color mustard, Colonel Mustard…

I like mustard on sandwiches, on fish, as a dip or dressing.

My husband makes the meanest grilled artichokes and pairs them with a mustard sauce that will blow your mind (now can you see why I chose to marry him over mustard?).

I have been known to dip raw veggies in mustard AND put mustard on pizza. Why not? It is, after all, delicious and nutritious.

So… Happy National Mustard Day to you and yours. I hope you find a way to enjoy mustard today and every day. If you’re one of those weird anti-mustard people, please do the right thing and find a way to welcome mustard back into your life. This feud has been going on for too long, hasn’t it? Yes, it has. And mustard told me that it doesn’t even remember why you’re fighting. It doesn’t care who is at fault. It just wants you back. It misses you. So, please, do the right thing. You will be happy you decided to take my advice on this one.

By the way, have I mentioned that I hate mayo?

Happy National Mustard Day! Enjoy!

I Look Great Drunk

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It was recently brought to my attention that I look great drunk. I don’t mean to brag…

OK, stop it. I didn’t say I’m more attractive when you’re drunk. I have no idea whether or not your alcohol consumption has any direct or indirect link or influence (so to speak) on my appearance or your perception of my appearance. I’d like to think that a few drinks in either direction wouldn’t entirely change how I look to you.

But, if a drink helps, well, then drink up!

This isn’t to say that I think I look awful sober or anything. It’s just that I look more attractive while intoxicated. It’s true. Pictures don’t lie and while flipping through hundreds of them (not all of myself, I promise) the other day, I started seeing the pattern.

Granted, it took me a while to identify the actual pattern because I’d had a few drinks (not true).

Anyway, the photos in which I was either holding a drink, in a setting where drinks were being served or clearly slightly-to-somewhat-more-than-slightly (I’m 1/2 Irish, but aren’t we all?) inebriated were notably more attractive than the no drink, dry setting and sober selections.

I even asked my husband to confirm my theory and (after first confirming that it wasn’t a “does my butt look big in these jeans?” type trick question) he actually kind of agreed.

What can I say? I’m a good-looking drunk! It seems, the alcohol may have given me a glow of sorts, an unexplainable airy quality, a certain gin-es sequa, if you will.

In layman’s terms, I looked hot.

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and when I was beholding a margarita (on the rocks with salt, please!), I was looking (and feeling) quite fine.

It’s hard to say for sure, but I imagine this phenomenon probably has more to do with the increased level of confidence and reduced inhibition that comes with having a cocktail (or two) than the actual alcohol itself. And, while I admit there weren’t any photos of me stumbling, falling to the floor, completely shit-faced, ‘where the hell am I and how did I get here?’ drunk, I doubt those pictures would have been as attractive. I probably wouldn’t have saved them either.

While few and far between, I’m sure I’ve had those moments (i.e., college, 21st b-day, every St. Patty’s Day and New Year’s Eve for as far back as I can recall, my NBA going away party, my 20s). Luckily, my friends and family were never so mean as to snap and save blackmail shots of me. Or, maybe they were too drunk to remember where they put them? Either way, phew!

Now, before you jump to any conclusions… I’m not planning on adding beer run to my weekly To Do list or making daily trips to the liquor store to improve my outward appearance. I have enough to do already, and besides, it’s just not a priority for me these days.

Being a mom, my outward appearance is more about sweat pants, headbands and hair clips. I’m satisfied with that. My satisfaction increases exponentially when I manage to make it through a whole day without getting pooped on, peed on, or covered in apple juice. But, had I discovered this link between beauty and binging 10 or so years ago, perhaps I’d have been singing a different tune. Of course, I didn’t need a reason to drink back then.

These days, the drinks are even fewer and further between (and thank God, so are the pictures). As a full time writer and stay at home mom, coffee is more often my beverage of choice (and necessity). Don’t get me wrong. I still enjoy the occasional cocktail and the even-less-occasional buzz. But, now, I’m happily married and the mommy to a very sweet and mischievous toddler. Most days, I’d choose a shower or a nap over a drink.

Besides, since becoming a mom, my tolerance (the one I worked on for many, many years) has diminished. Back in the day, I was proud to say I could hold my liquor. Hell, I could hold yours too! To this day, every time I see an ice sculpture, I remember the days when I’d happily step up to the ice luge, ready and willing to take a shot of Jim Beam. Yep, I was that girl! I laughed at the notion of being hung over, and I could drink most of my friends, guys included, under the table (or even over the table when properly challenged).

It’s been a long time since I’ve attended a party with an ice luge. In fact, the last seven parties I’ve attended each had balloons, bubbles, ice cream and cake instead. I honestly can’t recall the last time I was challenged to a drinking game of any kind. And, that’s OK!

I’ll happily work the bubble machine, instead of the funnel. I’ll make cupcakes instead of Jell-o shots. And, as for “quarters,” well, it’s no longer a game. It’s a choking hazard. We try to keep those and all small objects as far out of our daughter’s reach as possible.

These days, I have a completely different list of priorities. I’m someone’s mom! She tops that list, and you know what? I wouldn’t change a thing.

Plus, I’m a much cheaper date. I still look great, but it only takes one drink to get me there.

Cheers!