Category Archives: Reese’s Peanut Butter cups

Halloween’s “A’coming!”

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My two precious granddaughters, who I labeled the “M & M’ girls were over last night.

We built a slide out of my youngest daughter’s discarded yoga mat and pillows. We

played with my oldest daughter’s Barbies, recently donated to join my collection. She

is the one who has two boys… We played ‘make-up’ and ‘dress-up’ along with reading

all of my Fall books. They still like the story about the two mice who are on two sides of

a pumpkin, tending it and growing it into the, “The Biggest Pumpkin Ever.” They also

liked the simple cardboard preschool books about pumpkins and trick or treater’s. The

last reminder of a great book for this season is, “The Nutty Nut Chase ” book.

We watched the  original “101 Dalmatians” with the scene animations being so lovely,

designed to entrance and bewitch the viewers with fall leaves and engrossing, dangerous

winter scenes. My Marley exclaimed about the chubby puppy who I think is named “Rowdy,”

“That puppy needs a diet!” I noticed that the man of the household is smoking a pipe, which

would not ‘do’ in today’s children’s cartoon movies. (I have to say in the ‘old days’ I would not

have even thought twice about weight problems of puppies nor smoking pipes in my dad’s or

granddad’s mouths.) This came up with my Santa Claus which is porcelain and old-fashioned

“‘Twas the Night before Christmas” books, all still having pipes with smoke circling the head

of Santa Claus l, by ever observant children.

When we were finally settling in to sleep it was around eleven o’clock. I was ‘pooped,’ but wished

to ask what they would be for Halloween. They are BOTH going as “Elsa’s” character from the

movie they so love, called, “Frozen.” Would they go as ‘twins?’ No, they would not since they

are the same person both being, “Elsa.” I so love that no one says, that silly word, “Duh!”

anymore.

I mentioned that I will be up at my Mom’s for the holiday. They asked, almost in unison,

“Why can’t you I be here with us?”

I remind them each time this subject matter comes up, “I hope you will be with me when I get

old and come visit me when it is my birthday.”

Wouldn’t you know 6 year old Marley woke up and asked me to get out the art supplies. Even

before they ate the pancakes I had made them!

I required the two little girls to go “Clean up first.” I began singing the “Clean up” song which

caused  Makyah, age  3, to groan and moan. I ignored her, getting paper, scissors, markers,

crayons, lots of stickers out (I had quite a supply when I left preschool special ed. Paid for, as

I used to always do, with my own money for extra seasonal supplies and books.) While Marley

laid on the ground, Miss Drama Queen, Marley got right down to business, used to

this responsibility in her kindergarten classroom.

They put pumpkins, scarecrows and turkeys on 5 x 7 index cards saying,

“Nana, please write, ‘Happy Birthday, Great Grammie O’.”

Marley needed help to copy some of the letters, but is able to write her and Kyah’s names.

Kyah added lots of “x’s” and “o’s” to hers while Marley could write out “I love you lots!”

They stapled them into a little book for my Mom to get on November first, her #86.

We headed back to their house at noon, since Mommy was going to make them lunch.

I gave them hugs and said, “See you Tuesday for your brother, Landen’s birthday and

thanks for the lovely cards for my Mom who will adore them!

Both my daughter and daughter-in-law will send Mom and me photos via cell phones of

the six grandkids. My son doesn’t text me often except to send me a ‘thinking of you’ or a

‘I love you because…’

 

Here is an (hopefully) amusing joke! You know my source, who is very reliable in her

twice weekly letters to me, inserting news articles about Cleveland, Ohio and other senior

and health related subjects!

 

COUNTDOWN TO HALLOWEEN:

“You know you are too old to Trick or Treat when. . .”

 

#10. You keep knocking on your own front door.

 

#9. You remove your false teeth/wig/hair piece to change your appearance.

 

#8. You ask for soft high fiber candy only.

 

#7. When someone drops a candy bar in your bag, and you lose your balance and fall over.

 

#6. People admire your great Boris Karloff mask and you aren’t wearing a mask.

(You may insert Abe Vigoda or other aged people who have character in their wrinkles…)

 

#5. When the door opens and others yell words, but you forget to say, “Trick or Treat.”

 

#4. By the end of the night, you have a bag of restraining orders.

 

#3. You have to carefully choose a costume that doesn’t dislodge your hairpiece.

Or one that covers up your body challenges…

**No slutty nurse costumes for you anymore! (women)

**No more Superman costumes; more likely the Pillsbury Dough boy would work. (men)

(ha ha ha)

 

#2. You are the only Power Ranger or Sleeping Beauty princess with a walker or a cane,

in the neighborhood.

 

And, as David Lettermen would say,

“The Number One Reason Seniors SHOULD NOT Go Trick or Treating Anymore. . .

 

(Are you ready for this one?. . . It directly applies to me and my own elderly problems…!!)

 

#1. You keep having to walk home to use the bathroom!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Healthy Food Choices for Kids

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I have sometimes wandered away from my theme of witless dating,

but I stay strong in the area of relationships. With helpful

information on how to make healthy food choices, I hope to

inspire you to make some changes in your lives. This includes

any children that you are in communication with, neighbor’s

kids or your grandchildren. Every time you choose to change

something in your family’s diet, it can impact the guests

and friends of your children, too.

The facts that are here may startle you. I was shocked!

I had known our country, in particular, was having trouble

living longer, healthier lives but I did not know, to the

large extent, the numbers involved. Obesity has doubled in

children, ages 6-11 and tripled in teens, age 12-19.

These numbers, collected by the National Center for Health

Statistics are just unbelievable! The time period is from

1980 until 2010. By 2013, there have been a few reversals

in these numbers but not of significant amounts; yet.

Understanding food labels and the amount of news and media

coverage have helped this trend to start heading in the

right direction. I am pleased that Michelle Obama’s part

is playing a big impact, along with magazines that usually

feature articles with juicy and delicious foods that have

saturated fat and hydrogenated fat have also joined forces,

by including good and tasty alternatives.

Here are five ways to educate children to become more

‘savvy’ in the area of food choices.

1. Help your children (and yourself) visualize serving sizes.

Assemble products that you regularly include in your or their

diet. Examples of applesauce, oatmeal and cereals can be an

easy way to measure what is considered ‘regular’ portions.

When labels with nutrition information are looked at, it

helps to realize these are written for an adult’s size or a

2000 calorie adult diet.

Kids from four to eight, are about 2/3rds the size of an

adult. Teens should consume between 80-90% size of the adult

amounts.

Measure out single servings. This will take your cell phone’s

calculator and/or paper to figure out! Serving sizes of bars

of candy and little pints of ice cream can sometimes be based

on only a portion of the actual whole content!

2. Help your child to check out the details. These are in the

little fine print on the label. When there is a long list of

names of ingredients that you don’t even recognize, this food

item may not be healthy! Artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners,

high-fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated anything

should signal this food product is of lower nutritional value.

Making this process a game rather than a ‘lecture’ will help

to interact and make this meaningful. Ingredients which you

cannot pronounce often mean, ‘lab-created, fake, food-like

items.’ This was a suggestion from a registered dietitian,

Tara Dellolacono-Thies.

Of course, going to natural food places, including farmer’s

markets, can be a wonderful fun activity for families. Point

out, there are usually no labels on foods that are actual

fruits, vegetables and homemade products, usually include

more natural ingredients.

Comparisons can be made while watching television, with

advertisements that may mislead people into thinking they

are ‘good for you.’ Any opportunity, including driving

down the road, on billboards, can open up discussions on

food choices. Asking, rather than telling, really helps in

these ‘off the cuff’ situations.

I remember, as a child, my parents really wanting us to stay

away from sugary cereals. We still considered it a ‘treat’ to

get ones like, “Sugar Crisp” or “Frosted Flakes.”

When I went away to college, I gorged on dumb things like,

“Captain Crunch” and “Count Chocula,” which came out in 1971.

Buying things, like Hostess products out of the dorm vending

machines, ostensibly to ‘help me study and stay awake,’ such

as “Twinkies,” “Ho Ho’s,” and those pink-colored, coconut

marshmallow iced chocolate balls, called, “Sno-balls” were

my downfalls.

When they talk about “Freshman 5 pound weight gains,” I had

probably ten pounds! I read recently of a famous person,

Maria Menounos, who gained 40 lbs. There is a photo of her,

in April’s “Ladies Home Journal,” that is unrecognizable!

3. Evaluate the numbers and figure out how that computes in your

child’s daily intake. Immediately, I think of salt and sugar

levels in foods, in this message! Discuss the listed numbers

noted for calories, fat, sugar, fiber and cholesterol.

I have been shocked how sugary items, including cereals, have

salt in them. Then, salty items like snacks, have tons of sugar

in them. When evaluating a packaged food for an elementary

school’s lunch box, aim for 175 calories or less per serving,

one gram or less of saturated fat, no trans fats, no more than

13 grams of sugars and no more than 210 milligrams of sodium

content. Try for at least 2 grams of fiber. These were also

suggested by the woman dietitian named, Tara D.-T. I usually

look for 5 grams’ fiber in my whole wheat or whole mixed grains

bread. I have found better cereals these days, particularly, in

the natural foods’ aisles.

4. Compare and contrast whenever you have a chance to do this.

No matter when you see food products, on television, in ads

and even on billboards, you have an opportunity to bring up the

subject of good food choices.

My grandchildren and I play that fun game of, “My father/

grandfather/mother or whomever, owns a grocery store and in it,

he/she sells something that starts with a __ (insert first letter)”

This has often been a way to find out where they find the item,

which is one of the many questions that you ask: “Can you find

it in the Meats’ department?” Once we discover from questions,

the product they were thinking of, I get an idea of their favorite

foods. Also, it gives me a moment to prosthelytize.

Under this category, Tara D-T. suggests looking for a high-percent

daily value of important growth vitamins, such as calcium, iron,

zinc and Vitamin D. These important nutrients, by the way, are

also important for all of us, during our aging process, to keep

our brains and bodies strong and healthy!

5. A plan of action should be to translate this knowledge into

good, healthy choices. Once you, your child and family have

become more adept and practiced in this area, you can be less

worried about the times you do ‘slip up,’ with a fast food meal

or a fun time at the movies, eating the popcorn with partially-

hydrogenated fat poured over it. Our Delaware Strand buys a

better product, made from Promise margarine. It isn’t nearly

as high in fat content.

Sorry, this is one of my big downfalls, along with donuts,

candy and ice cream! I have been unable to give up these and

simply, try to limit them.

The trend for teens to drink those high calorie pops, energy

drinks, with loads of caffeine, and flavored coffees, needs to

be addressed. I hope that if this seems to be common among

your teens’ friends or group, that you may wish to suggest some

limits to this. I would say, after my own experience of being

‘denied’ certain foods, that it is best not to boycott these

altogether. As parents you could instead suggest moderation.

Limiting to an extreme, I will remind all of you who were teen

‘rebels’ out there, causes the reverse action to be produced!

With time and practice, children will begin to include the power

of reading food labels before choosing foods. Teens may think

twice, as they stand in front of the vending machines at their

school, work or play centers. By understanding food labels,

the more kids know about what they are eating, the more often

they will choose healthier food choices.

I hope that this will be another way to start Spring, with a

renewal of your New Year’s resolutions to become healthier and

lead longer lives. This include all members of your family,

beginning with the little ones! They are much more open and

less resistant to changes and as mentioned, this can be an

interactive experience.

“Mom’s World”

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As we were getting on the elevator, Mom and I met a nice, attractive

elderly resident in the senior apartments. She was wearing a purple

pair of tennis shoes decorated with red flowers on them. She had a

lovely plum colored sweater and hat upon her head. Mom told her

she looked, “quite lovely today.”

The woman responded, “I just came from the Purple Hat Society

meeting down in the Pub.”

Mom smiled and nodded. She really understood that it was a fun

group of women, or seemed to.

Once the woman disembarked from the elevator, Mom turned to me,

in all seriousness,

“Why would someone join a group that only wore purple hats?”

She paused and rethought this question, coming back with another

question,

“Why would I need to belong to a society to wear my purple hat?”

This brought me to the point that I would like to tell you about, my

Mom’s time frame is more aimed towards the past, anything “new”

or more recently happening, is beginning to get lost in her foggy

brain. This was never more evident than after having a delicious and

lively meal with my son, his wife and their kids, my two brothers, my

youngest daughter, Mom and I at the table. We had a wide variety of

pies, thanks to my stopping at Cracker Barrel and purchasing four

delectable pies. I worked there for four years, over eight years ago.

When I could use my 40% discount, I would bring this many and not

even blink an eye at the bill. I have a side comment to the whole Mom

post, these pies had a low “price tag” of $8.49 each!! I ordered an

apple streusel pie, a pumpkin streusel pie, a regular pumpkin and a

pecan pie. All were the same good quality that I had observed being

made in the CB kitchen. (We got spoiled when I had the discount and

I could also, during summer seasons buy the Coca Cola chocolate cake

and the delicious Blackberry or Cherry Cobbler, too.)

Mom ate a slice of the pumpkin and the apple streusel pie, with a big

dollop (served by my son) of vanilla ice cream and a small scoop of

peppermint stick ice cream (served by my brother). She asked for some

whipped cream, too. She told us all,

“I don’t like peppermint stick ice cream but I try it every year, just in

case my taste buds have changed!”

When we got up to leave, shortly after dessert, we had had a lot of

discussions about politics, children (who were a diversion at times),

education (Trista is taking forensic science computer online classes)

and movies recently seen. We had covered a lot of topics, with Mom

putting her “2 cents in,” too.

Mom was able to help carry some leftovers to the car, while holding

her dog’s leash. When we crossed the street, driving in my car, back

to her apartment, only about 45 minutes had elapsed.

Mom, as she was getting out of the car, exclaimed,

“Robin! I am so glad you thought ahead to bringing all those pies to

the dinner, and am especially looking forward to trying some when

we get inside.”

I stopped, looking closely at her face to see if she were ‘pulling my

leg’ but she looked sincere.

I asked her,

“Mom, do you have room for more pie?”

She answered,

“I didn’t have any yet.”

I was saddened by this realization of how her short term memory is

really going fast…

Changing to some funnier things that happened while up at Mom’s.

She had us going to the grocery store, so I checked to see how many

rolls were in her walk-in closet. She had about twenty rolls left, with

her next chance to shop being in five days, with the seniors on the bus,

or with my brother in about 7-8 days.

On her list, she requested me to add ten more packages of four rolls

or the multiple packs with 10 in them, four of those= 40 more rolls

of toilet paper!

She follows me and we both look in the closet and tell her again, there

are 20 rolls left so that should last at least a week.

I give her the straight mathematical solution meaning you could go

through an average of 3 rolls a day!

Mom looks at me askance and says, “Robin, I go through 4 rolls a

day!”

I tell her that she has 64 pads that are needed to do the same job

she is talking about. (Thinking she is wadding the toilet paper into

her underwear, creating her own incontinence pads!)

But, “NO!” She replies back, “I will go through all 64 pads and 40

rolls of toilet paper.”

I stop worrying, thinking that someday my kids may have to be

patient with me. I would not want them giving me their own version

of a “reality check” over and over again. I look at her checkbook,

seeing that she and my brother bought a slew of stuff last week.

She gets a lot of the same items (like a little “hoarder!”)

I had written about the Depression and her favorite Christmas

memory earlier, posted it recently. I felt foolish for making my Mom

think about what she needed when, instead, I could easily treat her

like I used to do with my own children.

You can do this subtly, without the adult (or child) noticing. By

changing the subject while shopping, you can sometimes get the child

(or adult) to quit asking for the treat or toy. Or suggesting an alternative,

like,

“Instead of that toy, how about we buy a pack of bubbles to blow?”

or “Instead of that extra candy, why don’t we get some yogurt to eat?”

Which is how we made it out of the grocery store, without too many

“extra purchases!”

Here are the extras we did get:

We compromised and bought a ten pack of toilet paper.

We bought only a three pack of paper towels.

We bought six bags, combined, of Hershey dark chocolate kisses and

Reese’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups. (You know that the dark

chocolate allows you to eat unlimited amounts by it “cutting all the

cholesterol, fat and calories in 1/2,” Mom boasted.)

We bought a “special offer” double pack of Peanut butter, 16 oz. each.

We bought one box of Special K cereal.

We bought one package of Fig Newtons.

We bought two bottles of Sangria. (“The bus driver complains when

they have to carry heavy glass bottles!” Mom tells me.)

I remind her that my brother may be taking her next week.

Mom replies, (and this should cover all of the above with this blanket

statement!)

“You can never have too much wine!”

 

Ice Cream for Mom’s Birthday

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The line on Friendly’s menu says “We make everything for our hot fudge

sundae except the cherry!” The restaurant and franchise started with a

$500 loan to two young brothers, Pres and Curt Blake, when they opened

their first Friendly’s in 1935.

Mom was in first grade in Springfield, Massachusetts, where Friendly’s

started. Her father, Walter W. Mattson, a teen immigrant who studied

engineering in Brooklyn’s technical college, was an inspector of steam

boilers for Hartford Steam Boiler. “He trained and inspected,” Mom tells me,

“up and down the Eastern Seaboard.”

Times were hard for some families during the depression, hers was “okay

but we survived on a lot of soup!” (Mom says.)

Her father’s job took him all along the  New England coastline, going

north into New Hampshire, “even Maine,” and south to Connecticut.

“Dad would be gone for a week sometimes at a time.”

“There were times,” she exclaimed, “that he would come home and a

nice surprise would be for all of us to go out for an ice cream cone.”

By third grade, Mom says they were living in East Hartford, and probably

had visited the Friendly’s that had spread from Springfield to there for ice

cream cones.

The two brothers found by using only fresh ingredients, milk from local

farmers, making their sauces from homemade ingredients, and also,

their cones that the popularity and market required more space to make

the ice cream and accompaniments. So, Prestley and Curt opened a small

facility, later expanding it, in Wilbraham, Massachusetts. The reputation

and flavors of the delicious ice cream created more and more of the

restaurants, known as “Friendly’s Ice Cream Shoppes” around.

The hot fudge recipe is made with the ingredients their mother used: cocoa,

sugar and fresh milk.

While growing up in Sandusky, then moving to Cleveland, we frequented

the Friendly’s restaurants. I always enjoyed the “clam boats” or “clam rolls.”

We also found that Howard Johnson’s served them. Mom and Dad felt the

children’s menus were reasonably priced and this was a fun treat at both

restaurants.

While searching for a central Ohio home, halfway between my ex-husband

and my parents, both Westerville and Delaware, interestingly enough, had a

still ‘up and running’ Friendly’s restaurant. I was looking at these two university

towns, Otterbein and Ohio Wesleyan. While studying the elementary schools,

I chose Delaware.  My three children loved the Reese’s peanut butter cup and

later, the Reese’s pieces children’s sundaes that accompanied the kids’ meals.

I loved that the local Delaware owner/manager had specials like “kids meals

the price of the temperature” or “one children’s meal free with adult’s meal.”

Mom loved her birthday meal, choosing to have an  all American hamburger

with a grilled brioche bun and applesauce. I had the Senior clam dinner with

fries and cole slaw.

Both our dinners came with complimentary dessert sundaes. Mom chose

straight chocolate ice cream with whipped cream, no sauce. I had a butter

pecan with caramel topping along with whipped cream and a cherry on top.

The ingredients all seem very similar and tasted wonderful to me!

Since Mom had cake for the October birthdays’ celebration, along with

apple cider and a pumpkin donut on Thursday, I felt that “covered” the

cake part of her birthday “party.” At the end of the month, she will have

the November birthdays’ celebration, right after Thanksgiving. We, my

youngest daughter, brothers, sister in law and niece with her boyfriend,

will have another time to share family memories and traditions.

She opened some gifts of sweaters and decorations to put on the shelf

outside her door. I asked if she wanted to go to Randy’s art gallery show,

on Friday evening. Mom said she and her dog, Nicki would stay in and spend

a relaxing evening at home.

I felt lucky to have her for this birthday. Always am grateful that she is still

around. I hope that the different things we did this week and  on her 84th

birthday made her feel happy because the memories seemed to draw her

inward and she was quiet.

I imagine, but did not want to bring it up, she thinks not only of her parents

being gone,  but my Dad on special occasions and every day, too.

Candy Facts

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My focus is a non-controversial post to counteract all the negative

repercussions to my last rant about taking Halloween away from the

kids! This is a fun and short post where all can enjoy the “treats” in

the subject matter.

When the major candy company founders created some of those

famous candy bars, they had famous names. Their names led to the

given names of some of our favorite chocolate candy bars.

H. B. Reese gave his name to both Reese’s Peanut Butter cups (1928)

and Reese’s Pieces (1978 in  U.S., Ireland and UK and introduced in

Canada in 1980).

L. S. Heath contributed his name to Heath bars with that delicious

English toffee covered with milk chocolate. This originated in 1914,

introduced by Leaf, Inc.. and later, 1996, bought by Hershey’s.

Milton Hershey, of course, invented the milk chocolate Hershey bar,

that now comes in semi-dark chocolate, cookies and cream and milk

chocolate with almonds. “The Great American Chocolate Bar” was

first created in 1900 and the milk chocolate with almonds in 1908.

There is a “legend” about when the man named George Williamson

started marketing in his local store, a candy bar with peanuts and

caramel covered with chocolate. It is the store clerks would exclaim

at their frequent customer’s request for the bar, “Oh, Henry!” The

Williamson Candy Co., Chicago, Illinois, began distributing this in mass

production after 1920.

The 3 Musketeers Bar, originally was produced with a TRIO of flavors,

chocolate, vanilla and strawberry (1932). I always wondered about this

one! Once WWII came around, the cost of producing all three flavors was

just “too pricey” and they just continued making the bars with the most

favorite flavor of chocolate inside.

Last fact about candy that I will let you in on, in 1929, Sean Le Noble of

Hoffman and Co. wanted to make a perfectly round ball of caramel

coated with a milk chocolate covering. When the production came up

with less than perfect, flattened mis-shapened candies, someone

declared them “Duds!” Of course, Milk Duds came into existence!

Hope these yummy candies and memories attached will sweeten your

mood, hope you won’t hold my opinions on my Halloween “evil rant”

against me!

My favorites are listed above, that is what drew me into the research

mode…

Please share your favorite “treats” with all of us, don’t have to write

much but your candy of choice in the comments!