How many can I take?!

As I dust off my twenty year old Halloween candy basket and fill it with chocolate miniatures, I am envisioning greedy little faces at my door rather than tiny cherubs dressed as Snow White or a box of Crayons. Now before you judge me as the Wicked Witch of the West rather than precious Glinda, let me explain. I have lived on the same corner of the same street in a quiet suburban neighborhood for over 25 years.  Each Halloween, I have dutifully handed out candy to neighborhood children in a neighborly way with a neighborly smile. And I have genuinely enjoyed seeing my children and their friends shouting, “Trick or Treat” as I swing open the door to their excited grins and giggles.

But in the last few years, I have seen a change in this routine. No longer am I greeted with smiling faces behind the clown paint or Justin Bieber hat.  Now I see hoards of strangers, huddled in groups the size of a soccer team, pushing to my outstretched hand yelling, “How many can I take?”

Really?! Has “trick or treat” gone the way of giving a lady your seat on a bus or standing when your elder enters the room? Well, not at my house.  I respond to “How many can I take?” with “How many what?” Or more often, “What do you say?”

To that, the Lady Gagas, Harry Potters and Jack Sparrows withdraw their bags, plastic pumpkins or (my least favorite) pillow cases a few inches and murmur a befuddled, “Trick or treat.”

In return they get a big witch smile and as many pieces as they want, especially if they throw in a “thank you” before they run next door.

Last year, two adorable elevenish boys dressed as Thing One and Thing Two, huddled in the bushes before they entered my neighbor’s yard and whispered, “Wow, she was harsh! ”

Mission accomplished.  Until “Trick or Treat” is back, I’ve accepted I will never be a Glinda.

OK, I was done with Simon, too, but…

I understand we are all up to our reality TV gills with the next big talent America will produce.  I watched the first couple seasons of American Idol, I fade in and out of Dancing with the Stars depending on where I am sitting when it comes on and who is dancing.  BUT my son insisted I watch the new X Factor to see Drew Ryniewicz perform. And I was blown away. She is only 14 and all talent, all heart.  And of course, one of “Simon’s” girls. Tune in on Wednesday at 7:00 Central. The show is worth it for her.

Try this link and decide for yourself. I know it is long but it says as much about the importance of family as it does about her…and of course, it speaks volumes about moms…

I love instant gratification!

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE instant gratification.  And even more than that, I LOVE paying less than retail. used to be my favorite online store, especially for shoes.  Even in the backwoods of West Virginia, they could find me in 24 hours, at most 36 if there was a blizzard.  But then I discovered  I may be late to this game so for those of you who already know and enjoy endless pleasures, indulge me for the others that don’t. I ordered these boots at 7:02 pm Central Time yesterday and they were at my door by 8:30 this morning– on a Saturday! Free delivery. And no tax. Now I understand this is not giant savings on my credit card but for time and effort expended, they get an A+ from me. Their return policy is again, free. And none of this six weeks to post to your next billing cycle stuff. Three to five days at most.

Unfortunately, they don’t fit but I have been able to admire them all day and, of course, rethink the purchase.  Two things I like to do. Especially for free.

My Grandson

He is the light of my life and the reason I have found an extra chamber in my heart. This is what we wade through diapers, terrible twos, dance recitals, baseball games, broken arms,broken hearts, driver’s permits, lost pack packs, D’s in Physics and college applications for.

This is it.  The gift for being a parent is being a grandparent. Pure joy and innocence; unconditional love and pride. Our second chance at loving a baby purely, openly without the angst of the right way to do it.

Grandma’s Crumbly Top Apple Pie

OK, I will ask the first question.  What is the best pie to serve for the holidays–or any day? My Grandma Kyle’s apple pie..

Around holiday time–or for any family birthday, welcome home from college or so sorry you were in the hospital–I pull out my old white index card that holds the recipe for my grandmother’s apple pie. Thirty five years old and written in my mother’s handwriting, this burnt- in-the-corner, syrup stained card holds the magic potion for the perfect comfort food. Most of the ingredients are probably already in your kitchen, but the pie’s mysterious healing powers will only emerge once you put it in the oven.

Crumbly Top Apple Pie
First, preheat to 400 degrees.

Make a perfectly rolled out pie crust. I buy mine in the dairy section perfectly rolled in a red Pillsbury box, two crusts to a box. I have yet to get a complaint, or even an inkling, mine are not “from scratch,” but when asked for the pie’s recipe, which I invariably am, I give them this recipe for the crust. (Well, it IS my recipe.)

Pie Crust

3 C. flour
1 1/4 C. Crisco
1 tsp. salt

Sift above ingredients together. Then blend or cut in liquid ingredients that have been whisked together:

1 Tbsp. white vinegar
5 Tbsp. water
1 egg

Mix thoroughly but lightly and gently form into a soft ball. Place dough on a floured board and roll out into a circular crust. Place in a 9 inch glass or metal pie pan, fold under overlapping edges and crimp with left pointer finger knuckle and right thumb and pointer. If you don’t know how to do this, ask your mother, aunt or Grammy and they will. Save any extra crust.


Peel, quarter and and cut into eighth inch slices, 6-7 Granny Smith apples. (Must be Grannies and must be green.) Place in a medium size bowl. In a smaller bowl mix:

1/2 C. white sugar
1 heaping tsp. cinnamon

Toss apples with sugar mixture in the larger bowl and let sit for 10 minutes until a light syrup forms. Put into unbaked pie crust and pour any extra syrup over the apple mixture.


1/2 C. white sugar
3/4 C. flour
1/3 C. softened butter

Mix dry ingredients and cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Put on top of pie and pat gently to spread and cover pie. If you are channeling Martha Stewart, use any left over crust to make a pumpkin shape or a holly leaf and berries and place in center of pie. If not inspired, toss it. (The extra crust, not the pie!)

Bake at 400 degrees for ten minutes. Turn heat down to 350 degrees, cover loosely with foil and bake 40 minutes more or until bubbly and crust is golden brown. Cool on a trivet or cake rack. (I use the burners on my gas stove top.) Serve with or without ice cream.

If you under cook, don’t worry, it will be crunchy but still good and if you over cook, it will be “applesauce pie” which my dad liked even better…

Happy Holidays!

What askmrsmom can do…

If I know it, I will tell you, and if I don’t know it, I will find it and if I don’t find it, well then, I would say it cannot be found.  I am a mother, teacher, counselor and love-to-research researcher. From the best white blouse to God forbid best neurosurgeon. Best college for you, best direction to take, best price for your next car to get there.  I have found , and will find, them all. Just ask!