Jen’s Seriously Hella-Awesome Pumpkin Cupcakes Extraordinaire

Ingredients

  • 1 18.5-ounce box yellow cake mix (Plus the ingredients called for in the package directions.  I used the Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe)
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 t. vanilla extract
  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree (I only had 29oz. cans, so I used half)
  • 2 8-ounce bars cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • Candy corn
  • 1/2 to 1 C half n half
  • Lined muffin cups

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350° F. Prepare the cake mix as directed but with the following changes: Add 1/2 teaspoon of the pumpkin pie spice, substitute the pumpkin puree for the water called for in the package directions, add 1 t. vanilla, and add 1/2 cup half n half.  If it doesn’t look smooth enough, use the other 1/2 cup.  I kind of eyeballed it.  Emma thought I knew what I was doing but I was totally winging it.
  2. Stir together to combine, then use a hand mixer to blend.
  3. Divide the batter among muffin tins and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 18 to 22 minutes. I did about 20 minutes on mine.  Let cool.
  4. Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, 1 t. vanilla, and confectioner’s (powdered) sugar until creamy. Taste it, and if it’s too “cheesy”, add another 1/2 t. vanilla.  I also added about a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice to the icing, but you couldn’t really discern it was in there.  I knew the cupcakes were pumpkiny, so I didn’t really care.  So you can add it, or more, or not at all.  Spread on the cupcakes and top each with a piece of candy corn.

If they come out great, make sure you tell them I came up with this recipe.  If they suck, your direction-following is extremely sub-par, and I don’t even know you.  PS dogs like pumpkin cupcakes.  PPS do not sit near them later.  God.

SpOOOOky!

My friend Mike and I are on year three of what we hope will continue to be an annual date that consists of dinner at the Cheesecake Factory and a horrifically scary movie afterwards at the adjoining AMC theater.  Our cool spouses allow us to have this annual date every year for three reasons.  One, Mike and I have known each other since 10th grade, so we are “safe dates”, meaning if there was even the remote chance of funny business, one would physically pummel the other, at which point the spouses would start pummeling, and then everyone would be dead.  Number two, neither one of them have any interest whatsoever in seeing scary movies, especially our choice over the last two years, which were Paranormal Activity 1 and Paranormal Activity 2.  Number three, I’m fairly certain that they enjoy the fact that Mike and I laugh about scaring the shit out of each other in the weeks leading up to the movie, but on the day of, we are both sort of jumpy.  So, we’re lucky enough this year to be able to see the third installment of the franchise, Paranormal Activity 3.  I get that there is limited plot development or inexpensive effects or even that it follows a formula.  Let me put it this way.  These movies scare the living crap out of me.  Let me tell you, carefully scanning a room via video looking to see if something, anything moves, and then actually seeing something move, is the closest I’ve ever come to needing Depends, if you’re pickin up what I’m throwin down.  So, today is the day we go see it.  Here’s Mike & I’s conversation today:

“Hey Mike, a review of PA 3 said that the last 15 minutes will mess you up for life”.

“Oh yeah, well you’re not going home after the movie, you are going to my secret graveyard and having a seance with my Parker Brothers Ouija Board!”

“Mike, I was just looking at graveyards to go to after!  There is a segregated, run down graveyard in McKinney that some ghost hunters are even afraid to go into, and there are reports of voices telling people to GET OUT”.  (I think I’m winning here).

Well believe me the one I am talking about isn’t even on the map.  It dates back to the early settlers here in the area – and almost no one knows about it – 1820’s and some of them were murdered by savage Indians!  Oh yeah and then there is the one baby grave – where the kid was found on top of the Campbell church and no one knows how it got there or how it died.”

“Ok well holy crap.  I’m sure Michelle will need you home immediately after the movie.”

“Nah …she is good – this will be unbelievable fun – oh yeah we are going to need a lantern.  And wear tennis shoes or hiking boots.”

“Ok well holy crap.”

I can’t tell if Mike is really serious about the post-movie graveyard.  If he is, part of me thinks it would be awesome, because I’ve always wanted to do the spooky-graveyard-at-night-at-Halloween thing.  The other part of me thinks I really don’t want my friend Mike to see me shit myself, because doing this after the movie where “the last 15 minutes will mess you up for life”, definitely adds a new element of fear this year.  The good news is, I’m less nervous about the movie now and way more nervous about being killed in a wooded graveyard.  But, if we can videotape it, it could be one of the more hilarious things I’ve ever done.

Wish me luck.  More to come.   Or…….is there?!

Fall Leaves

 I love this fall leaf pattern I found on a blog called Natural Suburbia.  I’ve been looking for quit fall knits, because of course I waited too long to get into the fall knitting swing.  I’m sure I’ll be starting my Christmas gift knitting in December.  SIGH!

Happy Boss’s Day

You do this again, you're going to lose, then eat, that finger.

 

Dear New Boss,

You are a jerk. You know nothing, which is only amplified by your level of bullying communications when you clearly don’t understand the subject matter. You were told I was a highly intelligent person, and the best Contracts Administrator in the office, yet you continually question my judgment in front of senior management and staff. And invariably wind up agreeing with me. Later. Everyone knows that you are an alcoholic and were bumped down from a Director’s level all the way down to Program Manager for drinking at work, yet you continually say things that make people think, impossibly, that you are even more of an asshole than you were when you were tossing back beers at lunch and coming in shitfaced. In addition, when I walk into your office at 6:45 a.m. because you’ve cornered me while getting coffee to ask for an immediate update on something as benign as what an Aileron looks like, or how to spell the programs you just picked up, please do not keep me in your office for an hour to tell me all about your earwax removal and subsequent vertigo. I absolutely do not give a shit, it’s disgusting, and it’s 6:45 in the f’ing morning and I just drove an hour to get here and haven’t even had coffee yet. You have been my boss for 5 workdays and I’ve already talked to my co-workers, previous boss, and HR about what an absolute dick you are. I highly recommend that the next time you feel compelled to send out an email that starts with “Sorry, but ‘that’s what they do on other programs’ doesn’t work for me” or “I don’t accept that as an answer”, you prepare accordingly for me to ball up printouts of your reply and shove them so far up your ass, you will no longer have an earwax problem.

Regards,

Your New Employee

Re-visiting My Daisy Scout Leader Roots

Originally posted 7/2010:

I’m trying to get Emma into The Daisy program, which all good moms know is the pre-Brownies, which is the pre-Girl Scouts. I’m pretty sure this was my missing link, so I figure, unless I want Emma to wind up smoking weed behind the wall at the Clark McDonalds, I’d best get started now.

I received an email from the regional coordinator, basically telling me to chill out, and that information regarding the Daisies would be communicated at the start of the fall Kindergarten semester. Then she asked me if I was interested in becoming a Troop Leader. Here’s my response:

Dear Ms. Shoemaker

You bet your ass I want to be a Troop Leader! It sounds like the Girl Scouts, unlike The Texas Department of Corrections, are down with the idea of “second chances”. I do see you require a criminal background check, but seeing as though I consider “Girl Scouts” a part of “society”, I assume that I’ve paid my debt to you. I’d like to be able to provide a letter of recommendation, but my asshole P.O. is probably still bent out of shape about my recent positive drug test, which I EXPLAINED to him had to be a contact high from all of the weed my husband smokes. But don’t worry, he won’t be allowed at any of the Daisy meetings. Fuckhead sleeps all days on Saturdays usually anyway. My point is, legally he has to be 100 yards away from children as it is, so I will send him to Centennial or something when we’re having the meetings, no problem.

Speaking of meetings, I have a lot of great ideas for Daisy activities. I think it’s important that the girls learn real life skills that will benefit them when they’re adults. Since the Daisies are all in Kindergarten, they are plenty old enough to be shooting and gutting deer, (with supervision, obviously!). There are so many life lessons in just that one activity, I can’t even tell you. Providing food for your family, stealthiness, aim, shooting stuff, killing stuff… The list goes on and on! Plus, once they’ve stripped the carcasses, they can bleach the bones and use them for art projects or to carve their own weapons or something. After they’ve really got a feel for it, I envision an entire “Daisies Do Lord Of The Flies” weekend, where we just drop them off at Possum Kingdom Lake for the weekend and let them shoot and kill their own food and create their own government and stuff. Seriously, how awesome would that be? I dont know how many Daisy petals they’d earn for coming out of that weekend as the Leader but I’d have to bet It. Is. A. Ton.

Anyway, I will complete all of the paperwork and will wait to hear from you. I am SO excited to become a Daisy troop leader I literally just crapped my pants!

Regards,

Jennifer Grant