Not Too Much Sugar and Spice

Moderation and restraint are not my strengths. If you take me shopping, I’ll talk you into extravagant purchases. If you keep drinking all your prosecco, I’ll keep refilling your glass. I’m what you might call an enabler.

Today I was entrusted with the awesome responsibility of contributing not-too-over-the-top treats to the primary school Halloween luncheon. I agreed, even though over-the-top is what I do best. My first priority as a mother is to show up at school with sweets when asked. I consider it to be one of the most important aspects of my job description, which is unfortunate because sweets are frowned upon at this school.

There is apparently a shadowy cabal of judgy parents who aren’t as much fun as I am.

I was told there were complaints in previous years about some over-the-top cupcakes, and I am 100% sure that I was the contributor of the cupcakes in question. As mom-in-charge of this year’s luncheon, I wasn’t about to let on that I was a top offender in years past. Last year parents weren’t invited to contribute treats at all, probably because of my 2015 pretzel skeleton cupcake transgression, but I was not about to bring it up. Now that I’ve been given a second chance, I’m sure as hell not going to ruin it for everyone again.

Did parents really complain about these adorable cupcakes?

The treats are supposed to be nut- and gluten-free, too. I thought Rice Krispy treats would be a good place to start, but I wanted to make them just a little bit healthier using the natural sweetness of dates. I experimented with reducing the marshmallow content of Rice Krispy Treats and replacing them with date caramel. They were a big hit with my husband, the babysitter, and 2/3 of my children (and the one who didn’t like them doesn’t like anything, including Oreos, so her opinion isn’t an indicator). I love dates and make desserts with them a lot. My kids call them “nature’s candy.”

Date Caramel Rice Krispy Treats:

  • 2 cups pitted Medjool dates
  • 2 Tbsps. Sunbutter
  • 2 Tbsps. milk (or more, for consistency)
  • pinch salt
  • 2 cups marshmallows
  • 1 stick of butter, halved
  • 5 cups Rice Krispies

1). Blend dates, Sunbutter, milk, and salt in a food processor.

2). Melt marshmallows with 1/2 stick butter. Add to date mixture and process until smooth.

3). Melt the remaining 1/2 stick of butter in a large pot and transfer date mixture. Stir until smooth and add Rice Krispies. Stir and transfer to 9×12 pan. Cool and enjoy!

I’m also supposed to decorate the tables without going too over-the-top, which is a problem. I can restrain myself on the sugar, but over-the-top holiday decor is my speciality, so, yes, I will be taking the table decor to a ridiculous extreme. I can’t help myself. Let the judgy parents judge away…I am who I am.

Whirlwind October


Last year at Gallrein Farms


Bea’s first field trip is coming up


Amma bearing balloons


Eloise and me on her field trip last year

I make it a point never to miss a field trip or school party–I’ll show up with cupcakes every time my children’s schools will let me, and I will happily ride a bus anywhere with my girls while they and their friends climb all over me. Alas, it’s time for my three-year-old’s very first field trip, and there is a conflict: the preschool pumpkin patch outing happens to be on the same exact day of the Butterfly Society luncheon. This, of course, makes me feel like a horrible mother, but the truth is I’ve been spearheading the whole theme of our table and crafting up a storm, and I just can’t miss it because it’s a commitment I made awhile ago.

The theme of the luncheon is always movies, and each table is decorated in the theme of a different movie. This year our table chose Harry Potter, so we’re all wearing wizard robes and there’s an elaborate table theme, the details of which I’m not even sure I should be divulging. I’ll be sure to post pictures when it happens, but the point is I’m so racked with mommy guilt that I’m actually considering making an appearance in the pumpkin patch wearing my wizard outfit. That wouldn’t be weird at all, would it? The tragic part is that I won’t even be able to sleep off my post-luncheon champagne buzz like a normal person, because that afternoon after my children finish school we’re leaving on a road trip for a family wedding, and I’m driving.

We have been keeping up a ridiculous pace this month. I have dashed from party to party, and hosted a few of my own. I went on a lovely overnight spa weekend with my best friend, and the next day threw a school fall festival the next day with the help of another mom. I’ve thrown a dinner party and a pickle-themed birthday party complete with a pickle cake and a paint-your-own-cucumber station, and now I’m staring down a field trip, a luncheon, a family wedding…and all that will happen before the next weekend, when I’m charged with making a magical Halloween for everyone. It’s all so much fun, and I know I bring this on myself by saying yes to so much, but it’s so exhausting. I want to do all of it, but doing all of it makes me really, really want a nap.

This reminds me that I should really be using these precious few moments while my children are asleep to make wizard wands, but the thought of creatively molding hot glue onto a chop stick right now makes me want to collapse.