Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Price Of Putting Your Kids Out The Car? Solitude.

OK. Someone has to say it.  A mom put her bickering kids out of the car and told them to walk the rest of the way home?  (Complete news story.)  

Big deal.

(Notice I didn't say, "BFD."  Not because I don't feel that way, but because my kids may read this.)

Err --- what I meant to say was:  Scandalous!  Ghastly!  Appalling!

Puh-leeze.  Cheese and rice, people!  Every mom can relate to how she was feeling, and if you haven't done what she did, I bet you know someone who has.  (Don't ask.  I'm not giving up my peeps.  They inspire these blogs!)

There are only two reasons I haven't shoved my own kids out the Honda Pilot backhatch.

One, my kids don't usually bicker in the car.  They save it for the dinner table, church, or (my personal favorite) when we have guests.  Their best performances are reserved for family members we see only a few times a year.

Two, I never thought of it.  Dang.

Here's my real question, though.  As she spent the night in jail (you betcha she was incarcerated!), how did the mom feel?  Badly?  Duh.  Guilty?  Sure.  Humiliated?  You bet.

Yeah, she was wrong.  She lost it.  She over-reacted.  Her kids were hurt.

Plus, joining the penal system meant making a a few sacrifices, including that reprehensible mugshot, a glow-in-the-dark jumpsuit, and those matching, intertwined plastic bracelets.  On the upside, though, her lucky family's now got a go-to story every Thanksgiving for their rest of their lives.

Still, for her night in the big house, I hope that mom reveled.  What a brilliant plan!  She needed time away from her kids.  She needed peace and quiet.  She needed to be able to go to the bathroom on her own.  Ick.  That last one may have come off the table in this deal, but overall, she got most of what she wanted, right?  Great success!

In the end, I am confident that they all -- every one of them -- will be OK.  Truly.  I once heard of a dad who put his rambunctious kids out of the car on the INTERSTATE, telling them to run to the next exit, where he would be waiting.  They were fine.  And are still laughing.

Of course, mom probably should make a little special something upon her return home -- just to fast-track everyone's road to recovery (and minimize the number of future therapist appointments).  I'd recommend these crazy good chocolate toffee treats.  Just as with their mom, you're not exactly sure what's going on inside.  But it's all comes together in a surprising way.

Chocolate Toffee Cookies

1 sleeve saltine crackers
2 sticks butter (not margarine)
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 12-ounce bag of good chocolate chips
1 cup chopped toasted pecans

Preheat oven to 350.  Line a rimmed cookie sheet (11 x 15) with foil, and spray with nonstick spray.  Place saltines, in a single layer, in the pan, covering the entire pan.  You may need a few extra to fill in all the spaces.  Now, heat butter and brown sugar in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil and continue boiling three minutes, stirring occasionally.  Pour mixture (carefully) over crackers and spread to edges.  Bake for 20 minutes.

Remove pan from oven and immediately sprinkle with chocolate chips.  When chips soften from heat, spread to edges with spatula and sprinkle with pecans.  Chill for at least 30 minutes, then break into bite-size pieces.  No one will ever guess that crackers are the base of this treat!

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