Author Archives: Ginny Marie

Everybody Loves These Pumpkin Bars

Last Sunday we had a potluck Thanksgiving dinner for our Sunday school kids. My contribution was two sheets of pumpkin bars; one frosted and one plain. I wanted to be sure that there was enough for everyone, and the first sheet disappeared quickly! I took most of the bars on the second sheet home, and Ed said that we could bring them to Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday. Silly man! As if they will last until Thursday! You can make your own cream cheese frosting or do what I did: buy a can of frosting at the store. And they taste just as good without frosting.

pumpkin bars

Pumpkin Bars

4 eggs
2 cups white sugar
1 cup canola oil
1 can (15 ounce) pumpkin puree
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a large jelly roll pan. Beat eggs with electric mixer until foamy; add sugar, oil and pumpkin. Beat on medium speed until incorporated for 2 minutes. Mix dry ingredients in separate bowl and beat into egg mixture on low speed until just combined. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
Cream Cheese Frosting
Beat 1 package cream cheese, softened, with 1 cup butter, softened, and 2 tsp. vanilla together until creamy. Gradually add 4 cups confectioner’s sugar and beat until smooth. Spread frosting over cooled pumpkin bars.
Enjoy with a cup of coffee!

Providing Sisters to Help You Get Through the Holidays

My two-year-old got it first, right before Christmas; a full-blown case of the stomach flu. As a teacher of little kids, I had been exposed to the stomach flu many times before, so I was sure I would be okay and ready to host Christmas dinner at my house. On December 24, I was so sick I couldn’t even get out of bed except to go lie on the bathroom floor next to the toilet. I had never had such horrible, crippling stomach cramps before. To make matters worse, I was newly pregnant with my second child. I called my mom who lived out-of-state. “Will it hurt the baby?” I asked after I had puked my guts out for what seemed the umpteenth time.

“No, of course it won’t hurt the baby,” Mom reassured me.

I was so lucky that my sister had flown in from California to was staying with us that week. She took care of me as I lay moaning in bed. The next day, she also took care of getting the turkey in the oven. It was her first turkey, stuffed with oranges and cloves, and it was delicious!


I tried to help the best I could on Christmas Day, but it was really my sister who pulled dinner together for us. My nephew secretly told his mother, my sister-in-law, that I couldn’t have really been that sick. I looked fine! But then just a couple of days later, he got sick. And so did just about everyone else in the family, including my poor brother who was still recuperating from a motorcycle accident in a nursing facility.

Let me tell you, without my sister, I don’t think I could have survived Christmas that year!

Scary Mommy's Guide to Surviving the Holidays

Jill Smoker’s new anthology, Scary Mommy’s Guide to Surviving the Holidays, provides a whole set of sisters to help with the holidays! From recipes to anecdotes to lists, this book will get you through Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas. I laughed out loud when Jill wrote about her son being thankful for poop. Let’s face it, any time a kid can get poop into the conversation, he will! I’m sure Crystal Ponti’s “Put-Your-Feet-Up-While-the-Crock-Pot-Cooks Cranberry Sauce” will be much more delicious than the time I tried to make stuffing in my crock pot. It didn’t turn out so well. I could totally relate to Sarah Cottrell’s description of “Ten People in the Grocery Store the Morning of Thanksgiving.” I, myself, have been the desperate spouse, known to run out to buy more wine before my in-laws can get another bottle from their already abundant supply in the basement.

Since my first daughter was born in November, I laughed my way through Alice Gomstyn’s “The Pros and Cons of Having a Baby Right Before Thanksgiving,” because lactating boobs are quite entertaining. Becoming a mother also means that everything changes, and Jennifer Simon’s story “Redefining Thanksgiving” is a beautiful reflection on how a baby can make the holidays even better.

The best part of this book, however, is that part of the profits go to Scary Mommy’s Thanksgiving Project, which raises money for families to be able to buy Thanksgiving dinner. To find out more about this charity, visit Scary Mommy Nation.

Have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!


There Was This One Thanksgiving… {Spin Cycle Prompt}

On Thursday we’re celebrating Thanksgiving in the U.S. and I thought it would be fun to remember past Thanksgivings. This week on the Spin Cycle, share memories from past Thanksgivings; traditions, family gatherings or recipes, or write about one Thanksgiving that was really memorable. There was this one Thanksgiving….

Link up your Thanksgiving Spin any day this week!


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It Doesn’t Matter To Anyone But Me

When I go to the gym, it doesn’t matter if I walk on the treadmill for 15 minutes or 30 minutes. No one is timing me or watching me to make sure I work out, and as long as I log in for 12 times a month, my insurance will reimburse a portion of my gym fees. But no one is keeping track of the weight I’m losing (none so far, by the way). I’m the only one who will notice. So I don’t give up after 15 minutes. I increase the treadmill’s incline, or I speed it up, or I switch to the elliptical machine. I try to challenge my body so that eventually, I will lose weight.

The same thing is true with writing. No one will notice if I take a day off. If I write less than 500 words in a blog post, no one will say anything. It’s funny, just as I was planning out what to write in my head, Ed started to head upstairs. “I still have to write a blog post,” I said.

“No, you don’t,” Ed replied. He was right. I didn’t. Don’t get the wrong idea; he is supportive of my blog…it’s just that truthfully, I didn’t have to write a blog post tonight.

This NaBloPoMo blog-post-per-day, however, has been my “thing” since 2009. No one will know if I don’t write 30 posts for November this year.

But I would know. I know when my blog posts are written at the last minute and not thought out. I know when they are mundane and not very interesting to read. I’m not a humor writer, as much as I want to be. I can’t always find the right metaphors, and I often “tell” my stories instead of “showing” my stories.

I try to challenge myself, however, and so I write. I exercise my writing skills even when I don’t have to, so that eventually, I’ll become a better writer.

What have you been exercising lately?





Crocodile Tears and Caramel Shakes

Whenever one child has a play date and the other one doesn’t, the puppy dog eyes fill with huge crocodile tears, the lower lip comes out, and the whining begins. “Why I don’t I ever have a play date?”

I try to trick them with a special “date with Mommy,” which is code for running errands and possible getting ice cream if you’re good. They see past my trickery now, and try to get the ice cream FIRST.

Lily got me to get a salted caramel pretzel shake BEFORE we went shoe shopping this afternoon. Normally I would be all about going shoe shopping, but I had to buy new church shoes for Lily and Emmy, and white tennis shoes for Lily’s show choir performance in a couple of weeks. Do I need a new pair of church shoes? Absolutely! Did I get a pair? The fact that I was shopping with a child in tow should answer that question.

We also made a stop at Toys “R” Us and bought a Christmas gift for Emmy. My Christmas shopping has officially begun! I’m usually a last minute shopper, so this is a good start.

I made sure to whisper in Lily’s ear as I tucked her into bed that I had a great time shopping with her. That won’t stop the crocodile tears the next time Emmy has a play date, but I think Lily had fun spending time with me, too.




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