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8 things my kids have asked me for recently.

img_20181026_154715Now that Halloween is behind us, it’s time to obsess over the upcoming Winter holidays. Obviously we’re going to skip right over Thanksgiving because here in America, we’re more concerned with commercialistic holidays like Black Friday, Christmas and Christmas Bonus Time (You know I’m kidding right? Thanksgiving is awesome and there should always be pumpkin pie, extra stuffing and an excuse to eat five different kinds of dessert so nobody’s feelings get hurt).

In the Spirit of Wanting Stuff in the Wintertime, here are 8 things my kids have asked me for recently:

img_20181026_154823My daughter wants a lamp for her nightstand for reading at bedtime.

Like this was the first thing she mentioned when the kids got into a discussion about their Christmas Wishlist the other day. I kind of love that we’re in a stage now where reading lights are more compelling than a new doll or lego set. I’m sure she wouldn’t turn those down either but I’ll take my victories where I can find them, okay?

img_20181026_154759My son wants an mp3 player.

We got one for my daughter last year because her boom box died. Yes we own boom boxes. Anyway, the mp3 player was the cheapest solution. She loves carrying it around with her and living that 1999 life. And, of course, now my son wants one, too, even though his boom box still works. Ah, decisions. Luckily mp3 players are actually an outdated device now so they are surprisingly dirt cheap.

mvimg_20181026_154815My daughter wants macaroni and cheese for dinner every night.

Or grilled cheese. Or a cheese quesadilla. Noticing a trend yet? If the main ingredient of the dish is not cheese, she’ll probably complain about it. We live in Wisconsin though, so maybe this was a foregone conclusion? Hard to say.

img_20181026_154742My son, conversely, wants tacos at any given moment.

Of course, my daughter thinks she hates tacos which kind of takes the fun out of taco night a bit. But we could have tacos tonight and he’d ask for them again tomorrow. No to tacos? How about nachos? Quesadillas? Taco pizza?

img_20181026_154809My daughter wants studded boots like Mal from the Descendants movies (that’s her Halloween costume if you couldn’t tell because you aren’t a 9-12 year old girl).

This isn’t an altogether outrageous ask except that she really doesn’t need anymore shoes right now. But if I spot a good deal on cute boots that have that Mal vibe… who knows.

img_20181026_154722My son wants his own YouTube account so he can make Minecraft tutorial videos.

At 12 years old, we are still toeing the line between what Internet interactions are okay and which ones aren’t. We haven’t let him get involved in social media yet – he has his whole life to have a love / hate relationship with those. We don’t really want him playing games with an online / chat element just yet. But he does watch Minecraft videos on YouTube and he’s pretty sure he’s the next Dan TDM.

img_20181022_090523_706My daughter wants her own umbrella to bring to school.

She honestly doesn’t need one because her rain jacket has a hood and her class doesn’t go outside for recess if it’s raining. But I guess umbrellas are very glamorous and make an excellent prop for moments that need an umbrella kind of vibe? I should probably just give into this and buy the girl an umbrella but I’m pretty sure she’ll break it or lose it within a week so I keep being stubborn Mean Mom about it.

00100lportrait_00100_burst20181019172835209_coverMy son wants a tv for his bedroom so he can play video games in his room.

I think this is hilarious and he can keep on wishing. I’m probably super strict and an awful person but I want him to spend time with me and junk and not hide in his bedroom all day… just yet.

What are some things your kids have asked you for recently? Do you think I should give my daughter an umbrella? Would you let your 12 year old have a YouTube account? Is it time for Pumpkin pie yet?

 

I’m linking up with Mama Kat’s pretty much world famous Writer’s Workshop today. Let me know if you are participating, too, in the comments section below!

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6 Books I’m Reading Right Now

I’m having a weird reading month (or months) as I can’t seem to commit to any books outright. It’s not uncommon for me to read two or three books at once but usually one of them is a clear front runner and takes up most of my time. Right now I’m reading many, many books but not giving sufficient time to any of them if I’m going to be honest.

Is this because of a failing on the book’s part or mine? I’m honestly not sure and it’s possibly a little bit of both. Life has been busy lately and I find myself dabbling in a lot of different things – writing projects, art projects, volunteering at the school and trying to be a present wife, mother, friend, etc. I’m definitely that Stereotypical Mom trying to juggle a million things poorly right now and my reading life seems to be reflecting that.

Here are six of the books I still considering myself to be currently reading right now:

Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham | I love Lauren Graham and I’m a huge fan of Gilmore Girls but I seem to be struggling to maintain interest in this book. I started reading it in July and I’m still only 34% through the Kindle edition.  I’m unsure if the problem lies with the book or if I’m just in a reading slump. I do think it’s a bit slow and, this sounds awful but, a bit too nice. I had a similar problem with Dick Van Dyke’s book – he really shied away from any semblance of drama in his book. As a person, I admire this. But as a reader, it made for a dull book with very little pay off. You need the bad to enjoy the good, you know? I haven’t completely given up on this one, but it’s slightly on the backburner at the moment.


The 5 Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell | I just got a copy of this through my Digital Library and started reading it a couple of days ago. I’m already familiar with the 5 Love Languages concept, but it’s been insightful to read how these languages can be useful and important in parenting. The book feels a little preachy at times and I occasionally find myself skimming parts – but I’m also definitely getting something out of it and plan to keep reading. So far I’ve read about two of the five types and I’m already putting some of the suggestions into action with my kids and seeing the benefits. The authors recommend using all five languages with your loved ones but paying close attention to your child’s preferred language especially.


I’d Rather Be Reading by Anne Bogel | I’m a huge fan of Anne’s blog and I loved her last book, Reading People, which had to do with personality types. This one is a collection of essays about reading and readers and it’s enjoyable but not necessarily a page flipper. Nonfiction books in general have this problem – there’s no who done it or will they / won’t they trope to keep you flipping pages. I’ll likely read this one intentionally slow – popping in with it when I need it. Because I definitely get something out of it each time I sit down with it. It’s a perfect choice when I only have ten or fifteen minutes to read – kind of like an excellent book of poetry. Readers will relate to all of the essays in this book and fans of Anne’s blog will find it equally enjoyable to read.


Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman | I’ve been excited to read this book for ages, but to be honest it’s been a bit of a let down. This seems like one of those books that maybe just won’t live up to the hype for me. The book describes Eleanor as a quirky heroine with “deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit” but I find her to be almost painfully awkward and cold and clearly traumatized by something in her past. My empath tendencies struggle with Eleanor and as a reader I’m having a hard time stepping into her shoes. Perhaps this will get better as the book progresses and you get to know her better but in the first few chapters she is very closed off and hard to relate to. I haven’t decided if the book is worth pressing on with or not. Thoughts from people who have read it?


Mirage by Somaiya Daud | This was the book in my last Owl Crate shipment and I was so taken by the beautiful cover that I started reading it right away. There is some really fantastical world building in this book that will appeal to fans of The Lunar Chronicles or The Hunger Games. The concept is intriguing and the main character, Amani, is easy to root for as she finds herself forced to act as a body double for the cruel princess whose father took over the kingdom. I think the only thing keeping me from giving it my full attention is all of the other books on this list and the fact that I haven’t been reading very much at night. It’s been my recent “nightstand” book so it kind of relies on me wanting to curl up with a good book at night instead of my phone. #firstworldproblems


The Witch’s Vacuum Cleaner and Other Stories by Terry Pratchett | I picked this up at a discount bookstore a few weeks ago and have been carrying it around in my laptop bag to read during “writing breaks” – Pratchett writes some truly delightful stories that really spark the imagination. They also make a great read aloud – my husband read the title story out loud for the kids and they loved it. Because it’s mostly living in my laptop bag, I’m not reading it all the time – it’s another “when I need it” book so we’ll see how long it takes me to actually finish it. But I’m definitely enjoying this one and plan to read some of Pratchett’s other books which seem to be adored passionately.


What are you reading right now? Which of these books would you recommend giving my full attention to?

I’m linking up with Mama Kat and her Pretty Much World Famous Writer’s Workshop today. Here are the prompt’s for this week’s Workshop if you’d like to play along:

1. Create a list of your top favorite costume choices for this year.
2. List the top 6 books on your list to read next.
3. Write a blog post inspired by the word: creepy
4. Write a blog post answering the This Or That Halloween tag questions found here.
5. Share a slow cooker recipe you love.

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10 Favorite Summer Memories.

I’m linking up with Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop today. I always love her weekly writing prompts – they often remind me of the things I’ve been meaning to write about or give me new ideas I hadn’t thought of.

Here are her prompts for this week:

1. 10 Lessons your child could teach you for a change.
2. Did you garden this summer? Share the fruits of your labor.
3. Write a blog post inspired by the word: fall.
4. Book review!
5. If you had to be a school teacher, what age and/or subject would you choose to teach and why?
6. Highlight 10 favorite summer moments so far.

With the kids back in school it sort of feels like summer is already over. But the calendar seems to think this isn’t true. We’re making summer memories right now while I type this post and my kids do their homework. But here are some slightly more Typical Summer Memories we’ve made and photographed this year:

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ONE | BB and I went to my hometown’s Fourth of July parade and it was everything I remembered from my childhood. Ah yes, the quaint memories of the volunteer fire department dressing up in terrible drag to throw tootsie rolls at children. How I look back on these memories fondly. I mean, there were tootsie rolls. What more does a child need in life? The pic above was one of my favorite floats this year. Most of the floats are pretty boring TBH – a lot are just political ads because, ugh, grown ups. But there was this whole Toy Story themed assortment including guys dressed up like Toy Soldiers who would freeze if you yelled “Andy’s coming!” #nostalgia

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TWO | Summer reading! We spent a ton of time reading this summer – plowing through the library’s summer reading program as well as the summer reading challenge I made for the kids.

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THREE | Hiding inside with MM playing Go Fish during the big company picnic. Somehow this picnic is always on the hottest day of the summer – this year they even scheduled it in June and it was still a million and eleven degrees outside. All the root beer floats in the world couldn’t keep me outside – and luckily my twelve year old was in full agreement. They had a room filled with board games and card games and old arcade games for just this situation – it’s like they know that a company full of geeks probably includes people averse to outdoor activities.

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FOUR | We did do some outdoor stuff though – the kids took a month of swim lessons and I sat in the shade listening to podcasts and playing on my phone. On Fridays we got ice cream and the kids got to go on water slides. Dorky photo sessions may have happened.

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FIVE | Reading comics together at the coffee shop. I’ve been wasting the days away at coffee shops since my kids were toddlers. Back then I chose my coffee shops based on the kids play area – our town has some great choices for moms! But these days I want to know if they’ll have any newspapers kicking around so my kids can read the comics – and the play area is pretty much unimportant. Who are these giant beasts formerly known as little kids?

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SIX | That time my daughter was the flower girl at a friend’s wedding. I’m pretty sure BB was born for this gig – dressing up in a glamorous dress and dancing down an aisle while tossing flower petals in the air? Sometimes she’s doing that anyway and there’s no wedding. I’m only half joking. Seriously, it was a beautiful wedding and we had such a good time sharing their big day with them.

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SEVEN | Is summer complete without road trips? Not in our family. We drove halfway across the country to spend a week with our family. There was swimming and ice cream and sea food and the previously mentioned parade. Lots of hot dogs and family get-togethers and playing cards with lifelong friends that I never get to see. Everyone was older and it was fantastic and bitter sweet and there were a lot of miles logged in the car. We listened to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on audible and ate ginger snaps and complained about the traffic. So, you know, good times.

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EIGHT | At the tail end of our summer vacation we finally went camping. I think this was the least camping we’ve ever done in a summer but we made up for it by roasting all of the marshmallows, cooking pigs in a blanket over an open fire, going on the nerdiest nature hike ever and we may have gone into town a few times to visit some local wineries because Door County.

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TEN | Another great camping memory – we found a cute set of those old fashioned peg games like you see at Cracker Barrel. Some of them were pretty scraping the barrel in quality – but a lot of them were really fun. The kids and I enjoyed playing Finish Line which is definitely more of a game of chance than skill.

What have been some of your favorite memories this summer?

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On Introversion, Social Anxiety and Made Up Words. #truth #servace #nofilter

Last weekend my daughter’s class had a late night field trip to the regional airport where we and a half billion other people (or a couple hundred, I’m not a mathmetician) crowded into the narrow hallway by the ticketing counter and waited for 2+ hours so we could greet some local veterans coming back from an honor flight. I think it was an emotionally fulfilling event and something about Civic pride but all I could focus on was the fact that my 8 year old would have to stay up until 11pm (also I had to stay up until 11pm – ugh) while being relatively pleasant ; and the crowds were draining all of my life force minute by wretched minute.

I tried to stay upbeat and pretend I wasn’t dying inside every time people cheered for no discernable reason other than crowd mentality and adrenaline. I helped my daughter make posters to hold up for the troops and made jokes with the other mothers about the spelling and grammar mistakes in each of them. I made small talk and hid in the back when I needed to and just generally tried not to run out screaming.

As the night wore on and the crowds grew bigger and rowdier while my family grew more tired and cranky, I tried to keep it real. I admitted that I was struggling with the crowds and tried to live my truth. The kind moms I confided in were so understanding and didn’t even say, “wow, you are super crazy and I’m going to back away slowly now.” I wish I could say that made me feel better.

Mostly I just felt drained and a little defeated. How can all these people stand so comfortably in a crowd like that? Why couldn’t I rise to the occasion? Have I always been this broken or have I changed with age? I’ve never been confused about the fact that I’m introverted but I’m not often thrown into a situation like this where I can barely function because of it. Maybe that makes me lucky. Maybe I should focus on feeling proud of myself for not having a nervous breakdown in public. Or give myself grace and just accept myself as I am or something. But mostly I just feel tired.

Tired because I was up past my bedtime. Tired of having to fake it and pretend things are enjoyable when they’re not; or be honest and say when I am struggling because #nofilter and have to be the recipient of sympathy or understanding that I didn’t really want. And I know there are people out there who know how I feel and struggle with this, too, but we’re all too introverted to wave and say hi or something. Hi. 👋

Anyway, there really isn’t a point to this post except to acknowledge my #truth and share a cute picture of my kid and her sign and to ask if you think servace is a real word, and if not, let’s make it a word and leave our favorite fake definitions in the comments section?

I’m linking up with Mama Kat today. Check out her blog for more prompts and participants.

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Spring Break in Florida in Photographs.

It’s Thursday so I must be linking up with Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.

This week’s prompts are:

1. Write a blog post that ends with the line: maybe next time.
2. Book review!
3. Create a recipe that incorporates hard boiled eggs.
4. Tell us about the last time you saw a movie.
5. Share your favorite photo you posted on Instagram this month and give us the back story.
6. Spring Cleaning! Share a before and after photo of a room you recently tackled.

 

I really couldn’t choose just one this month because we just got back from our Spring Break vacation to Florida and there are too many good pictures to share.

We were visiting my dad in the Tampa area and in between basking in the glorious sunlight and enjoying the views from his backyard, we also visited the Sarasota Jungle Gardens, the Museum of Science and Industry, Dinosaur World, and The Florida Aquarium.

It’s been a brutal winter for me in terms of sunlight, temperature and the breaking of expensive things – it was nice to escape the cold and mundane for a week and get a change of scenery and some family bonding time.

What have you been up to this month?

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8 Things I Accomplished This Week

It seems to be a “focus on the little things” kind of week. I’m home with a dog recovering from surgery and while it’s going well on the whole, I’m feeling very on guard basically 24/7 and very not getting much done in between.

But Mama Kat wants to know 8 things I accomplished this week and who am I to deprive her of that? So.

  1. I sweet talked my husband into giving me his journal because I liked it, wanted it, had to have it.
  2. I emptied the dishwasher Wednesday morning. Like a boss.
  3. I found the bag of pill pockets in the cupboard so I could trick the dog into taking his pain medicine.
  4. I got my oil changed. Then found out the car needs more repairs soon and only mildly freaked out about it.
  5. I put a tablespoon of guacamole into 48 tiny plastic cups for my daughter’s state fair Tuesday night.
  6. I emptied the dishwasher at least once.
  7. I figured out where the heck I put this month’s book club pick and even started reading the first chapter while waiting for my car to get its oil changed.
  8. I wrote this blog post – totally counts, right?

Clearly I am 100% on top of things here.

What have you accomplished this week?

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7 Changes to Help Fight Against Winter Blahs.

This is what February was like for me in a nutshell.

Have we talked enough about how dumb this season has been? I have my reasons for being angsty about the season and I’m guessing you do, too. Today I’m sharing my ideas on how to battle the winter blahs and take back your sanity and good humor. 7 things to do less often AND 7 things to do more often for good measure. There’s nothing Earth shattering here, but we’ll take all the help we can get, right?

7 Things to Do Less Often

  1. Worry – I know, it’s easier said than done. But I’m told it doesn’t actually help and just makes you feel like crap. I’m trying to do less worrying but I’m really bad at it. Instead: Meditate and practice gratefulness and positive thinking. Journal about the good things and give the negatives less power.
  2. Social Media – This is a tough one. I like being connected to people and sharing about my day, but it is also a time suck and often leaves me feeling depressed or less than between sad news, angsty political posts and even well intentioned humble bragging. I’ve been trying to really limit my time on these sites. Instead: call a friend and start getting together with more people in person. Write letters or emails and practice being present in the moment.
  3. Stay up late – Especially if it’s just staying up late looking at the aforementioned social media. Everything feels easier to handle when you are well rested. Instead: Kick your phone out of bed if you have to. Limit your caffeine in the afternoons and watch how late you are staying up.
  4. Hang out alone and stew about your woes – they say misery loves company but so does happiness. It’s amazing how much better I feel simply by going out and being around people and, even better, getting busy with something. Give your need to wallow a time limit. Instead: Volunteer at your kids school, get coffee with a friend, heck go grocery shopping. Do the things.
  5. Read sad books – ditto to depressing tv and movies. Maybe you feel better after taking in this kind of media but it really wears me down personally. Instead: Embrace the funny. I’m trying to be all about the comedy and positive vibes right now. 30 minute sitcoms, romantic comedies and lighter books for awhile.
  6. Eat your feelings – I don’t really need to tell you how much this doesn’t work. I’m a sucker for treating myself to something sweet in general but eating healthy always makes me feel better in the long run, so it seems especially important when I’m feeling all blah. Instead: Drink more water and plenty of fresh foods. And while you are at it, don’t forget to exercise!
  7. Keep it to yourself You don’t need to be stoic about your feelings. You are not alone and people definitely want to help. Instead: Let people know when you are feeling less than 💯. Let help in, whether it’s just a little more company, a shoulder to cry on or an unbiased ear to turn to for advice.

What things would you add to this list? Share your favorite ways to Battle the Blah in the comments section.

I’m linking up with Mama Kat’s Writers Workshop today because it’s awesome.

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5 Favorite Things Right Now.

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Is February kicking anybody else in the teeth right now? I feel like I keep talking about this but I really do hate the winter and this one isn’t being very nice to me. Or my car. Or my dog.

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I’m not saying Winter is to blame for all the cruddy things we’ve been dealing with but I feel like some warm weather and sandals would help a lot.

In the meantime, here are 5 things that don’t suck right now:

Watching the Winter Olympics with my kids. We’ve been particularly into the figure skating because I have an eight-year-old girl so glitter and fabulousness go a long way in my house right now. Also, this Mommy Shorts video of Harlow explaining Olympics is pretty much everything

Good drinks with good company. Sometimes hard days need a good drink. And maybe a friend to drink with. I’ve been into Moscow mules lately but in a pinch, a glass of cheap Moscato is pretty much all I need. I’m the opposite of a wine snob – give me a glass from your favorite $5 bottle and it’s probably just right. Speaking of wine snobs: Have you seen this Hello Giggles video yet? Because that is 100% me.

My husband is always my favorite. He’s good at everything, makes me feel calm and centered just by being in the room and he has a cute butt. Also, he cooks. And as Scary Mommy says:

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I deleted Facebook from my phone. It was so liberating, guys. It seems like when the news gets heavy, my Facebook feed gets heavy and I get heavy because I have to eat a lot of cookies to get over it. So I decided to try limiting my time on social media for awhile and it seems to be helping. I’m not saying I’m not on Facebook – but I made it harder to get there. I’m amazed at how often I find myself mindlessly looking for the app button on my phone now and the truth is, I’m not even sure I actually want to look at Facebook half the time. It’s just become a force of habit to check in – apparently eighty billion times a day.

Marathoning Friends with the hubby. Some days a 60 minute drama is just not going to happen. We’ve been going on Netflix, Hulu, etc. and picking an old show to rewatch from the beginning – something funny that maybe we watched sporadically once upon a time but at least one of us never watched it in order. We just finished Scrubs and we’ve moved onto Friends. We just finished The One With the Prom Video and I squealed like a little girl at the end, “He’s her lobster!!!!” Sometimes you just need to watch Ross and Rachel get together again.

What things have been giving you life lately?

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If you aren’t linking up with Mama Kat on Thursdays, you’re not doing it right.

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Let’s Talk About: Candy

One of the prompt’s for this week’s Writer’s Workshop (hosted by the always brilliant Mama Kat) jumped out at me as being of critical importance. It’s timely and perhaps controversial but now more than ever we have to talk about… candy. I know – it’s bold of me to even go there and act like I could just casually name 8 of my favorites like why would Rolos be more important than Peppermint Patties – who am I to make these judgments? But guys we have to talk about this stuff – it’s imperative that we are clear and honest with each other about what candies we want and what candies we don’t want. If I don’t tell you my needs, how can you ever hope to meet them?

So I’m going to talk to you about what I like and if you want to keep this conversation going then meet me in the comments section. Tell me what you like and what you dislike. Let’s get real with each other… about candy.

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Eight of My Favorite Candies.

  1. Nama Chocolate “Au Lait” by Royce Chocolates | I first had these while on vacation in Vegas with my hubby and they quite plainly blew my mind. Like “Why has chocolate been lying to me my whole life?” kind of mind-blowing. These need to be refrigerated when you aren’t gorging yourself on them so plan ahead and save me some, okay?
  2. Good licorice | I won’t lie – I’ll go to town on any old stale bag of Twizzlers after a long day but they pale in comparison to actual licorice. I like a nice soft licorice and typically prefer the red to the black licorice but I’m unlikely to turn down either if it’s the good stuff.
  3. Toffee | My teeth are in an abusive relationship with toffee. I try to keep them away from each other but once or twice a year they seem to find their way back to each other. It’s a torrid affair.
  4. Marzipan | This stuff rocks my world. Pretty much almond paste, in general, completes me – I like the cute little candies that look like tiny fruit or the chocolate bar with a layer of marzipan in the middle. And those princess torte cakes wrapped in marzipan? hold me.
  5. Reese’s peanut butter cups or pieces | Or frankly any combination of chocolate and peanut butter. It’s like my guaranteed winning combo.
  6. Kinder Chocolates | My grandfather used to send me these from Germany and I still light up when I see them at my local World Market. There is something magical about these little chocolate bars.
  7. Homemade truffles | There’s this little coffee shop down the street that I sometimes stop in pretty much ONLY to get one of the little chocolates that the owner’s wife makes for the store. I mean their coffee is good, too, but that little piece of 25 cent candy is on another level shut the front door good. Sometimes I want to buy the whole tray and have a moment.
  8. Cookie Dough Bites | These are my movie theater candy of choice and for some reason, nobody else ever seems as excited about them as me which is great because more for me. Some days when I’m feeling healthy or something I go for raisinets because fruit but truthfully this just ends in me wishing I’d gotten cookie dough bites.

So those are my eight – what would be on your list?

Tell me your faves in the comments section!