From Your Daddy In Heaven

Valentine’s Day, guys. You can see it, right? I kinda love it.

Special note: I originally wrote this post two years ago, and I was going to re-publish as is, but had to change some dates and such. It’s mostly what I want to say today, though, about today. Couldn’t resist. New and improved:

People complain that Easter is the new Christmas, and we shouldn’t go overboard with kids. That’s me with Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day is my Christmas, even though I love Christmas. You can have favorite aspects of holidays. Halloween has the best atmosphere, and Christmas has the most spirit. Valentine’s Day is the prettiest and most chocolatey, but Easter has the BEST candy. St. Patrick’s Day has corned beef hash and Lucky Charms, and is during an exciting time of year! Almost spring!

When you’re nearly done with THIS:

And of course, there are the meanings, and how we make our own. My family isn’t religious, but we’re kinda spiritual. Scarlet is seven and said she doesn’t believe in God, only because she thinks humans mostly get the job done. She DOES believe in fairies and tooth fairies and garden fairies and even Valentine fairies. She knows, though, that I give her Valentine’s Day gifts.

And if you’re shocked that a seven-year-old doesn’t believe in God, well, that’s just Scarlet. If pressed, she’ll give you reasons she DOES believe in a God, or Gods, but not one who judges, condemns, and lets turmoil happen. She’s SEVEN. I didn’t put those ideas in her head. My religious philosophy can be described better HERE. I wrote it six years ago, but I assume it’s true. I never reread my writing because it makes me itchy so I’ll trust that you’ll tell me if it says anything good?

The reason I love Valentine’s Day is truly an epic, movie-esque, not-quite-happy, really-downright-sad reason, but boy, did it propel a series of not sad Valentine’s Days. I don’t need the works. I don’t need a single thing. I can tell you about valentines in school – getting three carnation “Love-Grams” sent to my desk in high school (from my sister and two gay friends but that’s neither here nor there). I can tell you about my first college boyfriend and his stuffed bear and three pound bag of M&Ms that I couldn’t even look at, because I had the honest-to-goodness FLU. There are many stories to tell, but it starts with this one.

My father had passed away in July. Before he had died suddenly, he had been put on a waitlist for Cabbage Patch Dolls – specifically the ones called “Preemies.” They don’t make them like that anymore! The Valentine’s Day after he died, I was four and Lindsay was six. This was several months later, and my mom got the call from Child World ON VALENTINE’S DAY (or maybe the day before) that the two Cabbage Patch dolls he had ordered were ready for her to pick up, after all this time.

My mom was the room mother for Lindsay’s classroom and had organized a Valentine’s Day game, but instead Lindsay got really sick and missed the party. We were home later on Valentine’s Day and Lindsay was napping – burning up with a high fever. She woke up and my mom gave us valentine gifts. I remember fuzzy red monkeys that had arms you could clip on things. We got homemade valentines and then the Cabbage Patch Kids dolls. Lindsay could read then, and my mom put cards on the boxes that said, “Happy Valentine’s Day, from your daddy in heaven.” It certainly felt cosmic then. It still does.

Sometimes I can open my heart a little bit, and then a bit more, and get back there again.

I’m a mom now and while my kids know I make a huge deal out of Valentine’s Day, they don’t know why yet.

That’s ok. They will someday.

Speaking of great dads and Valentine’s Day, this guy really stepped up for us as our dad. 30+ years strong now:

Also, speaking of great dads and Valentine’s Day, I saw a silly Valentine’s Day meme floating around Facebook, and decided to grab it, scrawl quick answers on it – if I’m capable (barely am) and share it on my blog. Feel free to share on yours!

Who’s older? Cassidy is by eight years.

How long have you been together? 12 years now!

Married? 10.5 years.

More sarcastic? Oh god, me. Not proudly.

Who makes the most mess? I think we all do in different ways.

Who has more tattoos? A tie because neither of us have any.

Better singer? No clue? I have great pitch but I don’t try. He does.

Hogs the remote? Him.

Who was interested first? Well, that was pretty mutual and a long story. I said, “I love you” first, though.

Better driver? He’s more confident, but I have a good record in terms of tickets and safety.

Spends the most? Him, but on important things.

Smarter? Both in different ways.

Most common sense? Him. I tend to float away sometimes. I’m not ditzy, but I operate on a different plane.

Whose siblings do you see the most? Probably mine.

Do you have any children together? TWO cute ones.

Did you go to the same school? Definitely not.

Who is the most sensitive? Him? Me? A tie? Him?

Who hogs the bed? This same kid, who is wearing my underwear in this picture:

Where do you eat out at the most? Probably Outlook Farm.

Who wakes up earlier? He does!

Who has the craziest exes? I think we both have a half dozen or dozen wonderful exes, and then maybe a few crazy apples?

Who has the worst temper? Tie.

Who does the cooking? Both. Neither. He’s better at it. I do it well when someone pays me to do it? Not a perfect system.

Who is more social? Me.

Who is the neat freak? Him more.

Who is the most stubborn? I am. I refuse to budge on that.

Where is the furthest you two have traveled? ALASKA! And by Alaska, I mean Endor.

Who has the bigger family? We both have big, blended families with lots of gorgeous cousins.

Do you get flowers often? Yes! He’s quite the gardener.

Who does the laundry? We do our own, and share the kids’ laundry.

Who’s better with the computers? Probably a tie at this point. Different strengths.

Who drives when you are together? He mostly does, and gets restless as a passenger.

Who picks where you go to dinner? I’d say both.

Who wears the pants in the relationship? Stupid question. I wear the leggings, though.

Who eats more sweets? One would think me, but he can eat a bag of gummy bears in one sitting, and it once took me three weeks to polish off just one bag. I think I have more interest in sweets, but he has more volume capacity.

Where was your first date? There was an airport, nausea from riding the monorail for too long, a kiss on the beach, a middle of the night trip to New England, dinner dates, breakfast dates, fireworks, and a moose. I think Friendly’s was first, though.

And you never forget your first.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all, and to all a lot of chocolate!

Carrot Cake OREO Blondies and Two New OREO Flavors We LOVE

This post was sponsored by OREO as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

Have you tried these two NEW OREO flavors? Read all about them here, and see how we make Carrot Cake OREO Blondies that are delicious #ad #OREOatWalmart #IC

You all know how much I love OREO everything. I always have and I always will.

So when I found out about new OREO Dark Chocolate and OREO Carrot Cake Cookies, I ran right to Walmart to grab some. And I’m not exaggerating. I think there was maybe a 20 minute window between first finding out about them on a friend’s blog, and then having them happily in my hands. I’m all about chocolate so Dark Chocolate is definitely my favorite flavor of the two. I like to pair it with an ice cold glass of milk (there’s nothing like having it ice cold) and an afternoon book! Happy.

That said, I love Carrot Cake too, and that’s why I have to share my recipe for Carrot Cake OREO Blondies. They’re absolutely delicious, and so easy to make. Did you know that you can turn cake mix into blondies? It’s so easy to do.

Carrot Cake OREO Blondies:

What You Need:

Buttercream – we use our own family recipe
Carrots, freshly grated
1 box carrot cake mix
1/4 cup canola oil
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
OREO Carrot Cake Cookies

What You Do:

1 – Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a rectangular baking pan with nonstick spray

2 – Combine carrot cake mix, egg, and canola oil in a large bowl and add the milk last

3 – Pour it into your baking pan and bake for 25 minutes until the edges are golden brown

4 – Cool first, and then add buttercream before cutting into squares

5 – Then top with freshly grated carrots and one half of an OREO Carrot Cake Cookie

Have you tried these two NEW OREO flavors? Read all about them here, and see how we make Carrot Cake OREO Blondies that are delicious #ad #OREOatWalmart #IC

Have you tried these two NEW OREO flavors? Read all about them here, and see how we make Carrot Cake OREO Blondies that are delicious #ad #OREOatWalmart #IC

It’s like magic! Now when I see a new flavor of OREO cookie, I ALWAYS buy it. I’m talking 100% of the time. There’s never been a flavor I wouldn’t try. These Dark Chocolate and Carrot Cake flavors were exciting to me! And apparently I’m not alone in this love, because OREO at Walmart is celebrating “The Stuf Inside.” The Dark Chocolate flavor is a dark chocolate-flavored creme – sandwiched between two classic OREO chocolate wafers. Oh man, is it good!

I love that this flavor helps me embrace the darkness and add a dose of playful excitement to these short and cold days.

Have you tried these two NEW OREO flavors? Read all about them here, and see how we make Carrot Cake OREO Blondies that are delicious #ad #OREOatWalmart #IC

As for OREO Carrot Cake Cookies, you can take a delicious break with these! This is a new twist on the favorite cookie of millions of people around the world. You can have your cake and eat it too with their cream cheese frosting flavored creme.

Have you tried these two NEW OREO flavors? Read all about them here, and see how we make Carrot Cake OREO Blondies that are delicious #ad #OREOatWalmart #IC

Have you tried these two NEW OREO flavors? Read all about them here, and see how we make Carrot Cake OREO Blondies that are delicious #ad #OREOatWalmart #IC

Have you tried these two NEW OREO flavors? Read all about them here, and see how we make Carrot Cake OREO Blondies that are delicious #ad #OREOatWalmart #IC

They’re wonderful alone (or with milk) and they’re wonderful as a topping to my carrot cake blondies. I think this would make a wonderful Easter recipe, and then maybe some Dark Chocolate Fudge with the OREO Dark Chocolate Cookies.

Have you tried these two NEW OREO flavors? Read all about them here, and see how we make Carrot Cake OREO Blondies that are delicious #ad #OREOatWalmart #IC

Have you tried these two NEW OREO flavors? Read all about them here, and see how we make Carrot Cake OREO Blondies that are delicious #ad #OREOatWalmart #IC

Exciting news! Visit select Walmart locations from February 14th through February 17th for exciting events celebrating the launch of these new OREO flavors – Dark Chocolate and Carrot Cake. These fun events will feature in-store sampling of the OREO Dark Chocolate and OREO Carrot Cake Cookies, as well as fun games, giveaways and free swag items! To find a select store near you, visit OREOstuf.com.

Which flavor would you try first?

Have you tried these two NEW OREO flavors? Read all about them here, and see how we make Carrot Cake OREO Blondies that are delicious #ad #OREOatWalmart #IC

Have you tried these two NEW OREO flavors? Read all about them here, and see how we make Carrot Cake OREO Blondies that are delicious #ad #OREOatWalmart #IC