Tag Archives: holidays

Parenting Confession #113: The Candy Basket


It took becoming a parent to realize just how many of the holidays we celebrate every year are top-to-bottom, sugar-encrusted, caramel-coated, nougat-filled candy fests.  There’s Halloween, that celebration of extortion and vandalism in which tiny cute people dressed like cartoon characters give you a choice between handing over your Hershey’s Miniatures and cleaning egg off your front door.  A couple of short months later, Christmas follows, and the stockings hung by the chimney with care are stuffed with candy canes and five pounds bags of M&Ms.  In the spring, the dastardly duo of Valentine’s Day and Easter litter the landscape with conversation hearts and marshmallow bunnies.

And those are just the national holidays.  Then there are the birthdays with their attendant goodie bags, the special party days at school, and the candy treats from Bible class given as rewards for learning memory verses.

Somewhere along the line, we came up with the Candy Basket.

It’s brilliant, if I do say so myself.  See, whenever a candyful occasion comes up, we let the kids choose two or three pieces of candy to eat right away, and the rest of it goes into the Candy Basket.  From there, it can be doled out for occasional after dinner treats or tucked in a lunchbox.

Or…um…  repurposed.

Specifically, for the same events where we got the candy in the first place.

That’s right.  This morning, along with craft kits and Dollar Tree toys, I filled my kids’ Easter baskets with candy from the Candy Basket–candy gleaned from past Halloweens, past birthday parties, and–yes–even yesterday’s Easter Egg Hunt.

And if that’s not underhanded enough, would anyone care to guess where the bulk of that Easter candy went after the kids were done going through their baskets?


I told you it was brilliant.

Happy New Year!


The holiday break is coming to a close. As you’ve probably noticed, I haven’t been blogging. I also haven’t been cleaning, shopping, doing laundry, or checking email.

I love vacation.

We’ve spent most of ours in a state of complete sloth. Of course, we’ve taken occasional breaks for loafing and idleness, and even managed to squeeze in some goofing off here and there. I haven’t gotten all my dilly-dallying in yet, but I’ve a got a big session of lazing planned for later tonight, so I don’t have much time to spend on this post.

In that spirit, I thought I’d just share some of our Christmas and New Year’s vacation highlights:

*We took the kids to see Santa at the mall the Saturday before Christmas. Katie’s not really into Santa anymore, but Caleb was eager to meet him. When we saw we were going to have to wait in a rather lengthy line, we tried to distract Caleb with offers to visit the game store or go get food, but he was having none of it. When the most impatient four year old in the world is willing to wait for forty minutes without complaining, you wait. This Santa was the best kind, truly jolly and sporting his own authentic beard. While standing in line, Paul and I waxed nostalgic about Katie’s first Santa photo, with a Santa who looked like at least two of the seven dwarves (Sleepy and Grumpy come to mind.) Another year, our Santa seemed to have tippled a little too much eggnog before showing up for work. Hopefully Rudolph did the driving. I guess when it comes to the mall Santas of the world, you just never know what you’re going to get!

*The kids were nearly vibrating with anticipation as Christmas Day approached. On Christmas morning, they let us sleep in until an amazing seven a.m. before a tiny voice in my ear was asking, “Is it time for stockings now?” The gifts and stocking stuffers carefully selected over the past several weeks lasted about three minutes under the onslaught of eager little hands, and before long all the plunder lay strewn across the living room floor. There were oohs and ahhs, an mp3 player for Katie, new superhero action figures for Caleb, and an Xbox360 game for Paul. As for me, my guy got me my heart’s desire: the wireless Bluetooth headphone/mic set I wanted for my laptop. Am I a lucky geek, or what?

*Christmas dinner at Grandpa and Grandma’s was truly a feast, thanks to Yvie’s culinary prowess. She and Dad really enjoyed their first Christmas together. We showed up the day after Christmas to partake of the traditional Turkey Hash: leftover turkey, dressing, and mashed potatoes fried up together on the stove. Heavenly! I wish every day was Turkey Hash day.

*The snow really started piling up last week, and we had promised the kids we’d go sledding, so when our friends Jen and Arrty invited us all over on Saturday for a day of snow fun, hot chocolate, and games, we happily piled into the car with sled and snow gear, ready to hit the hills behind their house. In no time, a great sledding run was carved out of the deep powder and children and adults alike were taking turns careening at full speed down the embankment. I was the only one in our family without snow pants, and before too long, I was soaked to the bone and shivering. That’s when Jen taught me another mark of a true friend: she lets you wear her pajamas while your clothes are in the dryer.

*After eight months without a haircut, my mane was getting out of control–split ends, flyaways, do-nothing limp locks that hung like strands of wet seaweed against my skull. Every day I wore it in the same style, caught up in a metal barrette on top of my head to keep it from laying over my eyes. Finally, fed up, I decided to pay a visit to my friend Ada’s hairstylist, a miracle worker named Brittany. Several of my friends have emerged from her chair of Hair Transformation with beautiful new dos, so it was only a tiny bit scary to walk in and say, “Do whatever you want.” Half an hour later, I had layers. I had body. I had a new bottle of hair gel! I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.

*About a month ago, thanks to the wonders of Netflix, Paul and discovered the already-hit show, Smallville. We lapped up Season One a disk at a time, impatiently waiting in between for Netflix to send our next fix. When we mentioned our new addiction to our friends Ryan and Regina, they delightedly informed us that they owned Seasons One through Five and proceeded to deliver the next two boxed sets to our door. We’ve been watching one or two episodes a night for a while, but once vacation started, we went on a total binge. In the last week, we’ve plowed our way through thirty-something episodes, and even as I type this, we are watching the the first hour of Season Five. (Paul didn’t want me to tell you that, but what’s a blog for, if not confessing your embarrassing secrets?)

*Paul and I didn’t have New Year’s Eve plans this year until Kathy and Steve called to see if we were interested in joining a casual hullabaloo at their place. Have you ever heard a roomful of kids all blowing party noisemakers at the top of their lungs? It’s a sound you only hear once in a lifetime (the permanent hearing damage guarantees it.) We set a spread of appetizers and desserts that you wouldn’t believe and the twelve of us barely put a dent in it. The girls kicked the boys’ butts in Three For All, not once but twice, and we toasted the arrival of the new year with virgin cran-tinis. Of course, being over thirty and having kids to put to bed, we celebrated our midnight moment along with Arkansas, Texas, and the rest of the Central time zone, at a modest ten p.m. Idaho time. We had a wonderful night, and Paul and I were home in time for a New Year’s revel of our own.

I hope that all of your holidays were equally merry and unproductive. I think I’m ready for 2008 now!