Unfocused Thinking

by Katy on May 18, 2010 · 22 comments

I had a good idea for a blog post today, which was seniors and downsizing, and how that affects other age groups. However, that would require focused thinking.

My mind is swarming with all the stuff I need to get done today, which is bizarrely large and diverse.

  • Figure out how to set up a P.E. independent study for my soon-to-be high schooler to take. Otherwise he doesn’t get to take any electives, which would suck!
  • Address issues of bullying at school for my younger son.
  • Figure out how to make an ice cream cake for my son’s birthday.
  • Buy birthday presents for my son. I gave away my best idea to my father, (acoustic guitar) which has left me somewhat lacking.
  • Plan dinner, do laundry, tidy up, etc.
  • Drop off election ballot.

I could go on and on, but I think you get the drift.

See ya’ tomorrow!

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Angela May 18, 2010 at 12:01 pm

Good luck!

Honestly, I think you should make one visit to the Goodwill, see what clothes or other things you can find for your son, and then wrap them up with a card that includes a gift card to an art store and a gift card to a music store. He’ll love it.

And I haven’t been there for years, but Baskin Robbins makes a pretty good ice cream cake, something that sounds a lot harder to make than a regular cake. Although I’ll be interested in hearing about it if you make the attempt.


NMPatricia May 18, 2010 at 12:18 pm

Ahhh, a lot on your plate. But it sounds like you usually do. But in my mind, kids come first, so I am glad that you are tending to what is important!

That said, I, for one, am extremely interested in what you have to say about seniors and downsizing. I can’t find many blogs that talk about being retired and being thrifty/frugal/nonconsumer. Maybe I should have gotten it by now, but keep hoping to find ways of actually being frugal AND a mindset to accompany it.

So I am looking forward to when you can focus!


BagelGirl May 18, 2010 at 12:28 pm

Funny you should mention frugal retirement. I, too, have been looking for such a blog. It’s not that the principles would be any different, it’s just I would like to relate to people who are in the same stage of life that I’m in. I have yet to come across an interesting one.


Diane May 18, 2010 at 9:37 pm

You might want to start at Early Retirement Extreme. Jacob’s pretty informative and has lots of links to other sites you might enjoy.


Carla May 19, 2010 at 6:57 am

My husband will officially retire on Tuesday of next week! And… yes, we must re-trench, to use a Jane Austenism. Unfortunately he thought we would have double coming in what we actually will and so we both have to do some scrambling here. He hopes to use his severance to buy rental property outright. Rental houses or apartments are extremely scarce here and we think (?) we can make a go of that. Wish us luck!


Becky May 18, 2010 at 12:27 pm

Long time reader, possibly first time commenter- I love your blog. Just wanted to send my empathies for the bullying situation. I was pretty badly bullied as a pre-teen. It was tough, but my parents were a wonderful support, and I managed to get through it (luckily, everyone seemed to sort of outgrow that phase).


Emily May 18, 2010 at 1:55 pm

Would an ice cream pie count? My mother used to make one with a purchased chocolate graham cracker crust, 2 flavors of ice cream (our favorite was coffee and vanilla), and chocolate sauce drizzled on top. It was her instant dessert when surprise company showed up.


BarbS May 19, 2010 at 6:52 am

Emily, I was just going to say almost the same thing. My father used to make an ice-cream pie just as you describe above, though none of us liked coffee flavored. We usually had mint-chocolate chip. Our last name was “Rosen” so we called it a “Baskin-Rosen ice cream cake” and it was always a favorite.


Jana @ The Summer House May 18, 2010 at 2:13 pm

For independent study PE my sons logged their hours of physical activity. They set goals and reevaluated them periodically (concerning fitness and healthy eating). They watched fitness informational videos online.


Lisa May 18, 2010 at 2:14 pm

I can help you with one item: the ice cream cake. All you need is a springform pan, and whatever ingredients you would like to end up in the ice cream cake. As an example, a carton of vanilla ice cream, a carton of chocolate ice cream, oreo cookie crumbs, maybe chocolate syrup and some sort of chocolate candy (Reese’s?). Sprinkle the oreo cookie crumbs on the bottom of the springform pan (or get fancy and melt some butter and make a proper chocolate cookie crumb crust in the pan), and then put one kind of ice cream (softened) on top of the “crust”. Next layer would be more cookie crumbs or the chocolate candy. Next layer is the other kind of ice cream. Now decorate up the top with chocolate syrup and candy. Freeze until firm. When you’re ready to serve, let it soften slightly out of the freezer, then take off the ring part of the springform pan. You can do this with any flavors of ice creams, toppings, etc. I have used blueberries and crushed butter cookies with vanilla ice cream, as another example. I haven’t bought an ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins (former family favorite) in over 10 years… Enjoy! – Lisa


Jana @ The Summer House May 18, 2010 at 2:15 pm

Ice cream cake-
crust-butter and smashed cookies
press into he bottom of a springform pan
put in ice cream next-soften first to make this easier
chill well
take out of pan and drizzle with your favorite topping
supper easy.


Mrs. B May 18, 2010 at 5:34 pm

My MIL used to go to Baskin Robbins and get a “cut gallon” . They would just cut one whole gallon of ice cream off of one of their ice cream containers. She would bring it home and decorate it, put it in the frezer and wala ice cream cake. All of the family lived close by at that time. We haven’t done that for years now since we all live in different states now.


WilliamB May 18, 2010 at 7:12 pm

I find it easier to make ice cream than to soften store-bought. Somehow I can’t get the timing right. Other than that, yeah: crumbs, springform pan, maybe one layer of cake made in the same springform pan (split into two thin layers), icing.


Hiptobeme May 18, 2010 at 8:50 pm

You will need a spring form pan, a cookie crumb layer, a fudge layer and a rubber spatula. Need I say more? Let me know if I do 😉


Cat May 19, 2010 at 6:02 am

I would like to nominate this ice cream cake, unbelievably easy, makes a lot, not too expensive, and easy to cut and serve. It is a version of was is the Duggar’s website. I was skeptical, but it is GOOD and TASTY!

Makes a 9”x 13” Pan
24 Ice cream sandwiches
2 cups whipping cream, whipped
1 bottle of chocolate syrup
1 jar caramel topping
2 king size Butterfingerâ„¢ candy bars chopped up

1st layer -12 ice cream sandwiches
2nd – half of whipped cream
3rd – half of Butterfingerâ„¢ bars, Squeeze 1/2 of caramel &
chocolate over that.
4th – rest of ice cream sandwiches
5th – whipped cream
6th – rest of Butterfingerâ„¢, caramel & chocolate

Freeze until you want to eat it. You can vary the basic (ice cream sandwiches and whipped cream) with the candy bar and/or ice cream toppings. I like to make ersatz tin roofs by subbing-in spanish peanuts and hot fudge. Good luck!


Dmarie May 19, 2010 at 7:38 am

this [post fits in well with the book “Home Life in Colonial Days” (copyrighted 1899) that I am reading on books.google.com. On page 323, the author discusses the “constant employment of every moment of the waking hours contributed to impart…a closely girded and invariable habit of economy.” It goes on to say that children raised in such an industrious way learn to value and care for the things that they have helped to produce. Gotta love it!


Charlotte May 19, 2010 at 8:25 am

The frugal girl had an icecream cake on her wednesday baking once.



Sheryl May 19, 2010 at 9:10 am

Are you in the Portland Public School District? A friend of mine sent me some information just yesterday regarding the independent study PE course her daughter will do this summer, and I think all Portland high schools will accept it. It is $175 (not sure that’s “frugal”), but I think I’ll have my daughther go for it the summer prior to her freshman year. Here is the link: http://www.questschools.com/

Good luck!


Katy May 19, 2010 at 12:33 pm


That’s the school that my son’s high school recommended, so thanks! I do consider $175 to be worth it, as it then allows my son to take an entire year of drawing classes. Also, getting overwhelmed with high school while only a 9th grader is no bargain for anyone.



Louise May 19, 2010 at 9:55 am

Some suggestions for gifts to go with the guitar: a case or gig bag (I’ve seen them at thrift shops), folk music lessons, tuner (either electronic or pitch-pipe). Also nice: a guitar stand. These are pretty simple to make and you might find a “how to” video online.

The bag will really help protect the instrument, and encourage him to bring it along when he visits friends. A stand will also protect the guitar while it is at home. Folk lessons teach chords and song structure, much more useful than classical lessons, IMHO. And an un-tuned guitar is painful for the rest of the family 🙂

I have an extra pitch pipe that I don’t need. I’d be happy to pop it in the mail to you if you contact me via email.


Katy May 19, 2010 at 12:31 pm


We already have a pitch pipe, but thanks for the offer!



Katy May 19, 2010 at 12:30 pm

Okay folks,

The ice cream cake is in the freezer. It turns out that making an ice cream cake is quite good for using up those last bits of caramel and chocolate syrup that sit endlessly in the fridge. I may actually “catch” diabetes from making it though.

The guitar my father is giving to my son comes with a hard-sided case, which is good.

I ended up buying an alarm clock with iPod dock for my son from Target. I looked on craigslist, and even tried contacting someone, but they didn’t reply. I don’t feel so great about buying it brand new, but I did splurge on a $4 two year warranty. I will probably end up using it. *Sigh*

I did gather a few art supplies for my son, which I gave to him this morning before school. No, not at 6 A.M. when he first woke me up, but at 8 A.M. like a regular diurnal human! He was very happy with his sketch books and fancy eraser, and was in a great mood when he left for school.

Thanks for all the ideas, they were very helpful in calming my swirling mind.



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