Turns out that a kid released from the Combing Chair of Doom (also known as the 'cookie spot,' a happy image that only lasts a couple of minutes) is testy yet slightly giddy with their freedom, and has been combed into a truly fabulous damp, spiking hairdo.
Sitting in the midst of my frantic trollness, the Eldest was relaxed, pleased and mugging gently. He was a slightly misplaced pocket of a smooth, quiet pleasure, and just before that began to ripple outwards, reality stepped in, tossed out the improbablity - and offered an alternative.
Truly, I give the Eldest credit for catching my mood so perfectly. Add a horrified voice bubble, and there you had me. We staggered around the house, making faces and gargling gagging noises, until the Toddles noticed. I want to do that, too! Make my hair look silly, too! I looked the kid over, jumping and dancing as he tried to persuade me. This, I thought, could be an even better incentive than cookies....and it was.
The Toddles did his valiant best, but clearly he has years of practice ahead. Still, the Eldest is often reasonably obliging of a mama and her camera, and offered his brother a quick tutorial.
Replete with boy-photos, I wandered off to mop up the kitchen, or Room of Doom (as the lice would have called it, had anyone been slightly interested in their opinions). And baked pumpkin cake.
Pumpkin Cake, or the Cake that Squished the Ick
This is a beautiful, brown-orange cake, with the rich pumpkin balanced by a nicely crisp crust. The credit here goes to the MIL, to whom I'd mentioned the hunt for pumpkin bars for the Toddles' class. She barely blinked before suggesting the mix/pumpkin combination. And she was absolutely right: it's yummy! The Toddles and his classmates dove in, and didn't leave any for the adults. (I had to bring the teachers a pumpkin cupcake from home.)
1 Namaste spice cake mix (I love this part): should be gluten-free, dairy/egg/nut/peanut-free.
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
3 Tb flax meal (ground flax seed)
2/3 c oil (note: this quantity makes a slightly oily cake, and you might want to try replacing 1-2 Tb oil with 1-2 Tb applesauce/pumpkin puree.)
3/4 c water
Open cake mix, and dump into a bowl. Proceed to ignore the mix's instructions, and plop the rest of the ingredients into the bowl, as well. Mix until smooth (watch out for clumping pumpkin puree).
Preheat oven to 350F, and decide if you are in a cupcake or cake mood. We tend to be in both, and this recipe will make 12 cupcakes + 1 shallow (low) bundt cake. Spray/grease tins, and bake - 24 minutes for cupcakes, 26 minutes or so for a shallow cake.
Let cool briefly, then transfer to a cooling rack.