When did TV become the devil?

Growing up I always had the perception that it was. My mom had a lock and key on ours and the only time we could watch it was when she let us. I think she had this hidden goal to never turn it on. I think to her, turning it on was an admission that she had given up and needed a break from her ten kids. Yes, TEN kids. I mean how easy would it be to park a couple of the kids in front of the TV and take a break when you’re the mother of ten kids?

Subsequently, TV became this thing for me. As a grown adult, I always had to have it on even if it was just white noise in the background. I think subconsciously I was making up for years and years of not watching it as a child.

Then I had kids and realized this kid thing is a whole lot harder than my mom ever let on. To be “on” 24 hours a day was exhausting. Nevertheless, somewhere along the way I adopted the same philosophy that my mother had when it came to kids and TV. The roar of a children’s television show is like nails on a chalkboard to me. If I let them watch it, I feel like I’m admitting that I can’t fill every second they have with crafts and awe inspiring creative outlets.

Does turning on the TV make you a bad mother? Is a half hour of television going to turn their brains to mush? Probably not.

Guess what? I’m not supermom.

My boys are busy all day with sports, Legos, and riding bikes. The reality is that even if I wanted them to watch TV all day, they wouldn’t. And I don’t think it’s that awful to stick a show on so that when I come out of the shower there isn’t peanut butter on the windows.

Baking is an activity that both the kids and I love and it falls into the creative/productive category. I have an unwritten rule that I don’t bake pumpkin goodies until October 1st so that I don’t burn myself out on pumpkin treats by the time fall season is over. But rules,…they were meant to be broken.

These pumpkin chocolate chip squares are a classic recipe with just the right amount of spice and chocolate. They have a moist cake-like texture and MUST be eaten with a glass of cold milk.

 
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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Squares

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin-pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 package 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on all sides. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pie spice, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth with a mixer; beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in pumpkin puree. Reduce speed to low, and mix in dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
  3. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake until edges begin to pull away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely in pan.
  4. Lift cake from pan, peel off foil, and use a serrated knife to cut into 24 squares.