Sunday, January 30, 2011

I hate diets. (AKA Peanut Butter Crunch Cupcakes)

I'm going to skip right to the point here. (Ignore the funky color in the above photo. It was 11 o'clock at night.   Lighting = bad)

If you want to make these:

Here's what you do:

1) Make Devil's Food cake. Double the recipe to make 12 jumbo cupcakes + 10 regular cupcakes.
2) For the frosting:

2 sticks butter, softened
1.5 - 2 cups butter (creamy)
3-4 cups powdered sugar
1-2 t vanilla (opt)
3+ t milk (to thin it out - use as little as you can)

That's it. Mix it all together and go from there. I had enough to frost all of the jumbo and 9 of the regular cupcakes.

3) Prepare a piping bag with a large frosting tip. Tie off the top of the bag. Mine had a star design and worked swell. (If you haven't used such a large tip yet, you'll need a super large coupler. Just a warning). I used a 16 oz bag and had to refill it once.

4) Roughly chop a few Reese's peanut butter cups. Or the like.

5) Pipe on the frosting

6) Sprinkle with the chopped PB cups

7) Enjoy

(For the record, I put a whole 20 minutes into these cupcakes. 10 for mixing everything, 5 for prepping the pans and piping bag, 5 for actually putting the frosting/topping on. For the effort you put in, you get a lot out of it!)

Also - if you're using jumbo cupcakes, be sure to call around to find liners. I found ours at Michaels; Hobby Lobby did NOT have them. Every specialty bakery store should have them though.

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Verenika, Revisited

My sister and her husband are back in town this week from an overseas mission, so I decided to make verenika.

Did I mention that I wanted to make it over the weekend? Did I mention that I didn't make it over the weekend? So, in short, considering that...

...I have MOPS tomorrow
...and Life Group on Wednesday
...and we're seeing my sisster on Friday

Today is pretty much the only day I have to make the dough, filling and turn it into verenika.

Current status:

Summary: Zoey and I just made the basics to start. I'm letting the dough chill out in the fridge for a bit, but let's be real - it's cold enough in our house to let it chill without the help of the fridge.

Also, Zoey and I added more spices to the filling than I think my grandmother ever would have dared.

The original filling:

2 c dry cottage cheese
2 egg yolk
1/2 t pepper
1 t salt

After Zoey and I were done:

6 c dry cottage cheese
6 egg yolk
2-3 t pepper
2 t salt
2 t onion powder
1 t celery salt
1 t garlic

What can I say? The girl liked to add. Plus I like a little bit of a kick with the verenika, which I'm sure is forcing my grandmother to roll over in her grave right about now.

Question of the day: will I be able to make the 70+ verenika I need to make the time I need to head to bed?

Guess we'll find out soon!


Well, the kids are in bed (not really asleep yet though) and I am happy to report that I have:

14 done
7 that exploded
3 that didn't even make it to the pot

Overall: It's not going as fast as I had hoped, but bathtime. Room cleaning. Book reading. Song singing. Kid know. Those kinda came first.

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Together 4Eva

So that's a lie.

I don't think anyone wanted to be outside for more than a few minutes. Together? Pssh.


Thankfully, my kids let me take pictures them together in the snow.


I won't say what I used to bribe them. Maybe it was hot chocolate. Maybe it wasn't. I'll let you decide.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Catching Snow Flakes

I can't say that they were successful.

But at least they tried.

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Being Thankful - Day 6

Today I'm thankful for Candy Tai.

Now, I'm not BFFs with her. In fact, there's a strong chance that I've never even met her! I connected with her through one of the multiple mommy groups in my life.

And she's awesome.

She's like...the woman every mom wants to be. She's a super shopper, a super mom and super inspirational. Some days I realize that if she can do it, so can I!

So check her out.
And make her french dip sandwiches. Me? I'm making them on Saturday.

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Baby It's Cold Outside

It's cold.

They call this the "Arctic Chill."

Actually, just put "arctic" in front of anything and it can describe how cold it is: blast, chill, attack. It all works!

HOWEVER, before the mercury plunged into the negatives, we ended up getting snow. 

Not snow like this. Or this

More like 6 inches of snow. It was decent and enough to create headaches, but it could be worse. 

Thankfully, my job was able to let me work from home so that I could watch the kids. Since the local school district was off so was our daycare.

BECAUSE of that, I was able to take the kids out to play after the work day was done to enjoy what little light was left AND before the temps fell down.

We made snow angels
He's ready to fire!
He looks like trouble.
It's the most wonderful time of the year...
She was lovin' on the snow.
Where did Jack go?
There he is!
Here's proof that the city does care about us. 
MORE snow angels!
He loved those snowballs, though they rarely made it beyond about a foot.
Pretty girl! 
I think you can say he had a blast. 
Cold? Nah! Not at all!
Yup. Zoey's throwing snow on Jack. 
TAG! You're it!
Even Zoey loved the snow! (This is a huge difference from just a year ago, when she opted just scream at us instead)
Nothing beats playing in the snow!
My little snowball. 
"I'm not eating snow. Not at all."
"Mommy? I am SO done out here!"

They slept amazingly well last night. When I put Zoey down, she actually rolled over and fell asleep before I even left the room.

I would say that snow day was a success! 

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Being Thankful - Day 5

Today I'm thankful for Mr. Clean Magic Erasers.

(Want to know why? Read this.)

If you haven't used Mr. Clean Magic Erasers, go out and buy a pack.

Don't get the generic.
You don't need to get the "power eraser."

You just need the original Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, don't even try the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser mop. It fails. A lot. Apparently the "magic" part of it stops with the hand-held version.

You've been warned.

Anyway, Mr. Clean Magic Eraser saved our walls - and we have flat paint on them!

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My Budding Artist

I love my son.

I really do.

He can read.
He can write.
He can even do simple math (when he wants to). 
He has a creative side. (Unfortunately, he showed this side to us last week in an very ... frustrating...way)

Now, I will say this - last week we depended heavily on loved ones to help fill a babysitting gap. We weren't able to start daycare until  this week (although that was canceled because of the snow/wind chill factors), so many folks watched the kids for us.

Thanks again - for those who did watch 'em and are reading this. You guys are life savers! 

Now, on Friday my sister-in-law April was up to the babysitting job. And, honestly, I felt bad for her. 


She discovered Jack's art for us. 

This art was several days in the making. He started in the closet and moved his way to the rest of the room. Sneaky. 

Want to see it?
If you look careful, it says "Colorado."
A self-portrait. 
Walter the cat (to the left) and Jack (on the right)
Added color to the trim
"No soliciting!" - it's a house with an "x" over it. 
Needless to say, it took quite an effort to clean it all off.

Please tell me it gets better. Please?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Being Thankful - Day 4

Today I'm thankful for heaters, ice scrappers and winter outerwear.

I betcha can't guess why.

(Hint: it's snowing)

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Sunday, January 9, 2011

Being Thankful - Day 3

Today I'm thankful for reminders that tomorrow's 5-8 inches of snow are nothing compared to last winter's 42 inch record-busting snow fall totals.

Added bonus: great reason to take photos of the kiddos outside in the snow to update the blog with more winter-friendly photos.

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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Being Thankful - Day 2

Today I'm more than thankful for family.

They're zany.
And mine.

This week we're between daycares, and so many of our family were able to help us out. That's pretty much been the way everything always go.

Family will always be there when you need them most. Sometimes it's just for a phone call or a visit. Maybe it's more. Maybe it's less.

All I know, is that my family - extended and direct - are fabulous. I wouldn't trade them for the world!

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Friday, January 7, 2011

Being Thankful - Day 1

I'm starting this new "thing." I want to be more thankful for everything around me. Since 2010 was so much of a mess and 2011 has just begun, it's never too late to start being thankful on a daily basis.

So...for today:

I am thankful because vasulitis taught me how to control charlie horses/calf cramps. 

When I had the condition, I was on steroids. Day 1 of steroids gave me insomnia, and I would have constant calf cramps between days 3-14. We're not talking little ones either. My usual, pre-steroid response to a leg cramp would be to try to stretch out the muscle by pointing my foot UP. The steroid cramps would actually snap my foot back into a horizontal position. I couldn't physically move my foot until the cramp was over, which took about 10-20 minutes.

Those were cramps.

I eventually learned to control the 10-15 bursts at night by quickly getting out of bed and just standing on the floor. It forced my calf muscle to stretch, and it would help stop the cramp within 10-15 seconds.

Well, I'm off steroids now and haven't had cramps like that in quite a while.

Wouldn't you know that I one last night, and it was a mean one. However, it only lasted a few seconds because I used my steroid-cramp control method.

And it worked.

Less than a minute later I was back in bed sleeping and my calf was sore but no longer throbbing.

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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Just A Quiet End To 2010

Last week, we booted 2010 out the door and welcomed 2011.

Now, you didn't think we would celebrate quietly? Pssh.

Wishful thinking

No, we had a party - complete with TWO movies, chili and a baked potato bar. Oh, and of course dessert. Lots of dessert.

No party is complete without dessert!

Regardless, we were far from quiet:

My ears are still ringing.

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Parenting Tool: Size Tracker

My kids are growing up.

No, really. They are growing up, and up and up and up.

Anyway, so like me, I'm sure you have the problem of buying clothes. I HATE shopping for clothes for my kids with my kids, because we usually end up spending about 5 minutes looking at clothes before someone has a break-down. Fun times.

Of course we always end up running into the issue of fit. Target's Circo brand ALWAYS runs small. Wal-Mart's Faded Glory brand always runs big.  Gymboree runs long, and Kohls' Jumping Bean brand runs short.

See? I've learned through the years what works. Plus let's be real here -- my kids are shorties. Ya hafta learn what works, man! 

SO! Here is a solution:

It's pretty darn neat if you ask me. All you need is..

...Your child's height, weight and waist size
...The brand(s) you prefer

That's it! It will tell you what sizes they need now, in the future, etc. Now, I don't think it tells you the LENGTH (i.e. if they run short or long"), but it's still nice to know that if you get a regular pant from Gymboree that you will need Size X or Y.  Plus it’s free.


So! There you have it! A cheat to finding clothes. That's free. 

One more quick note – SizeTracker is NOT sponsoring this blog post. It’s more like…something neat I’ve found that you HAVE to check out!

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