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RED, White & Blue…

9 Jul

A late update on our Fourth of July festivities…

This little guy saw fireworks for the first time and the loud popping and shooting flames made him run…CLOSER to the fireworks, NOT away.  He was a HUGE fan, mommy not so much.

The week leading up to Independence Day we celebrated by tie dying shirts {as seen above}.  I watched a Youtube video to learn how to do stripes for my son and a heart on my daughter’s {not pictured}.  If you want to check it out yourself search tie dye on youtube…you may get lucky like me and hear one of the seemingly professional Youtubers yelling “No, Dad!! I didn’t feed the dogs!!” as the video comes to a close {I don’t know why, but it really made me laugh at the time}.

Next, we {as in my children} decorated strawberries as I had seen on several blogs…they didn’t turn out so beautiful, but my kids had fun and they tasted way more delicious than they looked!

And finally, I share my favorite RED for the Red, White & Blue…THE Strawberry Basil Margarita!  I ran across this amazing recipe one night when I was craving a margarita and I didn’t even have to leave my house for a single ingredient…it was meant to be!!  This is my new summer favorite and I don’t know what I’m going to do when fresh strawberries go out of season…pumpkin margarita anyone??  Kidding!!  Even I think that sounds gross!

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Happy Heart Day.

14 Feb

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I hope everyone showered their loved ones with heart-shaped food today.

I sure did!

My daughter was delighted by her heart-shaped pancake and egg this morning.

{I’m afraid I may be expected to prepare fun-shaped food from now on}

My husband *said* he felt very special today.

I love him even more because he endures my cheesiness.

Captivity:day 2 (aka: another snow day)

3 Feb

Sometimes I love days where I have absolutely nowhere to go {I wish I could also say nothing to do, but that never happens}, but the same relaxing feeling doesn’t exist when I have no choice but to stay home…for multiple days in a row nonetheless.

This is what snow day #2 looked like at my house…

Clubhouse/tent/castle/playhouse time.  Any adult who was ever a child knows how to build one of these…drag out the dining room chairs and blankets! We even got out my daughter’s girly little tent to serve as an extra “room” and turned on a movie.  This entertained my children almost ALL morning while I enjoyed listening to their giggles and the soundtrack to Disney’s The Princess and the Frog {seriously the best Disney music EVER!}

When my son went down for his nap, my daughter and I braved the freezing temperatures for some short-lived fun in the snow.  This seems like such an obvious thing to do on a snow day, but it was too cold outside to enjoy even with a million layers of clothes and outerwear on.  We came in and my daughter warmed up with a glass of children’s hot chocolate {warm Ovaltine}.

And, last but not least, after seeing multiple posts by my facebook friends, we joined in and made Snow Ice Cream.  This was not only a first for my children, but a first for me too.  Yes, I ate snow as a child…I also got sick from eating snow as a child, so I made this against my best judgement.  Everyone in my family had a taste and thankfully none of us got sick!

This day also included some other memorable firsts…my daughter’s first taste of fresh snow and thanks to his big sister, my son’s first time to wear a tutu {a pink one to be exact}.  My husband has requested I not share the pictures of this event.  We prefer to reserve it until his teenage years when he is deserving of the embarrassment.

Please refer to Snow Day #1, paragraph 5 for a detailed explanation of the remaining hours of the day.  It felt like Groundhog Day…oh wait, it really was Groundhog Day!!  How crazy is that?!?!

Snow day- numero uno

2 Feb

It doesn’t seem like we got a ton of snow or ice in the area that I live, but all the schools in the area have closed.  My children aren’t actually in school, but our regular weekly activities have been canceled as well, so we have been home with nowhere to go for two days now.

Day One’s activity itinerary ended up looking something like this:

9am: Salt-dough ornaments.  Yep, the same ones we made for Christmas only this time we cut out shapes with the Valentine cookie cutters and used some letters from this cookie decorating kit to add messages to our dough.  I would include a picture, but they may be Valentine’s gifts, so I can’t completely ruin the surprise.  Little AJ even enjoyed mashing out some dough, but his privileges were soon revoked after multiple attempts to taste-test our project.

12pm: Baking with my 3 1/2 year-old while my energetic 1-year-old caved to a one hour nap.  Olive and I turned our favorite oatmeal raisin cookie recipe into something more healthy….all whole wheat flour, no white sugar, and no butter.  {I know at least one friend of mine is smiling}.  They were surprisingly great…chewy and soft.  Even the husband raved about them!  I love that baking not only kills time and provides a snack, but it’s also a great lesson in measuring, counting, and patience {for all involved!}.

2:30pm: Painting.  Olive painted our baked and cooled ornaments from our morning activity, then painted paper on the new Christmas easel {thanks, Ganny!}, then moved to finger-paining {I didn’t even suggest that last activity…imagine that!}.

That may not seem like a full day, but when you add in preparing, serving, and cleaning up breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks; wrestling a little guy for multiple diaper changes, preparing and cleaning up the aforementioned activities, doing laundry, cleaning dishes, picking up toys, making beds, pouring countless cups of milk and other beverages, reading books, outfit changes and the million other little things I won’t even mention…it was a full day.  I ended it with a workout while watching some of my favorite trash tv on E! followed by a shower and a glass of red wine.

It’s hard to believe we have survived 2 days and a third snow day appears to be in the works….NoOooOOoo!

7 swans-a-swimming, 8 maids-a-milking, 9 sticks-a-butter…

20 Dec

I’m getting ready to head into the kitchen to make these…

If you want to join me in packing on the Holiday pounds, check out the recipe here.

Baker’s Note: You absolutely must use a larger baking pan {or place foil under your baking sheet} or the $$ you spent on pecans and honey will burn to a crisp on your oven floor.  Years ago when I actually got to watch and enjoy adult tv, I watched Ina makes these and she even said so herself!  I wish she would have just adjusted the recipe so it wouldn’t boil over!

I make these every Christmas to share with family and friends.  I have never dipped them in chocolate before serving, but I do think they are pretty great with a dab of whipped cream!

Merry Christmas!

Another Holiday…another craft!

18 Dec

I have been so busy lately…just living life…trying to read, trying to squeeze in an occasional workout, playing with my little ones…it has been hard to find any extra time to blog.  That’s okay though…blogging is something I enjoy doing for myself and everything that has taken its place is for me too…so, it all evens out.

This may be shocking, but last year {and the year before} I did a Christmas craft with my little ones.  I’ll spare you all another painted footprint craft, {although I do have one of those for Christmas as well!} and move on to the traditional handprint/footprint imprint ornaments!  

You can find the recipe here.  These ornaments are made out of ingredients that everyone always has in their home, so it’s nice to not have to plan ahead…this can be a spur of the moment type of craft.  { A little nursing note: If you want to save a few pennies you can use un-iodized salt for this recipe, but the salt that you consume on a regular basis should be iodized…for thyroid health!}

I followed the recipe instructions, but instead of poking a hole in the dough {so it can be hung as an ornament} I cut a paper-clip in half and pressed into the back of the the dough before baking.  After the ornaments were done baking and cooling, I painted them white {the dough itself dries a light tan color), then painted the actual imprints and used a spray shellac to seal the entire piece after all the paint was dry.  My favorite ornament turned out to be the one I made with an extra piece of dough and squeezed both of my babies’ footprints on together.  I kept one set of ornaments for my family, and the others I gave away as Christmas presents to Grandparents.

This is what my daughter was up to while I was busy making Christmas gifts…

Same recipe… I just helped my daughter use cookie cutters for the shapes and handed over the paint, sprinkles, and glitter.  After they were dry, I used a spray shellac to seal these as well.

Enjoy!!

Lazy Daisy Birthday…

22 Nov

Today is the day I was born.  On the actual day many years ago, it was Thanksgiving Day.  My mom still says it was the best day of her life.  I’m her only child so she can safely say that.  Now that I’m a mom myself, I can understand how a day ridden with stress and pain can turn out to be the most special and memorable day of your life.  Sadly, I didn’t realize it was her day just as much as it was my day until I had my Olive.

My mom usually bakes me one of my favorite cakes around the time of our special day, but today I made my cake with my daughter.  I know some may think it’s strange to bake your own birthday cake, but nothing beats a homemade, from scratch cake in my opinion {my husband said he planned to buy one}.  It’s also fun to share some time in the kitchen with my little girl~ it was the recipe for a pretty perfect birthday.

So, here is my Mama’s recipe {I imagine it has been published at one time or another, I just don’t know where, so hopefully I’m not doing anything illegal by writing it here}…

Lazy Daisy Oatmeal Cake

1 1/4 cups boiling water

1 cup Quaker Oats

1/2 cup butter; softened

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

3/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Pour boiling water over oats, cover, and let stand for 20 minutes.  Beat butter until creamy.  Add sugar gradually and beat until fluffy.  Blend vanilla and eggs.  Add oats and mix well.

Combine dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture.  Pour batter into well-greased and floured 9″ square pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes.  Do not remove from cake pan.

Frosting

1/4 cup melted butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

3 tbsp. milk

3/4 cup shredded coconut

Combine all ingredients for frosting.  Spread over cake immediately after baking.  Broil until frosting is bubbly {this only takes a few minutes~ don’t let it burn!}

Once again, this is not a traditional birthday cake {and my picture does not do it justice}, but it is one of my favorites.  It is an even better breakfast cake if it can make it through the night.  That is unlikely.