Sunday, July 10, 2011

nana & papa's visit

my parents came to visit this last week, and brought ethan home from his visit. we missed him so much and were so glad to get thim back home. we had lots of fun, cooked lots of good food, and got lots of house projects done. we also went to the flea market twice, had two 'family dinners' with our good friends julia, amber, jesse, and baby lily, spent a day at the VA park walking, picnicing, and playing mini golf, took miss fi to her 4 month dr appt, did 'fireworks' in our driveway, and spent an afternoon at valley falls state park with our friends.

as for miss fi's appt, she got 2 shots (boo) and has been pretty miserable since. she is weighing in at 11lb 6oz (less than a pound up from 2 months ago) and measures just over 23 inches, so she is still tiny, but healthy. our doc was happy to see that my trial and error lead to the right combination to get her to poo more regularly (yay super pooper!!) and was happy to hear good bowel sounds and feel a nice soft belly. so, she is happy, healthy, and on track (and slightly advance) developmentally, just petite.

as for for house projects, my parents brought up metal roofing for our front roof. after installing it, our roof still leaked, so we had to do a bunch more patching. it hasnt rained since then, so we dont know if it is fixed or not... we also re-routed the hot water heater vent duct which was improperly (un-safe and un-healthy) installed. we added ductwork so we could have a heat & a/c vent in our room and logan's. and my mom re-did the floors in both bathrooms. i am sure i am forgetting something, it was a crazy busy week!

for tried and true recipes, i baked blueberry crumb muffins, hawaiian bread, and M&M cookies. as for my experimental baking, i made cherry-almond cupcakes, caramel cupcakes, and peanut butter brownies (recipe to follow pics).

here are some of my fave pics from the week:

fi doing what she does best

ethan's sparkler

very noisy, but pretty

nana teaching the kids to putt

once again....

up on a cool wall by the walking trail

way up there

being papa's buddy

at valley falls

out on the rocks

great minds think alike

nana and papa

now for the recipe:

Melt together:
½ bag chocolate chips
1/3 cup butter
½ cup peanut butter
Mix in well:
1 ½ cup brown sugar
2 eggs
Stir in lightly:
1 cup flour
Pinch baking soda
1 cup peanut butter chips
Pour into 9X13 pan lined with foil & bottom sprayed
Bake @ 325 until center is set
Cool, pull out of pan with foil, frost with peanut butter frosting (recipe previously posted)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

vacation pt 1

now that i got to have lunch with 3 of my fave girls, i am officially back from vacation.

as for 'vacation', my mom's farm is one of my (and the kids) favorite places to be. there are horses, chickens, goats, dogs, cats, and a 'dinner' steer. there is also a pool, a huge playset, and lots of room to roam.

so........ here is my first installment of pics:




Monday, June 27, 2011

fourth grade graduation

grrrrr!! i had just typed this whole thing up, pushed some accidental combination of keys, and lost the whole post, so here i go again.....

time to play catch-up after being lost in the land of sssssslllllloooooowwww internet for two weeks!

right before leaving on vacation, was of course the last day of school (hopefully the last day i have to deal with public schools, at least for a while). since our little school district starts middle school at 5th grade, they held a fourth grade 'graduation'. awe, how cute. i mean i get it, it is a completion, a transition, maybe even a rite of passage (although it wasn't recognized as such when i was growing up), but i think we are starting to get a bit carried away. i feel that if every little possible thing is celebrated, we grow numb and can't fully appreciate the truly important milestones.

speaking of getting carried away, i was saddened to see that the 'no one gets an award unless every one gets and award' mentality was in place. i mean, again, i get it, kids might feel left out or have their feelings hurt, so we have to be PC about it, and find something to award everyone for (one was for 'good book report'). again, to reference when i grew up, those who did something exceptional were recognized for it, and those who didn't, had something to work toward, if they so desired. by applauding mediocrity in them as children (even with good intentions), we are setting them up to always expect that, instead of encouraging them to strive for for excellence. i wont even get into how i feel about the entitlement mindset......

all of that aside, logan's award was for overall academic achievement, with execllence in all areas. so i know he is a notch above, and we have done right by encouraging his hard work.

here are some pics from the 'event' for your viewing pleasure:

on another note, the cupcakes they served afterwards, were horrible. they were semi-dry and fairly taste-less. they appeared to have the whipped icing, which in my opinion is the best possible option when it comes to mass-produced, store-bought cakes. however, it was some wierd, thick, gritty stuff piled so high that you couldnt even take a bite without it going up your nose. so, without further ado, i will share with you the secret to my peanut butter frosting:

1/2 c room temp butter
1 c smooth peanut butter
1/4 c crunchy peanut butter
1 t good vanilla
2 1/2 - 3 c confectioners sugar
2-3 T cream (whipping cream or half & half)

beat together first 4 ingredients until fluffy; slowly beat in sugar, alternating with cream, until desired consistancy.

use cream not milk and it will be less likely 'break' your frosting if it is not straight out of the fridge
a good brand of 10X confectioners sugar (like domino) as opposed to 'powdered' sugar, will give you a smoother texture
DO NOT try to make this in an overly warm kitchen (or overbeat it), as it will separate and get greasy


Monday, June 6, 2011

relay for life

the kids and i signed up on Team YMCA for the Harrison County Relay for Life. in adition to walking, i volunteered to make cupcakes for our team's bake sale. i tried out some new recipes (turtle, strawberries n cream, and vanilla cream) and made plenty of my tried and true favorites (chocolate peanut butter and cookies n cream). altogether i donated about 10 dozen cupcakes and 2 decorated layer cakes (1 chocolate peanut butter and 1 vanilla cream). my trial-run recipes turned out ok, but i know i have a few tweeks to make, and i learned that i need to ne slightly less distracted when trying to create new recipes.....

the event went well. the kids wore signs for the family members they were walking for/in memory of, which was nice as it made it more personal to them. they also got to find the luminaria bags i had purchased for their family members. the middle 2 wrote 'notes to heaven' and anxiously watched as the balloons 'delivered' them. i participated in Locks of Love (what better place to do it?!?) and left with about a foot less hair than when i arrived. i was greatful to be able to participate in such a great event for such a wonderful cause, and to share it with my family, was even better! i totally was a goober and forgot to take pics of my baked goods, but i did get some other great shots