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