Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Reindeer Cupcakes

I have wasted much time this morning fuddling with my blog header, making a mess of it, and eventually giving up until I have more time to waste.

With a school gift fair awaiting my arrival, I shall make my Reindeer Cupcake post simple and concise.

To make these cupcakes:

DO use any flavor cupcake mix you desire and bake as directed.

DO frost generously with chocolate frosting, and use small pretzels for antlers.

DO have red M&M's handy, preferably the festive holiday version currently overpriced at several supermarkets.  Use red M&M for Rudolph's nose.

DO make your life simple and place a dab of vanilla frosting where each eye is to be placed, and use any small chocolate you have for the eyes.  I used chocolate chips.

DON'T leave finished cupcakes on dining room table, comfortably in reach of toddler.
Mommyhood Footnote:  I apologize to the fifth grade class.  Moopa ate some of your profits for today's bake sale.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Homemade Christmas Decorating Ideas via Pinterest

While I run to the store and make my first of several returns for the season, I shall share some of my favorite Christmas decor from Pinterest.

There is no better time wasting site than Pinterest.  If you are not already addicted, save yourself and forget I ever mentioned the place.

My current handmade favorites...

Excellent and easy outdoor idea:

Arm yourself with colorful cookie cutters, ribbon and a glue gun for this one:

Gorgeous for the window:

The mantle, using paper Christmas plates:

December 1st is Thursday.  Get your decorating boots on and get to work!


Monday, November 28, 2011

A Christmas Classic

The past few days, with Christmas music and movies officially "in season", we have watched quite a bit of Rudolph.

I only bring out Christmas movies, decor, music and anything else "holiday" the week of Thanksgiving.  On January 1st, we tuck everything safely away until Christmas comes round' again.

Every Christmas season, for as long as I can remember, I have watched Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.  I can still see myself in my parent's kitchen, sporting my feet pajamas, awaiting the Rudolph special.

When I was growing up DVD's didn't exist and VHS tapes were few and far between.  We patiently waited for the once or twice showing on the cable networks.  And we watched every minute, commercials included.

Commercials were for "wishing".  And we wished for it all.

I will never tire of these Christmas classics.  I hold them as close to my heart as I hold Skinny Minty ice cream.

And as outdated as those little clay figures appear, they will never go out of style.
image via

Happy start to the holiday season!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

If You Want Somethin' Done...

For the past two football banquets, my son's team has had no year end video.  We sit through every other team's music and photos on a large projection screen.  Our players wait and wait, and no video featuring their football season appears.

This year, I blogged much about their losing record.  These boys also experienced an abrupt end to their season due to a freak October snow.  Their football season has been peppered with obstacles.

Today is our football program's banquet, and our team deserves a film to commemorate their season.  Last night I asked Hubby to email the head coach to make sure someone prepared a film. 

Just as I suspected, no one had. 

Now, I have never made a DVD in my life.  I am lucky I have taught myself to edit photos and keep a blog.  But this mama was not having 28 hard working football players disappointed.  Last night I opened our "DVD Maker" program on our computer and I got to work.

I scrolled through hundreds of photos and dug out my old Guns N Roses "Use Your Illusion II" compact disc. 

And I made a pretty awesome tribute film for 28 super awesome boys.

If you want something done, fight through your computer illiteracy and do it yourself. 

Hallelujah and Happy Sunday!

Mommyhood Footnote: Long live Axl Rose.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Forever Thankful

Thankful for family.  Thankful for good friends. 

Thankful for warm hugs and wet munchkin kisses. 

I have a roof over my head all day, I have a pillow for my head at night.  We enjoy very occasional nights out and we laugh together on many nights spend in. 

I'm thankful we have food in the fridge, and I have the luxury of setting the thermostat at a toasty 65 degrees.

Our house is not fancy, but we have one.  My couches may have tears and marker scribbles, but they sure are cozy. 

Our life is full.  Our health is strong.  Our struggles are small in comparison to what I've seen in my lifetime.

And I haven't seen much. 

I'm forever thankful, in everything. 


Wishing everyone a VERY HAPPY Thanksgiving!
image via Google Images

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving, Really?

I feel as though I blinked and it's November.  Last I remember it was Halloween.

I'm guessing the chaos of snow in October, and going a week without Internet or phone afterward assisted in the time lapse.

This evening in Shop Rite was my first "the holidays are upon us" experience.  I struggled to navigate my cart through the swarms of shoppers as I perused the baking aisle.  Throughout the store people were busy loading their carts with yams, brown sugar, turkeys, hams, stuffing and cans of gravy.

I bought a chocolate covered marshmallow Santa and three 1/2 gallons of Turkey Hill Ice Cream.
The ice cream was on sale for $1.99.  Nothing like a good deal during the holidays.

I have no excuse for the marshmallow Santa.  It was just nice to see him again.

Wishing everyone a stress-free kick-off to the holiday season!  Happy Tuesday before Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Elf on the Shelf

Next week, our elf Stanley will be arriving at our home.  He is a trusted elf, straight from Santa's workshop.

He has been visiting our home for several years, and he has truly given us one of our most cherished holiday traditions.

Stanley arrives right after Thanksgiving, and he stays through Christmas Eve.  He watches all we do, and he makes nightly trips to the North Pole to report back to Santa.

Stanley is a gem.  He waits for the munchkins to find him every morning, and he brings all necessary correspondence with him when he makes his nightly voyage to Santa.  This cuts back on postage costs and keeps all "wish lists" up to date.

The only trick with Stanley is you can't touch him.  If he is touched, his magic is gone.

And this Elf is true magic in our home.  He is a refreshing, welcome guest throughout the Christmas season.

If you celebrate this season with Santa, I highly recommend welcoming one of Stanley's friends your home. They may look a tad creepy, but they sure do lend a hand. 

And a watchful eye. 

Read more about Stanley here.  And then get your butt to the local bookstore.

No time for the bookstore?  Amazon has your back.

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Not-So Twilight Night

I am horrified to admit I did not attend the midnight premiere of Breaking Dawn last night.  I unsuccessfully scrambled for weeks to find a theater showing all four Twilight movies in a row.

When Eclipse premiered, myself, my sister and my sister-in-law bought tickets to a "Twilight Experience".  The evening was positively awesome.  We wore our "Team Edward" tees and in between movies we shuffled in and out of our seats for popcorn, potty breaks and soda refills.

Yes, we are corny and we love it.
This year, with work, Gymnastics practices, cub scout meetings, and school bus arrivals we could not make a midnight movie.  We are die-hard "Twi-Tards", yet here I sit, with no memories of a Breaking Dawn movie last night.

We could have scrambled to the theater, waited in line and returned home jubilant but sleepy eyed.  We instead have chosen to wait until tomorrow.  If we weren't getting the "Twilight Experience", we at least wanted to get dinner.

Mommies have to chose their outings wisely.

Hope all the Twi-Moms had a fabulous evening at Breaking Dawn!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thanksgiving Dessert: Rice Krispie Turkey Pops

This week Kellogg's was kind enough to email me their Thanksgiving Recipes.  Thank you Kellogg's.

In this informative email, they had a recipe to make Turkey Pops.  They are certain to please young palates everywhere.

The Kellogg's recipe used melted chocolate to coat the krispie, I used chocolate frosting.  Chocolate frosting is quicker and more "user friendly".  I also used the candy corn tips for eyes rather than purchase any small white candies.

For Thanksgiving I will go the "dipped in chocolate route", but for this example I felt the need to keep everything as simple as possible.

Rice Krispie Turkey Pops
  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 package (10 oz., about 40) regular marshmallows
  • - or -
  • 4 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 6 cups rice krispie cereal (a shout out to Kelloggs for the great recipe) 
  • 1 container chocolate frosting
  • 1 1/3 cups candy corn
  • 24 lollipop sticks or wooden ice cream sticks 


1. In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.

2. Add rice krispies cereal. Stir until well coated.

3.  Using two butter coated sandwich bags, shape mixture into balls slightly larger than golf balls.
4.  Gently cut white off of two candy corns for eyes, set aside.

5.  With chocolate frosting, coat the top half of the krispie ball.  Add 4-5 candy corns (pressing top of candy corn down into ball)  along top to create feathers.  Add eyes.

6.  Press candy corn into center for nose.
7.  If desired, insert Popsicle stick.

Arrange pops in a glass for easy transportation, and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Gift Ideas to Support Our Local Communities

With the holidays rapidly approaching, and Black Friday sales being advertised everywhere we turn, what to give this season is most definitely a hot topic.

I received a wonderful email this week that stressed the importance of supporting our local communities.  Obviously there are many items that we will be buying at big name retailers, especially when price is most important.

But for many friends and family, a gift that supports the "mom and pop" businesses is unique.  And it is much appreciated.

For these small businesses, you are not just a number.  You are a face, and a name.  Supporting them gives to your loves ones, but to your community as well.

This year think about a gift certificate to grab dinner at a local restaurant.  Not a national chain, but a family owned establishment.  Buy a basket of baked good from the bakery, or a platter from the deli around the corner.

Stop in that small gift shop downtown.  Paint pottery, browse handmade crafts or have professional pictures taken by a local photographer.

Give a small membership to a local gym, or a gift card to have a car detailed.  Support your favorite hairdresser and give a certificate for a new cut and color. 

This season, let's have concern for small businesses, neighbors and our friends.

We can all save money on that new string of Christmas lights and tip our mailman instead.  We can eat local, and tip our servers.  We can remember our teachers, garbage men and our babysitters.

I'll be buying plenty where the price is right, but I'll also be plunking down some "green" right downtown.

Hope you all do the same! 

Have a fabulous Wednesday!  

Mommyhood Footnote:  Check out the 3/50 Project, which helps us all locate and support the "mom and pop" shops nearby!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tale of a Pumpkin Coffee Cake

Last week, I made a pumpkin coffee cake.  I scribbled the ingredients on a scrap sheet of paper, took pictures of the cake and fed it to my munchkins.

The entire cake was gone in 24 hours.

I was so pleased with myself (and my cake) because I had a recipe tucked away to post on my blog.  I had somewhere to turn when I was short on blogging material.

A few minutes ago, I sat down to post about my coffee cake.

I edited the picture, and I prepared to share the recipe.  I looked around for that scrap piece of paper with the golden instructions.

The paper is no where to be found.

Due to my organizational irresponsibility, all I have left is this picture.

The End.

Mommyhood Footnote:  There is no cake mix.  There was flour, sugar, oats, milled flax seed, pumpkin puree, applesauce, egg, baking powder and crumb topping.  Good luck!

Monday, November 14, 2011

No Fear

The past few months, my Gymnastics Queen has been training hard for her current competition season.  The older she gets, the more difficult the skills become.

Some skills are downright frightening.

There are two skills in particular that she has struggled with: the back handspring and the side handstand dismount.

We had many nights she came home in tears and many Saturdays she fought me about going to practice.  Rather than keep working on these skills, she tried to avoid them.

I wouldn't let her. 

And every day she spent in that gym she got better.  Stronger.  More confident.

Before she knew it the back handspring was more natural and the fears began to subside.  The side handstand dismount was a different story.  Just last week at practice her fears were still getting the best of her.  She would get up in that handstand on the beam, and she was too afraid to twist it and dismount.

I can't say I blame her, but I'm also not a gymnast.

This past Saturday was our first meet of the season.  While wishing her good luck I looked her in the eyes and told her to face her fears.  Don't let them get the best of you.

Because fear will eat you alive if you let it.

Our last event was beam, and her beam warm ups were shaky.  The warm up routine was gorgeous, but never once did she dismount with the side handstand.  I looked at Hubby and told him she wasn't going to do it.  I could see the fear in her face.

And then she got on the beam.  Boy did that girl prove me wrong.  She kicked that dismount right in the arse.  Two second hold and all.

We didn't even need to see her score, because for me and Hubby, conquering her fear made her a winner. 

The 9.0 was the icing on the cake.
As one of the dad's from our team put it, "That girl is a showtimer".  She sure is.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Homemade Belgian Waffles

This may be the easiest, most convenient homemade waffle recipe of all time.

No buttermilk.  No "need to go to the store" ingredient.  Just the basic kitchen staples we all keep on hand.  These waffles are fluffy, delicious and devoured in minutes.

I put this recipe together from a few I found on  I needed to adjust amounts because I knew the standard 4-6 servings would barely feed the dog in my house.

This recipe makes 8-10 waffles. 
(can be prepared with a standard waffle iron)

3 cups flour
6 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups milk
1/2 cup oil
3 eggs, separated

Preheat waffle iron.

In medium sized bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt.  Add milk, oil and egg yolks.  Stir until batter is only slightly lumpy. 

With hand or standing mixer, beat egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form (about 2-3 minutes).

Gently fold egg whites into batter.

Using a ladle, scoop batter onto center of waffle iron.  Leave 2" around, allowing room for waffles to spread.

Serve with butter and dust with powdered sugar.  Whipped cream is optional, but highly recommended.

Happy Sunday!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Monday Night Football in Kansas City

My son is a die hard Chargers fan.  Philip Rivers is on his wall, a Chargers backpack carries his gear and just about every day he sports some form of Chargers attire.

Since we live on the east coast, I can't say where his Chargers loyalty began.  But ever since he decided the Chargers were his team he has never looked back.

A few weeks ago, over Halloween, my son had the opportunity of a lifetime.  Through very generous friends who have "connections" with the Kansas City Chiefs, my son was able to go the Monday Night Football game at Arrowhead Stadium.

The story begins with us wanting to get my Sports Fanatic to his first ever pro football game this year.  He lives and breathes football, and going to a Chargers game would be the experience of a lifetime.  Due to our schedules and the cost of tickets, we set our sights on flying him to Kansas City.

Monday Night Football was our best option.

Hubby spoke to our friends to see if we could have help getting decent seats to the game.  Hubby was prepared to take our son himself and I was prepared to hold down the trick-or-treat scene at home.  What we never expected was our friends to arrange the trip and to be blessed with such amazing opportunities.

Instead of Hubby taking our Sports Fanatic himself, my son's friend and his dad went along as well.  

Early Halloween morning, I sent Hubby with the camera and our son packed his carry on full of Chargers attire.  They arrived in Kansas City with just enough time to check in at the hotel and grab a bite to eat before the game.

That evening they were down on the sidelines before the game and they watched the game go into overtime from excellent seats.  A few rude hecklers aside, my son was in his glory.

And as for me, I may have been more excited for my Sports Fanatic than he was for himself.  My son has mailed two letters to Philip Rivers this year, and he still checks the mail weekly to see if anything has come in return.

He had never even been inside a football stadium, and there he was watching his hero warm up for the game from the sidelines.

The thought still brings tears to my eyes.

Oh, and Phil, if you're reading this, could you please check your fan mail?  Thanks.

Mommyhood Footnote:  This is the kind of picture one can expect when Hubby is on camera duty.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Thanksgiving Craft

In light of Thanksgiving rapidly approaching, I am attaching the link to the Turkey Pin Craft I posted last year.  These pins are fab and fun, and easy to make.  They are also a great addition to a festive table setting.

Once I gathered the necessary supplies for the craft, I set aside an afternoon to sit with my daughter and prepare the turkey pins. 

I can say with confidence cleaning up the scissor clippings and putting everything away when we were done was the most difficult part in the whole pin making process. 

These pins are easy and fun.  And they are super snazzy when worn to Thanksgiving dinner.
Happy crafting!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Black Friday 2011: You Ready?

A few years ago, Black Friday became a holiday in my home.  I went out one morning at 4am, and I returned home with more bags than I could handle.  The deals were phenomenal. 

Ever since I have looked forward to this day like a five year old looks forward to a bouncy house party.

While I am not certain of my work schedule this year, I can assure you I will be shopping either online or in store.

Here are Mommyhood's Black Friday tips:

1.  Remember most deals can be found online.  If you prefer to do Black Friday in your jammies, go for it.  Most sites have the same sales and offer free shipping.

2.  If you are hittin' the pavement this year, plan accordingly.  Check what stores will be open first.  Prioritize what deals are most important. 

This year, Target and Kohls will be opening at midnight.  In the past these were 2nd or 3rd stops because they opened at 4am or 5am.  This year if you get there at 5am the best deals will be picked through or completely gone.

3.  If going to a shopping center where you will be going from store to store, take an umbrella stroller with you.  There is no greater bag holding tool.  Umbrella stroller are also wonderful when store carts are slim to none.

4.  You will need to be outside waiting for a store to open to find the best advertised deals.  If you aren't in need of any special "doorbuster", go an hour after store opening.  This is when all the "doorbuster shoppers" are in line checking out. 

This is also how you best avoid a stampede.

5.  Make the day an adventure.  Be patient, have fun.  And don't forget the diner for breakfast.

Black Friday Sites:
Black Friday 2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Tuesday List

1.  I have officially begun Christmas shopping.  Christmas prep for me takes much organization.  There is toy purchasing, wish list gift assignments for relatives, price checking, coupon clipping and wrapping.

Christmas is an exhausting and exhilarating time consuming hobby.  Oh how I love it so.

2.  The dog has made great strides in the past 24 hours.  She has managed to get herself upright and walk a little, which we were told may never happen again.

3.  The kitchen floor is rather sticky this morning.  There must have been a juice spill while I was at work last night.  This spill was poorly tended to, and it was apparantly walked through several hundred times.

4.  I just dropped $50 on cleaning supplies at Target.  We were desperately in need of sponges, antibacterial cleaning sprays and laundry detergent.

I would have much rather spent the $50 in the Christmas decor aisle.

5.  The munchkins have no school today.  While at Target we snapped a few pictures on the cell phone of "wishes" to send to Santa.  Cell phones are a miraculous tool to help the brain remember item names and numbers.

6.  I'm going to go against the grain and end my list at 6.  Livin' on the edge.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Trip to the Vet

Over the weekend, our lazy dog was weakening.  We assumed this downward spiral was due to her ingestion of a deceased small rodent last week. 

Why dogs find those types of meals appealing I'll never know.

As our beloved pet worsened, we knew her condition was not "food poisoning".  By Sunday evening she was barely walking.

Today at the vet I was told she is most likely paralyzed due to ruptured disks in her back.  While I never thought this was even a possibility, it turns out in some breeds this is not uncommon.

The best we can hope for is to relieve the pain, and accommodate her with a "doggie wheelchair".  We don't even want to think about the alternative just yet.  We are confident we can get her well.

With some love, luck and blessings we hope to get her mobile again.  If not with medicine with a wheelchair. 

Looks like Santa's elves better get to work. 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Candy Cookie Bars

I'm fairly certain we're not the only family with an over abundance of candy in our house.  The good news is the candy disappears rather quickly.

The bad news is the candy disappears rather quickly.

In need of a treat for a recent bake sale, I decided on a quick cookie bar and I tossed in some candy corn and M&M's.

The result was a chewy dessert and a little less candy in our pantry's candy basket.

A Mommyhood win-win.

1 stick butter, soft
1/2 stick margarine, soft
1/2 cup sugar
1 cups brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoons vanilla
1 cup bread flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
dash salt
1/2 cup candy corn
1 cup M&M's, separated (or similar)

Preheat oven to 325.

Cream butter and sugars on medium speed for a minimum of 2-3 minutes.  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Add vanilla.

Turn mixer to LOW (the lowest setting available) and slowly incorporate flours and baking soda.  Mix until JUST combined.

Stir in 1/2 cup M&Ms.  Spread in a 9x13 baking dish.  Top with remaining M&M's.

Bake 25-35 minutes, checking at 25 minutes to see if center is almost done.  DO NOT OVERBAKE!  These bars are chewy and delish if you remove from oven when they are a tad gooey in center.

Remove from oven and gently press candy corns into top.

Allow to cool 10-15 minutes before cutting and serving.


Friday, November 4, 2011

I'm Back....

Sleepy eyed I am sitting at my home computer happily cruising the internet.

It feels wonderful to be back in the year 2011 again.

While I can say with certainty I did not miss a ringing phone or checking my bank balance, I did miss all of you.

And checking email.

You don't know how great having the internet is until you need to drive eight miles to get on it.
Have a fabulous Friday!

2012 Disney Dining Plan Prices

I am posting the 2012 Dining Plan Prices solely to add to my Disney Tips N' Tricks Page.  I aim to inform, and with the new dining plan price hikes I felt the new prices were worth a mention.

And a tear.

I still advocate buying into the Disney Dining Plan and enjoying every ingested calorie.  Walt Disney World knows how to make life easy on all of us.  They certainly don't make it cheap, but they do make it easy.
2012 Disney Dining Plan Prices

Quick Service Dining Plan (2 quick service "cafeteria style" meals and 2 snacks per person per day)

Adults: $34.99 | Children: $11.99

Basic Dining Plan (1 table service meal (restaurant style), 1 quick service meal (see above) and 1 snack per person per day)

Adults: $51.54 (regular season) | $53.54 (peak season)
Children: $15.02 (regular season) | $16.02 (peak season)

Deluxe Dining Plan (3 meals per day, any combination of quick service or table service meals and 2 snacks per person per day.  Refillable Resort mug for each guest included.)

Adults: $85.52 (regular season) | $89.52 (peak season)
Children: $23.79 (regular season) | $25.79 (peak season)

***Peak Seasons: 2/16/12 - 2/25/12, 3/09/12 - 4/14/12, 6/1/12 - 8/4/12, 12/21/12 - 12/31/12***

Start saving your hard earned dollars.  As I said before, Disney doesn't come cheap.

A few keys to remember:

Gratuity is not included, alcoholic beverages are extra and not every restaurant participates in the dining plan. 

There are certain restaurants (Cinderella's Royal Table in the Magic Kingdom for instance) which charge 2 table service meals for each person.

Every guest staying in your room MUST participate in the plan.  There is no "pick and choose" option, such as Mom and Dad are on dining plan but children are not.

For more information on prices, participating restaurants and anything else Dining Plan, visit Disney's Dining Plan Site.

Happy planning!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Where I've Been

I'm appalled I haven't blogged since Saturday, October 29th.  Although I have good reason.

I've been in the 1800's.

Due to a very unusual winter storm, a large majority of my northeastern world lost power last Saturday.  Trees heavy with snow came down in abundance.  Branches snapped and transformers exploded.  The damage was extensive and restoration times have been lengthy.

The past few days lights have slowly been coming back on and many toilets are flushing once again.

We have wells and septic tanks in these parts.

We had no school on Halloween.  Children in some areas were not permitted to trick-or-treat because of downed power lines.  For a short twenty four hours we even lost cell phone service.

It was nutty.

While our house is now fully powered , and we all have thoroughly enjoyed hot showers, our Internet and phone are still out of service.  The first few days I didn't mind.  It was quiet.  I did laundry and cleaned the house.

Now it's a gettin' old.

To recap all you've missed in Mommyhood, here is my last few days in pictures:

On Saturday, the gorgeous fall foliage suffered an onslaught of winter weather.
On Sunday, we abandoned our home and headed eight miles down the road to my parents' house.  Amazingly, they still had television and heat.

It was lovely.

On Halloween, the munchkins had no school.  I dressed them in their costumes and went back to my mom and dad's.  While there I made Popeye get ahead on his homework.
Sometime during the day Monday our power returned.

Before returning home to perform a power cleaning due to generator living, I dressed as a hot dog and hit the trick-or-treat circuit.
Hope all is well in your part of the world.  My fingers are crossed I will be back online soon.

Happy Wednesday!

Mommyhood Footnote:  I'm blogging from my mom and dad's.  Thank heavens for family.