Friday, March 30, 2012

Craft: Easter Bunny Masks

*From the archives, enjoy!*
Before I moved to New York, I held Easter Egg Hunts at my house in Pennsylvania.  I had a tight group of Mommy friends and our munchkins played together frequently.

Life is now much busier and my munchkins have grown in number and size.  These days egg hunts in my yard are reserved for Easter morning.  The number of friends I would need to include would surpass the amount of energy I have to dedicate to an egg hunt.

When I held my annual egg hunts I made masks for the kids to wear.  They sported them while they hunted for eggs.

It was an easy craft.  My munchkins made their own while I prepared masks for their friends.

The masks were simple and they transformed the eager egg hunting munchkins into tiny bunnies.

This week before Easter my munchkins are off from school, and we may just dig out the paper plates and revisit our Bunny Mask Craft.  Or maybe we'll set them up on Easter with their cousins and let them create one to wear for the family egg hunt.

We'll see where the wind takes us.

Bunny Mask Craft
  • Two plain, white paper plates
  • Pink construction paper, pink paint or pink marker
  • Scissors
  • Stapler
  • Glue
  • Crayons, markers, or paint
  • Optional: small pink pompom
  • Optional: elastic 

1.  Either paint the center of 1st paper plate pink or cut a circle from pink construction paper and glue in place (it should be the same size as the inside of a paper plate).

2.  Cut in half, set aside.  These are bunny ears.

3.   Cut a triangular wedge out of other paper plate for child's nose. 

                                    image via Enchanted Learning Center

4.  Staple the ears to the face, and cut two holes for eyes.

5.  Draw whiskers, attach elastic on sides of mask to keep mask in place when worn. 

6.  Optional: glue a small pink pompom to the center of the face for nose.

Happy Crafting! 

Like this craft?  Pin it!  

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Cool Mom

Today it hit me again.

I am not the "cool mom."

The Gymnastics Queen spent her morning describing, in detail, her best friend's lunch at school.  This lunch was "huge" and included such items as "cupcakes with a lot of sides."

"How many sides does a hexagon have mom?"

Silence.  Deep thought.  "Ummm...six?" Please be right...please be right...

"I think these cupcakes are hexagons!"

"I am not buying hexagon cupcakes..."

Growing up, I had the cool mom.  I had the best birthday parties, I gave the snazziest birthday gifts.  They were wrapped with ribbon and candies and flashy paper.  My school lunch was by far the most coveted and our pantry was filled to the hills with goodies galore.  If I asked for hexagon cupcakes, my mother would hunt them down and they would appear a few days later.

In my house, life is a different story.  Not worse, just different.  I favor gift bags for birthday presents, and school lunches consist of a sandwich, a healthy side and a small dessert.  Homemade cupcakes, yes.  Hexagon style?  No.

There are no Do Dongs or Wing Wongs or Wong Dings in my pantry.   

Oh, and unless you are ten your bedtime is 8:30.

I run a fairly tight ship, but with four munchkins I need some sort of order in the house.  We eat at the table because otherwise my house would be covered in crumbs.  They go to bed early because if they stay up they are cranky x 4.  I don't buy Hostess Cupcakes because I can make cupcakes for less money.  And one day my daughters will thank me because they won't be weening themselves off Hostess Cupcakes.

Trust me, I weened myself once.  It wasn't pretty.

There is a method to my madness.  My methods don't work for everyone, nor am I saying they are the best.  They simply keep me sane, and the ship sailing semi-smoothly.

Every mom has to do what works for them.

I'm not a cool mom, but I'm cool enough.  A little regimented with a side of kooky.

If my kids want "laid back cool", they go sleep at grandma's house.  In our house, "semi-cool" will have to do.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Easter Basket Ideas

When I was a kid, my Easter baskets were cellophaned to the sky and stuffed with goodies galore.  I have pictures of me as a toddler, holding my basket in my little nightgown, and the basket was taller than I was.

Along with the gifts, my basket always had those hollow sugar eggs with the ornate "scene" inside.  Do you remember those?  They had exquisite sugar decorations on the outside and an intriguing little diorama inside.  They were the most coveted Easter treat in our house.  They amazed us; only the bunny could make something so magical.

My parents always did holidays big.  Birthdays too.  With six kids the daily grind was often hectic, and there was little time (and money) for eating out or special "just because" gifts.  But we knew on Easter, the bunny was bringin' the goods.  And the night before, we went to bed with butterflies in our tummies excited for Easter morn.

These memories are some of my most cherished, hunting for eggs in my pajamas and searching the house for my basket.  

One year my brother's was in the oven.

With money tight these days, and the economy still struggling, huge holidays are a challenge.  I am a big fan of after Christmas sales to stock up on toys for Easter and birthdays.  I also watch for clearance year round, and scour the $1 spot at Target for smaller goodies.  

Below I am sharing my favorite basket stuffers, large and small.

40 Easter Basket Stuffers

1.  Chocolate bunny (every basket needs a chocolate bunny.  Melt these down after Easter and dip strawberries for an after dinner dessert)
2. Stuffed animals
3.  Bubbles
4.  Chalk
5.  Coloring books
6.  Small figures
7.  Books
8.  Lip gloss/chapstick
9.  Flip flops
10.  bathing suit
11.  beach towels
12.  Tee shirt (think favorite baseball team, or something glittery for the girls)
13.  Hair accessories
14.  Water guns
15.  Plush football/baseball
16.  Water bottles for sports
17.  itunes gift card
18.  Magazines (American Girl, NFL Magazine, Highlights)
19.  Pajamas
20.  Markers
21.  Small dry erase board
22.  Wiffleball and bat
23.  Small Lego set
24.  Puzzle
25.  Seeds for a garden
26.  Gardening gloves for kids
27.  Sand toys
28.  Movie ticket vouchers/giftcard
29   Play make up/think dress up masks for boys
30.  Nail polish/decals
31.  Puppets
32.  baseball/football cards
33.  Bracelets/play jewelry
34.  Sticker books/stickers
35.  Slippers
36.  Jump rope
37.  Craft sets
38.  Sunglasses
39.  Wind up toys
40.  LOTS of candy.  They are only kids once!

Happy Basket Stuffing!

Like this post?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Easter Anyone?

While on Pinterest, I found some extremely fun and savvy Easter ideas.  In case you haven't discovered Pinterest yet, it is an online pinboard for all things wonderful.  Lovely people everywhere find and pin anything that tickles their fancy. 

Pinterest is a fabulous place to find recipes, craft ideas, house decor and inspiration for just about anything.  It's simply delightful.

Keep "pinning" people. 

Easter via Pinterest

Easter Eggs, by Martha Stewart Living
Glow in the Dark Egg Hunt (how cool is that?!) by
Easter Egg Tree Craft (supplies are just about $1 each!) by Sweet Floweret
Easy (and healthier!) King Cake by Healthy Cooking Blog
Easter Candy Bark (so easy!) by Gingerbread Bagels
 Push Pop Peeps (adorable!) by Love From the Oven
 That's all folks, for now anyway.  Barnes and Noble is calling.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, March 26, 2012


Over the weekend, I learned a few things.  Life has a way of setting us in our ways, and carving a hard edge around our kind interior.  We walk around in these protective suits we've created, un-trusting and afraid to give too much of ourselves.

After all, people take advantage.  People don't follow through.  There are perverts out there.

Before I continue I'll add a small disclaimer.  I am usually happy.  I enjoy people and life is too short to walk around with a scowl on my face.  I'm definitely not a "scowl-er."

Despite my positive demeanor, I'm not immune to assuming the worst.  I get caught up in the "who is doing what and why" just as much as anyone.  I have my days when I assume a coworker won't split a tip, or that the coach favors another child.  If a customer is tough to read, I assume they aren't friendly and brace myself before approaching the table.

But then the tip is split, the coach isn't favoring anyone and the customer is simply delightful after I beat them down with  friendliness.

This weekend I've learned to never assume.  Over and over again, it was like a message from God himself, reminding me to trust that people are good.

Every so often, I play the lottery.  You can't win if you don't play.  I usually forget to check my tickets, and I walk around assuming I won.  I imagine what I'd do with the money, and I figure out what I'd take home after taxes.  I add up the bills that would disappear, and the amount of money I can share while still keeping my family comfortable until the end of time.

I never win a dime, but it's pretty cool to dream about the money before reality sets in.  Imagine buying lottery tickets, and assuming you're going to lose?  What is the fun in that?

Life is much the same.  Better to walk around delighted, and hopeful rather than assuming the worst is around the bend.  Even in small doses, those assumptions are exhausting, and toxic to the soul. 

It's a new week, make it great. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A Picture

This lovely weekend, I'd like to share exactly why my babies need a Mama.
The End.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


The other night at work, while the other servers were enjoying their "shift drinks" (drink on the house for servers when shift is over) I realized I've never had a glass of wine.

Never.  Ever.  Nope.  None.

This doesn't bother me in the least.

I love to read, but I rarely find the time.  When I do read, everything else goes to poop because I LOVE to read.  I fall behind on my blog, on television shows and I don't wash my floors.

I just finished The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks.  Have you noticed my "archived" posts this week?  Imagine the state of my floors.

I eat ice cream before bed just about every night.  I must have at least two flavors in the bowl, and preferably at least one topping.  I like my ice cream in a mug for no reason what-so-ever.

I love to run.  Outside.  I didn't always love running.  When I was in middle school I probably would have rather stuck needles in my eyes.  There came a time when I realized running wasn't about being fast, but about finding a pace that worked for me. 

Motherhood, in a way, is much the same.

I'm awfully allergic to cats.  And rabbits.  Guinea pigs too.  When I was in third grade I was sent home from school every day for a week after recess.  I would return from recess sick with a runny nose, wheezing and swollen eyeballs.

Unbeknownst to me one of my best friends had a new rabbit hair coat.

On that random note, I am turning in.  With a bowl of ice cream.  And a new book.

The floors will have to wait until next week.

Happy Friday!

Easter Cupcakes

*from the archives. Enjoy*

I love Easter.

A few years ago I constructed what is now my standard Easter cupcake.  It included almost everything my sweet tooth desires.

Frosting, chocolate M&M eggs and peeps.

If I could somehow get mint chocolate chip ice cream into the centers of the cupcakes I would call them perfection.

But no can do.  So they will have to be almost perfect.

I call these cupcakes Chicks Layin' Eggs.  And as with most everything Mommyhood, they're easy but intended to impress.

And if you bring them to Easter everyone will eat them.  People have no shame grabbing a cupcake.  No one wants to be the person who cuts a slice of cake, but anyone will grab a cupcake.

One of the many joys of preparing desserts as single servings.

Easter Cupcakes

Prepare cupcakes according to box instructions.  Or, to change it up try my twist on boxed cupcakes:
Attention: This is NOT a cupcake

Vanilla Frosting
Green Sugar Crystals
Assorted Peeps
Chocolate eggs (M&M's are my favorite.  Robin's Eggs work as well)
Wilton Icing Colors (optional).

I use this to tint icing because it doesn't change the consistency.  

I made these cupcakes with and without tinting icing so as not to discriminate against kitchens without icing tint.

I know, I'm so kind.

In small bowl, tint icing green (or not, depending on icing tint availability)

Generously frost cupcakes.  Please frost generously or we can't be friends.  I'm not even kidding.

Pour green sugar into separate bowl and roll edges of cupcake in sugar.
Place two to three chocolate eggs on cupcake.  Add some frosting to bottom of peep and place on top of eggs.
And now for my Easter Cupcakes photo shoot.  Just wanted to share how fabulous they look before they are devoured.  
 Mommyhood Footnote:  It is a miracle there were enough chocolate eggs left to prepare these cupcakes.  For every one that made it under the tush of a peep another two made it into my mouth.  

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A "Big Girl" Sleepover

Last night we had our first official "big girl" sleepover.  My Gymnastics Queen, at 8 years old,  has had very few sleepovers.  Until yesterday I think she had two.  

Both sleepovers were very low key, and extremely supervised.

Yesterday, two of her best friends from school came over off the bus.  They had sleepover bags in tow.  The girls wasted no time, whipping out Popsicles after their snack and running wild in the backyard.  Bless their hearts, they even let Moopa feel like part of the gang.
The next twelve hours involved much giggling, sharing clothes and playing outside.  Oh, and they brushed hair.

They brushed and styled hair for a very. long. time. 

Aside from the two hours it took for me to get them to fall asleep, the sleepover was painless.  There was no catty behavior, no tears and no trouble.

I can't remember one group sleepover from my childhood that left everyone unscathed.  These girls were a drama-free pleasure.

In a few months I may be up to hosting another "big girl" sleepover.  I need time to restock the pantry, and with four munchkins we need to keep to a rotation or mama will lose her marbles.

Happy Trails!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Spring Cleaning? Maybe Next Year...

Today in the mail I received a lovely flyer from Stop and Shop.  They sent me coupons (thanks) and inside the flyer was plenty of information on Spring cleaning. 

It made me cringe.
Before I go any further, let me be clear when I say my house is clean.  Clutter is kept to a minimum and the floors are vacuumed regularly.  Bathrooms are wiped down daily.  I dust on occasion.  Laundry is washed and toys are picked up off the floor.  I never leave dishes in the sink and I am constantly fixing couch cushions.

But in good conscience, I can not tell you that I wash my curtains.  Or vacuum vents.  I've never flipped my mattress or replaced kitchen shelf paper.  I rarely roll up carpet to wash the floor underneath and I am not in the habit of moving furniture to clean behind it.

There is no extreme to my clean.

Last year, around this time, my mother came over and immediately grabbed the Windex to wipe down the ceiling fan in the kitchen.  I believe the word she used as she frantically wiped was "horrified."

When I saw the rag I agreed with her.  It was horrifying indeed.

The surface of my house is lovely.  Just don't look up at the fans, behind the couch or under the refrigerator.  Spring has certainly sprung, but my desire to clean any more than I already do is still hibernating happily.

Stop & Shop was kind enough to send me coupons and some great tips on "bringing Spring inside."  Maybe they can also provide me with a cleaning lady.

Here's to hoping.

Have a fabulous Tuesday.  Soak up some vitamin D!

Little Entrepreneurs: Tomato Cups for Sale

LLG LOVES tomatoes.  Especially the cherry kind.  He eats them like the Gymnastics Queen eats fruit snacks.

Luckily for LLG, tomato plants have proven to survive under my care as I struggle to cultivate a green thumb.  Cucumbers have been kind as well.  This Spring, I am once again starting our garden with a few bags of seeds, soil, water and the sun from my windowsill.

My munchkins love to water our plants and wait for them to sprout and grow.  Once the plants are strong enough, we plant our garden and every few days we pick our fresh vegetables.

Every summer we have an abundance of fresh tomatoes, as well as a few other vegetables.  The past few summers I have helped my munchkins put together tomato cups (we also have done cucumber bags) to sell to friends and family.  We don't charge much, usually just $0.25/cup.

Our customers are usually so pleased they pay $1.00.  Isn't family grand?

The munchkins love making money, and I love that they are learning about money.  They are also learning about responsibility, supply and demand, and keeping a garden.

This little post is a win-win-win-win-win.  The next time you have more tomatoes than your kitchen requires, pack them up pretty and visit grandpa and grandma.
Here is my supply list:

Plastic drinking cups (clear, any size)
Plastic Wrap
Overabundance of tomatoes from your garden

For our cups, I typed up:

"Tomatoes (price)"
With Love,
From LLG's Garden

1. Thoroughly wash and dry tomatoes
2. Design labels by hand or on computer and cut into strips
3. Tape strips securely around cup.
4. Fill cup with tomatoes
5. Cover tomatoes and cup with plastic wrap
6. Secure plastic wrap with rubber band.

Viola, 5 simple mommybrained-proof steps.
This is a semi-repost.  With the sun shining, I felt a friendly "plan your garden" was appropriate.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Irish American Soda Bread

Earlier this week, Savannah over at Hammock Tracks sent me an email asking if I would like to do a recipe exchange. 

There is very little that sings to my blogging heart more than a recipe exchange.

Savannah decided to bake my cinnamon bread.  After cruising through her site, I knew I was destined to make her Irish-American Soda Bread.  I knew it was my destiny for two reasons:

1.  I love Irish Soda Bread.
2.  Tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day

Today Savannah is posting the recipe she selected from my site, and I am posting her Irish-American Soda Bread.  I urge my readers to stop by Hammock Tracks and see how my recipe turned out.

Savannah's recipe was a huge success.  The bread was moist, sweet and it's currently in my tummy.

If the kitchen is your haven, Savannah has a blog packed full of mouth watering recipes. Thanks Savannah for sharing this one!

4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup of raisins
1 cup of dried cranberries
2 eggs
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup sour cream
**1 tablespoons caraway seeds (I omitted the caraway seeds because I knew my munchkins prefer it without)
Mix together dry ingredients, set aside.  Beat the eggs slightly.  Stir the the milk and the sour cream into the eggs.  Incorporate the egg mixture into the dry mixture.  Stir until a cookie dough like batter develops (I used a standing mixer, mixing with hook attachment on low).  Spoon into greased pan and press out flat.  Cut two 3-4 inch slits in the shape of a cross to the top of the dough.  Bake in greased 9” pan for 60-65 minutes at 350F degrees.

I baked for 60 minutes, and sprinkled with powdered sugar.  The bread was divine.
Thanks again Savannah.  Wishing everyone a very happy St. Patrick's Day!

Thursday, March 15, 2012


1.  Tomorrow I am posting a very delish recipe for Soda Bread.  Buy your buttermilk and sour cream and prepare your waistline.

2.  I work this evening.  If anyone is in the immediate area come on over for some french dip.

3.  I just finished The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks.  I love to read.  If I refrained from rereading the smut chapters three times each I would have finished much sooner.  Ah, to be in love in a fiction novel. 
4.  I swear I am dumber from watching Word World every morning.  Moopa benefits greatly.  Me, not so much.

5.  My Gymnastics Queen  was asked lead stretches last night at practice.  She came home squealing with delight.  I remember leading stretches at Field Hockey practice in high school.  It was strangely awesome.

6.  Word World wants to know how many fruits and veggies I am going to eat today.  How about none.  Unless I count the raisins in the Soda Bread I made last night.  Maybe I'll throw in a nectarine for good measure.

7.  I still haven't made my bed and I'm wearing pink flannel pajama pants.

8.  There is no greater PBS show than Sesame Street.  I say this solely because of Elmo's World.

9.  Is it strange to end a list on #9?  I would but it doesn't feel right.

10. The letter of the day is "T".  In case you were wondering.

Have a great Thursday!  And it starts with the letter "T"!  Oh the little things...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Potty Training Tips

Time to potty train?
There are dozens of places to turn for advice on potty training.  You can read books, browse parenting sites, or ask friends.  Chances are you will hear several different perspectives on the subject.  Everyone has their own method or a success story they just love to tell.

We all know the parent who swears their toddler was trained by eighteen months. This parent was never me.

I personally feel every parent needs to seek out what works best for them.  No toddler is alike.  The purpose of this post is to share what worked for me.  My methods may not work for everyone, but they had my last two munchkins rockin' the undies in less than a week.  And I can say with confidence my first potty training go-round was not that successful.

It was a long haul.  I remember day one of training my oldest.  We went through sixteen pairs of underwear.

Sixteen pairs. 

But with each of my kids the potty training process got easier.  There was less pee in their pants and more on the potty.  I learned from my mistakes and kept it simple.

From the beginning, I never used special dolls or pull ups.  I believe in the cold turkey, "here is your underpants" method. 

Some parents prefer to train early (age 2 or younger) and some prefer to wait until their toddler is older than three.  I personally have found that 2 1/2, plus or minus a month, is the golden age. I trained my first two munchkins just before two years old, solely because another baby was on the way.

I had no intention of changing diapers all day.  Nor could I afford diapers for two children at once.  But while I may have been ready, my first little guy was definitely not. 

 Tip #1:  Wait until your child can voice they need to use the bathroom.  They don't need to speak in complete sentences or know their multiplication tables.  "Mama, potty!" is all that is required.

My personal experience with training at or before two years old was not so pleasant.  My oldest didn't have the language to voice he even had to go potty.  I basically trained myself to take him to the bathroom thirty minutes after he drank a cup of juice.  And poops?  That was a complete nightmare.

My last two munchkins were trained around age 2 1/2.  This was a much more positive, less messy experience.

Tip #2:  If your toddler is waking up dry after a nap, this is a sure sign they can learn to use the potty.

Dry diapers for long stretches of time are key in determining "potty readiness." I would much rather change a diaper every few hours than run my toddler to the bathroom every ten minutes.

I learned this the hard way.  Remember that my oldest peed in sixteen pairs of underwear on day one.  He was like a running faucet.  And I was constantly running him to the bathroom.

Tip #3:  Talk about using the bathroom and how it works before you start to train.  They will understand more than you think they will.

When I decide to potty train, I plant the seed beforehand.  I told LLG (my third munchkin) he was going to learn to use the potty after Easter.  Easter was a month away at the time.  He didn't like this deadline, and initially he resisted the idea.  I persisted.  We discussed the bathroom.  We visited the bathroom.  I took him to buy underpants and we set them neatly in his drawer.

Before we knew it Easter was upon us, and I stayed true to my word.  One morning after Easter he woke up and I whipped out the underpants.

He had only three accidents that day.  He had one accident the next day.  After the second day, he never had an accident again.

Tip #4Don't create a power struggle.  Once the underpants are on, they are on to stay.  Diapers and pull ups are for naps and bedtime.  If you are worried about an accident in public, put a pair of underwear on and put a diaper over top.

Once those Diego undies are washed and in place, there is no turning back.  I never say die.  I suffer through accident after accident.  I stay home and we learn the potty.  Potty training is MUCH harder on us than it is on them.  Our freedom disappears until the training process is over.

If I have to go anywhere, I take short trips.  I keep the toddler potty in the trunk of my car and we use it before going into a store.

The underwear never disappears.  I always felt that if I allowed my munchkin to go back to a diaper, he or she would discover that a resistance to the potty will bring back the almighty diaper.  

I start with a small potty, the kind that goes on the floor in the bathroom.  My kids were always terribly afraid of that porcelain throne that sucks water down fast and ferociously.  My kids found the small, personal toilets less threatening. 

Training in my house begins in the morning.  I feed them juice.  And water.  And milk.  And when they are walking like they've been riding a horse for six hours I run them to their potty.

Usually the first pee is on the floor.  And the next is in their pants.  And then they pee the floor again.  Eventually, they pee in the potty.  And after one pee in the potty, the whole idea of using the toilet is not scary anymore.

Tip #5:  Be consistent.  Be patient.  Accidents will happen.  Clean them up and move on.

After three days, I have always seen that "Oprah ah ha" moment in my munchkin.  They start to get it.  The accidents suddenly lessen and the laundry pile is less damp.

And I can see the light at the end of tunnel.

Until of course, they need to go #2.  And then you are on your own.  I recommend many books and allowing them to poop in that diaper at bedtime if need be.  Little tummies can get very uncomfortable if they are holding their poops.  And just like with the pee, they will get one on that potty.  And once they do, it will not seem so scary anymore.

Happy Training!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

St. Patrick's Day: Rainbow Cupcakes

Oh nellie this has to be fast.  Moopa's occupational therapist will be here in fifty minutes.  There are cupcake crumbs on the counters and I am still in pink flannel pants.  Time escaped me this morning.  As usual.

These little guys are great for St. Patrick's Day.  A little "over the rainbow" and a lot of sugar.  Just what every munchkin desires.

St. Patrick's Day Rainbow Cupcakes

One box white cake mix, prepared
One container vanilla icing
Assorted food coloring (I used red, blue, green)
Cupcake liners
Green sugar for decorating

Prepare cupcake mix.  Separate batter evenly into four small bowls.  Using food coloring, tint batter in 3 of the bowls, each a different color.  Leave one bowl with the plain batter.

Spoon the batter into cupcake liners, alternating colors.  I find they look best when you finish with the standard un-tinted cupcake batter on top. 

Bake as directed.  I bake at 350 for 15 minutes.  Cool.

Frost generously with icing.  I tinted mine green and rolled edges on green decorator sugars.


Monday, March 12, 2012

A Small Spectator

Saturday, our household had to divide and conquer.  Our schedule had a gymnastics meet, a basketball game and a father's game afterward.  Hubby took our Sports Fanatic to his basketball game.  I don't think I would have fared well playing in the father's game.

I took our Gymnastics Queen to her meet, which was only forty minutes away.  Thank heavens.

Earlier in the week, LLG (our daughter's resident B.F.F.), expressed interest in joining me at the gymnastics meet.  I explained to him that gymnastics meets take a few hours.  Sometimes they take several hours.  I have been to a few that have taken all day.

He insisted he wanted to come along and watch, and our Gymnastics Queen really wanted him there.  I agreed to bring him along, and was happy to have the company.  My daughter was happy he could finally see her compete.  LLG was happy to bring his DSi. 

It was a win-win-win.

Our first event was floor, and sometime in the middle of the routines LLG's DSi ran out of battery power.  He took this well.  He watched his sister and made observations I normally overlook, such as a small fly buzzing around the ceiling. 

After the floor rotation LLG looked up at me and asked if the meet was over.  I had to break the news.  He had to sit through three more events.  His eyes widened with surprise.  But he didn't complain. 

He asked for many snacks, but he didn't complain.

And so he sat, playing games on my phone and consuming snacks.  He sat with me through each event and several awards.  He sat for a total of five hours.

When LLG was able to see his sister after the meet, he was mighty proud.  I can't say for sure if it was for her or that he sat so long, but he was proud nonetheless.
And so was I.  I couldn't have been more proud of my gymnast or my little spectator.  My daughter had a personal best on vault and a phenomenal 9.2 bar routine.  My spectator thought up some pretty impressive words playing "Word Mole" on my phone.

Bodies and brains at work. 

These kids make my heart sing.

Happy Monday!

Friday, March 9, 2012

White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yesterday, there was a small window of time during which I had to leave for work and Hubby was still at work.

It happens.

I am eternally blessed because all that was needed was a phone call to my Dad.  His only request for his services? 

White chocolate chip cookies. 

I happily obliged.  

White Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup butter, soft
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 (12oz) bag white chocolate chips
1 cup macadamia nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350.

Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy.

Add eggs, one at a time.  Mix well, add vanilla.

Sift together dry ingredients.  Turn mixer to slow (slowest possible) and gradually add dry mixture to batter.

Stir in chips (and nuts) by hand.  Scoop heaping tablespoons of dough onto cookie sheets.  Bake 12-14 minutes, until edges lightly browned.

Remove and cool on sheet one minute, move to wire rack and cool completely.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Spring is in the Air

These past few days, the weather has been mighty mild for March.  Today the sun is shining and the temperature is somewhere above 60 degrees.

I am jacket free when I leave the house and my feet are in flip flops.  My toes can hardly contain themselves.  Today the glider is open and the breeze is cleansing my house of winter air.

Yesterday the kids were outside.  They examined bugs.
And played basketball.
While they entertained themselves and soaked up vitamin D, I took down the remaining Christmas lights.  Embarrassing.  I assure you I haven't lit them since New Year's Eve, and they blended into the shrubbery. 

Poor excuses.  I never thought I'd be that house.
When the shrubs were free of outdated Christmas decor, I switched my front porch flag from snowman to Spring.
 Hello tattered, loved, torn Mary Engelbreit flag.  How I've missed you.
In the words of Mary, "No matter where you go, there you are."

Make the best of it.

Happy almost weekend.  Enjoy the sun if it's shining!


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Isn't That the Truth?

Leaving Barnes and Noble yesterday, with a cold Frappuccino in hand, I drove by this minivan in the parking lot.
In case you can't read the sticker, it reads "I used to be cool."

I couldn't get a great picture because I was using my phone.  And driving slow.  And I was trying to look inconspicuous while taking pictures of another mom's car.

All the while, I was realizing how not cool I am.

At least I'm not the only one.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Crumbs Bake Shop

On Sunday night, after thirteen hours waiting tables, I arrived home and opened the fridge.  This is what I saw.
Surprised, I removed the curious bag from my refrigerator.  Inside this bag were some of the most decadent, gigantic cupcakes I have ever laid my trans-fat loving eyes on.

My brother, who just celebrated the big 3-0 (he's single and quite a catch ladies) lives in New York City.  My father arranged a birthday brunch for him on Sunday morning.  I could not attend this brunch, because I was serving it at another location.  In uniform.

My brother missed his train out of the city because he was in line, buying cupcakes for his family at Crumbs Bake Shop on 42nd Street.  What a love.  He was forced to splurge on an overpriced car service to get to his own birthday brunch.

But the man brought cupcakes.  Cupcakes in flavors we have never experienced.  Grasshopper, cookie dough, cookies and cream, peanut butter cup, coconut and more.

Yesterday I ate half of the grasshopper cupcake.  LLG made it clear that was his first choice, so I shared.

I forced the fork down and away from the minty delicious-ness.  Only for one of my munchkins could I muster up such self control.

This morning I have been slowly chipping away at the coconut cupcake.  It's been delightful.

If you care to visit a Crumbs Bake Shop (my friend Maria loves their cakes) they have several locations.  They also ship if you prefer to buy cupcakes in your pajamas.

I guarantee happy tummies.  Maybe not happy scales, but happy tummies.  And cardio will take care of the scale.

Happy Trails!

*This is NOT a sponsored post.  Crumbs Bake Shop doesn't know me or my sweet-loving blog.*

Monday, March 5, 2012

The AT&T American Cup

On Saturday, I took my Gymnastics Queen to the AT&T American Cup in New York City.  One of the moms from her gymnastics team suggested we take the girls to an elite gymnastics competition.

Currently, it doesn't get more elite than Jordyn Wieber. 
The meet began with the men's events, which didn't hold the attention of the little girls on our team for long.  They were a squirmy group.  Sharing popcorn and passing binoculars.

They were anxiously awaiting the great Jordyn Wieber.  And when she finally took the floor, the girls settled in and cheered her name.  Er, screamed her name.  I felt like I was at a Justin Bieber concert.

But it wasn't "Bieber".  They were cheering for "Wieber".  And the music was better (sorry Justin).
During commercial breaks the girls stood up and danced in the hopes the cameras would show them on the Jumbotron.  I laughed remembering what it was like to be eight.

 ... "If we dance the best they will show us on the big television!"...

In between squeezing sideways every few minutes so a little one could go to the bathroom, I watched these men and women in amazement.  I checked the program after each event, marveling at how young these athletes are and how much they have accomplished.  Gymnastics requires great strength and discipline.  I see the work my daughter does each night she practices and my abs ache just watching.

In the end, Jordyn Wieber won the women's All Around Title.  Danell Leyva won the men's All Around Title.  And after these gymnasts received their medals, myself and my friend Maria took our girls to enjoy a little of New York City.

Thank you Maria, for guiding us.  And driving us.  And bringing us to buy some of the tastiest, tiniest cupcakes we have ever eaten.

Have a great week everyone!

Friday, March 2, 2012

"...It's the Weekend..." Recipes

My camera is out of commission.  I am without a tool to document my cooking and baking adventures.  And to share whimsical strange moments occurring daily in this crazy house.

Without a method of sharing my own waist expanding desserts with my lovely readers, I thought it would be nice to share a few desserts I am ooohhhing and ahhhing over this morning.

And because it's the weekend (hence post title), treats are allowed. 

In moderation of course.

Do you see this layers of trans fat heaven?  I could take a fork and eat every square on this plate.  Every. Last.  One. 

Courtesy of Keep it Sweet

Can you even imagine?  Give me a cola and about three of these!

Courtesy of A Little Bit Funky

Wouldn't it be grand if your munchkins woke up to these fryin' tomorrow morning?  And wouldn't it be even more grand for you because they are made from refrigerated biscuit dough?  The kind you grab in the butter aisle?

Amen sista.

Happy Friday to you and your waistline! 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

An Unconventional Car Service

Yesterday, it snowed.  Then it hailed.  Then it rained.  The roads were a slushy, slippery mess and even my super-powered space heater could not warm my bones.

I think my teeth chattered all afternoon.

As fate would have it, on one of the only snowy days this winter, I had to work.  The very thought of driving under such weather conditions gave me agita.  My driving skills leave little to be desired on a good day, let alone with a layer of slippery slush between my tires and the road.

There are two men in my life that know me better than I know myself.  These lucky men are Hubby and my Dad.  They answer every time I call and they they listen to all my crazy.

Love them to bits.

After voicing my concern about getting to work last night, my Dad told me he would drive me and pick me up.  I told him I would take myself.  I could handle it.

He told me again he would take me, he didn't mind.  I told him that's nutty, and out of his way.

After I dressed in my blue shirt and black pants, and touched up my makeup, Hubby told me he would drive me to work in the truck.  I assured him I would be fine driving.  He assured me I wouldn't be and insisted he drop me off.

And so he did.  We were barely out of the drive and I was beyond relieved I was not steering that wheel.

Later that night my Dad, cozy in front of the television at 10:00pm, walked out to his Jeep in the bitter damp cold, and picked me up. 

And then he drove fifteen minutes past his house to take me home.  And waited in my drive until he saw I was safe inside.

And then he drove fifteen minutes back to his house and his television set.

My family is my rock.  My home base.  And they are just about the only ones who will cart my ass back and forth to work because I'm too afraid to drive in snow.
Happy Trails!