Monday, March 31, 2014

Caramel Marshmallow Brownies

I'm going to be honest.  I don't have much luck with brownies.  If I don't stick to my standard brownie recipe all hell breaks loose.  They don't bake through, they fall apart when I cut them or they are too dry and cake-like.  All of these things make me very hesitant to try a new recipe, play with my current recipe or ever declare I am bringing brownies to any event.


This Saturday, I must have been feeling extremely optimistic because I decided to make brownies for a small soiree we hosted.  Not only did I make brownies, I added caramel.  And marshmallows. 

They were the best freakin' brownies I've ever tasted.  I promise.  Even better?  They are uber easy.  I'm not going to send you out for anything other than brownie mix, mini-marshmallows, milk chocolate chips and caramel bits.

That's it.

I used Caramel Baking Bits from Kraft, and they worked perfectly.  I'm sure any melted/baking caramel will work, I just happened to have success with the Kraft variety.  I actually got the idea for these brownies off the back of the package, and then created something a little more my style.

Brownie Mix, prepared
Caramel bits
1 cup mini marshmallows 
1 cup milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 and prepare 9x13 baking dish by lining with aluminum foil.  Make sure the foil goes over the edges and completely lines the pan.  Grease well.  

Prepare brownie mix as directed on package (if you have the option of two or three eggs, use two.  You are looking for "fudge-y" brownies.) Pour 1/2 of brownie mix into pan and bake for 18-20 minutes, until top is JUST firm to touch.  Bottom should still be raw.

Remove from oven and melt caramel in microwave.  Pour over top of brownie and spread gently with spatula.  Sprinkle milk chocolate chips and mini-marshmallows over top (if desired).  Top with remaining brownie mix.

Bake another 18-20 minutes, until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.  Remember you will have melted chocolate from the chips, it's brownie batter you don't want to see on that toothpick.

Let brownies cool in pan for 20-30 minutes, then gently lift the tinfoil and allow to cool another 20 minutes.  USE A PLASTIC KNIFE TO CUT THE BROWNIES - it works.  Cut them while they are still warm, cool completely before packaging, wrapping or stacking.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Krispy Fairy Wings

We're kind of into fairies around here.  My four year old daughter is a Tinkerbell fan, and Disney Junior has been including Disney Fairy movies quite often in the afternoon lineup.  Naturally, we're pretty stoked about The Pirate Fairy release on DVD and Blu-ray on April 1st.  What my little one doesn't know is that she'll have to wait until Easter to enjoy the movie.

That's the way the cookie crumbles around here.  
With Disney Fairies on the brain, and an afternoon at home to craft something delicious, I decided to make fairy wings out of Krispy Treats.  The fabulous thing about these goodies (other than they're easy and delicious) is that if you buy the packaged Krispy Treats you don't even have to make your own.
I made these from packaged treats.  I had them on hand and didn't feel the need to make the process longer than necessary.  
For the record, you may have to stipulate that you are making Fairy Wings.  The problem with wings and no fairy is the wings look like a butterfly.  
So say it loud and often, "Let's make fairy wings!"... "Look at these gorgeous fairy wings!"...
You get the idea.
To craft these tasty treats, either unwrap the krispies or cut your homemade krispies into rectangles.  You'll need to make the rectangles as close to the same size as possible.  
To shape the wings, you need two rectangles (one for each wing).  Take a sharp knife and trim two ends off of the same side diagonally, and cut a small triangle from the middle of the opposite side.  Since I know this make ZERO sense I attached an image:
From here, you'll need to attach the two wings with a glob of icing, and frost the wings.  If you have food coloring, tint the icing different colors.  From here I asked my daughter to join in, and she had a jolly time sprinkling the wings with different sprinkles and candies. 
These little desserts did not last more than a day in my house.  Once the older kids walked in the door from school they sniffed them right out.

*If you have a butterfly cookie cutter, and you made your own krispies, you can also just cut the shape from the krispie pan instead of attaching two wings.*

Share with me some great crafts and activities you do with your kids. I'd love to hear them!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Colin Kaepernick

We're football crazy around here.  My boys play, Hubby coaches and we all love to watch.  A few months ago, right after the 49ers lost their playoff game ending their Superbowl hopes for the season, my eight year old wrote Colin Kaepernick a letter.

I wish I copied it, because it was one of the cutest things I'd seen in a long time.  It went something like this:

Dear Colin Kaepernick,

I'm a Giants fan but you're one of my favorite players....I'm sorry you lost your playoff'll get to the Superbowl next is my favorite sport and one day I want to be a quarterback like you...

You get the idea.  Add in a bunch of spelling mistakes, more adorable details and an ending that says:

I don't have a card for you to sign or anything.  I don't need you to mail me anything back. Here is my address if you want to but you really don't have to....

I mailed this letter.  I never thought about it again because we sent no self addressed stamped envelope like they require for return mail.  Last week, when I got the mail there was a thick envelope hand stamped, hand written addressed to my son.  In the top left of the envelope where the return address is had just "KAP."

All I'm thinking is, what company is writing to my eight year old?  What on Earth is this?  So I ripped it open.

And immediately regretted it.
What I did next was what any good mother would do; I taped it all back up and pretended it was damaged in the mail.

I'm not naive enough to think that Colin sat and addressed a letter to my son, I can't even say for sure if he signed the letter.  I'm just in awe that someone over there at the 49ers read my son's letter and sent him actual mail.  Not a mass mailing, but hand stamped MAIL.

This day in age no one will foot the bill for your stamp.  No one.  Cheers to the 49ers, and whoever works in Colin Kaepernick's corner.  My older son sent Philip Rivers at least six letters WITH self addressed stamped envelopes and he never received anything in return. 

Poo on you Phil.  

Needless to say, when my younger son returned home from school that afternoon and I told him he had mail he was excited.  Any mail is exciting.  But when he opened it and saw where it was from?

Priceless.  As hard as he tried, the kid could not stop smiling.
Happy Wednesday all!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Jillian Michaels: Maximize Your Life Tips

Yesterday I saw Jillian Michaels.  She wasn't walking the street or at the coffee shop, she was on stage spilling all of her knowledge on how to "maximize your life."

It was pretty interesting.

I'm going to be a love and share with all of you what I learned in those two hours.  Although I'm not quite as exciting as Jillian, I will save you $49 and maybe help you get started loving yourself and your life more than you already do right now.

Because we all should be loving on ourselves.  

Jillian started the show with this.  Eat less, move more.  We all laughed as she explained how those four words have made her millions of dollars.  Such a simple concept, and yet we all chase this notion that there is an easier way.  If you are looking to lose, all you need to do is burn more than you ingest.  It's that simple.  

While the quality of food is important, it's the calories that determine if you lose weight.  That being said, how you eat will translate into how you feel and how your body stores fat.  The food industry has pumped hormones, antibiotics and tons of processed man made junk into our foods.  To hit this message home, Jillian invited a show-goer to the stage and asked her to open wide, while holding a can of bug spray to her mouth.

Eye opener.

The lesson?  READ LABELS.  Below is a screenshot of Jillian's site, with the chemicals/additives/crap we all need to avoid.  Her instructions?  Spend the next two weeks reading labels, and once you get an idea of what you can buy it will be easy.  

Jillian shared with us the Clean Fifteen, which are the fifteen foods you can buy if you can't afford organic. They have less chemicals and pesticides.  Next to the clean fifteen is the Dirty Dozen, which are the twelve foods you SHOULD NOT BUY unless they are organic.


Every little change counts, and as we make changes we'll feel better and see results.  I remember watching Denise Austin every morning on the Lifetime network (those were the days).  Denise was a huge advocate of 80/20, or eating well 80% of the time, and treating yourself 20% of the time.  Make good choices most of the day, but have your treats too.  Jillian said the exact same thing.  Don't deprive yourself.  Don't make yourself crazy cutting out bread or chocolate.

Just eat less of it.

Once we have the food down, we need to MOVE.  If you exercise hard, you don't need a ton of exercise.  How you move is just as important as how much you move.  Jillian exercises a half hour, four days a week.  Pretty amazing.  

To lose weight, you need to know how much you burn, and you need to eat LESS.  Here is a link to Jillian's page on Active Metabolic Rate.  Remember one pound of fat is 3500 calories, and until you burn 3500 calories more than you eat, you won't lose a pound.

It's that simple.

The last piece of Jillian's puzzle was to LOVE YOURSELF FIRST.  

As Lucille Ball said, "Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world."
In a nutshell, this was Jillian's message.  As women, we tend to worry about everyone around us and ourselves LAST.  It's okay to treat yourself, to spend time with yourself and to speak nicely to and about yourself.
Other people will treat us exactly how we treat ourselves.  If we radiate positive other people will see positive things.  If we project negative, we receive negative.  The key to loving life is loving ourselves, and taking chances even though we're afraid of failure.
Fear is paralyzing, which explains why so many of us stay in the same place.
And lastly, my favorite part of the show, "don't be a dick."
Cheers to that.  
Happy Monday everyone.  

Friday, March 21, 2014

A New (Disney Planning) Favorite

It's no secret, I love Disney World.  I love traveling to Florida in general, especially this time of year when it's cold and gray up north.  Even in April and May the weather still isn't quite warm enough for me in the northeast.  A huge bonus to Florida is I can usually find very inexpensive airfare, which is a huge deal with a family of six.

Since I love Disney and I love Florida, I try to share everything I find that is helpful with all of my readers.

One of my new finds is Orlando  The site has tons of very useful travel information for families, some of which I've never seen on a Disney vacation planning site before.  I'll be the first to admit I don't often cruise vacation sites, but I have planned many vacations.  I've had to look for resorts and try to find how close they are to everything my family wanted to do on vacation.  I've tried to view pictures and availability.  This site is one of the easiest to navigate, and I didn't have to click through tons of links to find what I needed.  One of the biggest issues with staying outside Disney World is finding a hotel or home within a reasonable distance to the parks.  I love, love, LOVE that in every hotel I checked the distance to all the theme parks was clearly stated, and visible with the map feature. 

Some families don't mind driving twenty minutes to get to the Magic Kingdom, while other families want to be right outside the gates.  Orlando is a headache-saver for families staying outside the parks. I've had dozens of parents email me inquiring about staying outside of Disney World.  Truthfully I can never help much, other than mentioning a few of the hotels I know personally.  This site lists the many possibilities for families, and how far each one is to Disney as well as other theme parks.

So cool.

Along with the vacation quoting feature, I enjoyed reading the many articles and tips from Orlando locals.  There are links from everything to traveling while pregnant to traveling to Disney with Autistic children.  Add in a budgeting tool and planning help? This site has all the valuable information parents need in one place to plan a vacation.  

Even if you aren't looking to quote a trip just yet, check out Orlando  I feel it's an amazing resource for families traveling to Orlando.

Happy Weekend everyone!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

How Have Your Kids Changed You? (and a $100 Visa Gift Card Giveaway!)

I married when I was twenty.  I was young, selfish and I wanted things the way I wanted them.  I've always had a good heart and I've always been kind, but my life experience was limited.  I'd only ever had to care for myself and I'd only ever worried about my schedule.

I babysat and I watched after younger siblings, but at the end of the day I wasn't in charge.  I handed them back and went back to a life centered on myself.

And then at the ripe age of 21, I had my son.

After my honeymoon, I got pregnant right away.  Being raised in a family with six kids, I knew I wanted to be a mom.  I couldn't wait.  I remember the shock when I peed on that stick, Two lines?  Really?  I peed on another one.  Two lines again.  In total I peed on six sticks before I told my dog I was pregnant.

When Hubby came home from work I ran out the front door of our new house and he knew right then and there life would never be the same.

That first night in the hospital with my newborn, I stayed awake all night just looking at him.  He was perfect.  I kept thinking, I can't believe he's mine.  I'm responsible for this person.  I will never, ever forget those moments I spent with him, examining him in the moonlight that shone through my hospital window.

The next morning, the nurse came in and asked how many wet diapers he'd had.  I looked at her confused.  How was I supposed to know?

And then it dawned on me.  Oh my gosh! I'm responsible for this person.  I'm supposed to be changing his diapers!  From that minute on I never skipped a beat.  I poured myself into caring for my new baby.  He became my everything, and I became the back up dancer in my own life.

And somehow, I didn't care one bit.

Today, four kids deep, I can honestly say my life began the day I became a mom.  I can remember what life was like before, but I can't relate to who I was at all.  I'm more compassionate, patient, loving and much less judgmental.  I'll never forget that nurse asking me how many dirty diapers my son had that first night we were in the hospital.  It was the moment I grew up and became a "Mama."  It was the moment I realized the world does not revolve around me; someone more important would be needing my help for a very long time.

Motherhood is a journey that taught me lessons I would otherwise never have learned.  And I'm eternally grateful.

Dreamworks' film Delivery Man stars Vince Vaughn (love him!) as David, an unreliable single man who hasn't found his purpose in life.  He learns that through a mix-up at a fertility clinic he is the father of 533 children, and he embarks on a journey to make sense of the mistake.  As he starts to find his biological kids, he discovers more about himself, life and love than he ever knew before.

I know the feeling.

Delivery Man is available on Blu-ray, DVD and digital HD March 25.  This is definitely going to be on the list for movie night in my house, and you can order it now through Amazon. To learn more about the movie check out its Facebook page.

For a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card, comment below and tell me:

How have your kids changed you for the better?  (Don't forget a contact email!)
Sweepstakes Rules: No duplicate comments. You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods: Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry. This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winner will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected. The Official Rules are available here. This sweepstakes runs from 3/20/14 – 4/19/14. Be sure to visit the Delivery Man page on where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

I did it. I Bought Frozen.

On my just about daily Target trip with my four year old (don't judge) we came across a very special display.  Right in front of us, blockading the aisle and forcing us to slow down, was Frozen.

On sale.

I'm extremely frugal, especially with non-essentials such as a new movie.  But considering my ten year old watched the entire movie scene by scene on youtube with my other two littles, I thought this movie could be a worthwhile purchase.  Something to bring them together on nights homework is done and the air is chilly; a place for them to relax on weekends when I just need some space.  

And so I did it.  I spent $14.99 on a DVD for the first time in years.  The family in front of me in line also splurged.  And another little girl screaming her head off that she didn't want her new movie anymore also was the proud owner of  Frozen.  For the record her grandmother should have returned that movie asap with the scene that child was making.  Instead she bought her crackers, which may be one of the biggest child rearing problems in America today.

Oh you're screaming and crying because I bought you a new movie that every little girl in America would flip over?  You insist you don't want it in the middle of this lovely Target cafe?  Let me buy you some crackers.  How about a slushie?  A new toy maybe?

Anyhow, my daughter was not screaming about how awful it is to own a new movie.  She was ready to dance the jig, all, "this is totally awesome my mom bought me something that isn't edible or wearable!  Pigs must be flying somewhere over the United States today!"

Happy Tuesday all.  Go grab your Frozen DVD, it will be a worthwhile childcare investment for weeks to come.

P.S. If your child makes a scene about how awful it is to have the movie, I beg you to return it and make her wait another week.  Cheers.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Celebrating "Life"

On Thursday, my younger sister left for the adventure of a lifetime.  She flew from Chicago to San Francisco to meet, for the very first time, her bone marrow recipient.

This story starts in 2012, and you can read part one and part two if you feel like a good sniffle.

In June of 2012, my sister got a call from the bone marrow registry she was a match for a mother in her 40's who was dying of Preleukemia. 

My sister didn't hesitate, and donated her marrow to a mystery mom somewhere in the United States.  Due to privacy laws, one year had to pass before either party could reach out and introduce themselves.  They wrote letters, sent through the registry program to keep locations and identities private.  My sister learned this woman had four boys, she was a believer and lover of Christ and she was healing.  My sister gave her marrow in September of 2012, and by March of 2013 my sister's cells had regenerated in the recipient giving her two sets of DNA and a new lease on life.

The recipient, nicknamed "Life" was in remission.

In September, my sister's information was released and she was contacted by Lorri, her recipient.  It was one of the best days of my sister's life.  She called me shaking, still in shock all of this was real.

And this weekend, she was treated by Lorri and her family to a weekend in California.  I'm sharing the video my sister posted, which was created by a friend of Lorri's.

I hope this video leaves you inspired to do better; to love more, feel more and live more.  Life can be unexpected, but it is beautiful.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Easter! (recipes, egg hunts and more)

I know we haven't reached St. Patrick's Day, and I don't want to rush anyone into the month of April.  Well, maybe I do.  I'm so over all this winter nonsense. Easter is approaching, and I'm thrilled.  Along with Easter comes Spring, flowers and sunshine instead of snow.

The Earth comes alive after a long, steady slumber.

In this post, I've collected all my Easter posts and favorites.  All of my readers know I prefer easy and fun, I'm not a fan of twenty step cakes or traditions that send people to fifteen different stores to prepare.  Once in a great while it's nifty to try something intricate or high maintenance, but real life often gets in the way of anything that takes up too much mommy time.

I'm also too in love with sleep to stay up all hours of the night frosting cakes.

(super for school, playdates or family gathering with plenty of cousins)

(easy, festive and a great grab and nibble dessert)

(fancy cake balls. That's all.)

(never give a boring basket again!)

(stop with the jelly beans already!)

(I love to make the kids wear these while hunting for eggs)

(my favorite Easter tradition)

Have an recipes/tips/traditions you care to share? I'd love to hear them! 

Happy Thursday everyone!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Staying Connected with Your Kids (yes, it's possible)

I like to start every "parenting" post with this:

I'm no expert.  I have four fab kids and I think I do a pretty good job.  That being said, I make mistakes. I yell, I forget to pack plastic spoons with the yogurt and once in a great while the kids dig through the hamper for clothes.

In my almost thirteen (gasp) years of parenting, I've realized that once kids start going to school it becomes a challenge to really know what is going on inside those walls.  Some kids are better than others (girls usually), but most of the time after school discussions go like this:

How was your day?


Have any tests?


Do you have homework?


How much?

"Not much." 

These discussions don't tell us much about how school really was; they're like trying to change the channel with wrong remote.  It looks good but it does NOTHING.  My method of getting to know a little more about school, friends or anything is to just open a window.

I ask what the best part of their day was, and the worst.  I ask who they sat next to at lunch and who they played with at recess.  I ask what they ate first out of their lunchbox and what they are making in art class.

Every time we sit for dinner we go around in a circle and everyone answers the same question.  If we don't have dinner I get them at bedtime or homework time.  I get them when they aren't preoccupied on a video game or watching a television show.

The key is getting them.  I've realized on many occassions a happy smile after school doesn't mean school went well.  Sometimes kids are just happy to be home.  My best friend didn't speak a word in school until fifth grade, yet she talked all the time at home.

These are the things parents need to be on top of; the little things that lead to the big things.  Not every conversation will lead to giant "aha" moments; most of them will just keep you connected to your kids.  You'll have opportunities to teach them how to be kind, what is appropriate and what maybe wasn't the best idea ("I couldn't study I had gymnastics" written on the top of a test? Not so much).

But every few weeks you might open that window and talk for an hour about something that is really bothering them at school.  Or a friend who isn't being so nice.  The conversations I love are the ones that shed light on issues that don't have to big problems, but kids don't know how to maneuver them.  Which makes them big problems.

There is nothing more rewarding at this stage in the game than giving my kids perspective. 

Happy Tuesday everyone.  Grill your children after school today.  "Good" is not an answer.  Neither is "I don't remember," I don't know" or "nothing."

See what you get out of them, it just might surprise you.

Monday, March 10, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Treats

We are one week out from St. Patrick's Day. Instead of another "I'm so excited Spring is coming post!" I've decided to post something useful.  Every once in a great while I like to be useful.

In no particular order, here are a few of the St.Patrick's Day things I'm currently crushing on.  Any one of them is sure to light up anyone's face next Monday.

Something Swanky's Rainbow Poke Cake.  How freakin' adorable is this? 
Better than a Pot O' Golden Oreos... #Rainbow Poke #Cake from

Cake Student shared this Over the Rainbow Bread.  Seriously?  Rainbow bread? Imagine toasting this for breakfast!

Over the Rainbow Bread 

As if the first two recipes weren't sending you to the store for food coloring already, I'm tossing in the rainbow pancakes from I Am Baker.


Just in case you're not the baking/cooking/food coloring type, these little Lucky Day Mason Jars from Bitz and Giggles are perfect for the Hubby, the kids, the neighbor, your bff...

You get the idea.  

What's your favorite St. Patty's Day treat? 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Signs of Spring

Yesterday, on my gymnastics "run" (the day I drive the girls to gym) I was delighted to see Spring all around me.  The sun was shining, the track team was running and my favorite ice cream stand was up and pumping out soft serve.

There were excited customers bundled in coats waiting out in the sunshine for their first cone of the season.  All of sudden winter and all it's "blah" disappeared.  It was still freezing, but there were signs of life.  People! Runners! Sun! Ice Cream!

It was all I needed to suddenly feel excited and hopeful for the warm days ahead.  Spring is a true time of awakening; the animals, the earth, the soul.  Everything wakes up after a long, happy slumber.

To celebrate all of the Spring excitement, I parked myself in the sun, cracked the window and soaked it all in.  Literally.  I just sat, looking like some sort of mom freak, face to the warm sunny sky. 

The air and the warmth were heavenly.  It was a ll I needed to recharge before I encountered all the "gym drama" that accompanies the weeks before state competitions. 

Happy Friday, even better news? We Spring ahead this weekend.  Sunlight at 7pm?  Yes please!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Rock your DISNEY Side! (room and ticket deals!)

I'm super excited.  I have a killer offer for you that can only be purchased through my travel planning partners Destinations in Florida.

Walt Disney World Resort is hosting a "Rock Your Disney Side" party from 6am on May 23rd to 6am on May 24th.  Twenty four hours of nonstop Disney fun.  They are inviting guests (and kids of course) to dress up and join the party and enjoy selected rides, shows and attractions.

Destinations in Florida has deeply discounted room rates (starting at $117/night plus tax) and even 10% off gate price tickets (try finding a Disney ticket at 10% off)  for this fab-tabulous event.  You also have the option to purchase after 2pm and after 4pm tickets.  I haven't even mentioned that Hollywood Studios is hosting Star Wars Weekends at the same time as this incredible offer.  Truly fun for all ages!

Can you think of a better place to spend Memorial Day weekend?
Some general event details for y'all...

• Hours of operation for the event will take place from 6:00 AM, May 23, 2014 to 6:00 AM, May 24, 2014.
• Only select attractions, entertainment and services will be available.
• Valid theme park admission is required.
• Event is subject to restrictions and change without notice.

Costume Details:
• Costumes should be child-friendly and adhere to any guidelines determined by Disney.
• Costumes should not be obstructive, offensive or violent; drag on the ground; contain sharp objects, pointed objects or materials that may accidentally strike another Guest; contain any weapons or objects which resemble or could easily be mistaken for an actual weapon.
• Masks may be worn, but they must not obstruct vision, and eyes must be visible at all times.
• Guests who dress like Disney characters may not pose for pictures or sign autographs.
• Guests who do not adhere to these guidelines may be refused admission.

If you have been waiting to pack up and treat the family this is the perfect opportunity.  Just remember to pack your patience as well, this event is sure to attract plenty of Disney families!

If you talk to Jenn Greene when you call, tell her I say hello! 


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Homemade Whole Wheat Pancakes

It's National Pancake Day! (or so I'm told.)

Last week, during what felt like our 100th storm of the season, I made my munchkins pancakes.

From scratch.

Have you ever made pancakes from scratch?  You feel like you are from the dark ages.  I didn't even know pancakes could be made from anything other than Aunt Jemima until about ten years ago.  

Homemade was boxed pancake mix.   Add milk, oil and eggs. 

I wasn't brave enough to make homemade pancakes until about two years ago.  Until then I was faithful to the lovely Aunt Jemima.

But on my quest to be a domestic goddess I decided a homemade pancake was a skill I needed to master.

There is only one way to accurately describe a pancake made from the ground up.  

Oh Nellie.
They melt in your mouth.

I'm serious.

You take a bite and you feel it melt.  Eating them requires no effort.  It's just pure melt-in-your-mouth enjoyment.

No chewing involved.  

Whenever I make anything from scratch for the munchkins I try to make it healthier than a store bought version.  I like my recipes to have fiber and protein.

Fiber and protein make kids strong like bull.

This recipe will work with white flour, but why use white when they are just as scrumptious with whole wheat flour?

Before we begin I need to mention that I feed a small army.

I make many pancakes.
This pancake tower is leftovers.

If I'm taking the time to make homemade pancakes I like to have leftovers.  The munchkins (and Hubby) love to feast on leftover homemade pancakes.

Thus, this recipe makes approximately 16-18 large pancakes.

Mommyhood's Whole Wheat Pancakes

1 cup perfectionist complex
1/2 cup "I have a box of pancake mix but I'm determined to make my life more difficult"

Combine with:
3 cups whole wheat flour (if whole wheat flour scares you, start with 1/2 whole wheat 1/2 white flour)
2 tbsp Baking Soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup sugar
3 cups skim milk
2 eggs
6 tbsp melted butter

Mix 1st 3 dry ingredients in large bowl with wooden spoon.  Add remaining ingredients and stir until well blended.

Batter may have small lumps, do not overmix

Using ladle pour batter, approximately 1/4 cup at a time, onto lightly greased griddle.

I grease with a little butter.

Gives my pancakes savory, crispy edges. 

Once the pancakes start to bubble on surface, flip.

A few tips for pancakes:

*Flipping more than one or two times may result in tough pancakes.  The melt in your mouth feature I'm promising you will no longer apply.  Flip wisely.

*If the pancakes are cooking up to the size of small decorative pillows, add more milk to the batter.

*If you are going to embark on a "Pancakes From Scratch Adventure", be cool.  Toss in sprinkles, chocolate chips, blueberries, Cocoa Krispies, steak or anything else you can imagine.
Once you have made enough pancakes to feed your small army, melt a tablespoon of butter on the griddle.

Fry up one last pancake with extra crispy edges.

This deep butter fry is not recommended for growing munchkins.  Just parents who like to indulge and then punish themselves on the treadmill.

Make this pancake only after munchkins have left the room or they are totally ignoring you.
If you want them to totally ignore you do not talk on the phone.

Once you are in the clear, with no one paying you any attention, serve this artery clogging pancake to yourself.
And savor every bite.

Mommyhood Footnote An extra ten minutes of cleaning, cardio or general activity is required if you ingest the butter fried pancake.  Mommyhood Rules state that if you decide to indulge, you don't get to loaf around.  Eat, enjoy, and move your arse. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Oscar Love

While not everyone will agree (ever) on whether the Oscar host was entertaining, whether the show was a success or whether who won deserved the statue, I was pleasantly surprised with the show.

Before I begin, I'll share how I enjoy the Oscars.  It involves my bed, snacks and last night, beverages in the Lego Movie cup (courtesy of McDonald's Happy Meals).  Hollywood's biggest night has nothing on my mom sweats.

And now, on to the Oscar love I'm feeling this Monday morn.

I felt the speeches were inspiring, and with no recent election politics was absent.  Thanks the LORD. Nothing drives me batty like actors and actresses using an awards stage as a place to push politics. Watching a show like the Oscars is about celebrating art, and escaping into Hollywood.

If I want politics I can check Facebook.

Matthew McConaughey has long been a favorite actor of mine, and last night he may have become my favorite.  His laid back attitude and love for life and family is heartwarming.  "Alright, alright, alright..." just those words make me smile.  That man rocks and I'm thrilled he won an Oscar.  He is authentic and there is nothing more refreshing than to see someone authentic in Hollywood.

Jared Leto? Every mother in America sends you love.  We had chills when you told the story of a teenage mother who could.  

What a lesson for every mother in any situation.  Money makes things easy, but it doesn't raise kids.  Love and guidance, encouragement and acceptance...they are all in the recipe.  Thanks for reminding us all to keep encouraging those who might not be on the easy road.  

Lupita Nyong'o was a vision in her gown, and her speech was goose-bump worthy.  Yes! Yes! No matter where you are from, your dreams are vivid!  Do you hear that girls?  The world is full of possibilities!  And while you're climbing the ladder to success don't forget where you came from.

I could go on all day with everything I loved about last night's Oscars, but I have a tummy full of Denny's that needs to be burned off on the treadmill.  I'm guilty of inhaling pancakes drizzled with cinnamon and cream cheese glaze...and I may or may not have started picking up random leftovers after lunch and dipping them in the cinnamon cream cheese glaze.  

As Idina Menzel so eloquently sang last night, "Let it Go, Let it Go..." (wasn't that ah-mazing?!) It's time to let it go and hit that hamster wheel.

With this I say Happy Monday.  Back to real life people.