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Friday, November 21, 2014

To Die For Blueberry Muffins

I'm not a muffin girl.  I like them but wouldn't "choose" a muffin if there was something else to eat.  So, I've only made them here and there and I always use a different recipe.  Claire was asking for Blueberry Muffins so I went searching again and found these. I don't know if "to die for" works for me but they are really good.  The batter is thick enough to hold the blueberries so they don't sink.  They are sweet enough without being too sweet.  Sturdy enough to travel.  Good texture.  In other words, I'd make them again.

What you'll need:

Muffin
1 1/2 C All-purpose Flour
3/4 C Sugar

1/2 t Salt

2 t Baking Powder

1 Egg
1/3 C Milk
1 C frozen Blueberries

The wet ingredients aren't "exact" but close.  Put the 1/3 C oil in a 1 cup measurement.  Add egg.  Fill the cup with milk.  Add to the dry ingredients.  Fold in blueberries.  I used an ice cream scoop and almost filled the liners.

Topping
1/2 C Sugar
1/3 C Flour
1/4 C Butter, cubed
1 1/2 t Cinnamon

Top with topping.  Bake at 325 for 15-18 minutes.  Toothpick inserted in center will tell you if they're done.  If you are using fresh blueberries you can up the temp to 350.

I doubled the muffin mix and did NOT double the topping and had plenty.  It made 18 muffins.

Ready for the oven.

Out of the oven looking yummy!

Bursting with blueberries!!  YUM!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Baby Carriage Cupcakes

One of my favorite people came over to help me make some cupcakes.  Baby shower cupcakes to be exact.  These are putsy and a bit time consuming.  I would only do these for someone I love because putsy is NOT my thing but having this cute face helping made it all a little better:)

What you'll need:
Cake mix made according to package directions (use milk instead of water)
Mini Vanilla Wafers
Frosting in a couple of colors
Assorted sprinkles or baby M&Ms if you want to make them more fun

Bake, cool, frost with your favorite frosting.  I forgive you if you want to use canned:)  Frost half white and half with pink or blue.  Put your mini vanilla wafers on now so they stick.  Use a third color, we picked yellow to pipe on the wheel spokes and carriage portion over the white.  If you look at the photo it will all make sense.

We opted to use mini chocolate chips for the eyes because honestly, I was too lazy to use another frosting bag.


Putting the liners in.

Mixing it up.

 TA DA!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Sweet Sixteen

Savanah had her Sweet Sixteen back in July.  She did something pretty cool.  She asked to have her party at Feed My Starving Children.  It's an organization that depends on volunteers to package meals to send to "starving" children all over the country.  So that's what we did.  25 of us (the youngest was 5 and the oldest was 82) put on hairnets and packaged meals for an hour and a half.  I can't remember how many boxes we did but let's just say, we were ROCK STARS!

 Getting directions
 At the food packaging station.
 All done and waiting to hear the total for our hard work.

Then we headed back to Chantel's to celebrate how fabulous she was.  Chantel did this awesome treat station in Savanah's favorite colors.  Yes, all the candy was blue, pink or purple!!  We each got to make our own goodie bag of treats to bring home.  Between you and I, I think this should be at EVERY party.  Heck, it should be at anything you go to;)

The problem was she didn't want a cake.  She wanted cookies and brownies which I made but you can't have a Sweet 16 without a cake?!?  What the heck was that child thinking?!?  I told her she was getting a cake and she agreed on one condition, NO stars.  All the Sweet 16 cakes I could find had stars of some sort on them.  I thought they were super cute.  She didn't share my opinion;)  So, I came up with this.  The 16 and her name is made out of white chocolate.  Those little purple balls?  Those are over-sized Sixlets.  Brilliant!  They're my new favorite thing.  Inside the large cupcake were pink and purple M&Ms.



Here's the beautiful birthday girl!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Iced Coffee

So everyone knows that I'm NOT a coffee drinker.  Had never really had more than a sip or two. Craig tried for years to entice me with Mochas, Cappuccinos and everything in between but I just didn't like the taste.

Also when you work in a school, people will randomly bring you a treat.  The "treat" involves coffee or some sort quite often.  When you go to a meeting, coffee is always offered and typically NOTHING else.  I've declined more than my share over the years believe me.

Flash forward to August of last year.  School had started and it was HOT.  Our building is NOT air conditioned, well my office is but during the first days, I'm not in my office much.

Now I'm not talking a little warm hot but OMG get me out of here I can't breathe HOT!  It was 109 degrees on our 3rd floor!!  The school district did something I still can't believe, they shut our building down for 3 days until the heat wave moved out.  But in the days before they did, one of the teachers brought me an iced coffee as a thank you.  I smiled and took it with the intention of passing it along to my co-worker but it had a lot of ice.  The ice was clinking and I was hot and thirsty.  So, I added a bunch of cream and sugar, gave it a stir and a slurp and I was HOOKED.   I've always preferred dark chocolate and suddenly the coffee and dark chocolate flavors connected on my taste buds!

I decided I wasn't going to pay a ton for iced coffee when certainly I could make it at home right? RIGHT!  I tried a few variations and it was ok but enter Italian Sweet Cream creamer!!  Make your coffee, throw the pot in the fridge overnight.  Fill your glass with ice, add the coffee and creamer to taste.  You won't need additional sugar because the creamer has enough.




As you can see, I'm still not a "real" coffee drinker.  I like it pretty milky looking BUT it's a nice refreshing drink especially on a hot day but I kinda like it anytime now!  Give it a try, YUMMY!!




Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Miss Claire

Claire also had a pretty awesome accomplishment.  She made the ELITE kick and jazz teams for her dance studio!!  She is one of 3 freshman who made the high school team and she's doing amazing!

I have watched her work her butt off for the last year with that particular goal in mind.  Practicing twice a week with her dance team and then coming home and practicing more.  Practicing hours every single night on her turns, her jumps, her routines.  Stretching, stretching and stretching more to get her splits.  Tons of kicks to get the height she needed and the stamina to blow through a routine with a smile on her face and not breaking a sweat.

She is graceful, she is poised, she is confident and she is beautiful to watch.  When she is doing her lyrical routines I have wiped more than one tear from my face.

The funny thing about Claire is she has tried a lot of things.  Baseball, soccer, ice skating, acting, singing and dancing.  She did it, she enjoyed it and I'd ask, "do you want to do it again" and she'd shrug and say "sure" most of the time.  Dance took a turn for her when she was old enough to compete.  She was always a good dancer but she didn't seem to have that drive to win.  I told her that if she didn't want to win and wasn't willing to leave it all on the dance floor that she was letting her team down because you are judged by your worst dancer and if you aren't giving 110%, you are the worst dancer in my opinion no matter how well you dance.  The light bulb turned on and a competitive dancer was born.  She brings everything to every performance and has a lot of ribbons to show for it.

This year starts a whole new level and the next four years are going to be a wild ride but this girlie is buckled up and ready!


Monday, November 10, 2014

The Jacket

Max lettered in hockey in March and baseball in May.  A pretty big accomplishment for a sophomore and I was beyond proud of him.  His dedication to his teams and his consistent effort to be a better player and a solid team player make me proud of the young man he is growing into.

I've been seeing a lot of articles about parents pushing their kids in sports and how much time parents expect their kids to put in.  How they'll hate sports by the time they are in high school and it wouldn't be a life long choice if they were given the decision.  Most of the articles are talking about kids who dedicate to one sport only and play it year round but a few have referenced families similar to ours.  A family who goes from one sport to another, season after season.

The thing is, I never pushed him.  I will admit that his first year of mites I may have forced him into gear about a month in because he didn't want to practice, he only wanted to play games (that was where the first lesson of, "if you commit to something, you WILL finish" came into play;)

BUT after that, that kid lived for his sports.  Trust me when I tell you that it was NOT my choice to be at a field or a rink 3-5 days a week when he was young but that's what the teams required.  When he got older, the days and the hours increased.  It was me that begged, "can't you please just miss ONE practice" and he would roll his eyes, shake his head and load his stuff into the car.  He went tired, he went sick and he went sore.  He would not and will not let his coach or his team down and in Max's eyes, missing a practice is letting everyone down including himself.  

He opted to continue to play soccer, hockey and baseball through middle school.  They overlapped sometimes but the sport of the season got his full commitment to the irritation of more than one coach.  He was told and understood by not committing full-time to one sport that it could cost him down the road when it came to making the "elite" teams but he was firm on playing all the sports he loved.  He has adjusted and although he doesn't play on a formal team year round, he rarely hangs up his skates.  He knows that to stay competitive he has to.  He feels like he's letting his team down if he's not at the top of his game when the season starts.  It's a quality in him that I admire.  It's a quality that is going to get him far in life.  

I guess where I'm going with this post is that I think parents need to listen to their children.  Offer opportunities but let them be your guide.  Sports have taught him what commitment means.  Sports have heightened his compassion.  Sports have kept him physically fit.  Sports have exposed him to the good, the bad and the ugly of a lot of different personalities and given him perspective.  Sports are his passion and I am so glad he took me along on the ride.  

Here he is in his letter jacket.  He looks pretty handsome if I do say so myself;)


Friday, November 7, 2014

Peanut Butter M&M

I almost always have 3 cookies in a snack bag in my freezer for grab and go lunch treats much to their irritation sometimes.  They'd prefer packaged Oreos or fudge stripes.  They come by it honestly, I felt the same way when I was a kid.  Why can't we just BUY cookies I would ask and my Mom would just say, "because these are better".  I figure if I had to suffer so should they;)

But they were getting sick of chocolate chip and snickerdoodles so I decided to make something different and maybe blow their minds a little bit.  No mind blowing happened but they were a hit and they freeze well.

1 C Butter softened
2 Egg
1 C Peanut Butter ~ I use Skippy for baking
1 C Sugar
1 C Brown Sugar

Cream together. And then add...

3 C Flour
1 1/2 t Baking Soda
1t Baking Powder
3/4 bag of M&Ms.

Spoon about the size of a large gumball on pan and bake at 375 for about 7 minutes until bottom is lightly browned.