Search This Blog

Friday, May 31, 2013


Claire has the opportunity to dance in the Outback Bowl in Tampa on New Year's Day.  Her and 300 of her dancing peers from 9 states will be there to represent Just For Kix and she is BEyond excited.

Problem is, we have to fundraise to get there.  I have always been lucky enough when it came to school fundraisers just to make a donation to the school instead of asking friends and family to buy wrapping paper, pizzas or anything else.  But this, this is different.  It's a lot of money and we need to do our share not only for her but her team.  So far, we've sold plants, that wasn't much fun delivering but very grateful for the orders.  We've sold pizzas, not much luck with that because the delivery is when I'm off of work for the summer so we didn't have many people to ask.  She's bagged groceries at the grocery store for tips.  And, the next couple of weeks, we'll be selling Tastefully Simple. 

I LOVE Tastefully Simple.  I used to sell it and their products are terrific and easy to prepare.  Their products also makes GREAT gifts!!  The bonus is, they deliver everywhere!  So, if you're interested in purchasing some yummy stuff that requires very little work, please...

Do your shopping.

When you are ready to check out, you will see a box that says “Find Party by Host Name”. 
First name is:  Just For

Last Name is:  Kix
Choose Just for Kix with Anna Baker

When you put in your address, type Claire in the second address line so she gets credit.
Party closes on June 21. 

Please tell your friends too!!

Thanks so much!!  And, look for photos the first week of January of a very happy Claire:)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

4 Square

We've got these kids, Alanna and I, that have grown up together.  They have played 60 or 4 square in the summer and Wii in the winter.  They've fought like siblings and taken turns with who hangs out with who.  Although they are all close in age, we've had the girls against the boys and the same ages team up against each other.  When they are adults, I'm sure more than one story will start with, "When we were at Christol/Alanna's house...."

But sadly, as they've gotten older, they see each other less and less.  A few short years and Kayla and Max will be off at college and the traditions will be lost completely.  When I realized that we had all four of them in the house at the same time, all four playing together like when they were little, I had to interrupt the 4 square tournament and take this photo of them. 
They don't look like they mind.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Congratulations Andrew and Miranda

This past weekend I was lucky enough to be part of something really special.  And, although Andrew and Miranda exchanging vows was lovely to be part of, it was simply watching Andrew as an adult that was the special part.  That might sound strange but I've known Andrew since he was in his Mom's tummy. 

It's difficult to wrap my brain around, the Barney loving little boy has turned into a responsible young man who is serving our country and it seems like it happened overnight.  The smile is the same, the hugs just as quick but there's no denying he's an adult.  He's our first "baby" to get married and I wish them a lifetime of happiness!!

With his beautiful bride
And, with his lovely Mama:)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Apple Turnovers

I had this brilliant idea to make apple crisp and as I was chopping the 4th apple I remembered that Claire had used the last of the oatmeal and I hadn't replaced it yet. 

No worries, I had a pie crust.  I could make a pie without a pan like I did here.  Yes, I actually had a pie crust.  Unfortunately, it expired in January and it looked a bit scary.

It was late and I was tired, so I poked around in the fridge.  SAVED...I had crescent rolls.  You can do anything with crescent rolls and the result is typically yummy.

So, I threw the apples in a pan and this is what I got.

4 chopped apples ~ these were braeburn
2 t Cinnamon
1 t Nutmeg
1/2 T of Sugar
3 T Butter
Cook on low for a couple of minutes.
 Add 1/3 C Brown Sugar and continue to cook on low for a few more minutes until it thickens up.  You want the apples to soften but not be mushy or at least I don't like mushy.
Press the seams of two crescent rolls together and put a few tablespoons of apples in the middle.  Carefully wrap dough around the filling.

Like this
As you can see, I got bored so there is all kind of variations.  Some with double crescents.  Some with single.  They all worked and they were all yummy.  Just make sure you seal your seams the best you can.
 When they come out of the oven and are cool.  Make yourself a little glaze with 3 T Powdered sugar, 1-2 teaspoon of milk and 1 t vanilla.  The glaze should be really thin.  Brush on top and serve.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Hellman's Mayo Chicken

When I first saw this recipe here, I was a little intrigued.  Dinner in 30 minutes?  A meal my kids would eat?  The answer to both is yes.  I wondered if it would taste funny because of the mayo?  No, it didn't.  It was actually super moist.

I personally would have liked the chicken to be a tad thinner so I might have pounded it out just a bit but it tasted fine the way it was, that's just a personal preference.

Here's what you'll need to get the party started.  

  • 1/2 C Mayo
  • 1/4 C grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1-1/4 lbs.)
  • 4 tsp. Italian seasoned dry bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 425°.

  1. Combine Mayo with cheese in medium bowl. Arrange chicken in a baking dish, sprinkle with pepper. Evenly top with Mayo mixture, then sprinkle with bread crumbs.
  2. Bake until chicken is thoroughly cooked, about 20-25 minutes.
Spray your baking dish for easy clean up.  Sprinkle with pepper.

Cover with mayo/cheese mixture.
 Right out of the oven, doesn't that look yummy

I decided to get funky with the side dish.  I cooked 1/2 box of penne pasta, stirred in about 1/2 C mayo and 1/4 C of Parmesan, sprinkled with pepper and garlic powder (about 1/8 t of each) and the side dish is done.
Dinner's done.  Hope you're hungry. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Sticks and Stones

I have always taught my children to "use their words" when they have something they need to say.  It might not always be a message people want to hear but it is necessary for you to always use your voice.

I have always taught my children to be literal with their words.  "You don't hate me, you just really don't like me right now."

I have always taught my children to not say something that saying "I'm sorry" won't fix.

I have always taught my children that words should never escalate to physical EVER.

I have always taught my children that your "word" is the most important tool you have so make sure it is always truthful and you are a person of integrity.

I have always taught my children, "Sticks and stones may break your bones.  But words can never hurt you."  The person who made up that little ditty, never had their teenager say something completely hateful that knocked the wind from their sails.

Everything that you've taught your children, ingrained in their brains, is all forgotten and they say something that I am quite certain they wish they could suck back into their mouth the second it comes out.  I hope that when my kids eventually read this, they'll remember when they have children, mistakes happen.  We all say things that we are sorry for and it's ok, because I'm your Mom and I love you always.  And, what you won't understand until you have a child, I love you more when you are the most difficult.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Tie-Dye Lemon Cake

Since Claire liked her tie-dye cupcakes so much, I decided to make a tie-dye cake for her using her favorite cake recipe.  It's the lemon cake she made a few weeks ago but with a twist.

What you'll need:

White Cake Mix
2 Eggs
3/4 C Lemon Juice
1/4 C powdered Lemonade Mix (You know, add water and you've got lemonade)
1/4 C Skim Milk
3/4 C lite Sour Cream
4 pack of Lemon Pudding
3/4 bag of Powdered Sugar
1 stick softened Butter
1 T Vanilla
1/4 C Lemon Juice
approx 1/4 C Milk

Mix the mixes, eggs, lemon juice, sour cream and milk with your hand mixer for 2 minutes. Pour into prepared (sprayed and floured) pan, she chose springform pan but any round pan will do. Bake according to box directions. Cool for 10 minutes, invert on plate to finish cooling.

You are going to make a layer cake. Slice cake in half with serated knife. Gently life cake top and place to the side. Squeeze all 4 pudding packs into the middle of the cake. Spread out to within an inch of the outside. Top with cake you removed.

Frosting...Beat powdered Sugar, butter, vanilla, lemon juice. Add milk slowly until you get desired consistency. Claire wanted to use decorating bag so we made it a little stiffer.

I divided the cake batter into 9 different cups, added food coloring, dumped them into a spring form pan willy nilly and FUN was made.  Dyed the frosting, frosted to match her plates as best I could and called it a day. 

   Pre oven  and                                                                                      Post oven, cooled and cut..add filling

Ready to serve

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Crockpot Turkey Breast

This spring weather has SUCKED.  Max has been rained out of a few games and snowed out of a handful more.  YES, I said SNOWED.  We even had snow last Saturday for a minute.  Rain, sleet and snow all in about 2 minutes.  The umpires were laughing, I was mentally moving my family to somewhere that will NEVER happen again!!

This week is all about make up games, add his summer league starting and we will not be home for dinner all week, we won't be home until probably 9 p.m. at the earliest.  We played 51 hockey games last season and basically had practice every day and we never went a week without sitting at the dinner table as a family.  Switch to baseball and Claire is going to forget who she lives with!

Sorry, got off on a tangent.  Today's recipe is one that I use quite often for dinner because the meat is done when I walk in the door.  I boil some water for mac and cheese, throw on some green beans and dinner is served in about 15 minutes AND it tastes like you really put some effort into it.  It's a meal both of my children eat!!  Plus this was a bonus meal because the turkey breast was on sale!! 

What you'll need:

Bone in Turkey Breast..this one was almost 6 pounds
4 T butter
6 t Season Salt
2 t Cayenne Pepper
2 t Black Pepper
4 t Garlic Powder
Any other seasoning you want to throw in there would be just fine.

Mix the seasoning together and sprinkle all over the turkey.  If you want to rub it in, that's fine, I just really don't like touching raw turkey or chicken.  Put 1/2 C water in bottom of crockpot.  Put turkey into crock.  Put pats of butter on top of turkey.  You can throw in the refrigerator at this point until morning or plug in the crockpot and cook on low for 9-11 hours.

Give the turkey a poke and see that the juices run clear and it's not tough.  If it's tough, it needs to cook a bit longer.

Slice the turkey, serve and put those leftovers to use the rest of the week.  Sandwiches, hot dishes, soup, salads, the possibilities are endless.

The beauty of the crockpot is that it won't heat up your house in the summer but you have the wonderful smell of dinner being done when you walk in the door.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Cold HARD cash

My friend Kimberly gave me this idea for giving the gift of money.  I froze it.  Yep, coins and bills.  I used a large plastic cup and put in about 1/4 cup water and a few gold dollars and froze.  Added another 1/4 cup and more coins and froze again.  More water, now a few dollar bills.  Keep doing that until your at the top, put last of water and arrange bills around and freeze.  Run a little warm water on outside of cup to get money ice out.  Place in ziploc bag and bring to your favorite birthday person and enjoy the smile you'll get.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Happy Birthday Claire Elizabeth!!

I started going through old photos looking for one of Claire the day she was born.  I didn't get to that album because I was getting more and more emotional with each year and I thought by the time I got to the infant album I'd be the one in the fetal position. 

Each birthday for all the kids makes me slow down for a minute and really look at them.  I usually wipe a couple of tears that are brimming on my eyelids and light the candles.  But this year, this birthday, she's a teenager.  No more pretending that she is a child.  I have to say outloud that I have two teenagers when asked.  It's not about me, I do realize that but it's just a tough day for this Mama to admit her baby is growing up. 

Today is about the wonderful TEENAGER that we will be celebrating!   

Claire is smart, she is artistic, she is funny, she is wise beyond her years.  She is a good baker, an excellent dancer and a terrific friend.  She has the patience of a saint and her Mama's egg face when she doesn't like something.  She is strong willed, knows what she wants and how she wants it done.  I have always admired her easy, independent nature.

Here are a few of her past birthdays.
1st birthday week

2nd birthday week

Right before her 3rd birthday party was going to start


Friday, May 10, 2013

Crazy Daisy Tie-Dye Cupcakes

Claire's dance team had a really good season.  At the three competitions they placed 1st twice and 2nd.  She had asked me a few weeks ago if I'd make cupcakes for the last day.  I kinda grumbled because there are 36 girls and asked if cookies would work instead.  She ignored and didn't mention it again. 

Well, she was feeling kinda sad on Sunday after the spring show.  The realization that she had one more hour with some of these girls was making her feel pretty blue.  So, I decided to make the cupcakes.  I decided to make her some cupcakes that would make her smile.  I decided to make ones that I have made before and received good results.  I just changed up the decorations.

What you need:

Cake mix prepared according to directions.
Separate mix into three bowls.
Add food coloring to each bowl
Put a heaping tablespoon of each color into cupcake liner
Bake according to directions
Decorate top with your favorite frosting dyed to match.  I used my favorite buttercream.
I picked Daisies because that was the theme of the spring show.  The good news with the cake being colored, you don't have to frost perfectly.

You can see how I spooned in the batter
This is what the inside looked like. 

And, this was what the finished product looked like.  My daisies were a little messy, I'm out of practice but Claire declared them "the best cupcakes I've ever made":)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

Max asked me last night if he could have $100 to buy me a gift.  Knowing Max, my gift probably would be in around $25 and he'd get something to keep "him" busy with the rest.  At any rate, I told him no.  I told him that what I would really like is ONE ENTIRE weekend that he dropped the sarcasm and didn't antagonize his sister.  You see, he finds himself quite amusing but his sister doesn't share that sentiment.

He said, "what's my other option". 

So, who knows what I'll be getting.  To be honest, it really doesn't matter.  I took it upon myself the year that Claire was born to do "my" own thing.  I leave the house and hang out with Tina, Chantel and my Mom.  We get massages or pedicures or shop or just have lunch.  If I'm lucky, I get home on a nice afternoon and veg in my lawn chair reading a book.  The point is, my Mother's Day present to myself is TIME to recharge MY batteries the way "I" want and not spend the day taking care of my children or caring what someone else wants to either eat or not eat.  I don't run errands, I don't do laundry or grocery shop. 

It is pure bliss. 

So, this post is dedicated a few days early so you can find a sitter if you need to.  Take some time for just YOU because YOU deserve it!  Even if you have to lock yourself in the bathroom to do it;)

Happy Mother's Day!!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


Chantel and Sameth renewed their wedding vows and had a ball to celebrate the event.

What fun it was to see all the pretty dresses!  Everyone showed up dressed to the nines and danced the night away. 

These two kids happen to have been my favorite.

Or maybe it was this bunch

I really can't decide:)

Monday, May 6, 2013

Hockey Souvenir

I wanted to give the boys something to remember their season. I ended up giving them something that reminded them of several years, something they can use and isn't too big.

You see, I have made chocolate chip cookies for every league win since Max was a Squirt.  That's 7 years of cookies!!  He played with a lot of the same boys over the years and they knew at the practice following the win that they would receive a snack size bag of cookies.  I also made them to kick off the season, end the season and a couple of "just because" times too.  Sadly, that tradition has come to an end.

So, I decided to give them hockey pucks.  Hockey pucks with their name and number on one side and the recipe for my cookies laminated on the back.  They also each received a dozen cookies wrapped in team colors.  They loved it.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Chicken Tortilla Soup

I have some recipes for chicken tortilla soup but didn't feel like searching.  Some day I will take a photo of my "to make" pile of recipes that I have printed off over the years and share with you, it's scary. 

OR maybe next year that's all I will make?  Hmmmm, something to think about. 

I also broke that avocado rule again and made it hot.  But, the chicken tortilla soup I have had, has had avocado served on top so how was it really different?  I didn't see how it was, so I dropped it in at the very end and gasp, I reheated it for my lunch and it was fine.  No, it was good.

Anyhooooooo, I kind of threw this together with leftover crockpot chicken and I liked the finished product.  I would NOT however put this in the freezer because of the avocado.  And, I took this photo before I added the shredded pepper jack cheese and tortilla chips which of course made it even more YUMMY! 

So, what you're going to need:
10 C Chicken Broth or 10 C water and 10 bouillon cubes
2 C shredded Salsa Chicken or crockpot chicken or rotisserie chicken
1 Can Fire Roasted Tomatoes
1 Jalapeno minced without seeds ~ mine was about the size of my pinky
3 cloves Garlic minced
1 Can Pinto Beans
1 C Frozen Corn
1/2 C Refried beans ~ optional
1/2 t Cumin
Juice of 2 limes
1 bunch Cilantro minced
2 Avocados chopped
Put broth, chicken, tomatoes, jalapeno, garlic, pinto beans and corn in a soup pot and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, whisk in refried beans.  This will thicken soup just a bit and give it good flavor.  Sprinkle in cumin.  Add lime juice, cilantro and avocados.  Stir and turn off heat.  Break up some tortilla chips in the bottom of the bowl, ladle on soup and top with a pinch of pepper jack cheese, you could also add your chips now instead of pre-ladle too. 
This would also be pretty easy to make vegetarian.  Simply add another can of beans instead of chicken and use vegetable broth.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Good Book & Good Black Forest Cake

I chose a book called The Baker's Daughter by Sarah McCoy for book club.
Thanks Barnes and Noble for the photo

It wasn't because I liked to bake, it was because I had read good things about it. Everyone in the book club liked the book but what they liked best was the cake recipe in the back that I made for our discussion. Yep, it was bonus material that you found at the!

It was pretty simple to make, Claire actually put it together with a little supervision.  Although it was not entirely cheap. The Kirschwasser, which is a cherry brandy could only be bought in the $15 bottle size. I also splurged and bought Ghirardelli Cocoa and chocolate to see if it made a difference with the cake (in my opinion, it didn't). And, fresh cherries aren't ever really "cheap". was a success. It had a definite POP with your first bite. 

Most everyone really enjoyed it and although it contained some liquor, I would let my kids eat a piece if they wanted but they didn't. It was also a pretty cake and looked impressive with the 4 layers.

So if you wanna impress your friends, here's what you'll need:

1 2/3 C Flour
2/3 C Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 1/2 t Baking Soda
1 t Salt
1/2 C Shortening
1 1/2 C Sugar
2 Eggs
1 t Vanilla
1 1/2 C Buttermilk or regular (I used buttermilk)
1/4-1/3 C Kirschwasser (it called for 1/2 C, that seemed excessive?)
It also called for salt which I left out

1 C Heavy Whipping Cream
1/2 t Vanilla
1 T Kirschwasser
1 C Powdered Sugar
1 C pitted Cherries chopped

1 square Semisweet Chocolate, shaved or crumbled
10 cherrie halves (said you could you use whole maraschino but I don't think that would have been good OR looked as pretty)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour (I used spray that contains both) two 8 inch round pans. Sift together flour, cocoa and baking soda. Set aside.

Cream shortening and sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla and flour mixture. I used my mixer to mix it all together.

Pour into pans and bake for about 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes and flip out of pan. Cool for about an hour and slice each cake in half, horizontally. You are making 4 layers. Sprinkle layers with 1/3 cup Kirschwasser~I actually brushed it on.

In bowl, whip the cream until stiff. Beat in vanilla and Kirschwasser. Add powdered sugar and beat again.

Spread 1/4 of the filling on one of the layers. Top with 1/3 of the cherries. Repeat with remaining layers. Decorate the top with last of filling, chocolate shavings and halved cherries.

I made the night before and allowed it to chill for almost 24 hours before serving. I don't know if that made the cake taste stronger or not but I liked the "chill" factor.  Leftovers went into the fridge and I actually think it mellowed having another night of rest and I enjoyed it more.

I never "sift" ingredients together, we followed the rules for this recipe;)  Sorry, forgot to take the rest of the mixing photos.

 Pour into two round cake pans

Out of the oven for about 10 minutes, invert cakes on to plates.  When cooled, slice each cake in half to make a total of four layers.  A serated knife works great for this.  Stick knife into middle of cake to about the center and gently cut in a circle until you've cut the cake in half.  With two hands, gently but quickly remove the top layer.
Shave your chocolate with a vegetable peeler.
Chop your cherries be sure to just cut some in half so you can decorate the top
Brush with Kirschwasser 

Spread a 1/4 of the whipped cream on layer, sprinkle with 1/3 of the cherries. 

 Repeat layering.  On the top, sprinkle shavings and decorate with cherries.