Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Prep Work Has Begun

We're having a great week so far at my parents and the prep work for Thanksgiving has begun!  Our truffles are made and came out beautifully.  Last night, my daughter helped my brother, Uncle Johnny, and his girlfriend make a beautiful pound cake with cafe mocha ganache.  Looks delicious! These treats are new additions to our list of Holiday favorites....pecan, minced meat, pumpkin, and coconut custard pies.

Now on to the savory dishes.... My daughter and sister have prepped the sweet potato ravioli's, which will be served as our pasta course, before the main event.  I diced up some pepperoni and my mom is shredding cheddar for a pepperoni puff appetizer I found in one of my mom's Gooseberry Patch cookbooks.

The Pepperoni Puffs are a new addition to our appetizer course which consists of an Antipasto; Italian meats and cheeses, stuffed mushrooms, olives, roasted red peppers, cream cheese and olive stuffed celery, figs, hot artichoke dip, spinach dip and an assortment of fresh veggies and crackers.  I also make a delicious Giada DeLaurentis recipe in which you top slices of oven toasted baguette, with a mixture of gorgonzola and walnuts, which you top with a drizzle of honey.  I will share these recipes in future blog posts.

For now, I have to go and help finish some of the prep work. 

Sunday, November 22, 2009

It's Been a While

It's been a while since my last post.  Things have been busy and a little stressful. Looking forward to the week ahead, as the kids and I will be spending the week with my family for Thanksgiving. It will be a wonderful, and much needed break.  I look forward to getting some Christmas shopping done, while my parents watch the kids, seeing old friends, spending time with my family, and also, lounging around on the couch in my pajamas, while watching The Hallmark Channel.  Their corny Christmas programming has begun and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!  aaah, I feel like a kid again when I'm there.

My daughter and I just made our Heavenly Chocolate Chunk Cookies to bring to Grandma and Pop Pop's house.   Our Christmas Truffles will have to wait to be made and their house though, because we've been doing so much baking lately, that the motor on my handmixer burned out, after baking the cookies this morning. I've packed up all of the ingredients, so we're ready to go! If anyone can recommend a good sturdy handmixer, I'd appreciate it.  I think my mom is buying me one for my Birthday though, so there may be one waiting for me there already.'s time to finish our packing. 


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Slippery When Wet

I've finally found a way to keep my son out of the bathroom.

I know, I know, I wish it were that simple, we can't just shut the door.

We have a cat. It's my husband's cat. He's had him for 16 years now. His name is Hobbes. Hobbes' litter box is in the bathroom, so the door to the bathroom must be kept open at all times.

Due to the open bathroom-door policy in our house, there is a point in everyday that I have to drag my son, screaming out of the bathroom.

He loves to play in the bathroom. He likes to play in the toilet, he likes to play in the sink. He likes to move my daughter's Dora the Explorer stepstool all over our tiny little bathroom. Mostly to move it over to the sink, where he steps on it and says, "bath, bath". That's how he tells us he wants to wash his hands.

One day, while moving the stool, he fell into the litter box. We heard, "Mommy, Mommy," and there he was sitting in the cat box, crying and scared, with his little bottom lip curled under and quivering, as his little legs and feet dangled over the side.

He likes to brush his teeth. a.k.a. suck the toothpaste off of his toothbrush and then run around the house with it.

When my daughter is taking a bath, he cries to join her. Again, "bath, bath." We always let him go in and he's fine until the time comes to wash his hair. I pick up the big red plastic cup from the ledge, used to pour water all over his head, and he immediately starts to get upset.

This tiny act sends him into a panic. He stands up in the tub and will not sit back down. He's crying at this point and puts his arms out to me, as if to say, Mommy get me out of here!

So, I quickly wet, wash and rinse his hair. I do it really quickly because hysterically crying, wet and slippery baby, standing up in the tub, gives me a little scare. By the end of the hair washing, he is absolutely beside himself.

This has been going on for months now. Stephen and I always comment on how he HAS to go into the bath tub, yet HATES it.

This morning the light bulb finally went off. I see my son in the bathroom, standing by the side of the tub. He's pulling the shower curtain back with his little left hand while pointing into the bath tub with his right hand, saying, "bath, bath."

And it finally comes to me....I say,

Hey there honey, want to play in the bath tub? Mommy will make a nice bath for you!

I then proceeded to fix my right hand as if I were holding the big red cup. I made a pouring motion and said..

Mommy will pour the BIG red cup, FULL of water, ALL OVER YOUR HEAD... I'll wash your hair!.... I then used my hands to pretend that I was washing his hair and said Washie, Washie!

This sent my son running and screaming OUT of the bathroom.

Ahhh...if only I had thought of this sooner.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Baking with Kids - Mexican Wedding Cookies

My daughter and I made Mexican Wedding cookies together the other day. I had never made them before but my mom and her cousin made them together last year and I just loved them. I didn't use their recipe, only because I didn't have it. This one is from Gooseberry Patch.


1 c. butter or margarine, softened

1/4 c. powdered sugar

1 t. almond extract

2 c. all-purpose flour

1/4 c. walnuts, finely chopped

powdered sugar

Here's What You Do

Beat first three ingredients until creamy. Stir in flour and nuts. Chill for a couple of hours. Make small balls and bake at 375 degrees for about 17 minutes. Cool a little and toss in powdered sugar. Makes about 2 1/2 dozen.

After we made the cookie batter, I flipped through a Holiday baking magazine and found a different recipe for Mexican Wedding cookies, which contained double the amount of powdered sugar and pecans instead of the walnuts. I bet those would be delicious too.

These cookies were very good and simple to make too.  I'm always surprised at how much I like cookies that don't contain chocolate. I never think that they're going to be as delicious, yet after tasting them am always pleasantly surprised by how much I like them. 

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Happy Anniversary!

Stephen and I are going out to dinner tonight to celebrate our 6th Wedding Anniversary. I went to the salon today to get all dolled up for our big night out. I love going out with "pretty hair" fresh from the salon.

In fact, I planned my holiday hair appointments well in advance on days that I knew we would be going out to dinner. What a dork, highly organized and intentional person I am, right?

I hired a babysitter for the kids so they didn't have to come with me.

Naturally, Stephen had a field day teasing me about hiring someone to babysit so I could go to the salon.

AS if! Ok, technically, yes that is exactly what I did, but in my defense I did not expect that he would be working today and I scheduled all of my holiday hair appointments well in advance, on Saturdays, because he's normally home.

I actually learned that taking both kids to the salon with me was a horrible idea. The hard way.

The last time I went, I brought both kids with me. Talk about being in a daze, it didn't even occur to me, until we stepped inside the salon, that it was a really bad idea.

My daughter was fine but expecting a one year old little boy to sit through mommy's single process and haircut was just, let's call it, silly.

My son is a really good boy so it wasn't that I had to worry about him running around the salon or anything like that. It's just that he was naturally unhappy about having to sit still on my lap for a couple hours. A couple hours, seriously, where had I misplaced my brain?

At one point, while my head was under the ionizer, my son tried to escape my lap. I shimmied down, so as not to hit my head on the big hard plastic globe over my head, and caught my son in a vice grip between my legs to reign him back.

Visions of Suzanne Somers and the Thigh Master came to mind.

Anyhow, I had him! I then carefully shimmied back up, in attempt to put my head back underneath the ionizer AND... SMACK! went my head on the front of the ionizer.

I miscalculated.

I was so embarrassed.

Today, it was just nice to get my hair done in peace, and it was really nice to be able to pick out presents for my husband on my walk back home all by myself; a gift card at our local music store and Baba Booey cupcake from Crumbs, his favorite.

I even had time to pick out a thoughtful Anniversary card for him without any distractions.

I was even sure to ask the ladies behind the counter at the card shop if I could borrow their pen and fill it out there.

As I signed the card, I went on about how the kids were at home, and how it was best that I just fill the card out there, because naturally, the kids would need me as soon as I walked through the door... I didn't want to be distracted and not have the card filled out when Stephen got home.

Then, after yammering on and on, I realized I had just signed his card with not only my first, but our last name too. As if there would be any confusion.

I felt like an idiot, but I had just spent $4.00 on his card, and I was not about to spend another $4.00, springing for another card.

I can't stand the greeting card industry. I'd prefer someone just give me the four bucks... I'd rather fork the 4 bucks over to the gift recipient...or perhaps, add $4.00 to the amount I have in mind to spend on the actual gift... Heck, I'll even kick in another buck and bring it up to an additional $5.00 on the gift itself... It's a guilt inducing industry, that pesky greeting card industry, isn't it?... Can't give a gift without a card...

You know what? I'm gonna start MAKING cards for people.... Just like my daughter does.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Daddy, Close Your Ears

My daughter's teacher, shared with her class at school today, that she is expecting twins! 

My daughter is absolutely delighted with the news and has been wondering aloud all afternoon if her teacher is going to have two boy babies, or if she's going to have two girl babies. 

She has finally decided that she will have one of each.

She couldn't wait to share the news with Stephen, so when he arrived home a few minutes ago, I heard her joyfully say...

"Daddy, daddy, I have some exciting news!!!!!... Wait...Close your ears." 

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Until We Meat, I mean, Meet Again

We went to Sam's Club yesterday to do our big monthly grocery shop. I can see that we're going to end up saving a lot of money in the end, even though our first few months of membership ended up being just as costly as our pre-Sam's Club grocery days.

It's just as expensive at first because we've spent more than we normally would on things like Saran Wrap and aluminum foil, but these bulk items are going to last a really long time, and the upfront spending will be worth it. I can see it!

We can't go wrong with the produce, dairy and meats. That's for sure. Nothing is in too large a quantity that anything goes to waste, and we spend the same amount of money or less on items we enjoy, yet get more.

What's not to love, right?

Well...I do get a little frustrated once we reach the juice aisle. At this point, we've filled our carts with non-perishable items, and they're getting heavier and harder to steer. I love grocery shopping but it is at this point, that I begin to welcome the fact that I can see the meat department up ahead. Only meat, produce, dairy and frozen foods sections left to go!

However, it is always at this time, when my cart is getting a little heavy and harder to navigate through the store, that my daughter has to pee. It always happens in the juice aisle. Which, naturally, is at the exact opposite end of the store from the bathrooms.

I figured it had to be subliminal. My daughter agreed but didn't know she was agreeing.

She overheard me talking to Stephen and not knowing what subliminal meant, tried to clear things up for me again, and said...

"Mommy, I think I always have to pee when we get to the juice aisle because I'm thinking of juice".

Yes honey, I get it, makes total sense to me. No one knows my girl better than me.

So, my husband and I leave the juice aisle, and trek to the bathrooms, with our heavy carts and both kids in tow.

We walk past the meat department...

Goodbye succulent pork chops. Don't worry, we'll "meat" again...

then the produce section...

I'll see you in a bit, You big tub of Mixed Greens you! ....

then dairy...

Don't worry, I'll be back for you Butter... and for your little friend Cream Cheese too...

and finally, frozen goods...

I didn't forget about you either, Sweet Peas...

Don't worry any of you big, bulky hunks of deliciousness.  I didn't forget about any of you.

We'll meat meet again.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Adios Mommy

We're Catholic, but my daughter is attending a non-denominational Christian school. In the mornings parents and siblings are invited to stay for Family Worship. Basically, we sing a few religious songs and hear a bible story.

It's really cute to see all of the kids participating, even the little ones. My son sits on the edge of his little block seat trying to follow the sign language that goes along with the words to the songs, and I sort of get a kick out of watching both my daughter and son run around the house singing the songs they learn at school.

"Hallelujah, praise ye the Lord" is one of their favorites and I think it's because they get to stand up and wave their hands in the air during that one.

You can imagine then, how delighted my daughter was to tell me that her teachers taught the class how to sing it in Spanish too. Now she prances around the apartment singing, "Aleluya, Gloria a Dios!"

After singing it to me, the first time though, she joyously proclaimed... "Mommy, Adios means goodbye in Spanish!"

I'm still trying to convince her that she's singing A Dios, not Adios, but she's not having it.

Baking with Kids - Buckeyes

Our family loves peanut butter. Peanut butter sandwiches, peanut butter cookies, peanut butter straight off the spoon. So when my daughter and I were choosing the recipes for sweet treats to try for the Holidays, from our Gooseberry Patch cookbooks, we came across this recipe for Buckeyes and knew that we just had to make these.

2 c. peanut butter

1/2 c. butter, softened

1 t. vanilla extract

1lb powdered sugar

3 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Here's What You Do

In a large mixing bowl, mix peanut butter, butter and vanilla together.  Add powdered sugar, a small amount at a time, mixing by hand. Continue to add powdered sugar until mixture can be rolled in one-inch balls that stay together. Melt chocolate in double boiler. Placing a ball on a fork, dip 3/4 of ball into chocolate. Place balls onto wax paper-lined baking sheet. Place in refrigerator or freezer to set. Makes 4-5 dozen.

These are Delicious! They were super easy to make too, until the time came to roll 3/4 of the peanut butter ball in the chocolate. I found this step to be very tedious, but in the end, well worth it. We will definitely be making these again.