We have snow!! So I’m gonna post a snowman.
You know, I was just thinking… after I wrote those first 2 sentences, I looked out the window for awhile at the snow I was talking about… you know the snow that I used TWO exclamation marks after when I said we have snow, and I realized how my standards have changed. Do you know how much snow we have right now?
About 1/2 inch.
1 inch at the deep parts.
I was born and raised in northern WI and moved to OH 3 years ago. If we’d get this much snow in WI and Shannon’s dear grandpa from PA would call and say, “What’s the weather like out there? Do you have snow?”, same as he’d always start every call with between Sept and May, we’d say “No, not really, just a little dusting.” I do really like the mild winters here though. I think it’s pretty cool that in Ohio right now, it’s mid-January and I still haven’t gotten out my winter coat… my temp mark for bulk-of-winter-coat-is-worth-it-for-the-extra-warmth-over-light-coat is about 25 degrees, unless I’m going to be out for a long period of time. I haven’t gotten my boots out either because… I have none. I threw them away last year because they were so out of style and I was so in love with them… so when I was tempted to wear them, I’d weigh the pros (love them) and cons (out of style)… and love always won. So the only way to make myself stop wearing them was to throw them away.
All that to say that I’m in the market for boots. I love the style of boots right now… especially the sorta short ones with a heel and slouched and black and a bow-type thing on the side… so I’ll probably be back in my out-of-style-but-love-em predicament again in 5 years. Maybe I’ll buy some boots tomorrow… we seriously need to get out of the house because we’ve been sick for nearly a week around here and I think we’re all functioning at 85 - 100% power today now… so what better thing to do on a Saturday than to go out on the town.
Anyway… let’s circle back around to where we started… “I’m gonna post a snowman”.
Isn’t it crazy how M&Ms can almost seem to make something have a personality?
I feel like I need to talk really fast to interrupt any crazy “I’d never have time for that!” thoughts. It’s simply 2 cake mixes… dump one in a mixing bowl instead of a 9×13, dump the other one in a small mixing bowl and the rest in cupcake liners. Bake. Frost… you don’t even have to add food coloring because snow is conveniently white! Press M&Ms on. Make a melty chocolate/peanut butter hat. Fruit roll-up scarf. Eat. There is no carving or shaping of cake going on here. I made this for dessert for hot lunch at school.
Get your 5-yr-old to decorate the cupcakes… Tiffany did all of them while I did the snowman. We used orange M&Ms for noses only and put them sideways so they stuck out a little more.
Keep the 18-month-old demolition-crew-of-one as far away as possible. Or do what I did and count one cupcake and a small handful of M&Ms as loss and set her up to destro—, I mean, decorate it.
*cell phone pic alert* Yeah, we tried just giving Megan some Apple Jacks to munch on so she could happily watch while munching, but nope, no luck, she was more into M&Ms and gooey frosting.
One thing I should say about the baking… I was afraid the cake wouldn’t get done in the middle, so I looked around the kitchen, saw a glass Coke bottle (filled it to make it heavier), covered it in tin foil, and put it in the middle, like it’s sitting in the mixing bowl here… kind of an angel food cake pan effect. It worked perfect. I don’t know if it would be necessary or not, though. I baked the cake for 1 hour.
I used candy canes for the arms (broke off the curved part), but you could use pretzel rods or whatever. The hat is a chunk of leftover buckeye-type peanut butter filling dipped in melted chocolate with too much chocolate poured on top so it ran down beside it, making a hat brim. Then I put it in the fridge until it hardened. You could pretty much use anything… like a chocolate-dipped small cookie or whoopie pie or something.
*gasp* Did I just used the phrase “too much chocolate”?! Sorry, it should read “extra chocolate” instead… I’m more comfortable with that term.
Add a fruit roll-up or fondant the color of your choice for the scarf. Snip the ends with a scissors to give a tassle effect.
And there you go… celebrate winter with your kids! Whether you have 2 feet of snow, a 1/2 inch of snow, or only dream of snow.
Lexi (6) was all into Valentines all week. So often I heard “Hey, we should try making that into a heart shape because, you know, it IS Valentines!” And setting foot inside a store created alot of inhales and exclaiming from her (the V-tine displays were always right inside the door). And she has a stack of Valentines ready to go with her to church tomorrow for her little friends.
We had a bit of fun earlier this week. We took regular cookie recipes and made Valentine cookies out of them. We used the Smiling Sugar Cookie recipe featured here, only they cut heart shapes out of rolled out dough instead of forming balls and putting popsicle sticks in them. We also used my good ol’ chocolate chip cookie recipe (which I don’t think I ever featured) and left the chocolate chips out, then they put chocolate decor on top of the cookies.
First up is the sugar cookies…
And then the chocolate chip cookies, with a bit of variation…
First, I melted chocolate and spread it out to harden, then they cut hearts out of it for on top of some of the cookies.
Then, they cut the rest of the cookies into heart shapes and decorated them with melted chocolate…
Now the cookies are all ready. We separated them out, one batch for each Grandma. Lexi scrapbooked cards for each one and we packed them in a box and UPSed them.
P.S. I did help some with these cookies so the process wouldn’t drag on and on.
And now, we wish you a Happy Valentines Day, with our Valentines gifts from Husband/Dad.
Valentines Day… Chocolate. Roses. What a perfect time to merge the two and make Chocolate Roses! Actually, it isn’t just a Valentines treat, it’s timeless decor for any table or dessert year-round.
I’ve been wanting to try these for awhile. But they always looked so complicated. But they still intrigued me. So, I finally made some…
This is all you do:
Take about 2/3 cup of chocolate chips and melt them. Add about 3 Tbsp. light corn syrup.
Stir until mixture starts pulling away from the sides of the bowl and starts balling up. It’ll be kinda like taffy. Dump it out onto a piece of plastic wrap and flatten. Cover with more plasic wrap and refrigerate for a half hour or so.
Get it out and pull a chunk off, about a tsp., and roll it around with your fingers till it’s a smooth ball, then flatten it into a petal. Make 6 -10 petals, depending on how big you want your rose.
Take one of the petals and roll it up loosely. Use your finger to bend the top back just slightly.
Take the next petal and start it just behind where the first petal ended.
Continue like that until all the petals are used up, bending the tops back slightly as you go. When your rose is done, cut off the stem (which will have gotten quite chunky) so the rose can sit flat. Or, go ahead and try making it thin and having a long-stemmed rose! I might try that next time.
I tried a rosebud by using only 2 petals. After making 2 roses and 1 rosebud and the leaves, I had some chocolate left yet, so I just made a heart with it. So, what you see on this plate is how much 2/3 cup chocolate chips makes.
Now what I need is a nice dessert to put them on. But, I don’t have one, so I’m just gonna keep them in the freezer and whip ‘em out sometime when I need some quick dessert decor!
So, what do you think? You gonna try them?
It was a wonderful trip. Lexi and Tiffany travelled well. And if it wouldn’t've been for the gum episode (where Tiffany took it out of her mouth and was playing with it and it got on her carseat and the floor and on Shannon’s computer case) and the cappuccino episode (where I actually dropped mine and caught it upside down and had to wash up part of the area in and around the cup holders), we’d have had an uneventful trip, disaster-wise.
The wedding was beautiful… have you ever seen one that wasn’t?! It was pink and brown w\ aqua accents. Here are some food-related pictures from the reception…
The cake. Neat, huh?
As we entered the reception hall, there was a table with a chocolate fountain and fruit and pretzels and marshmallows and also a punch table that we stopped at before being seated. I don’t have a good picture of those tables, but here’s my plate from it…
Decor on the guest tables was little cups filled with mini buckeyes and tied shut with tulle and ribbons and there were tea lights sitting on top of coffee bean filled votive candle holders. They looked really neat. Some people were actually munching on the coffee beans. I love the chocolate covered ones, but never ate one plain!
The meal was chicken sandwiches, baked beans, chips, and macaroni salad (I think, for some reason I’m having a hard time remembering the salad and I don’t have any pictures of the main meal part). Good food! My b-b-qued chicken sandwich was great!
The dessert area. Instead of the usual cake and ice cream, they had an impressive display of desserts. Cheesecakes, cookies, chocolate roll, trifles, bars, cakes, fruit pizza… Just delicious! It was so hard to choose from…
And the bridal table, beautifully decorated…
First off, about the USA jello. I used a jello mold that’s the shape of the US.
The mold has teeny shallow lines between each state, so to get the different colors effect, I mixed up the blue and red jello, then used a medicine dropper to drop it into the different sections. (I don’t keep a medicine dropper around, I took a bottle of infant Tylenol out of the medicine cabinet, took out the dropper, washed it really good with hot water, used it to color the states, washed it good again, and put it back in the bottle.) In some states, there’s a mixture of both blue and pink. That happened when the dropper dropped before I was over the state I wanted or when I got too much in the state and it went over the little ‘walls’ between each state. It was a little tedious, but I thought it would look a little blah with just all one color on top. After I got all the states filled in, I put 1/2 of the white mixture in, then layered red, white, and blue from there.
To cut the jello, I followed the lines and cut it apart into states (except some of the New England states!). It was kinda nice because then you could pick your size. Lexi was declaring that she was gonna get Florida and that she’d get Wisconsin out for Tiffany. But when I finally gave them the go-ahead to dig in, she saw the size of Texas and changed her mind about Florida. Then, Tiffany wanted the biggest one too, so to save a fight, we suggested California and she was happy with that. They each ate about 1/4 of their piece, then said it was too big. Sigh. I was thinking, “So, then WHY did you guys have to get the biggest pieces?!” but instead I said, “Just wrap them up in Saran wrap and put them in the fridge. You can finish them later.”
We got together with some friends Friday night and grilled burgers and hot dogs before the fireworks. I made a fruit pizza for dessert. It’s this recipe, but I cut back on the amounts because it wasn’t gonna fill up the whole pan since it was shaped into a rectangle, a flag. Oh, it was so good. I didn’t count how many pieces I ate. Fruit pizza is one thing I crave, especially in the summer.
I have a few fireworks pictures, but other than that, nothing. I was lounging in my lawnchair thinking, ‘I should go get my camera and take a picture of Shannon grilling and of the kids playing and of the adults talking and capture the party atmosphere around us’ and then as I kept lounging, I lowered my standards and started thinking, “I should at least get my camera and take 4 pictures because that would make a pageful for when I scrapbook this event’, but I just kept sitting there, living the moment instead of capturing it. I actually don’t like taking pictures at social events. BUT the only thing I hate worse than taking pictures is not having pictures, so that’s what drives me to take them. Except for this time.
And with that I leave you with a little fireworks show…