Thursday, October 27, 2011

Spooky and Not-So Spooky Findings

In the spirit of Halloween, below are some free printables, crafty ideas and yummy food that I have found while perusing the web via pinterest.

Click on the image to see more.

Using Cookie Cutters to Carve Pumpkins

Soda Bottle Monsters

Free Printable Treat Tags

Pumpkin Pie Bites

Monster Pudding Cups

Gory Brain Cap Costume Idea

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pumpkin Gals

Fun at the Pumpkin Patch at The Children's Farm in Palos Park, IL.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


C is a definite two year old.  And a stubborn one at that.  When she doesn't want to do something, she, well, won't do it.  We found that two things work to cajole her to our way of thinking.

Threaten and Follow Through.
Many a night goes by where C does not want to clean up her toys and start to get ready for bed.  We tried time outs but she rather enjoyed them a little too much.  She liked them so much she ASKED to be put in time out rather than clean up.  J then had a thought, she loves LOVES to read or rather, be read to, before bedtime.  So we started to give her a warning that if she chose not to clean up, then there will be no bedtime stories.  After the first couple times where she didn't clean up and therefore she didn't get her stories, a warning is pretty much all that is given for the deed to be done.

Sometimes, no, really a lot of times, C becomes obsessed over something.  For example, the other day her empty fruit snack wrapper blew out of the car when I went to take her out.  Oh my goodness, you would have thought the world was ending!  Let me remind you again, the wrapper was empty.  She had already eaten the snack.  Didn't matter.  She talked about this empty wrapper for a good hour and then had to tell her daddy about it at dinner and then told me about it again today when I gave her a new fruit snack.  The only way I got her off the subject of the darn wrapper was through distraction.  I showed her something else, like a book or put on her Barney or Dora dvd or just talked to her about other things we saw on that same day.  9 times out of 10 this works and helps my sanity tremendously.  I truly believe that if I let her talk about that wrapper she would.  All.  Day.  Long.  My sanity is worth more than that.

Two year olds are tough.  But I know they are nothing compared to three year olds.  She is so different from her sister and yet, I take comfort in the fact that I have been down this road before.  This too shall pass.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Star Wars Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting: A Recipe

This past weekend, I made Miss M her Star Wars cupcakes as she requested for her 7th birthday.  The cupcakes themselves were from a box.  Duncan Hines Devil's Food Cake Mix, to be precise.  So that was easy enough.

Then came the frosting.  I have never made it by hand before.  I knew I wanted chocolate but it also had to require items that I already had on hand.  Oh, yeah, it also had to be super easy.  I did a search on my beloved pinterest and found it.  The one.  The best chocolate buttercream frosting that I have ever tasted.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe
as adapted from Savory Sweet Life

The Good Stuff:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks!) unsalted butter (softened but not melted)
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons heavy cream (or whole milk)

Where the Magic Happens:

  1. Cream butter for a few minutes in mixer using paddle attachment on medium speed.  Turn off mixer.
  2. Sift all of the confectioners sugar and cocoa powder into the mixing bowl.  (I sifted before I measured).
  3. Turn mixer to lowest speed and add sugar and cocoa powder and mix until both are fully absorbed by the butter.
  4. Increase mixer to medium speed and add vanilla extract and cream/milk and beat for 3 minutes or so.
  5. Does it look alright?  If so, you have made frosting!  If it needs to be thinned out, add 1 tablespoon of milk at a time.  If the frosting needs to be more stiff, add a little more sugar.

Star Wars Stencils

Miss M really wanted something to do with Star Wars on her cupcakes.  Again, on pinterest, I searched "Star Wars cupcakes" and came up with this product that Williams Sonoma makes.

For about ten bucks, you get four stencils of Darth Vader, Yoda, Storm Trooper and the Logo itself.  The stencils are quite easy to use.  You simply place them on top of the cupcake and sift some powdered sugar, cinnamon, etc over the stencil.

Here are some helpful tips:
  • make sure you refrigerate your frosted cupcakes overnight or a suitable length of time so that the frosting will not automatically absorb your design.
  • if you are traveling with your cupcakes, do the decorating once you get to your destination.  This is what we did and it took a whole five minutes for us to decorate about 24 cupcakes.  Quick and Easy.
Overall, I was quite pleased on how the cupcakes turned out this year.  We had some leftovers but they have since been eaten up.  If that isn't a ringing endorsement, I don't know what is.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip Recipe: a crowd pleaser!

Made this recipe this weekend for my niece's Confirmation Party and it was a hit!  If you love sweets, you will love it too.  Even though it is called cookie dough, it reminded me more of a thick frosting...of deliciousness.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip
adapted from Jewel Bakes

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, slightly packed
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
The Nitty Gritty:
  1. Medium saucepan melt the butter and brown sugar together.  Whisk together over medium-high heat until sugar is completely dissolved, about 4 minutes.  Remove from heat and add the vanilla.  Set aside pan and let completely cool.
  2. While you are waiting for the pan to cool, cream together the cream cheese and confectioners sugar for a couple minutes.  Slowly pour in the cooled butter/sugar mixture.  Beat on medium-high until mixture is completely combined but not separated.  Stir in chocolate chips at the very end.
  3. Serve with graham crackers, vanilla wafers, teddy grahams, animal crackers and/or whatever your heart desires!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Miss M's 7th Birthday is Today: An Interview

Hard to believe that exactly 7 years ago today (she was born at 3:23pm) I was holding my first baby girl.  Here is our interview.

How old are you today?  I am six.  I mean Seven!

What is your favorite color?  Of the seven family. and blue.

What is your favorite food?  Macaroni and Cheese

What is your favorite toy?  I like the Lego book which I just got yesterday that is humongous!

What is your favorite Lego people?  Princess Leia

What do you like most about 1st grade?  That I get BFFs like Hettie and Ally

What is your favorite subject in school?  I like to learn about art and library and library I had today!

What do you like to do with your BFFs?  Play with them on the swings

How do you like soccer?  Well, it's good.  I like how you can do the corner kicks and stand in the corner and everybody says "I want to do it!"  "I want to do it!"

What do you want to be when you grow up?  You already know that!  A movie star.

What is your favorite tv show?  I don't really watch any tv shows.  Well, I guess maybe...Phineas and Ferb.

What is your favorite thing to do after school?  Read my library books or whatever I am doing.

What is your favorite thing to do with C?  I like it when we tackle each other and when she talks in funny words.  I like everything about her and what she does.

How do you think you have changed from last year?  Cause I have two wiggly tooth and I look much more taller than last year.

Did we go on any vacations this year?  Yes, we did.  We went to Wisconsin just this week.  We watched the scariest Scooby Doo ever and we had S'mores and I had a nightmare.  I also love South Carolina.  We got to go to the best hotels ever!
Is there anything else you would like to say?  Nothing much to say but please send a message to Queen of the Snot Princesses and that is it.  Goodbye my fans!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011