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S’mores Cupcakes. Oh yes I did.

26 Aug

Pink Flamingo Fridays are a neighborhood tradition that everyone looks forward to.  For the unititiated, Pink Flamingo Friday is basically a yard party, where neighbors congregate in your driveway and yard, hang out, and the kids run around, playing.  Feeding people is optional.  We took our turn as Pink Flamingo hosts last week, and I did my usual – make an over the top, probably too messy dessert treat.  (Last year it was salted carmel topped brownies, which required me bringing out a roll of paper towels.)

This year, I’ve kind of been cupcake obsessed.  I tried making a smore’s cuppy earlier this year with a graham flavored cupcake, chocolate ganache filling and melted a big ol’ marshmallow on the top.  They were good, but the graham cupcake part was a little dry for me, and I felt like there should be more chocolate…. So Katelyn and I hit the internet and searched “best cupcakes ever” (it’s what she wanted to search) and came across none other but a very s’more like cupcake on Martha Stewart’s site. Well, Logan had chosen NOT to nap and had gone completely bonkers by the time it was time to make cupcakes, so we did some cheating.

S’mores Cupcakes {the easier way}

Ingredients:
1 box of your favorite chocolate or Devil’s Food cake mix
+ whatever the box calls for (eggs, water & oil)

Crust:
1 1/2 Cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 Cup sugar
1/3 – 1/2 Cup butter, melted
1 handful semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

Frosting:
4 egg whites
1 Cup sugar
1/4 teaspon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
While you wait, put the cupcake liners into your two cupcake pans.
Combine the sugar, graham cracker crumbs and melted butter in a medium bowl. You are looking for a pebbly, damp sand texture.
Spoon about 1 Tablespoon of the graham mix into each cupcake liner.  Use a small glass to pack the mixture down.
Distribute a few chocolate chips into each liner. (or not. I honestly don’t think I would miss them if they weren’t there.)
Bake the crusts for about 5 minutes, or until the egdes are just starting to turn golden brown.

Mix up your cake mix according to package directions….

…and fill each cup 3/4 full with the cake batter.  Return the pans to the oven for the lower end baking time indicated on your mix box (if it says 18-20 minutes, you might want to stick with 18.  You’ll see why in a few.)

Let the cupcakes cool for 10 mintues in the pan, then place them on a cooling rack to cool the rest of the way.

Time for  the frosting! (directions according to Martha)

  1. Place egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer. Set over a saucepan with simmering water. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and whites are warm to the touch, 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. Transfer bowl to electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat, starting on low speed, gradually increasing to high, until stiff, glossy peaks form, 5 to 7 minutes. Add vanilla, and mix until combined. Use immediately.

Have a gallon size plastic bag ready (or if you are fancy, use a pastry bag and tip and all that.) with a corner cut off to make about a 1/4 to 1/2 inch(ish) opening.  Plop all of the marshmallow frosting into the bag, and pipe it on each cupcake.  Mine were a big mess, but it made for more peaks to get super toasty in the next step….

Crank up the oven to BROIL/BROIL HIGH if you have it, and put the frosted cakes on a cookie sheet.  Don’t crowd them, you may have to do two or three batches.  Toast until they are browned to your liking.  Alternately, you could use a torch and toast them the more fun way…..

(and yeah, I made pink glittery flamingoes for the tops with my Silhouette!  Lesson learned, glitter card stock is thicker than heavy card setting in Silhouette Studio!)

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Our Summer “To-Do” List

6 Jun

Because summer goes by so so fast… Because this is Katelyn’s last summer before going to school for FULL days of kindergarten (sniff)… Because if I don’t get some kind of organized – we will spend all day, everyday turning into prunes at the pool and wonder where summer went come September…..

Here is our Summer Bucket List (as in, do this stuff before Summer kicks the bucket and turns into Fall!) Katelyn had full participation in coming up with ideas.
Inspired by Angie @ just like the number.

Let’s Really Do Summer – Our Summer Bucket List

  1. Break out the Slip n’ Slide
  2. Go Strawberry picking
  3. Make – and of course ENJOY a KidWash (make your own bike-wash/spray park)
  4. Spend a rainy day at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
  5. make popcicles – have fun inventing our own flavors
  6. Go to a Spray Park or 3
  7. Roast marshmallows on a fire
  8. Have lunch at the pool (or maybe even dinner?)
  9. Make pizzas on the grill
  10. Go Geocaching
  11. Take a day trip to the National Museum of the US Air Force
  12. Check out a concert in the park
  13. Explore the ARTSPARK
  14. Grow grass buddies
  15. Ride bikes on the Monon Trail
  16. Water Balloon Fight!
  17. Make some clothes for back to school
  18. Check out the Rhythm Discovery Center
  19. Blow bubbles, and if it’s rainy, we can do soap grating & bubble making inside
  20. Host a flamingo Friday & share some home-baked treats with our friends
  21. Eat outside– alot.
  22. Go to Stuckey Farms and pick some fruit (and whatever veg that doesnt turn out in our garden!)
  23. Head North and go to a beach for the day?
  24. Go swimming– alot.
  25. Catch a movie- outside (our neighborhood may be hosting something like this)
  26. most of all, have lots and lots of fun.

Handmade notepads = fun teacher gifts!

28 May

OH how I struggled with the idea of what to do for teacher gifts!!! I wanted to do “something” but, me being me… I had to do something different- something that noone else will have done.  After lots and lots (and lots) of thinking, procrastinating, and thinking some more… I finally decided to make little notepads, personalized for each teacher, with a little cartoon version of themselves at the top of each page.

I created each teacher-toon in Illustrator, laid out the actual pages in InDesign (4-up on good ol’ 8.5×11), printed on my olf friend, Canon i9100 printer, cut them in the most rediculous way (using a rotary cutter intended for sewing, Not a good choice.) and glued them according to these instructions on Skip to My Lou.

These are my first notepads, and now that I know a few tricks, they won’t be my last.
A few notes on what I learned from the process:

  • Use two wooden building blocks and a 10lb dumbbell to weight them down if you don’t have/know where the clamps you do have are.
  • When clamping (or weighting, whatev.) be sure to get the edge of the paper pretty close to the edge of the blocks. The closer they are, the better the pages “smoosh” together, the better the outcome.
  • When the directions say a THIN coat, they mean a SUPER DEE DUPER thin coat.  The first go-round, I kinda glopped the silicone on and ended up haing to peel it off.  Second time, I put a super thin coat on- so that I could still see the individual pages through the coat of silicone.  I used two coats of silicone, super thin layers, being sure to “catch” the cardboard backing.

I inlcuded a few pencils, and tied them with a ribbon in the teachers’ favorite color.

Like I said, these were so much fun! I *really* need to invest in a real paper cutter, though. I think my high school Costume Design teacher would CRY if she knew I just used “fabric scissors” (rotary or otherwise) on paper! (shudder)

What’s for dinner?

6 Apr

Tonight it’s Chicken Cassoulet.  Fancy! woo!

Ok, so not really. It’s a crockpot recipe that took a few minutes to throw in the pot.

Chicken Cassoulet

4 Chicken Thighs – boneless
3 slices bacon (optional)
2 Leeks, sliced into thin rounds
2 cans Cannelini beans (white kindey beans)
2 cloves garlic (or a tsp of diced garlic from a jar)
1/3lb Sweet Italian Sausage
1 Cup white wine (I used 3buck Chuck from Trader Joes)
3 palmfuls of dried parsley

OPTIONAL STEP:

Cook bacon (I do mine in the microwave) to render the fat.  Brown the chicken thighs in the bacon fat. Totally optional.

Place thighs in crockpot. Top with bacon. Follow with leeks, beans, garlic, parsley & sausage.  Dump wine over the top.  Set crockpot to LOW and cook for 6 hours.  Serve with whatever your favorite green veggie is (green beans would be yum, but we are doing broccoli since we need to use it up.) Would be great with some nice French bread to mop up the yummy sauce!

Viola! Dinner!

“this moment” {of life…as we know it}

11 Feb

Taking a prompt from the always inspiring Amanda Soule of SouleMama and starting the ritual of adding a favorite photo from the past week– a moment of “life as we know it” so to speak.  A moment to “pause, savor and remember”.

Project Life: Week Two

17 Jan

Week Two, another “catch up week”.  Again you will see I used my additional paper from the kit as filler, since I hadn’t really gotten going on photos & journaling our lives until the last week of January- when I actually got the kit. (so yea, a backdated post. whatev.)

I decided I wanted to include some of Katelyn’s school papers and work as a part of my book. Lord knows there is *enough* paper that comes home with her  to fill the whole album!!!

I also included a teeeny tiny print out of Katelyn’s Weekly Note from her teachers – tells us what she is working on, what she is loving, etc.  It’s journaling, done by the teacher! Genius! 😉

 

 

I’m using the Project Life – Turquoise Edition – there is also the Project Life – Amber Edition, which is also really nice, more flourishy/Amy Butler ispired than the graphic, typography ispired Turquoise.

If you are working on a Project Life, I highly reccomend following Becky Higgins on Facebook and checking out what Ali Edwards is doing. Becky is the mastermind behind Project Life, and Ali, well, she just does an amazing job of recording moments- in images and words and making themlook beautiful. I’m a bit of a fangirl. 😉

Reflecting on 2010… Looking forward to 2011…

2 Jan

Seems like just a few short weeks ago, we were saying hello to 2010.  My how time flies!  I am resolving, once again, to share a piece of our everyday…maybe not every DAY of our every day.. but… you get what I mean.  Reflecting on the days and keeping the stories and memories of life – especially with the littles – so important.  My goal is to make this year full of creativity, full of peace, of simple fun.  I want to make this blog a part of that peace.

What was 2010… a blur? a year of milestones? a year of transition from babyhood to toddlerville?  a year of growing and curiosity?

yup.

Looking back:

Click to play this Smilebox collage
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This collage created with Smilebox

(trying Smilebox, free, for now. I’ll make a real collage myself without the rediculous slow slideshow….)