Something to Celebrate

Today was all about getting treats made for Hannah’s preschool party tomorrow and making Valentine’s goodies to those we want to say “I love you’ to tomorrow.

First up, Red Velvet Whoopie Pies for Hannah and her classmates.  I used the same recipe from this post but I made them heart shaped for extra Valentine’s Day spirit.  Here is a photo of the completed pies:
005Hannah made some old fashioned valentines for her teachers.  I basically just cut her a heart out of red foam and let her go crazy with the glitter glue and silver hearts.  Then, Hannah & I decided some good tea would be fun to attach to the hearts since her teachers will probably be bombarded with sweets tomorrow.  Here is the finished product:
011What can I say, we love puns around here.  Our final project was chocolate covered strawberries and cake balls.

I had some of the cream cheese frosting I used for the whoopie pies left over so I mixed that with a homemade chocolate cake.  I bought this huge chunk of Ghiradelli dipping chocolate from Sam’s for only about $3.  It was perfect to coat the berries and cake balls and tastes delicious. I just melted it in a bowl set over a pan of boiling water.  This ensures your chocolate doesn’t burn.  Hannah thought pink and red sprinkles would be fabulous on both products and we also did coconut and sliced almonds on the berries.
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And, since I don’t have a picture of Leia on here…
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Happy Valentine’s Day!

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MuffinsIn an effort to get a little more fiber in our lives, Hannah and I made Raisin Bran Muffins today. They are deliciously amazing & healthy. Bonus: I got to get rid of the rest of the Raisin Bran I had in my pantry that I was tired of eating for breakfast.

I created my own recipe after being inspired by this one.  I was trying to use what I had at home plus add in the flavors we really like.  I think they turned out great so try this recipe or use it as inspiration for your own!

Raisin Bran Muffins–Holly & Hannah style

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup prune puree’
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 Omega 3 brand eggs
  • 1 c. buttermilk (I never have buttermilk on hand so I make my own by putting 1 T. white vinegar in a measuring cup and then filling with milk to make 1 cup)
  • 1 1/2 c. Raisin Bran cereal
  • 1/2 c. Rice Krispies cereal
  • 1/4 c. raisins
  • 1 c. white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Instructions:
Mix in order and bake in muffin tin at 400 degrees for 12 – 15 minutes (mine took 12).  Let cool for 10 minutes then pop out of pan and enjoy with a little butter!  A little butter never hurt anyone, right?  This recipe made 12 muffins for me.  I filled the muffin cups 3/4 of the way full.

*This post linked up at New Nostalgia*

Frog PrinceThe “Sunburst” yellow tomatoes I bought at the store a couple days ago were my inspiration for Hannah’s lunch tomorrow.  I thought they would be perfect frog eyes (now you’ll never be able to eat these tomatoes).  Hannah’s frog prince consists of:

  • Whole wheat bread
  • 1 triangle of laughing cow cheese mixed with green and yellow food coloring
  • 1 sunburst tomato cut in half
  • Raisins (pupils & nostril)
  • Roasted and salted seaweed (nori) cut into the shape of a smile
  • Yellow gummy bear cut into the shape of a crown

It’s not the fanciest lunch I’ve done but I haven’t been feeling too hot since the weekend so this will have to do!  I’m sure she’ll take it 🙂

Whoopie PiesI made these (adapted from this recipe) for New Year’s Eve & they were a huge hit with my family.  I think they would be perfect for Valentine’s Day too because of their color!

I’ve never made whoopie pies of any sort before but these were way easy and sooooooo good!  I think the cream cheese filling with just a hint of lemon is what takes these to a most delicious level.  I may or may not have eaten some of the filling with a spoon, just saying.  So here’s the recipe!

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

Cake rounds:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
  • 2/3 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1 (1-ounce) bottle red food coloring (2 tablespoons)  *I didn’t have an entire bottle so I just used what I had which was about 1 Tablespooon–I still thought they were red enough*

Filling:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Make cake rounds:
Preheat oven to 350°F with racks in upper and lower third. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.

Beat butter, oil, and sugar with an electric mixer until combined well, about 2 minutes. Beat in egg, vanilla, and vinegar.

Reduce speed to low and alternately mix in flour and buttermilk in batches, beginning and ending with the flour until combined.

Add the red food coloring and mix on low speed until thoroughly combined.

Spoon 2 tablespoon mounds of batter 2-inches apart on lined baking sheets.

Bake, switching positions of baking sheets halfway through baking, until rounds are puffed and set, 8 to 10 minutes.

Slide parchment with rounds onto wire racks to cool completely.

Make filling:
Beat together cream cheese, butter, lemon juice, vanilla, salt, and sugar until creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Spread about 2 tablespoons of filling on flat-side of half the rounds; top with remaining rounds, flat side down, to form whoopie pies.

I think we’re definitely making these again for Valentine’s Day treats!

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

Yes, I’m talking to you Mama, who is up at 2 am in search of the real reason your 3 year old has a hacking cough and runny nose.  No, it can’t be a simple cold–this one mom says her daughter’s turned into pneumonia!

Yes, I’m talking to you, first time preggo, who likes to type in the pretty little white box every day, because is it really supposed to feel like this?  How many times can I throw up before I die?  If I drink this latte’ will my baby have brain damage?  What about Diet Dr. Pepper–this one website doctor says it’s the devil and so am I if i drink it.  Am I in labor?

Yes, I’m talking to you 2nd time Mama who has read every single internet article and discussion board after googling “colic” so you will be able to tell your pediatrician everything that ISN’T working.  And when she asks you why you think your baby has colic you simple say because you googled it–DUH!  You also enjoy a good ole’ nightly google along the lines of “Why can’t my baby sleep?!”  You’ve tried all the suggestions, including the ones from your facebook friends.

And yes, I’m talking to you, Grandma, who is googling everything your daughter is telling you that is going on with your grandkids just to cover all the bases.  I mean, she might be missing something!

If only I wasn’t talking about myself here (now you know what I google).  I’m pretty sure I’m not alone though.  Don’t tell me you haven’t tried to solve your motherhood (or even life) dilemma with Google.  Most of the time it just makes me more paranoid–unless it gives me the answer I want.  Then, Google, we are friends again.

My second child, Leia, is who I call my “challenge baby.”  She has driven me to google WAY more times than my first.  We’ve had colic, sleep issues, food allergies, sleep issues, rashes, nap issues, swing issues, car issues and did I mention sleep issues?  As a mom you can drive yourself batty trying to figure out what is “wrong” with your child.  You can beat yourself up when you read about some other woman’s “perfect baby sleep system” because you’ve already tried that and another 100 tactics that all failed.

That’s when you have to step away from the Google….and pray.  That’s when God reminds me that He has blessed me with a life HE created and I remember what a miracle life is.  If you’ve ever lost a child, you really understand what a miracle it is to even carry a baby full term and birth a healthy baby.  Jesus constantly reminds me that my children are really His and He has entrusted me with them for what will one day feel like the blink of an eye.

So, when my baby won’t sleep through the night at cough, almost 9 months old, cough, I should really view this as God just allowing me a few (ok, MANY) extra snuggles and precious moments with His gift to me.  One day she’ll be away at college and I can think back on all the nighttime “togetherness” we shared.  Then I can close my eyes and enjoy a FULL NIGHT’S SLEEP 🙂

Hang in there Mamas!

Hannah (with the assistance of her sous chef, yours truly) made this really neat snack mix idea we found on pinterest of course.  We put it in cute bags so she could give it to her teachers at preschool today since today was her last day of school before Thanksgiving break.  The snack mix is super easy to make (great for your 4 year old chef) and you can modify the ingredients to your liking but here is what we included in ours:

  • Bugles (we used the caramel variety which are super good and super addictive)
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Dried cherries (could also use craisins or raisins)
  • Candy Corn (Hannah’s favorite)
  • Classic Knot Mini Pretzels

We poured the snack mix into Wilton’s clear plastic icing bags and secured the top with a pipe cleaner and a sparkly brown ribbon.  We used the free printable from this site and attached that to the pipe cleaner.  I used some craft paper I had in my stash to glue the printable to.  The printable includes a description of what each item in the mix stands for regarding Thanksgiving.  Here is a photo of our snack mix label:

Of course, Hannah and I had to “test” the mix after we made it to make sure it was safe for her teachers.  We proclaimed it very safe 🙂  This also would be fun to have out for your Thanksgiving guests to snack on!

Linked up at: New Nostalgia and Women Living Well

If you missed my previous post on Hannah’s pinterest habit you can click here 🙂  Hannah was “pinspired” by this pin so today we made our own version.  Here is Hannah making her “owl face” as she calls it holding her owl creation:
 The pin Hannah saw used fabrics I think but we used a much more 4-year-old friendly material: construction paper.  This creation is now proudly hanging on the window portion of our back door.  Hannah says our next project is a Thanksgiving door hanger so I’ll keep you posted 🙂

Linked up at: New Nostalgia and Women Living Well