Sunday, January 30, 2011

vitamin d

We have hit 70° here for the past 2 days. It was definitely a welcome change from 9 inches of snow and freezing temperatures. I officially have Spring Fever [but know it is still forever away]!

We have enjoyed every second of the beautiful weather by being outside and soaking up lots of vitamin D.  Guess where we have spent most of our time?


The baseball fields [and we weren’t alone]. I am ready for the season to start! Sign ups start tomorrow night and opening day is about 8 weeks away.

This weekend we made practice a family event...


Mary Reese & I took turns "batting" and trying to make it to 1st base before Banks could throw us out from 3rd.

Since Owen has been under quarantine with RSV…I figured he needed a good old dose of Vitamin D like the rest of us. I also figured there wouldn’t be too many babies to spread the virus to on the ball fields. He enjoyed every second of base running…


...and some one-on-one coaching time...


...with football in hand.

He even took in every move of the practice session happening on the field next door...


That is Owen...the little spec at the fence in the background.  I think he would play T-Ball this year if they would let him. It is hard to believe that he will be out there in about 2 more seasons.

We tried to talk Mary Reese into playing T-Ball.  She just wants to go to the concession stand and have social hour with her friends.  All she has to say is Peace, Love & Baseball...


...but I don't want to play baseball!

RSV hasn't been too bad.  The worse part is being contagious for a week and not being able to be around other children.  He also goes from up [like in the above pictures] to down...


He fell asleep on the couch before dinner the other night.  He does great during the breathing treatments for the most part...he tries to fight it every once in a while.  Usually if we turn on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse he is pretty ok with the process.  He is not a great oral medicine basically have to pin him down and force it down his throat!  The good news is that we have finished our round of steriod.

Hopefully we are on the uphill swing and on the road to recovery.  [Except today I noticed our right ear is oozing fluid.]  Guess we will find out tomorrow what that is all about.

Tonight for dessert we had a special treat to get us in the mood for the next holiday...


Fudgy Brownie Cupcakes with a Peppermint Heart

Saturday, January 29, 2011

family favorite: homemade waffles

I had one happy crew this morning...


My waffle iron died earlier this week.  It was a tragic event for my waffle loving family.  We make them about once a week.  My MIL was sweet enough to surprise us with a new one on Friday.  So guess what was for breakfast this morning?


I use the Homemake Waffle recipe from Table of Contents [JL of Birmingham, AL].  It is my favorite waffle recipe!  [I love a good Junior League cookbook...usually you can't go wrong with one of them.]


Homemade Waffles

1¼ c. all-purpose flour
1¼ t. baking powder
½ t. baking soda
1 t. sugar
¼ t. salt
1⅓ c. buttermilk
½ c. butter, melted*
1 egg, beaten

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt into a bowl. Add the buttermilk, butter and egg to the flour mixture and mix just until moistened.

Pour the batter onto a hot waffle iron sprayed with nonstick cooking spray and bake using manufacturer’s directions [about 4-6 minutes].  Serve smeared with butter and drizzled with maple syrup!

Makes 8 delicious & delightful waffles.

*The original recipe calls for margarine but I am a butter girl!

I got a Krups waffle iron when I got married.  My MIL replaced it with the same iron just the newer version.  It worked for a good 10 why mess with a good thing!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

r s v

Oh the dreaded acronym. That's right we have been hit with our first case of RŸSŸV. I guess I should be thankful that this is my third child [all of whom have been in the same church nursery school a couple of days a week since they were 10 months old or younger] and only our first case of RŸSŸV. I consider myself pretty darn lucky!

When I dropped Owen off at school yesterday morning [his first day of school for the week], Ms. Jennifer told me there were already 4 confirmed cases in his room. I was hoping we might be safe since we hadn’t been around those kids since last Friday.

Owen fought a cold over the weekend. On Sunday he woke up from his nap with a "seal bark" cough, but he never ran fever. I had just been treating the symptoms with some OTC meds and it seemed to be doing the trick.

The school called around lunch to let me know he had a low grade fever. My FIL rescued him from school while I secured a 4:00 appointment with the pediatrician.

The nurse took one look at him and knew there was something wrong. He fought us on the scale. His temperature was up over 102° and he just looked plain pitiful.

One nose swab later, it was confirmed. Positive for RSV and negative for flu. An hour later, a dose of Motrin, a dose of prednisone and a breathing treatment later…we were back to our normal old self. It is amazing what a little drugs will do for your body!


Mickey Mouse was our best friend during our doctor’s visit. Owen has become extremely attached to him. It is quite comical to hear him call his name. He loves him and all things to do with him. We were very thankful to have Mickey with us for a little TLC.

The only bad thing about having RSV…he feels better now but is still contagious. So no school until next week!

I should have gotten a premonition about how my day was going to unfold when I had to cook waffles for breakfast this way…


…on the Panini Maker. I like to call them Pannaffles.  I have been thinking my waffle iron [which was a wedding gift] was on the outs for a few weeks now. Sometimes I couldn’t get it to heat up but then all of a sudden it would start working. But Wednesday morning, I couldn’t get it to heat up for anything. When you got 3 hungry kids and a bowl of waffle batter staring at you, you have to improvise.  So I did with the Panini Maker and they weren’t half bad!

[RIP waffle iron. You served us well for almost 10 years.]

Tomorrow is Friday…but not just any Friday to my two elementary school aged children. Tomorrow is their 100th Day of School. Their teachers have fun activities planned to help celebrate, so I offered a snack…


…Rice Krispie Treats shaped into a giant 100.

I made a recipe and a half for each half sheet pan. Then I made a pattern of a giant 100 and cut it out. I jazzed it with a few Hershey kisses.  Last year I did cupcakes, but this year I was too tired.  I can't wait to hear all about their fun celebrations all revolving around the number 100!

I hope for a low key I can recover from this wild week!  We still have not made it through 1 full week of school this semester without some sort of delayed start due to a city water shortage, a snow day, a holiday or a delayed start for the threat of snow.  Maybe next week we can make it all week.  I hope so.  I hear summer calling my name!

Friday, January 21, 2011

family favorite: snowed in cookies

Last week when we were snowed in for a few days, I tried out some new recipes and discovered a fabulous new cookie.  The original name of the cookie was Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chunk Cookie.  I am a simple girl, so I call it a Snowed In Cookie.  It is the perfect combination of sweet and salty!  Delicious & Delightful!

First, you cream together 1 c. butter, 1 c. creamy peanut butter, 1 c. sugar and 1 c. brown sugar...


Then you add 1 t. vanilla and 2 eggs...


...and mix well.

Then you mix in 3 c. all-purpose flour, 1 t. baking powder and 1 t. baking soda...


Then break up some pretzels until you have 1¾ c...


[The original recipe calls for the pretzels to be crushed.  I like to break the pretzel sticks instead so I have chunks of them in the cookie.]

Stir the pretzels and 1 (11½ ounce) bag of chocolate chips or chunks into the cookie mixture...


Using a small cookie scoops [or a tablespoon measuring spoon], scoop the cookies...


...onto ungreased cookie sheets [I line mine with parchment paper]...


Bake in a 350° for 10-12 minutes.


Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container.

Snowed In Cookies

1 c. butter, softened
1 c. creamy peanut butter
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
2 eggs
3 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1¾ c. crushed pretzel pieces [I break mine into small pieces]
1 (11½  oz) bag chocolate chunks or chips*

Preheat oven to 350°.  Beat butter, peanut butter and sugars until creamed.  Add vanilla and eggs and mix well.  Add flour, baking powder and baking soda and mix.  Finally add crushed pretzel pieces and chocolate chunks, mix until combined.  Using a small cookie scoop, place cookie dough on ungreased cookie sheets [I line mine with parchment paper].  Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack and store in an air tight container.

*When we were snowed in, I only had chocolate chips.  I picked some chunks up the next time I went to the grocery store and made another batch of the cookies.  I prefer the chunks to the chips but to each his own!

Monday, January 17, 2011

carry over craft

Since the salt dough ornaments were such a hit during Christmas, we decided to carry them on into the next major holiday...


Valentine's Day. 

We were out of school again today [This time for MLK Day.  Lately it seems like we have been out of school more than we have been in school.  It sure is going to be a long stretch until Spring Break in April.]  I knew we might need a little art project to help get us through the day.

Last night I mixed 4 c. flour, 1 c. salt and 1½ c. water.  Then we rolled out the "dough" and cut it with heart cookie cutters.  Once they were cut out we "drilled" a hole in the ornament...


We used a straw for the big ornaments and the blunt side of a bamboo skewer for the baby hearts. 


We did 2 wholes in the big hears because I wanted to string them together to make a garland.

We even put a few of them on sticks...

VDayPops create Heart Pops.

After we got them all poked, we then baked them for 2 hours in a 200˚ oven.  Once the 2 hours were up, we turned off the oven and just let them sit overnight.  [Let them sit at least 1 hour before decorating them].

The next morning we decorated with paint pens.  [I love using paint pens instead of real paint with my kids being the ages they are.  It is way less messy.]

Once the paint was dry, I got my kitchen decked out for the big day.  I put a salt dough heart garland round the light fixture...


...and mixed in some plastic hearts from Big Lots.

Then I planted my heart pops...


The containers are supposed to be used for collecting sap from a maple tree to make syrup.  Debbie was in charge of decorations for a work-related party.  She and our friend Amy at Sugar Magnolia's decided to plant grass in them for their table centerpieces.  Then they were going to mix in some fresh flowers the day of the party.  Long story short...the party was postoned due to the blizzard last week.  So Debbie brought me over 2 containers to enjoy.

I decided to spruce them up for Valentine's Day.  It makes me happy to stand and my kitchen sink and see them...


All the crafting wore Owen slap out...


I found him sound asleep next to Mary Reese in the den right before lunch.  Bless him!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

a little stir crazy

Last Sunday night/Monday morning we got massive amounts of snow dumped on our little Southern town...


People started flocking to the grocery stores that Friday to stock up on necessities like bread, milk and eggs.  Some of the schools in the area were already calling for a delayed start on Monday.  I was laughing.  They always predict snow and we get nothing.

Sunday morning all the local weathermen were still talking about the impending blizzard.  I got up and headed to the grocery store for my regular weekly run.  I did buy a few extra things just incase we did got all the snow they were predicting.  I did buy 2 gallons of milk [that is what we normally go through in a week], a dozen eggs [I bake so I always have them on hand] and a loaf of bread [I normally  have one for sandwiches and toast during the week].  I am sure glad we were stocked up because we were home bound for 3 solid days [and probably should have been longer].

Around 2:00 pm on Sunday, we got the call the school was cancelled for Monday.  Again, I laughed.  Not even a flake of snow had fallen yet.  By the time I went to bed around 11:00 pm, it was finally snowing. This was the scene out our front door...


The weathermen FINALLY got it right!  I was thankful we weren't going to have a wasted snow day to make up.

This was the scene the next morning looking down the street...


...and the front of our house...


I honestly couldn't believe the amount of snow we got!  I don't ever remember so much snow.  We quickly layered & bundled up and headed out for round 1...


Banks did a little angel making...


Mary Reese did a little snow swimming...


And Owen just ate snow...


We stayed outside and played as long as we could stand it.  Then we headed in to thaw out with a little breakfast...


Sunday I had made a double batch of sausage balls and a recipe of TPW cinnamon rolls to keep in the freezer.  I also whipped up some waffles.  [During our snow in, I cooked 3 square meals a day.  My family doesn't believe they can have anything less than 3 meals a day with multiple snacks in between.  They hate when I try to combine meals like brunch or lupper.  They like to eat.]

After breakfast we bundled back up for round 2.  We took a little journey around the neighborhood...


...and to the park down the block...


We grabbed the swimming intertube and headed to the only hill in our neighborhood...


It was so much fun!  Even Owen gave it a try...


I think Camp [the dog] had the best time of all.  He ran and played all day long!

We were headed back home to built a snowman when a four wheeler and a sled past us.  Lucky for us we knew the driver, so he took Banks and Mary Reese for a ride...


They loved it!


We finally got around to building that snowman...


It was harder to make a snowman with this snow than the snow on Christmas Day.  The snow was totally different.  The snow at Christmas time would just stick together.  This snow you had to really work to get packed together.  It was dry, snow skiing snow.  We managed to get one made and had a ball doing it.

By the time we got the snowman built, my crew was hungry for lunch.  We headed in for a panini lunch...


I ♥ this panini maker.  Debbie let us borrow hers one weekend and she ended up having to buy another one for herself [Thanks Debbie!]

Then we all settled in for a long winter's nap...


All that playing in the snow had worn us slap out!

Uncle Topher called later that afternoon and was sledding down Stratford Hill with part of his crew a few miles away.  [I have some memories as a child sledding down that same hill.]  We bundled back up and headed out.

We took turns sledding down the hill on Popsy's sled...



Uncle Topher even busted out his snowboard from his North Carolina Mountain living days...


I am still amazed that anyone can do this.  I don't think I could even stand on the thing still much less flying down a mountain.  I would certainly take some people out with me and probably end up in the hospital if I even tried.

Owen truly loved being out in the snow...


He probably ate his weight in snow.

We sledded until dark and headed home to dry out.  This is what our guest bathroom looked like for 3 days...


I was thankful I had somewhere to hang it all so it could dry out between uses.  [I am even more thankful that it is all washed, dried, folded and put back where it belongs.]

After warm baths, we tackled dinner.  Since it was freezing outside and grilling was out of the question, we did our steaks Barefoot Contessa style...


They are delicious & delightful.  But a little warning...your kitchen will fill up with smoke.  We set off the smoke detector the first time we made these.  Make sure you have your exhaust fan going!

For dessert, snow cream of course!  Jody had put a bowl out on the trampoline the night before to catch some clean snow...


It ended up getting buried but never fear...we found it!  I mixed the snow with a little sugar, vanilla and milk.  Ta da....


Snow Cream!

The second day was spend pretty much the same as the first.  Owen and I stayed inside much more than the first day.  By the third day we were all over it!  Jody returned to work but we still didn't have school. 

I have seen this a few times this week and it pretty much sums it up...


During our time at home, we tried out several new recipes...


Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with Pretzels!  I know I gained about 4 pounds because all we did was EAT or drink hot chocolate made with whole milk!  By the end of the week, we had started on our 3rd gallon of milk and had used up all the bread and eggs.

Wednesday I was never more excited to see this on the street...


A Southern Snow Plow [aka a backhoe] attempting to scrape the ice off the streets.  We were all going stir crazy and needing a change of scenery.  I might have gotten a little more excited when we got the call that we could finally go back to school on Thursday at 10:00 am!  I think all the administrators knew the mommas were on the verge of losing it.

We probably should have stayed home on Thursday and Friday instead of having a delayed start both days.  Only about 3 school districts in our area went this week at all.  This was our street on Thursday when we were heading to school...


Friday morning looked pretty much the same.  All the main roads looked way better.  And a big thanks to all of our wonderful custodians who worked Wednesday to get all the school parking lots sanded and salted.

Today is Saturday and we still have a ton of icy snow in our yards and on the roofs.  We still have icy spots on the roads.  I am beginning to wonder if it is ever going to melt away?