Monday, February 27, 2012

Make these. Today. Actually, now.

Hey you.
You like peanut butter, right? And jelly too?

Awesome. Now I'm asking, nay, ordering, you to make these delicious and wonderful Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes.

I really wanted to make some fancy-ish treats for a gathering on Sunday night. I wracked my brain trying to think of something that would be perfect. I needed finger food that was tasty and appealing for kids and adults, sweet, but not too sweet, pretty to look at, and transportable.

Enter Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes.

I perused my old pal, Pinterest for inspiration and tips and found many yummy-sounding recipes. But then I visited with my even older pal, Betty (Crocker), and she hooked me up with a recipe that uses a boxed yellow cake mix. Here's the recipe.

Betty also told me to use a can of vanilla frosting as the base of the whipped peanut butter frosting, but I didn't have any (and it was snowing and blowing really hard and I didn't want to go out) and instead made some from scratch. It was easy-peasy and really, really good. Probably better than using canned. I looked online at a few recipes for peanut butter frosting and put this one together:
1 stick butter (softened)
1 cup peanut butter
2 cups powdered sugar
Mix ingredients together using hand mixer for 2 minutes. Add 1-3 tablespoons milk until desired consistency (fluffiness) is achieved. Taste a few teaspoons full to make sure it is indeed quite tasty. Request husband also taste. Pry the entire bowl from his iron-clad grasp and beat him with a spatula until he releases the frosting. (Oh wait, what? That doesn't happen in your house?)

To top the cupcakes I smeared on strawberry jelly, swirled on peanut butter frosting, and finished with a spot of jelly in the center. My cupcake decorating skills leave a lot to be desired, but I think you get the idea. (Oh, and the pictures in the snow idea was Dan's. He thought it might look kind of artsy. I don't know if it's artsy or not, but the white snow sure makes the blue plate of tastiness pop.)

Lana was our official taste tester and she gave them two (sticky) thumbs up!
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Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday Fave: Princess Superhero!

Oh is it Superhero Princess?

Either way I love it!

Lana, at age two-and-a-half, has figured out that you can be both tough and beautiful. She knows you can save the day with a smile and still take time to twirl around the dining room. At age thirty-two-and-a-half I still don't have that one down.

My sweet daughter still has a lot to teach me, doesn't she? And this whole time I thought I was supposed to be the one teaching her.
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Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Of all the things I expected to happen on the drive into town this morning, projectile vomiting from the pig-tailed girl in the back seat was not one of them. But, well, it's what we got and you can't always predict what you get. I quickly pulled off onto a gravel road, calmed a crying and upset Lana, and wiped her face before turning around for home. When a day starts with vomit, it usually doesn't continue in it's normal course.

Lana was stripped of her clothes in the laundry room and promptly put in the bathtub for scrubbing and sanitation. Her clothes and the car seat cover were washed using the "nuclear-radiation-super-hot-no-germs-or-yuck-will-survive" washer setting. After I got her set up with electrolytes, her snuggle blankie and a Disney Channel show, I went to work on the car. Every plush toy and blanket got tossed in the washing machine, all the bits of trash and half-eaten granola bars got tossed and every soft surface got vacuumed. The whole process was oddly satisfying and I don't think the car has been this clean in two years. Maybe during naptime I'll go back out there with a tub of Lysol wipes and make sure nothing has attached itself to the door or window handles.

I really don't like being sick, but dang, I really, really, really don't like it when the little one is sick. I feel so bad for her. The light in her eyes is dim and she lacks her usual spark and energy. I do appreciate the extra snuggles, but certainly not at the expense of her upset tummy. I hope this morning's throw-up session was a one-time event that won't continue or be passed on to me or Dan. (The only time our whole house was struck at once was a puke-filled few days that inspired me to write bad poetry.) I'm hoping the tightness in my stomach is due to a morning of cleaning up messes and not due to an incubating bug that will rear its ugly head soon.

So we will spend this windy day together at home. Lana can color and watch a movie and get better. I'll read her stories, take her temperature and do a few extra loads of laundry. It certainly wasn't how I expected to spend the day, but certainly the best way.

Oh, and I think Lana's starting to bounce back. While she was coloring I asked her if she thought anything would make her feel better. Her answer? "A Cadbury Creme Egg please Mommy." Yeah, I think she's going to be okay.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday Fave: Pinterest Finds (Part1)

(I'm calling this post Part 1 because I know I'll keep finding awesome stuff on Pinterest that I'll want to share. Who knows how many times I'll refer back to this wonderful site full of awesome ideas and creativity.)

Okay, so hello! Hi! Are you on Pinterest yet?
Yes? Okay, great, so you already know how fabulous and delightful it is and I have nothing more to teach you.

Oh wait? No? Well sit down and let's talk.

Have you ever been on a website or blog and thought, Dang, that's really awesome. I need to remember this recipe/color combination/couch/wall-hanging/photo idea/organization tip/sewing pattern/scrapbook layout/hair tutorial/flower arrangement/dream home idea/book suggestion/etc..../etc.....
Yup, me too. And if you were like me, you probably had 500 web pages bookmarked to check back later, or maybe you printed everything out and you have stacks and stacks of paper with all your ideas and inspiration.

Well, bookmark and stack NO MORE, my friends! Pinterest will save us all!

Think of Pinterest as the biggest, baddest virtual bulletin board that you could ever imagine.It is a bit overwhelming at first, but I promise, you'll get it down pretty quickly and then realize it's relatively simple. When you see something you like, hit the PIN IT button and then the picture is "pinned" on your own virtual bulletin board. You choose what to name your boards and organize them how ever you like. (Mine are labelled something like Recipes, Crafts w/Lana, Hair and Makeup, Home, etc....) You can also follow others and see what they've recently pinned or peruse their virtual bulletin boards for inspiration.

But the fun doesn't stop there. Several websites not have a "pin it" button right on the site. So you don't even have to be on Pinterest to pin their ideas - you can pin directly from the site you're visiting. Easy-peasy.

Here are some of my recent pins:
(Sugar cookies made in the waffle iron. I so need to try out this method.)

(I really like this verse and am contemplating making/buying something similar for a large canvas in our dining room.)

(Little girls' hairstyle ideas. I have a little girl, she has hair, I should try to make it cute every once in a while.)

(Baked french toast. I made this a couple weekends ago for a fun breakfast. It was really, really good. Dan was mad that I didn't make more.)

(And this? Well, it was just funny and I thought others might get a chuckle out of it too. Pinterest has a sense of humor too!)

Now, lest you think Pinterest is just for people who like food or crafts or large scriptures or hairstyles, I assure you, it's not. Yes, even guys are on Pinterest. I've seen how some guys have pinned different car or truck accessories they want to add to their ride. There are also tons of pictures of hunting trophies, tractor wrecks and guns. If you're a more cerebral type of guy or gal, there are also boards of pins from authors, speakers and bloggers of some of their works or recommended items.

Give it a try. I promise, you won't be bored. If you need an invitation, just leave me your email address and I'll send you one.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Just because it's funny.......'s Lana's first experience with a Cadbury Creme Egg.

I dunno, do you think she likes it?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Friday Fave: Family Pictures and our Favorite Photographer

I'll freely admit that if it weren't for the little one, our family might be the most un-photogenic one there is. Dan tends to squint or just close his eyes, and I somehow insist on lifting my chin so you can see up my nose. Oh yeah, you know J. Crew will be wanting us for their next catalog : )

But despite our lack of beauty and grace in front of the camera, we still have some rather awesome family pictures. How did we manage that? Because of our sweet and talented sister-in-law, Angela. She considers herself an amateur photographer, but look for yourself, aren't her photos professional quality?
Not only did she get Dan's eyes to stay open, she got me to put my dang chin down. (I wish I always felt as poised and pretty as she made me look here.)

Angela is also the BEST at capturing the fun and silly moments. In our family, we laugh a lot and in this picture you can see that - it doesn't look faked or forced.
This last one is my favorite of them all.

Two things you should know about Ang;
1)Today (Feb 10th) is her birthday. I think she's 25 :) Happy Birthday!
2)Her photography talents are finally getting some recognition. She won an honorable mention in the photography competition at the Spokane Ag Expo. If you're heading up to look at tractors and new equipment, be sure to check out her entry.
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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Maui Honeymoon? YES PLEASE!

Our sweet student worker at the lab just got engaged. Her ring is shiny and new, her glow is effervescent, and wedding talk around the lab has increased about 500%.

Not that I mind one little bit. I love talking about weddings. The other day, newly-engaged Miss and I were working on lab tests right next to each other. She told me about her dress and showed off the ring and then we talked all things honeymoon.

Just like Dan and I did four-and-a-half years ago, she and her beloved are planning a trip to Hawaii, specifically the island of Maui.
Right after our wedding, Dan and I spent a week on this lovely isle and I couldn't recommend it more. It was so perfect! (Yes, i threw up twice - once due to terrible airplane turbulence and the other due to the windy road on the way back from Hana. I still think it was perfect.) The weather was beautiful; sunny and warm with trade winds offering a welcome respite from the October heat. The beaches were all-expansive and the ocean an unreal clear blue.
We ate fresh seafood, slept in, enjoyed fire dancers late at night, and strolled the beach and the quaint villages hand-in-hand. We spent a day sailing and snorkeling off a private island and swam next to fish that looked like they came out of a Pixar movie.
All this talk about Maui makes me want to go back! But we have other goals and ambitions right now and Maui isn't on our calendar for the foreseeable future. I am bound and determined to make it back one day though.
I'm sure our sweet lab rat will have a fabulous time and don't tell her if I decide to hide in her suitcase!

Where and when was your honeymoon? Have you had the chance to enjoy the beauty of Maui?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Friday Fave: Girls Night Out

Yay! It's Friday!

Anything fun planned for the weekend?

I'm starting out with a girls night - hosted by a lovely lady who wrangles 4 little boys all day. She just got a new DVD and invited over a full house to watch.
I saw this movie in the theater when it first came out and I loved it completely. (I loved the book more, but the whole discussion of book vs. movie can be saved for another time.) When I saw it the first time, it was during another girls night in August.

I {heart} girls nights. I love the laughter one minute and the serious conversation the next. I love that the same lady who goes on and on about who should get a rose on the Bachelor is will drop everything and pray with you about whatever trial you're going through. I love that nobody apologizes for eating dessert or taking the last chocolate candy. Really, what's not to love?

So, if you're a girl, when was the last time you went out with just your girlfriends? If you don't have a recent memory, maybe it's time to make one.