Monday, January 31, 2011

Pinewood Derby Pandemonium

Tonight was Camden's first Pinewood Derby since becoming a Cub Scout. There's been a lot of anticipation building up to tonight! Since Steve isn't here, Camden's uncle and grandfather helped him make his car. He was very proud of it in the end, and was so excited about the race! I'm proud to report that he came in second place for Best of Show, and 3rd place for speed, in his age division. It was a fun evening, and Camden and I are already discussing ideas for next year's race.

There was a "non-Scout" division as well, so Griffin also made and raced a car. I didn't decide until the last minute as to whether or not Griffin was going to go, but after talking to his pediatrician and being assured it was okay, I took him along. Something was a little shifty about the scoring for that race though, as Griff won two out of three races, and came in second in the third race, but somehow did not place in the end. My boy got the shaft! Yes, I am wearing a boy scout uniform...I have to since I'm a den mother! Camden thinks I'm awesome when I wear it, so I'll go with that.

My den came in third place overall, so we were all pretty excited about that. I love having this special time with Camden, and I'm pretty sure it is something we will both always remember.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Scarlet Fever Boy

Poor Griff has had a rough day. Late yesterday afternoon, he broke out in a small rash. By this morning, it covered his entire body, and he was soooo itchy, and he just didn't feel well at all. I called his pediatrician and ended up speaking to an on-call doctor who asked me to meet him at the hospital. After an exam, it was determined that he had scarlet fever, which was shocking to me because....people still GET scarlet fever??? Apparently so. After spending a few more hours at the hospital sitting in the ER, getting lab work done, etc., we were on our way home. Poor boy has had a rough few weeks. Here's hoping that after this round of antibiotics, we will have a healthy spring.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Few of My Favorite Things: Coffee Edition

Steve sent me this fabulous Keurig coffee maker for Christmas, and I dare say, I nearly LEAP out of bed each morning, just so I can make myself a cup of coffee in this thing. If you've never seen one before, that little red basket is full of little K-cups, which you pop into the machine, select your coffee cup size, and, voila! Nice, hot coffee on demand. I am pretty much a one-cup-of-coffee in the morning kind of girl, and while I realize I can brew just one cup in a traditional coffee pot, it always seemed like such a waste of a coffee filter. I'm sure it all comes out in the wash, but I'll tell you what, I love this coffee maker. Love, love, LOVE it. Even though my gallbladder-less self isn't exactly down with coffee yet, I keep drinking it anyway. That's how much I love it. Another great thing about it is variety. Many times I've purchased a bag of flavored coffee, only to get sick of it after a few cups, but then I've felt compelled to choke down the rest of the bag. I have a nice variety of choices with my Keurig, so I just choose whatever I'm in the mood for. Whoever thought this thing up is a genius in my book.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Spring Cannot Come Soon Enough

We seem to have a case of The Plague at our house, and apparently it is Lysol-wipe-resistant, because I cannot tell you how many times I have Lysoled, bleached, mopped, wiped, etc., just about every doorknob, surface, and so-on in this house, and yet, there seems to be a never-ending cycle of illness in one form or another. I'm tired of it!! We've had fevers, infections (viral and bacterial, thankyouverymuch), runny noses, sore throats, stomach name it, it has cycled through. Today, Griffin is the latest victim - - a restless night of fever, and today he just feels puny. He's a trooper though, and hasn't let it get him down too much. As for me, I am counting down the 58 days remaining until spring arrives. Never mind the inversions - - I'm sick of being cooped up. Fresh air always puts an end to the cycle of winter illness, and I cannot wait for it to be over with!

Monday, January 10, 2011

I Heart These Cookies

I think I've mentioned before, how much I love Everyday Food magazine. I can hardly wait for it to show up in my mailbox each month. It really is jam-packed full of easy, delicious recipes, as well as lots of helpful hints for the kitchen. Love it! Anyway, my new issue arrived this past week. I was set to provide food for fellowship hour at church this week, so I took the opportunity to whip up a batch of these cookies, and they did not disappoint! These are basically a rich butter cookie, but with the addition of cornmeal, which I think gives this cookie wonderful texture. Give these a try - - you won't be sorry. However....PLEASE, for the love of all things holy, do NOT use margarine when making these cookies. Use pure, unsalted butter. Thank you!
Heart-Glazed Cornmeal Cookies (Everyday Food, Jan./Feb. 2011 issue)
2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled)
1/2 cup fine yellow cornmeal
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
2 drops red food coloring
1 3/4 tsp. water
1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, cornmeal, and salt, set aside. In a large bowl, beat butter and 1/2 cup of the sugar together with an electric mixer on medium-high for 3 minutes. Add egg and 1 tsp. of vanilla, beat until combined. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture and mix until combined.
Place the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar in a small bowl; roll dough into 1-inch balls and coat with sugar. Place on parchment-lined cookie sheets. With the bottom of a glass, flatten the balls to 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Press a 1-inch heart cookie cutter into each circle (do not cut all the way through). Bake until cookies are golden at edges, 10 minutes. Let cookies cool on wire racks (undecorated cookies can be stored in an air-tight container for up to 4 days).
In a small bowl, whisk together confectioner's sugar, remaining 1/4 tsp. vanilla, 1 3/4 tsp. water, and red food coloring. Using a small knife, spread glaze over the heart shape. Let set for 15 minutes.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Caramelized Onions

I've mentioned a few times before that Friday night at our house is homemade pizza night. The boys all love it, and it is a guaranteed quick and easy meal for me to prepare. One of my favorite things to put on the "grown-up" pizza is caramelized onions. So easy to make, and so addictive and delicious. If you don't care for onions on your pizza, you still ought to give these a try, because it is a very different flavor than just chopping up some onions and throwing them on your pizza. All you need is one onion - - doesn't matter what kind. I have used red, white, and vidalia and all are great. Cut the onion in half, and then slice each half very thin. Meanwhile, heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Toss in your onions, and sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons of brown sugar over the top. Stir well. Continue stirring as they cook, for approximately 10 minutes.

If your onions start to brown at all, then you have the heat up too high and may want to turn it down a bit. You are looking for the onions to soften and turn a nice golden color. Don't try to rush them - - the slower they cook, the better they will be.

The end result should look like this. Put as many as you'd like on top of your pizza. I guarantee you, you've never tasted anything like this. They are soooo good. I just put whatever is left over in a Tupperware in the fridge and use them the following week. Some of my favorite combos using caramelized onion are pesto/fresh mozzarella/sausage/caramelized onion, and artichoke heart/black olive/caramelized onion. Just mix them with your favorite topping and give it a try!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Star Wars Village

I have been trying, without much success, to get the "toy situation" under control in my house -- you know, the influx of new items from Christmas, mixed with the old stuff, the broken stuff, etc. Trying to organize it, get rid of things that are no longer played with, etc.. One of my road blocks is this cardboard contraption in the middle of the boys' room..this would be their Star Wars Village.... it occupies most of their waking hours these days. Santa brought Camden the coveted AT-AT Walker for Christmas, and brought Griffin a Snowspeeder. It continues to crack me up, that no matter how old they get, the lure of the cardboard box never wanes. Give these two some cardboard, some tape, and a couple of markers, and they come up with something that keeps their imagination engaged for hours.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Something to Try

Do you have an over-abundance of these little medicine-dispensing cups in your house? I actually just got done tossing about ten of them, when I was cleaning out my cupboards. They seem to multiply in the dark in there. I did save a couple though, because they make great maple-syrup-pourers for my little guys.

For some reason, pancakes just taste better when you get to pour your own syrup.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Demon Kitty

This is Calli. Isn't she the cutest kitty you've ever seen? Don't let her fool you. She's completely insane. The boys and I have been kitty-sitting for the past two weeks for our friend Margaret, while she is in Maine visiting her daughter. We were very excited to have a kitten in the house, but I have to tell you, I'm just about kittened-out at this point. You see, Calli likes to eat all kinds of things (i.e. rubber bands, ribbon, Christmas ornaments, string, wrapping paper, socks, etc.), and then throw them up all over the house. She likes to get in the children's beds in the middle of the night and lick their faces or chew on their hands. She likes to climb my shower curtain. She likes to drink out of the toilet. She enjoys eating Riley's food. She jumps up on the dining table whenever I attempt to serve the boys a meal. She constantly claws the furniture. Every time one of us opens the door, she tries to escape (she's an indoor cat). She has, shall we say, messy litter box habits. Needless to say, I haven't gotten a solid night's sleep since she arrived on December 20th. I've been counting the days until she goes home, just about since the day she got here. Unfortunately, she started to grow on me over the past 24 hours. She's finally calming down just enough to not drive me insane all day long. I still won't miss her when she leaves though. Okay, maybe a little.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

The Vortex

I challenged my dear friend Kate to update her blog today, and told her I would update mine in return. You see, I don't like it when I click on Kate's blog and find a stale post. I like to know what she's up to. Besides that, she cracks me up. However, I was also attempting to get my own blog back on track after a few weeks of nothing-ness. I know, I know - - you are never supposed to go on and on, when you haven't been blogging, about the fact that you haven't been blogging. But, since a relatively small group of people actually read this, I'll just go right ahead and say whatever I want.

I haven't felt like blogging. I just haven't. I've had plenty to talk about - - December was an especially busy month for the boys and I. My main problem is that I'm pretty sure I've gotten sucked into the dreaded Vortex of the Winter Blahs. The closer we got to Christmas, the more I was missing Steve. The more I was missing Steve, the more anti-social and withdrawn I felt. You see? The Vortex. The boys and I really had a wonderful Christmas day, but on the same token, it was an exceptionally lonely-feeling day for me. I guess I just haven't been able to shake that feeling ever since.I don't like feeling this way, especially when I can admit it, but still can't seem to get out of my own way and do anything about it. As much as I love having Camden home with me, I think it is going to help a great deal to get back to our "regular" schedule of school, Cub Scouts, and library work, starting tomorrow morning.

I am happy to report that, rather than eating loads of garbage to deal with my general feelings of blah, I've been hitting the treadmill instead. I know - - hard to believe....exercise feels way better than mindless eating. Who would have thought! Lets see if I can keep it up!

*I would like to add that Kate has not updated her blog as of publication of this post. You have three hours and some change, Kate!*
***UPDATE*** Thank you, Kate!
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