Monday, November 22, 2010

Grandma Reula's Birthday

My Grandma is famous for her rose bushes. Hopefully this brought a little spring into the dead of winter. Happy Birthday Grams!


They broke in their snow gear! It took 15 minutes to get on all of the gear and couldn't help but giggle as Robbie waddled out (Mom! I can't move my arms). Once outside, Robbie lasted about 2 minutes. Ami lasted a lot longer and had a scream. They aren't going to have a shortage of snow playing opportunities. They are thrilled. Me, not so much.


And, here is the crew. Nick was a classy wolf (he he), Ami was a kitty and Robbie was a puppy. I was the Vet to keep everyone healthy. We had a scream.

And, here is the end result. I put the blurry images in so you can get the full effect of the sugar effect. I couldn't get a non-blurry picture. He he.

And the end of the sugar rush. Ha ha. I love Halloween.

Halloween Goodies

Yah, I know. Late post. But who doesn't love soft warm pretzels?

I love Halloween goodies. They are so awesomely gross. These are witches fingers we made for my Mom's work party. The pretzels were delicious and would for sure make them without the icky apperance.

24 Sliced Almonds
2 C Warm Water
3 Quarts Warm Water
1 Tbs Warm Water
1 Tbs Sugar
1 Tbs Active dry Yeast
Cooking Spray
5 C Flour
1 Tbs Coarse Salt
2 Tbs Baking Soda
1 Egg
Sea Salt
Pour 2 Cups of Warm water in a mixing bowl with dough hook attachment. Add sugar and stir to dissolve. Sprinkle with yeast and let proof for 5 minutes. Beat in 1 Cup of flour until combined. Then beat in the coarse salt and add 3 1/2 Cups of flour. Continue beating until dough pulls away from bowl, usually about 1-2 minutes. Add 1/2 C flour and beat for 1 minute more. If the dough is sticky, add up to 1 cup more. Transfer to a lighly floured surface and knead until smooth, 1 minute.
Coat a large bowl with cooking spray and transfer dough to bowl. Let rise for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. After boiling, add baking soda. Lightly coat pans with cooking spray. Divide the dough into quarters. Work with one quarter at a time (cover unused quarters with plastic wrap). Divide first quarter into 12 pieces. On a lightly covered surface roll the pieces into a finger form about 3-4 inches long. Pinch the dough in 2 places to form knuckles. When the 12 fingers are formed, poach for 1 minute in the boiling water. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fingers to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, blanching each set of 12 fingers before making more.
Beat egg with 1 Tbs Water. Brush pretzels with egg wash. Using a sharp knife, lightly score each knuckle about three times. Sprinkle with sea salt and position almonds on each finger. Press firmly so the almond doesn't come off. Bake until golden brown, 12-15 minutes. Let them cool on a wire rack.
They are SOOO tasty and deliciously creepy!

Carving Pumpkins

Ahh, carving pumpkins. Obviously, from the look of disgust and horror, Ami doesn't like the guts part. I stuck Robbie's hand in the pumpkin and he pulled out the slime. He looked at me, shrugged, threw it across the table and put the sucker (that he had in the other hand) in his mouth. Such a boy.

Both artists concentrating hard at their work.

And, the end results with the happy faces!

Grandma's 80th!


Not part of the party, but...super cute.
Here is Great Grandma and Ami in front of the cake. Ami loooves birthdays and so loved being part of Great Grandma's big day was super fun.

For the cake, I really pushed my skills and tried making a bunch of different flowers with gum paste. I was reallly pleased with the results and learned oodles.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Maryland Renaissance Festival

The Maryland Renaissance Festival is something everyone needs to go to once. We had a great time. We drove into Maryland and when we arrived I had NO idea what a big deal it was! It was a whole city in a different time!

I LOVE funnel cakes and I found out that there was such a thing as funnel cake FRIES! Needless to say I endulged.

Ami the Princess. She loved pretending the whole time. She asked us afterwards if she was "Princess of the World." Yes, sweetheart, you are.

The kids even went on Pony rides. Robbie was in HEAVEN.

And the infamous turkey leg. Yah.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Monster Cookies at Grandma's

It has been an insane few months. We've gone from going to school and living in Springfield, Virginia to living in Idaho Falls, Idaho while we transition to a job. We've packed, moved, flown and settled. Whoo! Falls in Idaho Falls are, well, not gentle. We are used to the beautiful colors and slightly cooler weather of Virginia. I say this while it is 35 degrees outside and the wind howling around the windows in Idaho. Woe! Anyway, I had some retrospective time today while hanging out at my Grandma Reula's.

For as long as I can remember, right before Halloween, we have gone to my grandparents Southwick and made Monster cookies. What are Monster cookies you say? They are delicious creations with peanut butter, oatmeal, M&Ms, chocolate chips, coconut and whatever else you may have in the cupboard. Why at Grandmas and in the fall? I think the place was set at Grandma's because we were driving my parents crazy while anxiously awaiting the night of free candy. We went to Grandma's so the folks could have a respite from our pre hyperactivity. I asked my Grandma today why the fall. She shrugged, "I don't know. That's just what we've always done." Well, there ya go for traditions!

Anyway, I went over to my Grandparents house today and threw the cookie ingredients together while my kids were happily playing with toys, coloring in activity books with Grandma and begging treats off of anyone who would give them something. There was some light music in the background and I was soaking this all in. I got kinda emotional. Talk about a turn of events. 30 years later, with my own kids, I'm playing in a beautifully warm house with wonderful smells and sounds all around me doing the same thing my Mom did. My kids are so lucky to know their Great grandparents and enjoy them to the fullest. It was so cute to see Ami perched on my Grandma's lap happily doing an activity book and Grandma enjoying every second of it. It truly was one of those moments that I will never forget nor will Ami.

After the cookies were done, I hurried and made lunch for everyone and then whisked Ami off to preschool. Will my Grandma ever know how much of an effect she has had on so many generations? Probably not. But I sure love and appreciate the talents, love, and personality she has passed on.

Here is the Monster cookie recipe. Make it, enjoy it and think of your Grandma!


3 Eggs
1 1/4 C Brown Sugar
1 C Granulated Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Vanilla
1 1/2 C Peanut Butter
1/2 Cup Butter
1/2 C M&Ms
1/2 C Chocolate chips
1/4 C Raisins, optional
1/2 C Coconut
4 1/2 C Oatmeal
2 tsp Baking Soda
1 Tbs Karo Syrup


Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray the cookie sheet with cooking spray.

In a very large mixing bowl, combine the sugars and butter and mix until fluffy. Add the Eggs and mix well. Add the salt, vanilla, and peanut butter. Mix. Stir in the oatmeal and baking soda until mixed in. Add the M&Ms, chocolate chips, raisins, if using, coconut, and karo syrup.

Drop by Tablespoon on prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Let stand for 3 minutes after baking and transfer to a wire rack to cool. These are delicious and freeze awesome!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Crazy Amazing Blueberry Muffins

I found this recipe for muffins and thought it looked interesting. I am a huge sucker for blueberry muffins so was excited for something new and a little bit more healthy than the normal variety. THESE ARE INCREDIBLE. I found myself licking the bowl because the batter tasted like cake batter. Here is the recipe:

1 Cup All purpose flour
1 Cup Whole Wheat flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Table Salt
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
2 Large Eggs
3/4 C Granulated Sugar
1/4 C Canola Oil
1 C Applesauce
1 1/2 tps Finely Grated Lemon Zest
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
3/4 C Buttermilk (I just used 3/4 Cup skim milk and 1 Tbs Lemon Juice)
1 1/2 C Fresh Blueberries

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400 F. Spray a standard muffin pan with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk both flours, the baking powder, salt and baking soda.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar and oil until the mixture is pale and slightly frothy. Whisk in the applesauce, lemon zest, and vanilla. Wih the whisk, stir in about half the flour mixture, then half the buttermilk. Repeat with the remaining flour and the remaining buttermilk, stirring until well incorporated. Gently fold in the blueberries.

Divide the batter among the muffin cups, filling them to the top. tap the pan on the counter to remove any air bubbles. Bake until a toothpick inserted int he center of one of the muffins comes out clean, 20-30 minutes.

Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the muffins to loosen them and then unmold. Serve warm or let cool completely and store in an airtight container room temperature for up to 3 days, or wrap individually for up to 3 months.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

In Idaho!

Because Nick is studying for the bar, we decided to spend the majority of the time in Idaho so he could study and we could Play! And boy did we! My brother, Joe, came home from his mission so we had a big shin dig for that, the 4th of July went down and just played and played and played in the summer sun. Now, I do use the word "summer" extremelly loosely. IT WAS FREEZING. I never thought I'd have to have jackets and drink hot chocolate to watch the 4th of July parade. It was out of control but we had a scream.

Robbie instantly became Grandpa's best bud. As soon as Grandpa walked in the door each evening, Robbie hauled buns and literally leaped into Grandpa's arms and gave him big kisses.

Here is the 4th of July parade, in jackets. Brr. Ami had a great opportunity to meet 2nd cousins.

Ami played with her new BFF Hunter (Becki's son). The two were inseperable and caused mass destruction wherever they were.

Here are the two kids playing at a park.

The kids loved Grandma. She spoiled them rotten and here was the nightly ritual of reading books before bedtime.

We had soo much fun and were glad we could stay so long. Everyone spoiled us rotten.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Clarissa's Wedding

Clarissa got married. Preparation for the big day was crazy but well worth it. Here is Robbie in his first tux and Ami has a flower girl. They of course were the most important part (he he).

Here is the happy couple. The looked awesome and it was so fun getting to know Derek more.

The weather DID NOT cooperate with us (welcome to early June in Bear Lake) but we made the church look AWESOME!

All of the nieces adn nephews. What an awesome crew!

The reception was super fun and ended up looking amazing!

The groomsman cake was super fun. Derek grew up as a sheep rancher. It turned out so cute.

Clarissa wanted cupcakes for the wedding and lillies were her flower so we did this. I had never made lillies before so it turned out to be an adventure, but they turned out beautiful!

She also compromised and let me do a cake (I love doing wedding cakes!). It turned out great too.

There were FOR SURE some adventures during the week including battling mice and differences in home town elevation, but everyone were super helpers and we made it all happen. Congrats Riss and Derek!

Ami's Birthday!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO AMI!!!! Ami is 4! It is really hard to believe. Our travel schedule made it so Ami was able to have her birthday at Grandma Toni and Grandpa Dave's house. She was so excited to see all of the animals and be in the countryside. She told me 4 months ago that she wanted a flower cake for her birthday. So, here is the gigantic flower cake.

Ami also wanted the pinata for her family party. It was Kung Fu Panda and instead of hitting the pinata you pull the strings to let the candy out. Ami went first and happened to choose the right string. Of course. She loved it!

Ami's cousin Megan was at the party too. I don't know that Ami realized anyone was there BUT Megan. Fortunately, Megan was a super good sport and played and played and played with Ami. She even gave Ami a matching T-Shirt for her birthday. It was one of her favorites!

WE LOVE YOU AMI. YOU are brilliant, beautiful, funny and the best little girl we could ever have.


Robbie is ONE! He is gregarious, flirtatious and uproariously funny. He is walking now and heck on wheels. He has an enormous sweet tooth and loves trucks, wheels, cars, balls and anything manly. He waves at big trucks zipping by (even if he hears them while he is inside the house) yet won't wave bye to his Dad in the morning. We love him and his favorite person is Ami.