Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Parenting experts will tell you that in order to ensure a restful night's sleep for your child, you should establish relaxing bedtime rituals. They recommend a warm bath, dim lighting, quiet songs and stories. This is our new bedtime routine:

What? Running through the house with your shirt on your head isn't considered relaxing?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Mix it Up Monday: Hollis Edition

This week's Mix it Up Monday creation is brought to you by Hollis. We went with our playgroup to the Young Chef's Academy last week and made Mini Cinnamon Rolls. It was a great playgroup, all the kids (4 three year olds!) sat quietly and listened and followed directions without (much) help from the moms. We all know Hollis loves to help in the kitchen, so this was right up this alley. He learned to knead the dough (that should come in handy), roll the dough, spread the butter and sprinkled on the cinnamon and sugar mixture. We discovered that they are "Mini" Cinnamon Rolls because three year olds can't manage to wait for them to rise the second time. These are tasty and easy. If you have a child who likes to help, this is a great recipe to use. Make the dough ahead of time and then let the helpers knead, roll and make the filling. The original recipe from the Young Chef's Academy is a vegan recipe, but you can substitute butter and milk for the oil and water for a non-vegan dough.

Listening to Directions.
(we are framing this one for future reference since we don't see this very often!)
Mmmm, butter.
Enjoying the fruits of his labor.

Young Chef's Academy Vegan Cinnamon Rolls
1 c. warm water
1 package active yeast
1 t. salt
2 t. sugar
3 c. all purpose flour
2 T. vegetable oil
1/2 c. each of brown and white sugar
1 T. ground cinnamon
1/2 c. butter or margarine, softened
Sifted powdered sugar for garnish

-Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl with a dough hook and combine until a smooth ball of dough
-Lightly knead dough on a floured surface for 5 minutes
-Place in a lightly greased deep bowl covered with plastic wrap in a warm place until doubled in volume (about 1 hour)
-Knead dough 3 times after rising on a lightly floured surface
-Roll out to 1/4 - 1/2 inch thick. Spread or paint softened margarine or butter over entire surface, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar
-Roll up dough in a tight spiral. Cut with waxed dental floss or string into slices
-Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes on a lightly greased sheet pan
-Remove from oven and allow to cool. Top with powdered sugar, icing or enjoy alone

For larger rolls, allow them to rise a second time for about 15 minutes before baking.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Hollis Swing Vision

Doesn't get cheated does he?! Little did everyone in the vicinity
realize what danger they were in when he made contact, says proud

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Via La France

If any of you happen to run into Hollis and he starts speaking to you in French farming terms, don't be alarmed. John downloaded the French, instead of English, version of Old McDonald and Hollis finds in very interesting. I am not sure what this means for his future; will he be French or a farmer? I am voting for the farmer.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

On Consumerism

In case anyone out there is concerned, Hollis will not be going naked this fall. This is his fall wardrobe, washed, fold and ready to be but away. But since we live in Georgia and it is still 85 degrees, it will probably be awhile. It seems that I may have gone slightly overboard. This stack includes 14 pairs of pants and at least twice as many shirts (hello, laundry once every two weeks!). What you don't see in this picture are three new jackets, one of which is a firefighter jacket; three new pairs of shoes, one of which are firefighter boots and 4 pairs of pajamas. So, he is well clothed. In my, somewhat lame defense, when we started trying last season's clothes on I said to John, "I can't believe nothing from last year fits!". Well, lo and behold some things still fit. And apparently, the consignment sales were well stocked this year. Hey, who says it is more fun to dress girls? Bring on the cold weather.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Mix it Up Monday Double Decker

We have been baking up a storm this weekend. I finally got all my dough making skills together and made the pretzels. They are, ummm, okay. Which is a shame since a) I love me some soft pretzels and 2) they take a lot of time and really heat up your kitchen (475 degrees!). They were a little soggy and not as hard on the I outside as I think they should be. Apparently, this recipe is the "traditional" way to make them which includes boiling in baking soda. I really have no idea since I have never made them before. I might try them again one day, but for now I will stick to Aunt Annie's.
Also this weekend I made Snickerdoodles. Yum. It was Hollis turn to bring the snack to preschool. I had been promising him we would bake something together. I reneged on the "together" part and made them by myself at 9:00pm on Sunday night. Don't feel too bad for him though, I am paying $15 for him to have a cooking lesson at the Young Chef's Academy on Wednesday. Snickerdoodles are a great cookie and easy to make. They really are good to make with children because the dough is rolled in sugar and cinnamon before baking - perfect for little fingers. If you have never had them, well, that is a sad story and my heart weeps for you. So I sent Hollis off today with a Ziploc bag full of cookies in the big "snack basket". I even asked him twice if he wanted me to walk in with him and help him carry the snacks. He said no, that he could do all by himself. I was afraid to ask a third time, he might have asked to be dropped off at the corner.

1 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. shortening
2 large eggs
2 3/4 c. all purpose flour
2 t. cream of tarter
1 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1/4 c. sugar
2 t. ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Beat 1 1/2 c. sugar, butter, shortening and eggs in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium
Stir in flour, cream of tarter, baking soda and salt
Shape dough into small balls (I use a small melon baller)
Mix 1/4 c. sugar and cinnamon in a shallow dish
Roll balls in sugar/cinnamon mixture
Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet
Bake 8-10 minutes or until set
Remove immediately to wire rack to cool

Thursday, September 18, 2008

9 Years

Some of you may have heard of the Love Thursday posts some bloggers are doing. Don't worry, I am not starting another weekly feature that I won't be able to keep up with, just this one post. Love is 9 years old:Maybe not the most traditional wedding photograph, but since I was married in the dark ages, all our pictures are on (gasp!) film and only a few have been scanned, so this is the best of the bunch. We have been through a lot in 9 years, fortunately more good than bad, and hopefully the next 9, nineteen or ninety will be just as good. Happy Anniversary and Happy Love Thursday.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Mix it Up Disaster

So, yesterday I was already to give you pretzels. There was such an outpouring of enthusiasm about my pizza dough (hello, anyone...) that I thought you were ready for another dough recipe. I also thought this would be a fun recipe for Hollis since you rolled the dough into "snakes" and then folded them into pretzels. Here is what I learned:
-2 3/4 cups is a lot of sugar for pretzels. It's a lot of sugar for cookies.
-1 cup of water can not dissolve a packet of yeast and 2 3/4 cups of sugar.
That glaring fact did not stop me from dumping 2 3/4 cups of sugar into a bowl with yeast and warm water, twice. The first time I dumped it out because by the time I got all that sugar in the bowl, the water was cold. It takes some time to measure out that much sugar. The second time I let it sit and waited for the yeast to activate and it never did. After dumping out 2 packets of yeast and 5 1/2 cups of sugar, I decided to read the recipe. It was actually 1 TABLESPOON of sugar and 2 3/4 cups of FLOUR. Duh, that makes a lot more sense. In my defense, the ingredients in the recipe were written out of order. Whatever, that was all the yeast I had, so no Mix it Up Monday. Today I bought more yeast and a bundt pan to try out a Sandra Lee Semi Homemade recipe. Hollis decided that today was a good day for a birthday party, so we made the cake. Sandra Lee recipes are great, because they usually start out with some type of convenience food that she then dresses up. Tonight we made the Marbled Sour Cream Cake. The base of the recipe is a yellow cake mix, but it turns into a lovely marbled, moist bundt cake. I also have to say that her way of layering the batter to create the marbled effect is much easier than trying to swirl it once it is in the pan. I made the recipe as written except I already had milk chocolate chips open, so I used those instead of semi sweet and I used reduced fat sour cream.
Marbled Sour Cream Cake
Non Stick Cooking Spray
1 c. semi sweet chocolate morsels
1 package yellow cake mix (18.25 oz)
1 c. sour cream
1 c. water
3/4 c. vegetable oil
3/4 c. granulated sugar
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Spray a 10 inch bundt cake pan with cooking spray.
Melt chocolate chips in microwave. Stir to blend.
In a large bowl combine the remaining ingredients.
Using an electric mixer, beat until well blended, about 2 minutes
Spoon 2 cups of cake batter into the melted chocolate and mix thoroughly to create a chocolate batter.
Spoon chocolate batter and yellow batter alternately into pan.
Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 55 minutes.
Let stand until completely cool.

While you are waiting for the cake to bake, stop by I Think You Should to hear a awful and yet somehow hilarious story of multiple root canals. Sounds funny doesn't it, believe me, when Mandee tells it, it is.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Mix it Up Tuesday

I am late. I know. Whatever. Shut-up. When you see what I have for you you will forgive me my tardiness(i.e. laziness/amazing ability to procrastinate/addiction to facebook games). Pizza Dough! We like to have pizza around here, but have found that you either have to shell out the same amount as you would for a dinner that is not served in a cardboard box or save some dough (ha, ha, ha) and have a pizza that tastes like you are eating the cardboard box. We tried various frozen pizza with moderate success. Then I saw a post from Amanda at Mandajuice about the pizza dough she makes. I was skeptical, because I had tried pizza dough before with no luck. But eventually I though, "Hells bells, if she can do it, I can do it". I think that a lot and it is often not the case, but come to find out, I can make pizza dough. Amanda's post gives you step-by-step instructions and photos. It is a really easy process but does take a fair amount of time, so plan ahead. Never fear though, the time is almost all waiting not working. I make mine with whole wheat flour (shocker!) and usually add some oregano, but the beauty it is that you can make it to suit your fancy. We top ours with pizza sauce, cheese and turkey pepperoni because we are so cosmopolitan. The recipe makes two crusts. I usually cook both and save the leftovers, but you could freeze one for later.

Small child and dump truck not required.

Friday, September 05, 2008

An Open Letter to John McCain

Dear Senator McCain,
I wanted to take this opportunity to inform you of a glaring oversight by your campaign committee...the crucial three year old vote. Although we tend to be a more right of center household, it seems that Hollis has decided to voice his own opinion. Apparently, Senator Obama has captured his vote. Hollis joins in his parent's discussions by telling us what "Bach Obama*" says. He is also impressed with Sen. Obama's firefighter background. You weren't aware of that? Sure, "Bach Obama" wants to be the chief. He was very impressed with "Bach Obama's" birthday party last week, but missed your's due to the late hour on the east coast. So, I am afraid you may be falling behind with this crucial demographic. Perhaps Gov. Palin's recent experience with young children will be able to breath some life into this area of your campaign. Maybe some campaign materials safety pinned to the preschool bags, advertising during Handy Manny (watch the language though) or a sing-along with the Imagination Movers would really draw Hollis in. I know you are losing sleep over capturing this important vote and I just want to do my part.

*I know that the Democratic candidate for President is Senator Barack Obama, but Hollis calls him Bach Obama.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Mix it Up Monday

Hey, it's Labor Day! I hope you are having a great time doing whatever it is you are doing. This recipe is perfect for Labor Day, or any other day for that matter. It is quick(15mins!), easy(only 6 ingredients!) and you don't have to turn your oven on. I got this Scotcharoos recipe at a wedding shower, my own almost 1o years ago, and only made it for the first time last year. It looks like Rice Crispy Treats, but oh so much better. Trust me, make this today, it is so good you will kick yourself for not making it sooner.
1c sugar
1c corn syrup (light)
1c peanut butter (I use creamy)
6c Rice Crispies
1/2c chocolate chips
1/2c butterscotch chips

-Heat sugar and corn syrup until sugar is dissolved.
-Add peanut butter and combine.
-Remove from heat.
-Add Rice Crispies.
-Pour into greased 9x13" pan
-Melt chocolate chips and butterscotch chips (I do it separately, but you could do it together)
-Pour melted chips over Rice Crispies, add a little milk to melted chips if needed to spread more easily.
-Let cool at least 30mins

See, how easy is that. The hardest part will be trying not to cram the whole pan into your piehole. Go, make them, now...and have a great holiday!