Monday, March 31, 2014

Elephants and Giraffes - Recipes

The good thing about my new "hobby"'s able to made ahead and frozen!! Yay! If you've been following my Instagram feed on the side bar of my blog, you've seen the prep for this - I'm going to include the recipes I used in this post. I helped a friend decorate elephant cookies also (they are the thing this year!), and she used a different recipe...and I like mine better. Mine "expanded" just a little bit more - making my cookies a touch larger (and these are not big cookies, so I thought that was a good thing in this case). This time I used almond flavouring in the dough, and with Hello Kitty I used vanilla. Personal preference comes into play here...but I think I like the vanilla better. The almond is totally yummy, but...I don't know! Maybe vanilla is my thing.
For a dough that does not expand at all - if you need your shapes to be super exact, see my recipe here

And a 'standard' recipe from Sweet Sugar Belle. It's a gooder. (But it will expand just a hair)

1 C of unsalted butter, softened (*I use salted, and it's fine)
1 1/2 C icing sugar (also called powdered or confectioners sugar)
1 egg
2 - 3 t of preferred flavouring (such as almond or vanilla)
2 1/2 - 2 3/4 C all purpose flour
2 t baking powder
1 t salt

Cream together butter and sugar. Crack the egg into a separate bowl, and add the flavouring (emulsions or extracts). Add that to the butter mixture, and mix until the egg is thoroughly incorporated. In a separate bowl mix 2 1/2C flour with baking powder and salt, then add little by little to the mixture. If more flour is needed, add up to 1/4C more (I have never needed to). Dough is done when it sticks to the paddle (of Kitchenaid mixer), when touched, it should have some give, but not stick to fingers.

Rest for a few mins (not in fridge). Roll out onto parchment paper and cut out. Bake at 400 for 7-8 mins (check in your oven for perfect time. NO browning of edges. They should be "pure white")

And notice my giraffes? They are chocolate chip!! I wanted variety, and I thought giraffes were perfect for that, since it's kinda like their pattern in real life;-) This recipe is yummy, but it really needs the icing on it, to "make it". Brian and I ate some with no icing, and although not worse than a sugar cookie, they were not as good as a normal chocolate chip cookie - Once the sweetness of the icing is on there, it gives it the needed balance. This recipe is also best for larger, "sturdy" shapes. The giraffes were a little hard to pull off, due to the skinny legs and necks. I have made it twice, with unsalted and salted butter, and actually prefer the salted version.


1 C unsalted butter (or salted)
1/3 C white sugar
1/2 C light brown sugar
1 large egg yolk
2 t vanilla extract
2 C all purpose flour (add up to 1/2 C more, if needed - likely it does not)
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 C mini chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugars. Add the vanilla and the egg yolk. Mix together the flour and the salt, and stir in one cup at a time until fully incorporated. Then HAND FOLD in the chocolate chips. The mixer will break them and make the dough darker brown. Chill dough in fridge for at least 30 mins.

Roll out on parchment paper and at 350 for 10-12 mins (watch carefully, no browning on edges allowed)

I made the itty bitty babies to be toppers for the cupcakes!

Three styles. Cuuuuute

And they are in the freezer until needed!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Ear Piercing

Kenna's birthday gift this year was getting her ears pierced. She's been asking the wrong person for awhile now (me). She upped her game and asked her Daddy:-) I was really fine with it, actually, I just wasn't sure if he was, and it was something I kept forgetting to talk to him about. She brought it up around her birthday, and he gave the green light!
Last moment, before ears are pierced

All done!
A frozen yogurt reward!
I got mine done when I was 12, almost 13. I was in Myrtle Beach, and my cousin Nicole got hers done on the same day. I got all three of my holes done at the same time, and that was really pretty cutting edge for way back then:-)

One of the backs on her earring didn't come out of the gun thingy, hence the fiddling around to get it on there. She said it didn't really hurt, and now she can't feel them at all, so she's worried they'll fall out, since she can't tell if they're there:-)

Here is the brave girl!

Friday, March 28, 2014

How To Put On A Coat

...Toddler style.

I taught my kids how to put on their coats, the way my mom taught me to put on my own coat. This can be taught to very young children, who would otherwise require lots of help. It sort of seems like a no-brainer to me, but when my kids do this in public, I get lots of "genius" comments. So here is Grey demonstrating the how-to's.

Lay coat flat
Stand at the head part
Stick your arms in the sleeves
Flip it over your head

Tee Shirts

Kids loooove to go shopping with their own money! My mom sent the kids money for their birthdays for a new shirt...and they went crazy picking them out! Oh, the choices! Kenna's is frilly, and has jewels on it, Grey's glows in the dark, and Brooks got to get his as a pre-birthday present - he almost went with the standard Angry Birds, until this Batman one caught his eye. Thank you Grandma!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Grey's Cake Reaction

Ok, a little late posting this. It's Wednesday now, and I think we're finally having a normal morning - it took THAT long for the kids to recover from the crazy weekend! Basically, after co-op on Friday it was non stop fun, late nights and no naps. Grey's birthday celebration was a little drawn out - lots of partying!

As it turns out, (Cake finished Thurs night and in garage fridge) I was going to show him the cake on Friday, at dinner time with Daddy (his bday dinner request? Turkey sammich's :-), but we ended up going to meet up with friends that were back in town for the evening - I picked Brian up from work...we weren't home until after 11, and Brian left at 4am for his race. So I had to show him the cake with cameras rolling, so we could show Daddy later:-) It ended up being a little long, and so long in fact that I ran out of room to tape his birthday song - am I on a roll this year or what?! Haha (I missed Kenna's too). Today I got rid of TONS of stuff off the memory card. Hopefully we'll capture Brooks' entire song;-)

Saturday was baseball in the morning, and party party party with lots of friends (most of whose hubbies/fathers were running race with Brian), and then Sunday it was church, and onto another bday party and "Grace Gathering" (fellowship with people in our sunday school class), in lieu of night church.

So anyway, this was his chosen birthday cereal - Cap'n Crunch with marshmallows in it! It was chosen "because it's Bumblebee's favourite"
Birthday cereal
Then he proceeded to "serve me some", 4 year old style.
Thanks, buddy;-)
Cake, the robot, with the car!

His reaction and suggestions for his cake:-) Part 1 and 2, because youtube was giving me fits about the length

It's a happy birthday song!

Monday, March 24, 2014


On Saturday our Spartan was up at 4am and headed on a 5 hour trip...

Let me back up...Brian is part of a mens group at chuch, they meet on Wed mornings for breakfast, and the wives call it book club jokingly, but it's better than that, really:-) Anyway, as part of just fun, and team building and all that, they decided to run a Spartan race. Then others were invited too, so I think they ended up with 11 in their group, including 2 pastors at the church, and 2 teens from the church.

So at 4am the adventure begins, they meet at the church and begin the trip. Although Brian is extremely sore in his quads, otherwise he's feeling great! The stories are naturally hilarious, and a good time was had by all. No one was hurt, other than muscle cramps/soreness.

The race was 4.8 miles of running with I think 15 obstacles in there. Our men decided to do it all as a group, and not individually, so they stayed together and helped ease each others burdens...of burpees...if you failed an obstacle (by falling off or not completing it etc), you owed a certain number of burpees for your failure. But having teammates willing to do them for you...bonus. 

Not everything was able to be captured on camera - one of the guys had a waterproof one. But on the tougher stuff, he wasn't taking pics. Apparently there was barbed wire, and fire, and somehow we missed pics of that fun:-)

There was 120 lbs on the other end of that rope

Which was hard to lift because of the muddy slippery rope and ground, he said

The course was a lot muddier than it was supposed to be (this was not a "mud run") but due to our crazy weather and extreme rain fall in the area, every thing was very much under water

After army crawling through "a football field" of barbed wire. This is Brian, Otherwise known as naked looking brown man;-)

Brian in "2nd" here - they are pulling 85lbs of concrete

They finished!!!
Their entire group finished in 1hr and 48 mins I think the recorded time said. Which was entirely not terrible, the fastest single person to finish the course that day took 53 mins, obviously groups are slower, and all that, so I think they were quite proud of that number. Spartan Race #2 (Aug) is 8 miles and more obstacles, and Spartan Race #3 (Oct) is 13 miles and even more obstacles. To be a Spartan, and get the whole medal, you need to do all three races (which they are planning on). Right now, the medal is only a third of a medal, missing 2 pieces:-) So on to training for the more difficult race coming up in the heat of August...

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Camaro Cake

Request - Grey wants an Autobots cake, that actually transforms. Not happening. Since he generally loves cars more than robots anyway, and Bumblebee robot looked hard to make - I decided on the car version.
A cross between this

And this

So, I started with an oval cake, and used two "yellow cake" mixes, making them a little more yellow with dye. Then I cut off the edges of the oval, and placed them on the top
Then I cut off the back.
I trimmed down the top
Making sure the wheels will fit! I used edible food spray to make the silver bits on the wheels and the chevy symbols. I don't know if you can see on the back of the trunk area - I added a stiff buttercream, and let it "harden" in the fridge so I could carve the angle I wanted back there
Then I crumb coated it

Then I covered it in homemade marshmallow fondant!
Then I just started playing around with cutting pieces that would fit
I made a biiiig mess:
Annnnnnd DONE!


Other side


Friday, March 21, 2014

Last Day of Three

Our three year old days are officially over! On his last day of being three years old, he took good care of his pets...
Spot, Popcorn & Foxy
And one of the things I will miss about him being three is this:
Since the day he turned three, this is how he's done "three fingers", totally unique to him. It's so cute to see him show his age to people because they usually laugh about the fingers.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Painting Things

After such success with spray painting my light fixture, I suppose I was inspired! In preparation for Kenna's party, I pulled out the cupcake holder. I bought this thing from Walmart, for $5 on clearance one year after Valentines. It's red. I'm always griping about the colour (it never matches the desserts I make). After saying "I hate this thing, it's going to clash with the cupcakes", which were pink - I was struck. PAINT IT. Why not?!
I used the same black spray paint that I used on the light fixture. Done! Love it!!
This is our beloved "marble game". Kids of all ages just love it. A simple "old fashioned" toy, but one worth having. Enter May (the girl I babysit), she has a knack for colouring on my stuff. I'd thought about painting this thing, but knew the crayon would bleed through. Recently Brian bought some Kilz paint for a project on the house, and I knew that was my sign. I Kilz'd the trouble spots, and set to painting it...
I decided to do a fun, bright colour...and one I already had on hand! It's yellow paint, left over from our yellow front doors at the Hugo house! I decided to use some of that up, and make this fun to look at. It had never been painted before, so the raw wood soaked up the paint. It took a few coats to get it covered well. Which was a little tedious.
It's all done and ready for use! Isn't it CUTE?! I really do love it in the yellow, I just love the "happy" it brings to it's little corner of the room!