Spring Breakin’


Mmmmm….Chocolate Buttercream Paczki from Busy Bee Bakery.
Did you have a paczki yesterday?

What’s Your Favorite Girl Scout Cookie?

Not all of these boxes are for us!  They are the total ordered (49 boxes – each box contains 12 boxes of cookies) from Miss M’s Daisy Troop.  They did really good for their first time at it.  In fact they raised $457 for their troop.  A good portion of that money is going to be donated to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  The girls decided to do this instead of receiving incentives for sales from the Girl Scouts.  A member of their troop has juvenile diabetes.  Thanks to all that ordered from us!  You will be getting your cookies soon.

What’s my favorite G.S. cookie?  Tagalongs.  Hands down.  And yours?

Snow Much Fun!

Our Family
Not really liking the snow hitting her face.
Loves the Snow!
Miss M, on the other hand….Can you find her?

The Fog is Lifting

We have been in a funk lately.  It has been filled with cries, moans, sleepless nights and just general unhappiness from all of us.  Miss M has been sick and it has sent ripples of despair throughout the house.  OK, not despair exactly, but crabbiness for sure.

It all started last Monday night when she didn’t sleep.  She kept moaning and crying out to us and then at one point I was in her bed and she was in mine.  It is all a big blur.  The next day was supposed to be her first day back at school after winter break, but she was a mess.  By the time the afternoon rolled around, she told me she needed a doctor.  When your kid tells you they need a doctor, you take them.  Of course, this happened to be the day that I needed to sign C up for preschool for the fall.  And yes, I did fit it in because I am crazy like that.  Get M to the doctor and it turns out she has an ear infection.  She is allergic to amoxicillin (horrible reaction “worse case they have ever seen” when she was 2) so the doctor prescribed her a similar but sometimes not as effective/fast as amoxicillin.

Day 3/Wednesday: Still sick.  Another bad night.  Stays home again.  On Thursday she starts to act more like herself but her voice is kinda funny.  I am not sure what is going on.  Her appetite is a little bit better and so we are hopeful.

Day 5/Friday: Goes to school.  She is not a 100% but she is wanting to go and she had a good night’s rest so she goes.  When she comes home, the poor thing starts to cry.  School just utterly and completely wiped her out.  I feel bad that I had her go but she did.

Day 6/Saturday: Is back to where we started.  Not sleeping well.  Not eating well.  Voice is still “funny.”  She doesn’t want to go back to the doctor but the antibiotic has now ran out and our intuition is telling us you better get her in there (to the doctor) because tomorrow is Sunday.  We promise her a side trip to the library if she agrees to the doctor.  So J takes her to the doctor while I take C to the library.  Doctor says that ears are now clear but her tonsils are enlarged – hence the funny voice.  Could be a virus.  The antibiotic is still in her system but gives a new prescription in case she gets worse tomorrow.

Day 7/Sunday:  Still tired but getting a tiny bit more appetite.  Decide to hold off on filling the new prescription.  For dinner, I had the idea to give her tomato soup which she did eat.  This was such a great sign.  Also thought of putting vapor rub on her back/neck since she complained that that was hurting her.

Day 8/Monday:  Stays home from school again but there are signs of hope.  She takes it easy but does her homework and even practices her keyboard (something she doesn’t like to do).  Appetite is much better.  Voice sounds better.

Day 9/Tuesday..today!  She is back in school!  Hooray!

This has been the longest stretch that M has ever been ill.  I feel like I have been put through the ringer. When M would cry out for us at night, she would then yell at us for coming to her.  She didn’t know what she wanted and was just as frustrated as we were.  We all just wanted her to feel better and felt hopeless that we couldn’t just give her a pill and make it go away.  It is one of the worst feelings of being a parent.

So now we just hope and pray that with M feeling better, the rest of us will stay well, as well!

Coming into Focus

She said they (the glasses) can’t be her Christmas gift.
C wonders when she can get some too.

All Hands On Deck

Three Little Piggies

Bought matching pjs for the girls…didn’t realize that my niece had bought the same ones for her baby!  Hence a pajama party was born.

Pumpkin Gals

Fun at the Pumpkin Patch at The Children’s Farm in Palos Park, IL.

Star Wars Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting: A Recipe

This past weekend, I made Miss M her Star Wars cupcakes as she requested for her 7th birthday.  The cupcakes themselves were from a box.  Duncan Hines Devil’s Food Cake Mix, to be precise.  So that was easy enough.

Then came the frosting.  I have never made it by hand before.  I knew I wanted chocolate but it also had to require items that I already had on hand.  Oh, yeah, it also had to be super easy.  I did a search on my beloved pinterest and found it.  The one.  The best chocolate buttercream frosting that I have ever tasted.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe
as adapted from Savory Sweet Life
The Good Stuff:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks!) unsalted butter (softened but not melted)
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons heavy cream (or whole milk)

Where the Magic Happens:
  1. Cream butter for a few minutes in mixer using paddle attachment on medium speed.  Turn off mixer.
  2. Sift all of the confectioners sugar and cocoa powder into the mixing bowl.  (I sifted before I measured).
  3. Turn mixer to lowest speed and add sugar and cocoa powder and mix until both are fully absorbed by the butter.
  4. Increase mixer to medium speed and add vanilla extract and cream/milk and beat for 3 minutes or so.
  5. Does it look alright?  If so, you have made frosting!  If it needs to be thinned out, add 1 tablespoon of milk at a time.  If the frosting needs to be more stiff, add a little more sugar.
Star Wars Stencils
Miss M really wanted something to do with Star Wars on her cupcakes.  Again, on pinterest, I searched “Star Wars cupcakes” and came up with this product that Williams Sonoma makes.
For about ten bucks, you get four stencils of Darth Vader, Yoda, Storm Trooper and the Logo itself.  The stencils are quite easy to use.  You simply place them on top of the cupcake and sift some powdered sugar, cinnamon, etc over the stencil.
Here are some helpful tips:
  • make sure you refrigerate your frosted cupcakes overnight or a suitable length of time so that the frosting will not automatically absorb your design.
  • if you are traveling with your cupcakes, do the decorating once you get to your destination.  This is what we did and it took a whole five minutes for us to decorate about 24 cupcakes.  Quick and Easy.

Overall, I was quite pleased on how the cupcakes turned out this year.  We had some leftovers but they have since been eaten up.  If that isn’t a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what is.