Friday, January 08, 2010

Buggy Cupcakes

Bugging OutOne of the downsides of having a birthday between Christmas and New Year's is that your birthday always falls on a school holiday. Seeing that Molly has a summer birthday, I couldn't quite bear the prospect of NEVER bringing special birthday snacks into school. So, I decided that it was perfectly acceptable to bring Max's belated birthday goodies in to school during the first week of January.

This year, Grandma gave me a neat cupcake book and an awesome cupcake carrier (it holds 27 cupcakes!). I hadn't decided what cupcakes to make for Max's birthday and it was just the inspiration I needed.

Finished!I loved the Creepy Crawlers cupcake idea and, after a little discussion, got Max on board. He originally wanted to make gingerbread man cupcakes, being enamored of all things gingerbread after making cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve. But, he changed his mind and decided that he loved the "buggy cupcakes."

This year the cupcake production was a bit more intense, since Max has twice as many kids in his class (necessitating a double batch of cupcakes). Surprisingly, the bugs were the easiest part of the process -- the cupcakes and frosting decided to be ornery. In spite of the less-than-perfect frosting job, the cupcakes were a big hit -- Max said that nobody was scared of the bugs because, "Mama, they're just cupcakes." Max was happy to report that he ate the orange caterpillar (centipede) and Molly (who scored one of the extra cupcakes) told me ate a "yellow spider with a BIG M&M on its back"!

I'd better start planning for next year!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Conversations With Molly

Green Shirt IIMolly has always had a lot to say, and lately she's been saying some pretty funny stuff. Of course, I need to write it all down before I forget it!

The other night, she asked me to play with her. I agreed and she promptly dragged out her pink princess jump rope and decide that we should have a little indoor jump rope-a-thon.

Anxious to show off my jump rope prowess, I started skipping rope while singing the old classic skipping rhyme:
Cinderella, dressed in yellow
Went upstairs to meet her fellow.
Made a mistake, kissed a snake.
How many doctors did it take?
One, two, three ... (we'll pretend I made too many successful jumps to count)
When I handed the rope to Molly, she got right into the spirit of things. Without missing a beat, she started to (pretend to) jump, while singing the following:
Sleeping Beauty, had a dolly.
Ee i ee i oh!
With a quack quack here
And a quack quack there ...
Dad and I were trying not to laugh until she'd finished, because we didn't want to ruin her ad libbed song.

Then the other day, when we were driving past one of the local motorcycle dealerships, Molly turned to me and said, "Mama, I like motorcycles. I want a motorcycle." Obviously, she's a girl after her dad's heart. I told her that when she was grown up, she could decide whether or not she wanted a motorcycle. She nodded sagely and said, "Yup, when I'm grown up. When I'm five." Yikes!

There is one conversation that we have almost every day that continues to crack me up. We received an American Girl catalog in the mail a couple months before Christmas. Since Molly tends to like to throw fits about having to use the bathroom before bed, one night I brought the catalog into the bathroom to try to convince her to sit on the potty. Happily, it worked and she's spent a lot of time perusing that particular catalog. One of the dolls in the catalog is named Molly, a fact that never seemed to please MY Molly.

One night, after we'd looked at the catalog a few times, Molly was naming all of the dolls. She had all of the names right, but when she got to the Molly doll, she declared that it's name was "Mexica." I reminded her that the doll's name was Molly, to which she replied, "No, I'M Molly. That's Mexica." And the doll has been Mexica ever since!

Friday, January 01, 2010

Resolved

Cloak (and Dagger)Well, along with the standard New Year's resolutions (making healthier meal choices and sticking with my workout routine), I'm also going to get my blogging butt in gear. I managed to get (way) behind when we had our computer problems last year and never was able to entirely catch up. And, since I didn't want to post new stuff until I caught up with the old stuff, I just didn't post. So, my resolution is to start off this year with a clean blog slate and catch up with the old stuff as I am able (I really do have lots of notes and pictures, so it really could happen ... maybe).

So, Merry Christmas, Grandma! And I hope everyone else had a wonderful holiday season. We're wishing you all good things in the new year.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Trip to the Park

Bark ExperimentsI think we're finally getting a taste of spring! It was 60 degrees here today and I took the kids to the park as soon as I got home from work. We all enjoyed it -- after being stuck in the house for the majority of the winter, it was so nice to get outside. I think we've all missed our evening walks. Max and Molly were so thrilled that they just kept laughing and saying, "This is fun!" It seems that the slides and swings at the neighborhood park hadn't lost their appeal over the winter.

All By HerselfIt's amazing how much the kids have grown and how their skills have developed over the last few months. Max totally rules the playground, but Molly is finally able to really climb around the play structure on her own. She needs a little boost here and there and a little monitoring, but she's able to climb and slide and romp on her own.

Boy With StickSince it's too early for the mosquitoes to be out, we enjoy walking through the trails in the little wood that borders the park. Max and Molly like to go on little nature hikes and see what beasties we can spy. There are a lot of logs in the woods, left over from the clearing of some dead ash trees. Max likes to pull the bark off of some of them and look at the bugs. And, of course, then whack at the logs with said bark. And, to Max's great delight, there is also no shortage of sticks along the trail. I don't know what it is about little boys and sticks, but they seem to be an unavoidable combination. Of course, my gut reaction every time he grabs a stick is to start screaming, "You'll put your eye out!!"

FaeWhen it was ready to head home, everyone was happy and tired and dirty (always a successful combination). I think we're all looking forward to resuming our daily walks -- lets just hope the weather continues to cooperate! April snowstorms are especially heartbreaking after a few 60-degree days!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Feast of the Irish

St. Patty's Day DinnerWe had our traditional St. Patty's day festivities here this year. Even though Mama had to work (and was fighting a cold), we still managed to scrounge up some green clothing and prepare a grand feast. Dad put together some colcannon and we made sure that we had plenty of beer on hand. We had the traditional corned beef, of course, but this year we tried baking it instead of boiling it (shocking, I know). I thought it would be fun to try something different, although I was a little worried about ruining the corned beef. It actually turned out really well and I'd be willing to try it again. Baked corned beef also has the distinct advantage of NOT boiling over all over your stove top (always a risk, especially if you never seem to have a pot that the corned beef fits in properly). Dinner was a big hit -- it seems that Max and Molly both highly approve of corned beef (or corned beef "hot dogs," as Molly calls them).

Irish Car Bomb CupcakesAlthough I ran out of time and energy for the soda bread this year, I did spend St. Patrick's Day Eve putting together a special St. Patty's Day treat. I ran across a recipe for Irish Car Bomb cupcakes and, political correctness aside, I decided I just had to make them. I'm not a fan of Guinness, but chocolate stout cupcakes, with whiskey ganache filling, and Bailey's frosting just sounded too tasty (and oh so festive!). Given that the kids would be consuming some of the goodies, I did make a few non-alcoholic cupcakes. They exceeded my expectations -- they were delicious. I could have eaten a vat of the Bailey's frosting all by itself.

After we tucked the kids in bed, Dad and I sat back with a couple cups of (Bailey's-enhanced) coffee, some cupcakes, and watched "The Quiet Man." It was the perfect end to a perfect evening.

Friday, March 13, 2009

I Hog the Ground

Max and Molly (and Mama) like to watch Jack's Big Music show on occasion. I think it was the first TV program that Max ever watched. I remember sitting with him on the couch in our finished basement veerrrryyy early one morning. He was sick and fussy and miserable, so we hunkered down and watched a little TV until it was "lights on" (as the kids now say). Since that was back in my nursing days when I wasn't drinking caffeine, maybe I was hoping those technicolored puppets would wake me up a bit.

One of our favorite episodes was about Groundhog Day and this song is now one of Max and Molly's favorite. Listening to Molly belt out the words while rocking out with some serious air guitar is too funny!



Now, do you want to know why the lead singer looks so familiar? It's Steve Burns of Blue's Clues fame! When I first saw this clip, I thought I'd seen the lead singer before, but I actually didn't realize who it was until we looked this up on YouTube for the first time. He still rocks!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wool and Copper

It's a good thing that we don't usually get each other anniversary gifts, because most of the yearly themes are bizarre at best. I suppose I could have always purchased a flock of sheep for my beloved (free grass clipping and fertilizer included -- bonus!), but I don't think we're zoned for livestock. ;) I can't believe it's already been seven years. It seems like just yesterday that we got married, but then it also feels like we've always been together (in a good way).

As a joint gift to ourselves, we both had the day off of work together. We spent most of the day doing the normal stuff -- kicking around the house, feeding kids, shuttling kids on and off the potty, etc. We did have more exciting plans for the evening, however. Since Grandma and Grandpa kindly offered to babysit (the best present of all!), Dad and I treated ourselves to an evening out on the town. We had been wanting to make a trek out to Tribute, because we've heard and read good things about it, so we figured this was a good time to do it.

We weren't disappointed! We had an early reservation and when we first got there we were the only customers in the place. We both opted for the tasting menu with the wine pairing, so we were able to sample a lot of different restaurant specialties. The food and wine were excellent, the service was good, and the company was outstanding. It was really nice to have a quiet evening where we could relax and talk and enjoy spending time together. Happy anniversary, honey -- I love you!