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Archives for : August2014

Cake!

Last year the Boy discovered the banana split. It soon became a favorite treat. When his birthday rolled around I asked him what kind of cake he wanted. “Too bad you can’t make a banana split cake” Challenge accepted! Considering I was 7 weeks away from Little Bee’s arrival I didn’t do anything from scratch.

It was still good.

It was still good.

I used a box cake mix, store bought icing and mixed crushed pineapple with “whipped topping”. I did however cut up all that fruit myself.

I researched a lot of strawberry cake recipes and it’s surprisingly difficult to find one that doesn’t involve a packet of jello or something else decidedly not from scratch. In the end I’ve settled on this one. Ignore the frosting because we aren’t using it.

Batter up!

Batter up!

The batter smelled and tasted yummy, but I may have done something wrong. It just didn’t seem to rise. Maybe my milk and eggs weren’t room temperature enough or my baking powder is too old. I tend not to go through it very fast but we did use it in cookies recently and they came out beautifully.

Vertically challenged.

Vertically challenged.

All of that aside the pineapple filling and fudge frosting came out great! I think it looks pretty good too…

but how does it taste?

but how does it taste?

General consensus was that although very dense, it was delicious. I have a ton of left over frosting and a little bit of pineapple filling I’m sure we can find something to do with!

Burn it with fire!

Burn it with fire!

Presents and Bows

I recently realized a long time friend of mine’s daughter has the same birthday as my son. Now, she’s 4 years older than him and because of the age difference it just never occurred to me. Her sister’s birthday is just 2 days later. I’ve always invited the entire family to my kids parties despite the age difference because BBQ and cake is always a good reason to get together.

As the Boy’s party approaches I realized I’m a terrible person and have never really gotten her girls much in the way of gifts. You have no idea how really self absorbed and just awful I feel. In an effort to scramble to get them something, I managed to sit down at the sewing machine and make them each a really cute gift.

I don't want to talk about the disembodied head.

I don’t want to talk about the disembodied head.

Hair bows! You might not find them exciting but I hope they do. And because I’m a little selfish it gave me an oppurtunity to add a couple of new items to my Etsy Store.

so... much... sugar...

so… much… sugar…

In the morning I’ll be making that beast of a cake again. The Boy devised the “banana split” cake. Strawberry cake, pineapple filling, fudge icing with fresh strawberries and bananas. It’s delicious but some work. Perhaps I’ll document it tomorrow,although I may cheat and use store bought frosting.

Back to School

This is how I had always envisioned High School.

It never lived up to those expectations.

Today is the Boy’s first day of school. He’s starting his first year at a charter school that starts almost 2 weeks before other public schools. It’s a new school with a new program. They have actually integrated the charter school with the public middle school, allowing students to have the curriculum and smaller classes with the amenities of a large public middle school.

There's a 6th grader in there somewhere.

There’s a 6th grader in there somewhere.


It’s a lovely day and the sun was shining so much that I managed to take a terrible picture of him where all you can see is lens flare.

schoolsupplies

This years school supply list seemed a mile long. Reams of copy paper, folders, binders, pens, pencils, boxes of tissue and more. It can all seem a little excessive and I can understand many parents that question why they need so much. I hope I can shed a little insight here, as the daughter of a elementary school teacher.

Did you know that most schools do not provide any supplies for teachers? Teaching is one of the most underpaid professions today and almost none of their supplies are provided by the school. From that red pen she uses to grade little Johnny’s science test to the copy paper it was printed on, it all comes out of her pocket. Classroom books, decoration, toys, activity materials and more have to be bought with out a stipend. Even craft materials for that awful xmas ornament you will cherish for a lifetime. Any other profession would give reimbursement for needed supplies.

I’m actually happy that supplies lists now include items for teacher or “community” use. Since many parents can’t afford to buy everything on that list, and some not any, I am happy to fill in the gaps. When my mother taught in a public school she often had to supply pencils and notebooks for children who didn’t have any. Every year, there was always at least one student who showed up with nothing. Whether it was due to poverty or having parents who just didn’t care doesn’t matter. That child deserves to have the necessary materials to have a good day at school. As I mentioned above, the school provides no budget for this, it is all up to the teacher to sort it out.

If you have the time, or the money to supply extra materials for your child’s classroom, please do. It may be cheesy to talk about “the village” but it really is true. Every kid, regardless of the circumstances of their birth deserves the best education available. Likewise, every teacher deserves the support of active parents. Not every parent can be there but if you can, you should. Try to think of your child’s classmates as an extension of your own family.

As for Noodle, she has a few more weeks of freedom before she heads off on a grand adventure. Not as an American 8th grader but as an English Shell year student. She’s going to boarding school. It’s going to be a difficult transition for all of us but an amazing opportunity for her. I’m so proud of my Noodle for taking this on and I know she’ll make all of us proud.

The Best Laid Plans…

Before I got pregnant, I had a plan. I had quit my part time, non profit job. I was going to make aprons, lots of them, and sell them, you know, wherever. Etsy, local shows, send some with my good friend at Azrael’s Accomplice to the events she vends and more. I had a schedule, I would make at least one apron a week, press it, list it, package and wait. Then the morning sickness happened.
fullbatpocket

I made 5 aprons. I’m not saying that my early pregnancies were easy, but when I did have morning sickness it was just that, MORNING sickness. Little Bee had me sick all day. I only puked once the entire time but every day was a fight to stay upright. Enough about my puking, back to the aprons. To date, I have sold 1 of the 5 I listed on Etsy. I don’t try to sell particularly hard but it would be nice if I could unload more than one.

Please buy me.

Please buy me.

I’ve been trying to get back to sewing on a regular schedule, but I tell ya it ain’t easy. I get about 3 baby free hours a day while little Bee naps and I tend to fill them with laundry and dishes. I’ve managed to crank out a couple of Halloween costumes since Bee got here but not much else.

Her Cthuteness will make you quiver with insanity.

Her Cthuteness will make you quiver with madness.

Sew last week I started something new, and no I have not finished it. It’s a prototype baby dress and I’m not thrilled with the pattern. It’s way too big for Bee, which is surprising because she’s a giant baby. Whatever, I’ll finish it and she’ll grow into and then I’ll try a different pattern.

It's okay.

It’s okay.

My point is, I’m really trying. I hope I can get back on a regular schedule of sewing and maybe even promote myself a little. Wish me luck!

Peanut Butter Cookie Time!

Lately the Boy has shown an interest in baking. Specifically incredibly easy, delicious, chewy peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. His school requires a week of summer school so he decided to treat his classmates to his favorite cookie. Much too his chagrin I decided to document it.

This is my variation on a recipe I found online a few years ago. I’m sorry I don’t have a link but it was so easy I committed it to memory.

So let’s start with ingredients.

Eggs, baking powder, brown sugar, peanut butter, chocolate chips

Eggs, baking powder, brown sugar, peanut butter, chocolate chips

2 Eggs
2 TBSP of Baking Powder
1 18 oz Jar of Peanut Butter (crunchy or smooth) About 2 cups
2 Cups Brown Sugar
1 Cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips

You will need a mixing bowl, whisk, wooden spoon, tablespoon and cookie sheets.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk together the eggs and baking powder, then add the brown sugar. Mix until blended.

sugar mix

Add the entire jar of peanutbutter and mix with a wooden spoon. It doesn’t have to be a wooden spoon, it could be a rubber spatula or whatever. The whisk just won’t work because the peanut butter is too gooey.

peanutbutter

Hey, don’t throw that jar away, you can use it to make overnight oats!
save that jar
I do this for my husband regularly so he can grab and go a decent breakfast. When I don’t have a nearly empty jar I just use a mason jar and improvise. Be warned though, there is a such thing as too much Nutella.

Go ahead and add the chocolate chips. Fold them in until they are well distributed.

chocolate chips

Now it’s time for the fun and messy part. Roll your dough into balls, about the size of a ping pong ball and place on an un-greased cookie sheet. Not too close together because they’ll spread out as they bake.

sheet balls

Bake for 7-9 minutes. Sometimes the peanut butter smells like it’s burning but unless you’ve accidentally set your oven to incinerate they are fine. . Here’s the tricky part, when you take them out of the oven you must let them cool on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes.

rest

Remove them to cool on racks. If you don’t have a cooling rack you can put them on a plate but they may be a bit soggy bottomed.

And voila! Easy peanut butter chocolate chip cookies from start to finish in about 20-25 minutes. This recipe makes about 24-32 cookies, depending on how big your balls are. I’m sorry, I had to. I have no regrets.

done