Sunday, September 30, 2012

RECIPE: Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

My oldest is a HUGE Snickerdoodle fan. He has also been begging me to make pumpkin pie. So I decided to make a few pumpkin recipes and when I came across a pumpkin Snickerdoodle recipe, I knew I had to give them a try. I didn't alter the recipe at all (I know y'all are shocked but I actually followed a recipe)

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

Yield: about 3 dozen cookies


1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup pure unsweetened pumpkin puree
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon allspice


1. Cream the butter until fluffy. Add sugars and pumpkin puree and beat well. Mix in egg and vanilla, scraping down sides of the bowl to incorporate all of the ingredients.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and ground cinnamon. Beat flour mixture into liquid mixture a little at a time just until incorporated.
3. Cover dough with plastic and chill at least an hour, or until dough becomes fairly firm.
4. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper (or spray with nonstick spray). Mix rolling sugar ingredients in a small bowl.
5. Remove cookie dough from refrigerator. Use a medium cookie scoop (1 1/2 Tablespoons) or a large spoon to scoop out dough and roll into balls. Roll the balls in the cinnamon sugar and make sure they're coated really well. Place 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Use a glass with a nice, flat bottom to dip in sugar and flatten the balls.
6. Bake at 350°F. for 10 to 14 minutes, or until they are slightly firm to the touch (mine were perfect at 12 minutes). Let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes or so, then remove them to a wire rack to cool completely.


*Store in an airtight container. These cookies freeze well too. Place them in freezer zip bag and remove from freezer when the craving hits.

VERDICT: My middle son didn't like these but I have no clue why. My eldest LOVED these. They have such a light pumpkin flavor; it's not overwhelming, so it's just nice.

Monday, July 2, 2012

What to do on a 100+ degree day...

It's day 4 of 100+ degree temperatures. It's hot. It's humid. It's just yicky. Today is actually a cooler day with a high of 100. Yes, when 100 is the cooler temp, you know you're in trouble. Of course this is the weeks the kids are all home from school. Can't exactly play outside, so what's there to do?

Time for a movie treat! Polar Express & Iced Chocolate! Looking at snow while eating/drinking a frozen treat surely cools you off and makes you forget if you step outside, your skin will blister :)

All I did was take 6 packets of hot cocoa mix, about 1/4 cup of cocoa powder & added about 2 cups of boiling water to make it nice and smooth. Then I put it in the fridge to cool. I added about  pint of fat-free half & half and what ended up being another 1-2 cups of ice cold water. Mixed it up and poured it into my ice cream maker where I let it go for about 25 minutes. It filled it all the way to the top and when it was done, it was smooth, and EXACTLY what I was looking for! 

So now that we have happy bellies, we can watch the movie.

Remember: look out for CARIBOU!!!!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


2. Picture yourself at your child's age(s). Try to remember how you felt.

Me at 4: My passion & Love was my Cabbage Patch Kid, Jenny Bethany. My best friend was MaryAnne next door and we played, and played together for hours on end. 

Me at 6: I was loud and active. I did Brownies, and MaryAnne was still my bestie. I loved my CPS and Barbies but I was completely a tomboy and also liked to play with Derek across the street.

Me at 8: I had already learned about bullying and was semi-friendless because I was a 'nerd' and wore glasses. MaryAnne moved to SC and the closest friend I had became Derek. I read the entire set of World Book encyclopedias and yearbooks the summer I was 8. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


1. Ask yourself: " What is one thing that we can do together this month?"

Such a question gets more complicated with each additional child you have. Feel free to interpret this question as you wish; either "we" as in mom and all kids -or- "we" as in mom and each kid individually. 

My answer to today's challenge is make sure each kid can choose a game to play with mom. They set the rules as to if they want to allow their brothers to play with us but they don't have to. They can have just one-on-one mom game time if they desire. Once I announce this, I guarantee I will be playing games all day that same day (which might be today).


May is the month of Mom. 
It's the one month where there is one day to celebrate all we do as moms. One single, lonely day for others to show appreciation for what we put up with do.
I have a challenge for myself and for all you moms with a big to-do list. Somethings you may do already. Somethings make you think. Somethings may be a challenge.
Take the time to challenge yourself as a mother. 


It's May. May is CT's birthday. It's HT's birthday. My nephew's birthday. A bunch of the kids' friends' birthdays. There is the Mother's Day tea where i am hosting not 1 but 2 tables. Then Mother's Day. And End of preschool. End of the year for MOW (mom's group I am president of). Memorial Day of course.... Yeah. May is slightly packed. Add in the fact that the kids are tracked out for another 2 weeks and we have a bunch of appointments (dentists & doctors) made for while they're out. Oh and Boy Scout stuff (end of year coming soon). PHEW! And oddly, I've been on a cleaning streak where I am moving furniture and DEEP cleaning closets and bins and I'm insane!

I do have 2 plans. 1 I decided early last month and that is a special mom thing to do/blog every day for a month. The other was early this morning. I am giving up all HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) stuff for a month. That means the can of soda I opened will be drank by a child and I will stare at labels. I'm good at following through with things for the kids but when it comes to me, I fall to the wayside.

So follow my 'mothering" journey and watch for more posts when kids track back in.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


The Day before Easter (aka Holy Saturday), we went to Richland Creek Community Church for their annual Block Party & Egg Hunt. Afterward, we went strawberry picking at Hunt's Strawberry Farm here in Raleigh. We bought 2 large buckets which weighed a total of just under 20 pounds of fresh, succulent strawberries. The next day (Easter), we had brunch here... sweet, fluffy waffles topped with vanilla ice cream, the strawberries, and whipped cream. Simple and so yummy!

But now what to do with the rest of the berries? I had plans. 

Strawberry Muffins
Strawberry Sauce
Strawberry Quick Jam
Strawberries in Syrup (just chopped berries with some sugar to create a syrup)
Strawberry Fruit Leather


I picked up a packet of Ball's  RealFruit instant pectin to have on hand about a month ago and I found a use for it today. Following the recipe on the back, I made the quickest jam. I wasn't super pleased with the results in that it didn't gel up hardly but I think it will still work on those English muffins I bought. I might redo it but it's my fault for roughly chopping in the food processor instead of crushing it by hand. 

makes 16 ounces

1 packet of instant pectin
2 cups of chopped, crushed fruit (strawberries in this case)
2/3 cup sugar

  1. Stir sugar and pectin in a bowl
  2. Add fruit.
  3. Stir for 3 minutes.
  4. Ladle into jar(s) and let stand for 30 minutes.
  5. Enjoy now, refrigerate up to 3 weeks, or freeze up to a year.


This can be stored for about 3 weeks in the fridge, although it can be frozen up to a year. You can use it atop ice cream or pancakes/waffles. You can use it to drizzle over cheesecake, pound cake, or angel food cake. You can add it to some fresh lemonade for an amazing glass of strawberry lemonade. It's really a versatile things to have on hand. 

yields about 16 ounces

3 cups roughly chopped strawberries
1/3-1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Puree berries in a food processor.
  2. Pour berry slush into a medium saucepan.
  3. Stir in sugar and extracts.
  4. Bring to a boil/simmer over medium heat.
  5. Stirring constantly, simmer for another 5-8 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat & let cool.
  7. Pour into jar and refrigerate.

I love the plastic Ball Jars.
These are 16 ounces. Dry Erase markers work perfect & leave no marks.

Thursday, April 5, 2012


I repurpose plastic (and glass) bottles. Powdered creamer containers are great to hold straws or bread crumbs. Bigger jugs are great for cleaning products I make. I got 2 key tips to make repurposing much nicer.

1. Take off all labels! 
Peel as much off as you can. Then take WD-40 (what can't this stuff do?) and cover the rest of the label and let sit. The WD-40 will remove the gooey stickiness and any remaining label. 
2. Remove any printing directly on package!
You know those black lettered stamps that are lot numbers and dates they put directly on the bottle. They come off! Just take a cotton ball and a little bit of nail polish remover. VIOLA! it rubs right off! Along with this you can write in permanent marker on plastic boxes (i label my kids boxes for things like pencils, markers, crayons, stickers, puzzles, card games, etc..). When you no longer need the label on it, just do the same thing: nail polish remover and a cotton ball and the writing comes right off! Box is like brand new!
So 2 household products cane make your repurposing so much easier! just think! Those big tubs of pretzels you get, you can remove all labels and markings, have a perfect clear & empty container, and reuse it to put cookies in to give as gifts! The possibilities are endless!


I hate to spend money on chocolate syrup. I don't like most cheaper brands and even with sales and coupons, it's an expense I hate to pay for. Plus, the ingredients aren't the best. 

Step into my life homemade chocolate syrup. BHG originally published this recipe some 40+ years ago. Well, wow! It's got 5 ingredients. You control the quality of them and it's super quick and easy!
2 cups sugar
1 cup cocoa powder (I used Hershey's)
1/8-1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 cups water
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  1. In a small saucepan, mix cocoa, sugar & salt. 
  2. Add water.
  3. Stir over medium heat just until sugar is dissolved, stirring frequently (this only takes a few minutes and doesn't need to boil or get super hot as long as the sugar dissolves).
  4. Remove from heat.
  5. Add vanilla & stir.
  6. Let cool slightly and store covered in the refrigerator.

I stored the syrup in a old creamer bottle. Made the label to make it look fancy. 


Muddy Buddies.
Puppy Chow.
Whatever you call it, it's a glorious snack!

It's Chex, butter, peanut butter, chocolate, and powdered sugar. It got so popular to make at home, Chex actually sells it bagged! I've made it numerous times and it's just SO DARN GOOD! Only negative thing? Nut allergies! It's hard to bring to parties because of the use of nuts. Enter white chocolate and cake mix for the solution!
A few weeks back Lowe's Foods had a sale on cereal and if you bought 3 boxes, you saved 25 cents per gallon of gas (so if you bought 6 boxes you saved 50 cents...). I ended up with a big box of Kix & another of Honey Kix (in addition to all the other cereal). Kix is a corn puff and Chex is corn (one of the types at least) so I thought I'd use those to make a treat.

The results were glorious and I loved the way they looked so much, I thought I'd make more for an Easter treat for my kids to hand out in class. The labels I made were simple on the outside: "Happy Easter" on one side and ingredients list with allergy info on the back (Nut Free. Contains gluten & dairy) so a kid could eat it right away and know it was safe (or not)). The inside (tricky, tricky mommy) had a description and invitation to our church's Easter Block Party. We invited everyone as our guests and I hope maybe 1 person takes us up on the offer :)
Well, since my version has neither chocolate or peanut butter and is kinda the opposite of what was originally intended. I will refer to these as Non-Muddy buddies (since they are white) aka Cat Chow.


6-7 cups Kix
6 squares Almond Bark (half a package)
2-3 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 cups cake mix (I used a white vanilla)
1 cup powdered sugar
  1. Melt almond bark according to directions (should be 90 seconds for 6 bars stir and 15 seconds more).
  2. Stir in 2-3 teaspoons of veggie oil and mix well.
  3. Pour over the cereal and stir to completely coat.
  4. Whisk together powdered sugar & cake mix. (Note: you can also add colored sugar just to give some color - sprinkles & non-pariels don't seem to stick).
  5. Add powdered mix quickly to coated cereal and stir to cover completely. I start with a spoon but finish with my hands.
WARNING: this is addictive!

After making this, I can't wait to get  my hands on Cocoa Puffs and doing it this way... and just making all kinds of wacky flavor combos!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


These are CT's favorite cookie - this particular recipe is, I should say. Everyone loves these. They are best the day of and next day but don't hold up as well in my opinion. They are still super easy and yummy though. Nothing like a fresh Snickerdoodle.

Funny name huh? Snickerdoodle! It's from German - schnecke meaning snail because it's based on schneckenudeln which looks like our cinnamon buns (or small shell). In America, land of cookies, they liked funky, whimsical names and they kinda compared the cake to t he cookie and there ya go... the Snickerdoodle was born. Make sense?

I know, you dont care. You just want the mouth-watering recipe!

about 3 dozen large cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1-1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
cinnamon-sugar mixture  to roll dough balls in
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cream together butter, shortening, sugar, eggs and vanilla. 
  3. In separate bowl mix flour, cream of tartar, soda and salt. 
  4. Add to creamed mixture & blend.
  5. Shape dough by rounded spoonfuls into balls. I use a tablespoon scooper.
  6. Drop balls into cinnamon sugar mixture. Roll around to coat fully.
  7. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
  8. Bake 8-10 minutes until set but not too hard. Remove immediately from baking sheets.

Monday, April 2, 2012


Oh, yeah. I went there. 

Back in NYC, there is this cool, really popular place called Peanut Butter & Co. It's on Sullivan Street (if ya care). They are a sandwich shop that serves, yup! you guessed it!, peanut butter sandwiches. All different kinds! All homemade peanut butters. They got so popular they started selling their peanut butter jars nationwide. Go look in Walmart. Top shelf of the peanut butters you will find them! Anyway, they have this one kind that I kinda really dig - Dark Chocolate Dreams. Thing is I dont like 'dark" chocolate and well, it's pricey as you'd imagine it'd be.
Thanks to Pinterest, I've noticed ways to make things at home that'd I never try. Like taking the idea for Biscoff Butter (it's like peanut butter but made with Biscoff cookies!!!) and making an Oreo butter. Ideas are all over the place!

I totally adore fresh ground honey roasted peanut butter. So when I went to Whole Foods today (to get soap for my homemade laundry soap), I got some fresh ground, plain roasted peanuts. I got 3/4 container (probably about equal poundage).

I added that to my food processor and let it whirl. And whirl. And whirl some more. You let it go until it's very liquidy.. about 5 minutes. Then I added 1/3 cup Hershey's Cocoa Powder, 1 cup (about) of Domino's Powdered Sugar, about 1/4 teaspoon salt, and between 3-4 tablespoons of veggie oil drizzled in to make it the right consistency. 

It's that simple! OC tried it and loved it and i know when HT get's his mouth around that sandwich tomorrow, he'll be hooked! It's not super chocolaty b you can adjust the taste for you which is why this is such a great idea!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Recipe: Soft "Oaty" Oatmeal Cookies

I like oatmeal cookies. Raisins are okay in them, but if the cookie is good and "oaty" then it doesnt need anything else in it. I've had some good oatmeal cookies but haven't been able to get the super oaty taste I've been after at home until now. Only change I'd make to this recipe is to try half shortening instead to cut down on the buttery taste. While I love butter taste, I like the oats to shine. 

These are chewy on the outside and soft inside. They really are am amazing cookie. You can easily add in raisins, dried fruit, chips, whatever but I like them plain the best. 

Soft Oaty Oatmeal Cookie
yield: 3 dozen large cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 cups Old fashioned oats (slow cooking oatmeal) 
  1. Cream together butter, white sugar, and brown sugar.
  2. Beat in eggs one at a time, then the vanilla.
  3. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  4. Add the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture and mix.
  5. Mix in oats. 
  6. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (preferably about 6).
  7. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  8. Lightly spray cookie sheets with baking spray.
  9. Scoop dough with a 1" scooper (tablespoonfuls) & place 2" apart.
  10. Bake for 9-11 minutes in preheated oven.
  11. Allow cookies to cool for 5+ minutes on the cookie sheets before transferring to cooling rack.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Recipe: Hamburger Pie

My moms used to make hamburger pie often. It's easy and cheap and filling. Plus everyone loved it. It was from her BHG red gingham-checkered binder full of BHG recipes. Now all these years later, I'm making the same I always loved. Of course, me being me, I change up a few things and make it my style. Also great to make ahead and bake at dinnertime. Less mess, less stress. 

Hamburger Pie
1-1/2 pounds of lean ground beef
1 small onion, diced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 16-ounce bag of frozen cut green beans, thawed & drained
Homemade "Condensed Tomato Soup" or 1 can of condensed soup (10-3/4 oz)
4 servings mashed potatoes (I use instant following directions but adding 1 egg to the mix at the end)
enough cheese to cover top
  1. In a skillet, brown meat & cook onion until brown & tender.
  2. Drain off fat (if there is any).
  3. Add salt (and pepper if you fancy that).
  4. Stir in soup.
  5. Pour into bottom of baking dish.
  6. Add Green Beans on top.
  7. Spoon mashed potatoes over the beans and spread to even over casserole dish.
  8. Add cheese over top of potatoes.
  9. Bake, uncovered, in a 350 degree oven for 30-45 minutes until bubbly and cheese starts to brown.

Recipe: "Condensed tomato soup"

So I wanted to make a recipe and I thought it needed canned tomato sauce. 15 minutes before the kids got home, I realized I needed Condensed Tomato Soup. ARGH! What's a momma to do? This momma looked online and found out I can make such a thing. I changed the recipe up a bit but it tasted just like it. I've read you can even add liquid to it and use it as soup (I'm baking with mine).

"Condensed Tomato Soup"
1 15-ounce can Tomato Sauce
4 Tablespoons Sugar
2 Tablespoons Corn Starch
1 teaspoon salt

Just whisk altogether and viola! I am never buying cans of condensed again... here I cna be in charge of what goes into it and it's healthier and cheaper!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Recipe: Fruity Pancakes

As with many multi-kid families, our mornings are always busy! We got school on weekdays. We got Church on Sunday mornings. Saturday mornings for half the year is some sport. So when on earth is there time to make big fancy breakfasts? We simply can't find that kind of time so we do Breakfast for Dinner 2-3 times a month. This way we get a full "fancy" breakfast without being rushed AND it's a cheap dinner.

So this past week (including this week) we've had to tighten our spending until payday. I'm sure you all have had this happen. SO we have to use what we have in the house. Sunday evenings we also do church stuff (have I mentioned Richland Creek Community Church is the best place ever on Earth?) and I had to come up with something quick. We decided on pancakes. Plain pancakes get boring and we had no fresh fruit. So, I added some Post Fruity Pebbles and made a few silver dollar pancakes for each person to try and see if they wanted those or plain ones. 4 out of the 5 people, wanted the Fruity Pebbles kind. They are so easy, look super cute and dont taste as gross as they might sound.

The Fruity Pebbles adds a slight fruitiness and doesnt really make them much sweeter. It's kind of odd. All you have to do is add a scoop of fruity pebbles to your batter and that's it! It's that plain and simple to make your plain and simple pancakes less plain and simple. *smile*

I want to buy Cocoa Pebbles and try those. Slight chocolate flavor without being super chocolaty? That sounds right up my alley! Less messy than chocolate chips too! Now there are healthy/natural versions of Fruity Pebbles that I am sure would work as well. My 1 son (who was the one person who didnt like the pancakes) is very particular with cereal and wont eat natural or generic Pebbles :( I think any small cereal like Pebbles should work. 

Give them a try!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Kidaround Kidsale - Spring 2012

It should go without saying that each season, the sale grows. I'm not sure how much longer the Kidaround Kidsale can stay at the MVP Sports complex at The Factory in Wake Forest. This year they were busting out the seams in the best possible way! I got to shop early on Thursday night at 4:00 when it opened to the elite shoppers who donated lots of time to make the sale as wonderful as it is. I made some great scores and you can see them on a separate post that I made. I plan to go back to early shop the 50% off sale and hope to make a few more big scores. Take a look at the wonderful sale (and my pictures do not do it justice)!


Thursday, March 22, 2012

KidAround KidSale - Spring 2012: My Finds

I helped the KidAround Kidsale with their social media. Unfortunately, we started a bit late but I am so gonna go nutso next sale if Keira lets me. In exchange for the behind the scenes help, I got to shop the earliest people shop. Super volunteers can shop Thursday Night from 4-8pm. I was there just after 4:00 (I had to wait for CT & HT to get home from school). They had more stuff this time then I remembered before and they are gonna need bigger space soon because the sale was busting at the seams (I'll post those pictures in a separate post but can be seen on FaceBook already).

Well, these are my this year finds... we dont need toys really so I just got for Clothes for CT and shoes for the boys.
CT wanted to buy this (with his money) - $6.00
9 large Transformers (for HT & OC) - $12.00
Abercrombie Polo - $4.00
GAP striped Polo - $4.00
Abercrombie Polo (super duper soft) - $4.00
Gray Arizona Shorts - $4.00
Green Arizona Shorts - $4.00
Camo Arizona Shorts - $4.00
Levi's Plaid Shorts - $4.00
Nike Cleats (for HT's Flag Football) - $5.00
Like brand new Faded Glory Sandals - $2.00
Brain Quest Cards - $3.00
Oh and I got a pack of Level 1 & 2 reading books. There were 12 books including Star Wars, Transformers, Pirates and more. Gonna go grab some more tomorrow.