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Bottles & Rockets

5 Dec
Gingerbread Rocket

Gingerbread Rocket

This past Saturday was Fisher’s 8th Birthday.  For the very first time we had a proper party for him that included some friends from school.  I know, what kind of mother am I?  You’ve never thrown your son a birthday party?  Oh, I have.  It’s just never been one of those parties where you mail out invitations and agonize over RSVP’s.  It has always just been family in the past.

I have fretted over how to entertain a group of boys for weeks now.  What do boys like?  Heck if I know.  In the end I made some gingerbread cookies in rocket shapes and had my husband construct them for me.  (By the time it came to build the rockets, I was on the verge of a nervous break down.  I had this beautiful picture in my head of how I wanted them to look and when my first attempt at construction was a failure, I almost lost my mind.)  Mind you, I’d been cleaning and baking for two straight days up until this point and was utterly exhausted.

Jordan opted for boy-proof construction rather than something that was pretty but would fall apart as soon as someone touched it.  Thus the copious amounts of icing.  By the time the icing had dried, these rockets could have made a daring bid for the moon.  These things were solid.  And I’m glad that they were because the boys first instincts were to pick them up and zoom them around the room. Whew!

Decorated Gingerbread Cookie Rocket

I don’t know who was happier, Fisher or his rocket!  :]  If you’d like to make your own gingerbread cookie rockets, here is what you need:

  • Gingerbread Cookies, Baked to Desired Shapes
  • Sugar Cones
  • Gingerbread House Icing “glue” (Super sticky and thick Royal Icing)
  • Candy for Decoration

My not-so-specific-instructions:

For the pointed “nose cone” of the rockets I used sugar cones.  You’d think that these would be found near the ice cream aisle, but that was not the case.  I honestly thought that I’d never find them at the grocery store.  They were finally located next to the Peanut Butter & Jelly.  You know, the same aisle as Coffee.  Because that makes total sense.

Next, I measured base of the cone to find out how wide it was.  I planned on inverting the cone for the tip of my rocket and wanted to make sure that the gingerbread cookies I baked would correctly support the cone.

Finally, I mixed up some gingerbread cookie dough cut out rectangles and triangles.  I used three rectangular cookies per rocket to make the body of the rocket.  Thus the rocket ended up being three-sided.  I had originally planned on using four cookies per rocket to make up the body, but that did not allow for proper attachment when I can to the sugar cone.  I also used three triangles per rocket to make the directional fins at the base of the rocket.  It’s hard to tell in the picture because of all the icing, but the little triangular fins are there.

Gingerbread Cookie Rocket

Here’s a lovely sketch by yours truly to demonstrate how it all came together.

Diet Coke & Mentos

Once the rockets were decorated and all the left-over candy decorations had been eaten, the boys headed out into the back yard to set off some bottles of Diet Coke with the aid of mint-flavored Mentos.  It was a huge hit.  The boys begged to stand in the line of fire, but I couldn’t possibly be the mom who sent home boys soaked in soda after a birthday party.  I would be shunned for the rest of time for such a thing.  The boys were only temporarily disappointed.  ;]

The party was a hit and the boys only talked and sang about poop for 30 minutes of the two-hour party.  I say that’s the stamp of success.

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Dirt & Worm Cupcakes

30 Nov
Dirt & Worm Cupcakes

Dirt & Worm Cupcakes

Tomorrow is Fisher’s 8th Birthday.  He has counted down to it pretty much since his 7th.  To celebrate, I made his favorite cupcakes to share with his class at school today:  Dirt & Worm Cupcakes.  They are super easy to make, taste great and are always a huge hit at school.

Dirt & Worm Cupcakes

Dirt & Worm Cupcakes

I used a box of Duncan Hines Devil’s Food Cake Mix, but you can use whatever chocolate cake mix you prefer.  Once they have completely cooled, I piped on some chocolate icing, rolled the tops of the cupcakes in crushed Oreo cookies and topped them each with a gummy worm.  Tah-dah!

Even though I used a box mix, I do highly recommend that you make your own chocolate icing.  It is always superior to canned icing that you find at the store and it is super simple to make.  This is my favorite chocolate icing recipe, one that I got from my mother:

Chocolate Icing Recipe:

  • 1/2 heaping cup of cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 3 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 stick of butter, softened

Directions:

Cream together the butter and cocoa powder.  Next, mix in the vanilla extract and salt.  Add the sour cream and mix until combined.  Slowly work in the confectioners sugar.  Once combined, mix at medium speed for a few minutes until it is nice and smooth.  I use this time to rinse off utensils and tidy up around the kitchen.  (Confectioners sugar inevitably ends up everywhere when I use it.)

The icing is usually cool from the refrigerated sour cream, so I let it set for a minute or two to let it warm up.  Cold icing is hard to pipe with.  If you want to pipe on the icing, just grab a bag and a large, open tip.  It doesn’t really matter what tip you use as long as it is a large one.  You don’t even have to make it look pretty since you’re just going to roll the iced part of the cupcake in crushed Oreo cookies.  It’s a fool-proof decorating plan!

If you don’t have a piping bag or tips, just grab a spatula or even a butter knife.  Again, it doesn’t have to look pretty.  The crushed Oreo’s hide just about any icing misstep.

This recipe will make enough icing for 24 cupcakes, plus a few extra.  This recipe is also great on chocolate cake.  I usually mix up two batches when icing a two-layer, eight inch round cake.

Enjoy!

Let’s Talk Turkey

28 Nov

It’s been almost a week since Thanksgiving and I still have leftovers chilling in my fridge.  Actually, they may no longer be chilling.  They may be actively growing hair and fingernails.  *cough*  Ahem.

How was your Thanksgiving?  Ours was low-key and laid back.  Just like I like it.  I only had to make the dressing and a pie which made life a lot less complicated.  The dressing was my Great Grandmother Ocee’s recipe which is delicious and perfect in every way.  The pie was a Lemon Chess Pie which was amazing.  Traditional?  No.  Delicious and Lemon-tastic?  Oh, yes!  I am fiend for any dessert that is lemon flavored.  But really, who isn’t?  It wasn’t too strong or overly filling and seemed to pair well with the Pecan Pie my husband’s Grandmother made.

 

As you can see the weather in Central Oklahoma was mild on Thanksgiving.  Thankfully the kids played outside while the women finished up cooking in the kitchen.  Nothing sets tempers on edge more than children under foot when a hundred things are being prepared simultaneously.

Of course once the camera came out, Jaden and Fisher were ready to cheese for me on cue.  Look at the size of that Sycamore leaf!  This Sycamore tree is amazing if not a little smelly at times.

What the heck…why not make a quick photo shoot out of a few minutes of play?

And if we’re going to have a photo shoot, we might as well make faces at the camera for a few minutes.  It’s for the sake of  posterity after all.

The best part of our Thanksgiving was eating off of these sweet place mats that the kids made.  There were eight total, but these two were my favorites, mainly because they are morbid.  Those poor turkeys.  One is about to be run through with a sword and another is being hunted by a girl dreaming of turkey ribs.  Creepy!

I hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving!

Bi-Monthly Roundup

2 Nov

The past two weeks have been in-sane.  If the past two weeks had a commemorative T-shirt, it would be in the style of a marathon complete with bloody noses, freezing asses and, of course, jack-o-lanterns.  (And it would be the most amazing T-shirt ever.)

My Septoplasty recovery ending up being more intense and drawn-out than I had hoped.  It was an inescapable type of pain that did not waver despite the prescription painkillers I threw at it.  Relief was found only after my surgeon removed the splints from my nose. That said, stop whatever you are doing right now and search for a YouTube video of someone having nasal splints removed.  It is horrible and gross and you just can’t peel your eyes away.  Oh the carnage!  (I may have exaggerated a bit just now.)  Exaggerations aside, it was not a pleasant experience and oh-my-god I couldn’t believe how long or how large those things were!  Surely they impaled my brain fully and poked out through my hair on the back-side of my skull.

Ten days after surgery I once again participated in a local drug awareness parade along side my employer and my children.  The parade is kind of a big deal and the turn out from the community was staggering.  The kids absolutely loved the experience.  You’d think that they’d rather by on the side lines collecting candy.  But no, they thought that throwing candy to the thousands of children at the parade was one of the best thing ever.  It made me more than a little proud.  :]  Also, it was 30 degrees outside.  The normal nose would run and sniffle and blow and do all the other normal things noses do in these temperatures.  And mine did the same only it resulted in one of the most epic migraine/face-pain festivals of the decade.  I spent the rest of the day vomiting and sitting in a hot shower praying to entity within earshot to just make it stop.  It was exciting.

Then came Halloween.  At the last minute I decided to participate and threw together a Trophy Wife costume.  Pretentious?  Most definitely.  It is, however, easy to make and extremely cost efficient.  Simply throw on your best dress, make up a banner so no one is confused and there you have it.

Least sexy pose.  Ever. You’re welcome.

Jaden dressed as a turquoise-haired Vampiress and Fisher was just down-right creepy.  Imagine encountering this in the dark.  It was quite unnerving.  I can’t remember what the packing declared this costume to be.  Fisher labeled himself as Death.

Believe it or not they are smiling for the camera.  Jaden’s smile is obscured by her fangs and I like to image that Fisher’s smile looked like Jack from The Shining.  (Because it usually does when he’s riding a sugar high.)

We also carved pumpkins.  And by “we” I mean the kids only.  I was truly impressed by their skill and dedication to gutting these pumpkins.  They scraped out pumpkin innards like seasoned professionals.  They hardly batted an eye to being elbow deep in one of the most disgusting substances on the planet.  (Seriously, the contents of pumpkins are just nasty.)  They even carved their pumpkins without losing any of their fingers.  I’d say that’s pretty darn impressive.

My crochet projects have suffered greatly over the past two weeks.  I had grand visions of convalescing at home in mild discomfort while simultaneously cranking out a few dozen crochet projects.  That did not happen.  I now realize that I was deluded in the most extreme way.  With the holidays fast approaching I need to get my rear in gear.  Any of you hookers out there have any suggestions from some unique and creative crochet projects?  I’m all ears….and hooks.  :]

The Rules of the Game

5 Oct

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The rules of chess are whatever Jaden deems them to be. They change often, but curiously always in her favor. Hmm…

(By the way, our local library rocks!)

Tonsillectomy

6 Sep

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We all woke up early this morning to get to the Hospital on time for Fisher’s Tonsillectomy.  (As in, we left the house at 5:30AM)  Waking up a child at 7AM for school is hard enough, just imagine how things went this morning!
Over the past two years Fisher has suffered from a constant string of throat infections including several bouts of Strep.  Eventually his tonsils had been infected so many times that they would no longer shrink back down once he was well.  Thus he’s been walking around with golf ball-sized tonsils in his throat for almost a year now.  A week before school began he had yet another major infection and the doctor decided that it was time for his tonsils to come out.

Needless to say, Fisher has not been thrilled with the idea of surgery despite the promise of copious amounts of ice cream.  Fisher loves ice cream.  He will, in fact, marry ice cream when he comes of legal age and is already browsing through “Save the Date” cards.

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Once he was wheeled back to surgery, the procedure only took about fifteen minutes.  I was surprised by how quick it was, but then again, they are just tonsils.  Even if they’re ginormous, how hard can it be to cut them out?

It wasn’t long before Jordan and I were allowed back to Recovery to sit with Fisher while he woke up.  He was pitiful and adorable all at the same time.  Look at that face.  He makes me melt.

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Once he was deemed to be “awake,” he was taken to another, more exciting recovery room.  This one was stocked with apple juice and more horrible reruns of Sesame Street than one could ever ask for.  Fisher wore a constant frown and drank enough apple juice to float himself home.

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Despite the look on his face, he was actually very excited about riding in the wheel chair.  His look of disapproval here is a result of realizing that someone had given him an IV once he was put to sleep.  You should have seen the look on his face when he looked down to find a needle in his hand.  The nerve of some people!  He didn’t cry or get upset.  He was mostly just offended.  ;]

I have to take a moment to brag here.  This kid is amazing.  Not a single tear.  Not a single complaint.  He was amazingly brave and I couldn’t be more proud!

We’ll see how his recovery goes at home.  He’s always been a good patient in the past and with three different flavors of ice cream waiting for him in the freezer, I’m sure he’ll be fine.

Slip-N-Slide

6 May

 

 

Do I really need to say anything?  I think not.  Slip-N-Slides are the best.  They’re perfect for hot weather and make for awesome photo opportunities.  I mean, just look at those facial expressions!  It doesn’t get any better than that!

 

 

 

Look at this gem.  This one’s a keeper.  Just wait until she brings home her first boyfriend.  ;]