Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Becoming One of Those Moms

    It's Johnny Appleseed Week for K2's Kindergarten Class and the teacher has asked each kid to bring an apple snack for their show n' tell. Now in my quest to be one of "those" moms I knew the only thing I could do is go on Pinterest and spend hours searching for the prefect apple snack recipe...... and maybe a couple of cute ways to paint my nails (if I had any) and I may have pinned 4 difference ways to make a Halloween wreath for my door, but mostly I kind of browsed for apple recipes. Since it's fall it was super easy to find recipes. In fact, I think one of the pins I looked at was 5,000 things to make with apples or something like that. Apple Fritters, nah too much work, Apple Dump Cake, eh too sticky, Applesauce, that would require buying plastic bowls and spoons so that's out, Apple Chips... hum. How hard could that be?
    I gathered up the supplies I needed in my pantry and sent Nick to the store to get apples. We had Granny Smith Apples which I'm sure would have worked fine but all the recipes I looked at used Red Apples so Red Apples it had to be.
The Loot
   Not wanting to miss a special mother-daughter bonding moment and testing out the limitations of child labor laws I told K2 that since this was her class snack I expected her to help. Of course she was super excited. Kindergarteners are always excited to help. I could tell her to clean the cat litter box out with chop sticks and I'm sure she would probably think it was the most fun thing ever. Don't worry, I haven't asked her to do that but I may have had an extra happy helper scrubbing a toilet once or twice...... don't judge me. Note: For all those moms out there who can't wait for their little one to help them with house chores don't hold your breath because it only lasts a little while. Then they wise up and now I can barely get K1 to do anything without having to promise some form of money.
My sweet little helper
    While I used my fancy $10 food slicer from Nebraska Furniture Mart I let K2 mix the sugar and spices. Since she wouldn't understand the measurements. I told her simply enough, "For the cinnamon you do one of these and three of those." I went back to slicing the apples and then lined them on the cookie sheet. I looked over at the spices she had mixed and thought they looked a little darker then they should. "K2, how many of each spoon did you do?"
"Four." She replied.
"Four what?" I asked..... already starting to figure out the answer.
"Four of this one." She responded as she held up the Tablespoon. Not wanting our  apply chips to be too spicy, I grabbed a handful of sugar and added it to the mix. It looked equal enough to me.
Showing the spices after mommy fixed them
    With K3 watching us, we then sprinkled.... or in K2's case generously covered the apple slices with the sugar mixture. Oh well, it's for 5 year olds. I'm sure they'll love the extra sugar.... the teacher, maybe not so much. We put the apple slices in the oven and I have to admit I was feeling pretty good about myself. Apple Chips, piece of cake!
K3 overseeing the hard work
    Or at least they would have been a piece of cake if I had a food dehydrator. The recipe said that it would take roughly one and a half hours of cooking at 200 degrees while turning every 30 minutes. One and a half hours my butt, I swear it took 8 freaking hours to get these things crispy. Okay, so maybe only two hours, and MAYBE my oven is really old and that's why it took so long but after about the third flipping of floppy apple slices I was over it. But the store was closed and the kids were in bed so like a good soldier or more like one of "those" moms I kept with it. And I must say that they turned out great. They were really crispy, super tasty, and made my house smell like Heaven! K2's apple snack was ready for show n' tell and she even got to take credit for making them herself.
Apple chips hanging out in the oven
    This is the part where I show the final picture of the amazing apple chips because I'm a super blogger like that. Well after my 12th hour of flipping apple slices (you like how the time increases each time I say it?) I was tired and I went to bed and didn't think anything about taking the photo. I know, I suck. But as an attempt at redemption I took a picture of the empty container to show that they were so good there were no leftovers! Yay!! Not good enough?
These Apple Chips were Kindergarten Approved
     Well because I'm nice and I was so impressed with myself, I've included the recipe below. Enjoy! By the way, what's your favorite apple treat?
                                                                      Yours Truly,

(Adapted from Half Squeezed Lemon )

1 1/2 Tbsp. of Cinnamon
1 Tbsp Sugar
1/4 tsp. Kosher Salt
3 Red Apples

Preheat oven to 200F. Line two baking sheets with wax paper.
In a small bowl, mix together spices and salt.
Crosswise, cut off bottom of each of the apples. Do not core the apples.. Using a mandolin (or sharp knife), slice the apples as thin as possible. (Approximately 1/16″ inch). Remove and discard any seeds from the apple slices.
Transfer the apple slices to the baking sheets, in a single layer, being sure they do not overlap. Sprinkle apple slices with a touch of the spice mixture. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, then flip them over. Continue flipping apple slices in 30 minute intervals until they are crispy. Roughly 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours. Let them cool and then enjoy! 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Nothing Beats the Innocence of a Child

    This week has been crazy busy which started with a full weekend of homecoming, a tractor pull.... yes really, we went to a tractor pull, church activities, and doing something that has now became a tradition in our family, waving at the motorcycles that ride by in the Bikers for Babies Ride. The Kansas City Bikers for Babies Ride is the most successful ride for the March of Dimes. This year there were over 5,000 bikers and they raised over $650, 000 for the March of Dimes. It's such a neat thing to watch thousands of motorcycles ride through our small little town once a year to raise money for such a great cause, the least we could do is wave at them as they ride by.
Waving to the Bikers for Babies
    The rest of the week so far has been just as crazy. Nick's been working overtime with his job which I'm sure will be helpful when his check comes but for now it's just a major pain in my ass. I've had to find babysitters for K3 when I work or worse yet, bring him to work. Have you ever heard that term that trying to clean with a toddler in the room is like trying to brush your teeth while eating Oreos? The same goes for bringing your toddler to work. I never knew how long two hours could feel or how messy one room could get when there's a bored 2 year old around. Besides that I've had to help with all of K1's homework, make sure all three are bathed and fed, do a Pikachu cake for an order on Wednesday, check my Facebook..... and attempt to clean the house. Single moms I give you props because this chick is worn out!
    Today was the 1st day in two weeks that my husband had a day off and we took advantage. After my super productive day of work without a toddler, we went to Lawrence and bought some supplies for two cake orders I have for Saturday and Sunday. Woot Woot! I was able to read some of my book for the Library Book Club, oh yes I'm in a book club. Granted I haven't gone to a meeting in over 6 months but this month will be the month, I just know it! The book's called The No.1 Lady Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. Have you read it? What do you think of it? So far I give it an eeehhhhhh. After a nap that left me feeling like dog snot I finally got around to asking K1 how her day was. My kids as I'm sure most kids, say things that can make me just smile because they're so cute or say things that I can only blame their dad for..  "Oh mom did I tell you what W and I saw on the orange play equipment?" Since this was the first I've talked to her since she's been home, (I know way to go mom) I don't think so. "Well I think it was a bad word. It said 'Kiss My Vag" only she said vag as in bag with a V instead of a B. Ummmm.
"Oh yeah? Hum, what do you think that means?" Setting myself up for an interesting conversation.
"I think it means kiss my butt." Okay, that's not as bad as the other, we'll take it. "And guess what. Someone drew a picture of snake with a big butt and one eye."
Baby K1 with her Uncle Chase
 Visualizing it yet? As I tried desperately to hold in my laugh, all I could say is, "Well that's not good." while saying a quick thank you for letting my 7 year old still be my sweet innocent little girl prayer. Just now while typing this she comes in from outside holding a bird feather and told me that she knows her Uncle Chase (1983-2006) was thinking of her because today and yesterday he left her a feather letting her know he loves her. *tear* I sure do love that little girl!! What is one of your favorite things your kids have told you?
                                                                           Yours Truly,

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Baker Extraordinaire........ kind of

50th Anniversary Cake
    This past weekend I had the honor of making a 50th Wedding Anniversary Cake for a local couple. This was my 2nd time making a 50th Anniversary Cake and like the 40th cake I've decorated total. That being said I do not think of myself as a professional cake decorator. I do get paid for my cakes, even have nice little receipts with my business card attached but I still don't think I'm a professional cake decorator. I don't know why I don't want to be labeled as a professional. I've seen cakes that professionals have made and when looking at their cake photos my thought process is usually, "I can make that, I could probably make that, there's no way I could make that," and "hey, I think I made that..... yes I did make that same cake..... wow, and I charged a lot less for my cake. " I do charge less then most professional cake decorators because like I said, I don't feel like I'm a professional.
    The reason I don't think I'm ready to call myself a professional cake decorator is because 1. I don't have enough "clients" to be a professional. I have a bunch of supporters (177 on Facebook to be exact) of friends and family that keep me steady with cakes but I don't have enough cake business where I could call it my job. Not yet anyways. 2. I make mistakes. Not anything major but more like, if cakes were houses, mine would have that cozy, lived-in feel to them. They're nice, and they taste REALLY good, but if you look closely you'll probably find a smudge in the icing.
    In order to improve those two things and hopefully be even closer to a professional cake decorator by my 30th birthday (222 days)  I am going to have a cupcake tasting event. I've rented out my community center for Oct. 6th and I plan to have 4-6 different Fall flavored cupcakes available for people to try. Something with pumpkin, maybe an apple something, and I've got a Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Cupcake Recipe that looks really good! After they try the cupcakes I'll have a short 3 question survey for them to fill out on each cupcake. The goal is to practice flavor recipes I don't always make and see which ones are great, which ones need a little work, and which ones I claim my husband made and I have no clue what it's doing there. I hope to also gain a few more "customers" for upcoming cake and cupcake orders to give me even more practice. Will this be a success? Who knows. Will anyone even show up besides my husband? Lord I hope so..... Either way I hope you'll check back and see how it turns out. What cupcake flavor do you think of when you think Fall?
                                                               Yours Truly,

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Never Forget

"Tonight, I ask for your prayers for all those who grieve, for the children whose worlds have been shattered, for all whose sense of safety and security has been threatened. And I pray they will be comforted by a power greater than any of us, spoken through the ages in Psalm 23: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me.” --President George W. Bush September 11, 2001. 

For all those who have died on 9/11 or as a result of 9/11, the men and woman and families that have sacrificed so much because of 9/11, and those still sacrificing because of 9/11, know that I pray for you all and I will never forget the tragedy that is/was/and will forever be 9/11. 

Where were you on Sept. 11, 2001? 
                                                           Yours Truly,

Friday, September 7, 2012

Martha Stewart Watch Out

    Like almost every woman in the world I am addicted to I get on there to look for a recipe for dinner and I end up staying on there for an hour. And also like most people on pinterest I pin a ton of things to my boards in hopes of doing them and yet never do. I even have a board on there titled "Things On Pinterest I've Actually Done" and let me tell you, it's the board with the least amount of pins. And okay, if I'm really being honest most of them are recipes...... but hey, completely off subject I have been staying faithful to my healthy lifestyle and am already down 2 lbs! 
    The thing is, I really want to be one of those super crafty chicks. I watch Craft Wars on TLC and I envy those people that can make a lamp shade out of watch straps and candy bar wrappers. In order to become the next crafting MacGyver..... or realistically a cheap person that has a couple cool decorations in her house, I am going to actually do some of the things I've pinned on pintertest!! Yay!! 
    First up, Picture Frame Jewelry Display. A little while ago I tried my hand at selling jewelry from home or as they put it, I was an independent jewelry consultant. The jewelry was nice, I've seen people be very successful in that business, blah blah blah.... in the end I sucked at getting people to book shows, my friends are cheap like me and get most their jewelry at Maurices, but I ended up with a ton of jewelry so bring on the craft! 
    This craft was a great starter craft for me. It didn't really require any special supplies.... I did have to buy hooks but I got a pack that had like 50 in it so I'll be making this again for a DIY Christmas present or housewarming gift. There were very few steps and it didn't take that long at all. The best part? The finished product actually looked like the picture! Woot! Woot! Maybe this soon-to-be thirty year old is a crafting diva after all..... this is only my first craft so I'll try not to get too cocky. What do you think?

This craft is daughter approved!!

                                                                      Yours Truly, 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Labor Day Woes

***This entry may not be for those with a weak stomach. Just sayin' you've been warned.***

    It's Labor Day Weekend and we should be out at the lake, or having a picnic, or doing some other fun thing to enjoy the last little bit of summer. But no, instead the family and I are inside watching Disney and trying to recover from some sniper stomach bug that literally came out of nowhere. 

    It all started Thursday night when my sweet little baby boy K3 was being extra sweet and cuddly. While I was enjoying the random snuggle session at 7pm, I knew this was out of the norm for him. I stroked his head and then leaned him forward and looked my sweet little 2 year old in the eyes, "are you feeling okay baby?" K3 then looked up at me, opened his mouth, and vomited all over me. Yes, I was covered in toddler puke. In between gags I frantically searched for something, ANYTHING to stop this unwanted shower but came up empty handed and soaked. My husband has a weak stomach so while he tries to help and grab a towel I can hear him gagging down the hall. He throws me the towel and I tell him to just stay away. There's no way I will be cleaning up his vomit. Once I felt like K3 was done I rolled up our clothes to cover the mess and threw them into the washer. My husband, Nick was able to start the shower and put K3 in it with minimal dry heaving while I cleaned up the mess. I joined K3 in the shower and just laughed about the whole ordeal. 
   Later that night the girls were already in bed and K3 was snoozing on the love seat while Nick and I watched something highly educational on the t.v. such as Tosh.O. K3 started moving on the couch and I looked at Nick and said, "do you think he's cold?" Nick gave him a look and said, "um no, I think he's getting ready to puke." Sure enough K3 woke up and covered the love seat with vomit. This is the second time, though not the last in a period of 3 days where I just sat there and thought, "is this really happening. What the frick am I going to do now?" Nick, who surprised us both, jumped up and took K3 to the bathroom for another shower. I was left with the love seat and the real thought of just tossing it out. I really didn't want to clean it up and wasn't even sure if cleaning it would do any good. I got over my little fit, grabbed a bottle of bleach water, and gave that love seat the scrubbing of it's life. While I thought our dark blue love seat was going to end up with a big white bleach spot it actually came out pretty nice. Instead of a big bleach spot we just have a big clean spot on a rather lived-in love seat. The rest of the night was pretty uneventful and I really thought this stomach bug was just a fluke and we had seen the worst of it, boy was I wrong. 
    Friday was a pretty regular day. The girls went to school, Nick went to work, K3, who was feeling much better went grocery shopping with myself and my grandma. That night it was raining and we took K3 and K2 to my in-law's house while Nick, K1, and I braved the rain to cheer on the local high school football team. They pulled out a win for the 1st home game of the season, Go Dawgs! On the drive home from my in-laws house I heard a noise in the backseat. The noise was then followed by K2 saying, "sorry momma" and K1 screaming, "K2 is puking!!" We pull over and sure enough K2 my five year old is getting sick in the backseat. Nick, whose stomach of steel was only temporary starts vomiting out the drivers side window. Again I sit for a beat in my seat and think, "you've got to be kidding me." Knowing good and well that Nick won't be much if any help I jump out of the car and assess the situation. K2 was covered, the floor was clean, not a towel in site but a box of wipeys are in the diaper bag. I carefully help K2 out of the car and tell her to strip down. I clean her up, clean her car seat up (luckily there was very little to clean), throw her dress and the used wipeys away, and once Nick regained composure we drive the rest of the way home..... with the windows down of course.
    Now knowing that this stomach bug may be more then we thought, I got K2 showered and have her go to bed. I give her a cup of water and a bowl, just in case and start to mentally preparing for a long night. Two hours later K2 wakes up vomiting all over herself, bless her heart but apparently she forgot mama gave her a bowl for that stuff. So once again, I got K2 out of bed and clean her up. Give her some medicine, wash all her bedding, and send her back to bed with new sheets, a new bowl, and with a prayer that she sleeps through the night. While I make sure to be nice and loving to my kids through their illnesses (I mean it isn't their fault that they're sick), this mama was starting to wear down.
    Saturday morning I realized why I was wearing down, I was the third victim to the stomach bug. I always tell my children they need to share but this was one thing I would have rather them kept to themselves. My husband works weekends and everyone knows that moms don't get sick days. While I won't go into details about my sickness I will say that I spent a lot of time in the bathroom, my 7 year old tried to nurse me back to health with wet wash clothes and forehead massages, and at one point a friend of mine showed up at our door unexpectedly and I had to tell K1 to tell her to go away because we've been quarantined. Sorry about that April. Once Nick got home from work I spent the rest of the night in the bedroom sleeping. 
    At 4 am I was awoke by my oldest daughter calling my name. I run out of my bedroom to the living room completely disorientated only to realize the calls for help were coming from the bathroom. My eyes still fuzzy with sleep I see her sitting on the toilet with what we refer to as the "puke bowl" in hand. She says, "mom I threw up." My relief that she got to the bathroom on time was shortly lived as my eyes adjusted and she finished saying, "and I missed the bowl." With clear, fresh eyes I look into the bathroom and see that not only was she covered but the bathroom was COVERED in puke. And when I say covered I mean it literally looked like she spun around in a circle while vomiting, this was definitely a scene straight out of the Exorcist or something. Once again I am stuck standing there frozen with the realization that I am in the twilight zone and that nobody is going to help me. I wait for K1 to finish, start the shower for her, and begin the awful task of cleaning the bathroom. The problem is that the bathroom wasn't exactly "clean" to begin with so in her fit of sickness K1 not only covered the floor but covered the clothes and toilet paper roll that was on the floor, she covered the counter that had a magazine and incense on it, and covered the half-full trash can. As I get to work cleaning I accept the fact that puke is just going to get on my hands like it or not and try to block that thought out of my mind as far as possible. I like to think of it as Fear Factor Mode. It's where I have to block out all my sense and just tackle the task at hand. The only difference is that on Fear Factor when they're done doing something completely disgusting they walk away thousands of dollars richer. My only reward is using my special, guests only Bath and Body Works hand soap in attempts to rid myself of the grossness I just endured.
They're lucky they're cute!!
    Once K1 is showered, the bathroom cleaned, and the floor mopped I head back to bed and try to salvage some sleep only to be greeted by a 2 year old that was now wide awake. We watch a few hours worth of Rosanne reruns and fall asleep only for me to be awoken again by yet another person suffering from this devil of a stomach bug. Nick, who while I love, is my biggest baby when it comes to being sick (aren't all men) informs me that he's now sick too. So today while getting very little sleep I have nursing K1 and Nick back to health along with making sure K2 and K3 are doing okay. This fun-filled Labor Day weekend can't end soon enough. And while I'm thankful we have an extra day together and hope we are all feeling well enough to do something fun together; most likely we will be cleaning the house and making sure there are no more stomach bug germs just waiting to attack us again. What did you do Labor Day Weekend? 
                                                            Yours Truly,