Sunday, January 22, 2012

Chewy goodness

Last summer at our favorite store ever there was a baking mix for sale that piqued my interest. Not one to use a mix unless I have to, the idea was filed to the back of my mind where I hoped I'd remember it for some future purpose. His Hotness had an appointment to go home teaching today and one of the family members had a birthday - so treats were definitely in order. Add to it that Squirt is sick in a needs-no-attention-whatsoever kind of way and I was happy to fill my time baking.

The idea is simple, but the results are amazing.

Mix up your favorite brownie batter (I used this one) then mix up some chocolate chip cookie batter (I used this one). Place one scoop of brownie batter in the bottom of well greased standard muffin cups and top with one scoop of chocolate chip cookie dough. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes. Of course the time is approximate for the recipes you use and the way your oven bakes. As always when brownies or cookies are involved, aim to err on the side of a bit underdone rather than overdone. 
When they are done, place the muffin pan on a cooling rack until cool. Using a plastic spoon gently remove the Crownies (Browkies?) and try very hard to not eat them all immediately.

I would love to tell you how many this yields, but I have no clue. I mixed up one batch of the brownie batter and 1/2 batch of the cookie batter. I made 12 standard muffin cup Crownies, 20 mini-muffin brownie bites, and ate the rest of the cookie dough straight from the bowl. A yield I am completely content with.

Poor Squirt is sick enough that when I offered her one she said she was too sick for chocolate... I can't say that I have ever experienced that! His Hotness and I definitely approve. 

Monday, January 16, 2012


So it really did happen, of course. She's getting big!!! But enough about that... Saturday started like most any other day, except for the fact that Squirt woke up at 6:00 and started knocking on our bedroom door every five minutes for about the next 45 minutes until I had a minor nervous breakdown and relocated to the couch so she'd quit trying to come get me. I was a brilliant parent, and we set all her gifts out on the living room chair to tempt her mercilessly. At least that was the end result.

She played her first basketball games on Saturday. They were ref training games and truthfully I felt quite sorry for one of the kids. He didn't "demand it!" quite the way his trainer expected... but I digress... She had a blast. I don't think she really has any clue what is going on still, but she did have one lengthy dribble down the court.

After three games, a shower, and a tiny bit of down time we went for a birthday dinner of her choice: Carls' Jr. As we got there she asked if we could go through the drive through... which was both hilarious and not indulged. Birthday dinners are not to-go (at least in the grown up mind). We made faces and played with the shutter remote while waiting for our food.

And then the moment(s) arrived: cake and presents!

The cake was a simple coconut cake served with double chocolate ice cream. While I was playing with the camera and timer, His Hotness was being goofy and smearing icing all over the birthday girls' face. She loved it.

Despite the fact that Christmas was here about fourteen minutes ago, she got some serious stuff. In addition to the pile pictured there was a huge stack of clothes and a new winter coat. After conversations with many different family members, it was time to play Skylander, have a dramatic sugar crash, and collapse in bed. She had a great day.


Squirt had a birthday this weekend. It's a birthday that is hard for me to face. I'm a sentimental mother and for the past six years (prior to my marriage) it has just been the two of us. She's been my other half for so long, it's hard to realize that we're halfway to the point that she leaves the "nest."

She doesn't view it that way of course. To her it's another year older which means another year closer to the freedoms older kids get. And presents. It was definitely about presents. I realized after the festivities were done that once again I was in a precious few photos with her. Several years ago I had made a goal to be in at least one photo with her each month, even if it was a cheesy self-portrait snapped in the bathroom mirror before bedtime on the last day of the month. Since meeting His Hotness, I've gotten out of that habit and I realize now how much I miss it. 

Before bedtime, I made Squirt take some pictures with me. 

I can't believe how big she is now. I can't believe that we're halfway to the move-out point. I can't believe how different our life has become from when she was little. It's beautiful and completely amazing but I confess that a small part of me is not loving this whole growing-up business.

Happy Birthday baby girl. With every passing year you weasel your way deeper into my heart.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Sometimes it really is the little things. The last couple days have been filled with relaxation, playing at the park with neighbors, and just being. It's nice to let kids be kids and not worry about the hype and chaos of Holidays, travel, or other such things. Squirt had her first day back at school today and in the afternoon the weather cooperated again so we spent a good chunk of time outside.

Jellie-Bellie wanted me to capture her "being a tree." Rest assured she was merely 3 feet off the ground, if that.

She also loved riding a bike - a LOT. In fact she tried at one point to get Squirt off her bike and teaching her how to ride with no training wheels. If not for the fact that the other bike was way too big and she had no helmet, I might have just sat and watched that scene unfold.

After every lap of the common area, she would pose for the camera (often making goofy faces) and I would wait until she circled again to show her the image.

We took Squirt's new basketball to the park and had a blast trying to make baskets. She starts up basketball practice again tomorrow and is super-excited for it.

Then they rode bikes some more.

It was just a normal day of kids being kids.

A speck of sunlight

After we returned from Christmas in Washington, we were greeted by a deluge of water that lasted for 2-3 days. I was glad, actually, as I had started to question the sanity of every person who told me that winters are wet in the Northwest. Every pleasantly mild overcast or misty day I thought to myself "Huh. What rain?" and I was disappointed to not be able to break in my rain boots. Those days of rain were welcomed - by me at least.

Today was a delightful 50-something degrees with bright sunlight. This too was welcomed. His Hotness and I had wanted to get outside and do something with the kids if possible, and boy was it ever possible. We packed up and headed to the coast.

His Hotness has joked about the fact that Squirt may not have gotten what she imagined a little sister to be with Jellie-Bellie. Squirt would love someone to follow her around and look up to her as though she is a caretaker and role model but Jellie-Bellie is a bit too independent to let her fill that role. This moment was rare in that Jellie-Bellie wanted Squirt to help her and for a moment they were able to fill the sibling roles that Squirt imagines.

Partly due to the fact that the water was a delightful 43.3 degrees (as measured by the infrared thermometer we brought with us), we tried to keep the kids as dry as possible. Which meant tempting fate and running from the water hoping to escape the very moment before saturation becomes imminent. In case there was a doubt, they were both soaked up to about the knees before we left.

Posing on the rocks. Looking through these pictures is where I realized that I need to hand off the camera once in a while so I can be in some of them. Or remember to pack the tripod. That would work too.

This picture melts my heart a little. His Hotness and I decided long ago that we were each going to let the kids call us what they wanted - so long as it was nice. Names are so personal and represent the relationship we have with someone. As far as I'm concerned, Jellie-Bellie can call me by my first name forever if she wants. The last few days though she has called me mom a few times. I will never ask for that - but it made me feel like we've got a good little bond going on.

It was a great day at the coast for our little family.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


The promise of creative liberty was made long before the Holidays began. Of course, the initial plan was to all do our toes red and green prior to Christmas. Life was just too busy however, so then it became a New Years plan. New Years then found us at a party we'd not anticipated. So it became Monday, for no other reason than it was Monday and the kids were ready.

After baths I painted the girls finger/toe nails any colors they wanted. When we were all done, His Hotness gave his body feet to artistic experimentation. Jellie-bellie could not quit giggling! Somehow the idea of manly painted toenails got to her...

Our second family foot-portrait. Can you tell who is who?