February 29, 2012

Mr. Giggles

Between sicknesses and being super busy the past week there has been little time, or desire,  to blog.  I do have some posts I want to share, and I will do it soon.  I had to quickly post this little video, though.  The weather has been beautiful here the past few days.  Nugget and I took advantage of the gorgeous day yesterday and went to visit Maemae.  I LOVE how the simple little things of life bring such joy to Nugget.

Happy Leap Frog Day, everyone! 

February 16, 2012

Valentine's Day Fun

Valentine's Day, this year, was a blast!!   In the past we didn't really celebrate V-Day as it always seemed like such a Hallm@rk holiday. Things change ~ it was so much fun celebrating with Nugget. He enjoyed all of the decorating and activities.

I have seen all over the blog-o-sphere how much kidlets are enjoying gel window clings.  So the last time I was at Target I picked some up.  Nugget loves decorating the back door with the hearts.  The hearts have been rearranged several times since we took these pictures.  :o)

Nugget and I also made some cookies to share.
Nugget's first decorated cookie!

We shared lots of cookies with friends & family.

The sugar cookies are from a recipe that is showing up all over the baking blogs I follow.  You know those soft, sugar cookies that you can buy at Walmart or Kroger with the colored icing that always match the current season.  This recipe is supposed to be like those cookies ~ well ~ they are!  They are so good.

The recipe that I used for the sugar cookies can be found HERE  The only thing I did differently was use a heart shape cookie cutter.

I thought Nugget would really enjoy frosting cookies.  He frosted one.  He did enjoy putting sprinkles on the cookies ~ a few of them anyway.  Then he was off to play with his cars.

The second cookie we made was Heart Blossoms.  I usually make these cookies at Christmas time, but I didn't this year.  When I saw on Pinterest someone put a heart candy chocolate in the center I had to make them.  They were so cute. 

The recipe I used for the heart blossoms  was an old recipe that I got from my aunt about a hundred years ago.  I can't remember a Christmas that we didn't have them on the cookie tray, until this year.  I must admit, though, that I enjoyed making them for Valentine's Day.  This may be the beginning of a new tradition.

Here's the recipe if you would like to make them for Valentine's Day, Christmas, or just because.

Heart Blossom Cookies

1/2 cup butter flavored Crisco
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
3 Tblspn. milk

1 3/4 cup flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup sugar
Dove Chocolate hearts or Hershey Kisses

~ Preheat the oven to 350*

~ Beat together the Crisco and the peanut butter until smooth.  Add the sugar and beat until fluffy.  Add the egg, vanilla, and milk.

~ In a separate bowl mix the flour with the baking soda and the salt.  Add to cream mixture.

~ Roll dough into 1 inch balls.  Roll each ball in granulated sugar.  Place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

~ Bake the cookies for 7-8 minutes.  Remove from the oven and place a chocolate in the center of each cookie, pressing down until the cookie cracks slightly around the edges.  Place the cookies back in the oven for 2 minutes.

It's best to make these cookies the day before you want to share them  The chocolate needs to reharden before you can store them.  It is worth the extra time, promise.


On Valentine's Day Bear and I decided to stay in and make a nice dinner for the three of us.  I am so glad we did.  After some rushing around in the beginning it turned out to be one of the best evenings 'in' we have had in a while. 

We made a nice dinner of baked salmon, roasted broccoli, rice, and a loaf of crusty bread.  Then for dessert I made a brownie pudding with vanilla ice cream.  It was the PERFECT evening.
The recipe I used for the pudding can be found HERE

After dinner we shared a few gifts.  It was a lovely night.  I can't wait to do it again next year.

Doesn't it look like Nugget is giving the 'hang ten' wave?  :o)

I hope everyone enjoyed their Valentine's Day!

February 11, 2012

Not Just Cars

It's a fact that Nugget is a HUGE fan of cars. He is almost fanatical about them, in fact.
BUT ~ he also really enjoys Legos.  Nugget will spend nearly an hour building towers as high as he can get them.  It amazes me that when the towers fall he doesn't get upset.  Nugget will just start over again building his 'eggos'.

February 6, 2012

Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Last week I found a chocolate chip cookie recipe that I  wanted to try.  The recipe stated that the cookies come out soft, just how I like cookies.  They are also nice and puffy, not flat like the cookies from the recipe on the back of the Toll House bag.   So yesterday Nugget and I made some 'tookies'.

I found the recipe on Apple A Day blog.  She wrote that it is the best chocolate chip cookie recipe because of a secret ingredient.  I was intrigued.

Packing the brown sugar

Adding the chocolate chips...

Stirring, stirring...

Trying to steal a cookie dough ball.
Playing with the truck while we wait for the cookies to bake.
The secret ingredient is cornstarch.  I will admit I thought it was strange, but I figured the worst it could do was give a salty tasting cookie.  I am happy to report, though, it didn't.  The cookies are amazing!  I think this recipe will be my new go-to recipe for basic chocolate chip cookies.

I made a few changes to the recipe.   I doubled the recipe because I live with two cookie monsters and  there wouldn't be enough to share otherwise.  I chilled the dough for about an hour only because of time issues, but it turned out to be a good thing so I will always chill the dough for at least an hour.  Also I had to bake my cookies for 12 minutes.  The original recipe stated not to cook the cookie more than 10 minutes, but it was still too doughy for our taste after 10 minutes.  Twelve minutes was just perfect. 

Here is my doubled version of the recipe.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
4 tsp. vanilla
4 cups all purpose flour
4 tspns. corn starch
2 tspns. baking soda
1 tspn. salt
2 cups chocolate chips

Whip the butter with the sugars until fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.  Add the vanilla.

In a separate bowl combine the flour, corn starch, baking soda, and salt.  Whisk together.  Blend flour mixture into the butter mixture, just until combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Chill the dough for at least an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350*.  Drop the cookies by rounded tablespoon onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake for 12 minutes, rotating the cookie sheet at the half way mark.  Let the cookies cool for five minutes on the baking sheet before moving them to a cooling rack.
These are absolutely wonderful. The cookie is soft just like the soft store bought cookies, but I don't worry about the chemicals that are in the cookie to make them soft.  That's a good thing!  Nugget was stealing them hot off of the cookie sheet.  He would say 'hot' but he'd still eat the cookie.  Lil' Stink. 

A Moment to Remember
For as long as I can remember when ever I tell Nugget our plans for the day, I don't know why, but I always end with, "does that sound like a plan".   I had such a giggle when I told Nugget that after his nap we would make some cookies.  I said, 'How does that sound?'

Nugget replied, 'Sound plan.'  I laughed so I had tears in my eyes.  He amazes me every day.

February 5, 2012

Things Don't Always Go As Planned

Last weekend we drove up to Chicago with plans to visit my brother and his family and to go to the city for the Chinese New Year Parade.   We did make it to my brother, UB's, house Saturday afternoon.  We had a great visit.  We went to Ree Ree's soccer game, and we shared laughs over some Chinese carry-out.

Sadly the weather did not cooperate for Sunday.  The wind and the cold was too much for standing outside on the streets of Chicago for a parade.  Thankfully we chose not to go because Nugget had a fever and cold later that day.

We did have some fun moments:
On Friday night we stopped for dinner.  Nugget had not had a nap that day.
He was too tired for food.  He is sound asleep on Daddy's arm.  
After a four hour car ride Nugget was up and ready to check out the hotel.

I could not get him to sit still for a picture.

He kept focusing on one thing...

...the escalator.
This was Nugget's first ride on an escalator.  He had such a good time, we rode the
escalator four times.

The next morning we moved slow.  We were up late and it was rough sharing a bed with the lil' bed hog.  This was the first trip without the pack-n-play.  It's going to take some getting used to ~ for all of us.

Snack of cereal and a movie to start the day.

Of course we never leave home without Bear-Bear.

At the complex where we went to Ree Ree's game there was an arcade.
Nugget LOVED the car game ~ shocking isn't is?!?!

I'm sad we didn't make it to the parade, but we had a great weekend get-away none-the-less.

February 2, 2012

Preschool ~ Already??

Today the three of us went to a open house at the preschool we are seriously considering sending Nugget to in the fall.

I'm not ready!

I am having a hard time wrapping my little brain around the idea that in a few short months Nugget's school career will be starting.

I'm not ready!

I know it's 'only' preschool, but it is at the school where Nugget will probably attend elementary school.

I'm not ready!

We weren't in a building separate from the other classrooms.  We were just downstairs from the big kids.  We saw the library, the gym, and the music room where Nugget will have class, just like the big kids.

I'm not ready!

The preschool program is Montessori based, which I think will be great for Nugget.  There were Chinese New Year activities set up around the room.  That was cool to see.  Nugget really like the panda center.  So much so he wanted to take the panda home.  Even though I was impressed with the school, the room, and the environment...

...I'm STILL not ready!!!

Is it terrible that I want Nugget to stay my baby?   I don't want to let go, not even if it's just a little bit.

I'm not ready, yet!