easter day hunt

Easter day after Anderson's nap we decided to do a little hunt for him in the front yard.  He was excited to grab his basket and get the eggs then find out what was in each of them.

Although some had dinosaurs, pennies, and a few quarters many had jelly beans or chocolate eggs.  I asked if I could have one and this is the response I get... "No... hahahaha..."

easter events

Anderson's at the perfect age to really enjoy Easter egg hunts.  Although I think he enjoyed it last year too this year the hunt was all he wanted to do.

I thought about telling him about the Easter bunny but that just seemed silly when we're trying to focus on Jesus so we didn't really mention where the eggs came from and he didn't ask.

We went to a little hunt on Saturday morning at a friend's house before heading over to some bigger neighborhood events.  Overall a great morning that ensured a really good nap in the afternoon!

Tucker: 4 months

We've got a baby baby now.  No more newborn times as the little chairs and swing have made their way to the basement again.  This kid doesn't want to lie down but would rather try to sit up and see the world from a new view.

He gets lots of love from his brother and is generally pretty happy about it.  He also got some tough love in the past couple weeks as we did some light sleep training.  He wanted to just be held to fall asleep which was meaning hours of me trying to soothe him.  With Benjamin home later and in school a few nights a week I had to take the advice of my doctor and realize he could learn how to self-soothe and get him self to sleep.

As to be expected it was a tough few days but we did it while Benjamin was home so he was able to go in every 5, 10, 15, then 20 minutes.  After 3 days he got the picture and now I can set him down awake but tired and he goes to sleep.  Glorious.

This little man is feeling not so little and growing by the day it seems.  I love to watch him grow and see the world he's exploring.  I'm trying to savor each step as I know he'll be 6 months soon then a year before we know it.  Sigh.

kristen + owen + baby

In just a few weeks the world will change for my brother's family as they welcome a new baby.  Until then Owen can live it up as the center of their world.  Get ready Mr. O!  A baby is a coming....

cousin love

Owen and his parents visited this past weekend.  The boys loved seeing each other as always.  For a few weeks before Easter Anderson kept saying, 

"When's Owie coming Mommy?.... for Easter Time!!"

Tucker joined in with the big boys and I tried to tell them they'll need to share with him when he gets older and wants to play with them.  Although they said yes now I'm sure they'll have a hard time when he really does want to join in on the fun.

For now though, joining in and watching a show together worked just fine and was a nice break for mommy from the rambunctious wrestling and yelling toddler times we were having.

cinnamon sugar baked donuts

We eat a lot of cinnamon sugar toast in this house.  "We" meaning Anderson.  It's what he often asks for to hold him over in the morning til real breakfast comes, or until lunch time.  It's also what he asks for before bed when he's without a doubt, still hungry.

Needless to say when I came across Ina Garten's recipe for baked cinnamon sugar donuts I had to make them.  Clearly we were all about donut making after the chocolate ones we made the other month so having a go at a less sweet kind sounded like a good option.  

Ina didn't disppoint- as if I thought she could- and these donuts turned out perfect just as a baked donut should taste.  They weren't cupcake-like at all but definitely donuts and a nice treat we all ate right up.  I had hopes of bringing a big plate of them to Bible study the following day but somehow that didn't happen...

Recipe thanks to Ina Garten

Ingredients You'll Need for the Donuts
  • cooking or baking spray with flour
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Ingredients You'll Need for the Topping
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Preheat the oven to 350.  Spray your donut pan well- you'll use it a few times for how much batter this makes.
  2. In a large bowl sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.  In a small bowl whisk the egg, milk, melted butter, and vanilla.  Stir the wet and dry ingredients together then spoon the batter into the pans until 3/4 filled.  Bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes then cool on a wrack.
  3. In a saucepan melt the butter.  In a separate bowl mix the cinnamon sugar.  When the donuts are cool enough to work with dip them in the butter then sugar mixture and eat.them.up!

celebrating 2 and a half + the best vanilla cupcakes

We threw a little party for Anderson turning two and a half with my parents, my friend whose an auntie to him and his best buddy because naturally most people throw half birthdays, right?  

Consider myself the crazy Mom who talked his half birthday up so much that we ended up having a party for it.

I told Benjamin we'll be having a half-year party for Tucker soon when he's 6 months old.  Just kidding. Kinda.  I do think it's fun to celebrate life and at this point anything is fun if it's a party in Anderson's world so dinner party we had, complete with cupcakes of course.

I had made these Vanilla Cupcakes before and decided to make them again because they are quite frankly the best vanilla cupcakes I've ever had- complete with shortening, buttermilk, and cake flour how could these cupcakes go wrong?

The icing is pretty perfect as well- cream cheese cuts through making them less sweet than some frostings which are all too overpowering.

Need some cupcakes in your Easter weekend?  Make these.

Ingredients You'll Need for the Cupcakes:
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 whole large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar

Ingredients for the Icing:
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 4 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 and line about 18 muffin cups with liners
  2. Cream together the shortening and sugar until fluffy.  In a separate bowl sift together the flour and salt.
  3. In yet another bowl mix the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, baking soda, and vinegar.
  4. Alternate adding the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture to the shortening until totally combined.
  5. Pour the batter into prepared liners and bake for 17-20 minutes or just until done.  Remove the cupcakes from the pan and allow them to cool on a wire wrack.
Once cool frost them with the icing which you make by combining all the icing ingredients.  

Enjoy- I know you will!

enjoying spring time

looks about right

Life right now looks a lot like this.  Lots of love between the brothers and lots of happiness when Daddy is home.  Benjamin's time in grad school has been very demanding recently so we didn't see him much this past weekend and I find myself often thinking ... one ... more....year!  I can't wait for it to be over- the idea of him coming home each night at a normal hour sounds amazing.  The idea of no homework or projects on the weekend sounds lovely too.

We've also been sick a lot recently- I've had strep twice in a month and Anderson has had two ear infections in the past month.  Needless to say I'm beyond thrilled with the spring weather that has finally shown up.

Tucker is proving to be a very different baby than Anderson was- he's challenging me with sleep and having me thinking about how I need to read more about what he should be doing right now.  Right now he really would just love to be held all the time which as any mama knows, it hard, especially when there's a big bro around.  Overall I'm trying to look on the bright side and see Tucker's late nights as a way that he sleeps in so I get to spend a couple hours with Anderson before he wakes up.  

On that note, time for bed.  No telling what the night holds...

apple butter french toast roll ups

I'm back with a recipe that can brighten up your weekend.  I'm always looking for fun breakfast ideas and this one was quite clever.  The idea of french toast bites for a brunch is perfect- serve a crowd and have them all be warm at the same time.

In our case it meant serving Benjamin, his Mom, Anderson, and me.  In true form Tucker wanted breakfast just as we were all sitting down so I had my french toast bites a little after everyone else.  I dipped mine in a recommended sauce, but next time I'd just opt for maple syrup.  I'm from Ohio- I chose maple syrup any day.

This recipe comes from another blog, Chocolate Moosey, and was used with one of my favorite ingredients, Musselmans Apple Butter.  Although I love using it in my apple butter pancakes, this was a fun new way to use it.  After making these Anderson decided he wanted his sandwiches now in roll-up form.  Of course.

Ingredients You'll Need:
  • 16 sliced wheat sandwich bread
  • 1 cup apple butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1.  Preheat the oven to 375.  Line a baking sheet with silpat and then get your bread out.

2.  Roll out the bread til it's thin, spread apple butter on it, roll and place on the baking sheet seam side down.  Repeat.

3.  In a bowl beat the egg, milk, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and nutmeg.  Dip the roll ups in this then place back on the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes brush them with butter then place back in the oven for another 10 minutes.  

4.  Take them out of the oven, roll in cinnamon sugar (3/4 teaspoon cinnamon with 1 tablespoon sugar) and serve warm with maple syrup.