Monday, January 31, 2011

It's a Snowday ~ Who Wants a(nother) Cupcake?

The twin's violin concert was rescheduled for tonite.  From the last snowday we celebrated.  Unfortunately, now there's a giant ice storm knocking down our door, so the concert has been cancelled for good.  Not before I'd made a giant batch of red velvet cupcakes for our family to enjoy at the pre-concert dinner, though.  What do you do with an entire batch of gorgeous red velvet cupcakes when company is suddenly not coming?  When you don't want to really, really have to run every morning of your life...?

You meet your best friend at the bus stop with a box of 6 wrapped in a pretty polkadot ribbon.  And when your neighbor shows up to pick up his son after the playdate, you load him up with a box of 4 also.  And that leaves 4.  None for you.  Cuz the family ate them all after dinner.  Didn't even leave you one. 

'Tis totally OK, cuz I ate something like 3 or 4 of them this afternoon before the early dismissal call even came.  I was planning to run in the morning anyway.

Head over here if you want a lovely (easy!) red velvet cake recipe with a surprising whipped cream frosting.  Click here if you like the cupcake liners (I LOVE them!  Dierberg's has them in the StL) and here if you want to check out my newest favorite blog!


Friday, January 28, 2011

Project 365

Oh My Gosh!  Are you totally doing that too?!

No.  No I am not.  But Monday while Pooks was at theatre rehearsal, the rest of us visited my favorite bookstore (besides the library...where I spend just as much money apparently) and I browsed a book/journal all about Project 365s.  I think the concept is cool.  I even started a photo-ey scrapbook-ish one once, years ago.  I cut out the front of my home-version icee mocha box and glued it in there.  I snapped a picture of the kids in front of StarWars on the TV (the beginning of a new obsession back then), a house we fell in love with but didn't buy (go figure), plus maybe a few other things.  I think I made it about 4 days.  Maybe 6.

And that's why I don't do Project 365.

The book was pretty neat though - some girl painted her nails a different way every day for a year.  Like bacon.  She painted her nails to look like bacon.

Someone else took photos at 7PM every day in one city while his best friend took photos at 7PM in his city.  Then they blogged it.  For an entire year.

Someone else used a roll of toilet paper every day and used the tube to make African face masks.

OK.  I totally made that one up. 

But there were some craZy weird ones, I'm just saying.  (As if painting your nails like bacon isn't weird...Or maybe it's just creative and I'm weird...touche.)

The overriding admission among the writers, however, was that it was awesome to work on something every day for a year.  That their ability to look back over the course of 365 days and see how their project had evolved and what it said about them for the year provided a new sense of awareness of who they were.


I still don't think I would stick to it.

But in the interest of my own Project 365 - and no, that's not what I'm calling it - I've been diligently snapping photos all week to participate in Frizzy's Fab 5 Photo link up on Friday.  I found that I need to cut myself some slack.  I never feel like I play with the kids enough.  Or bake enough.  Or live in the present enough.  But what I discovered about myself is that I played every day.  I baked frequently.  And I love my life right now.

So, I guess in my own little way (my own Project 5/365 way) , I truly did see the evolution and what it said about me while providing a new sense of awareness of who I am.


And it only took 5 days.

So, without further adieu, here are my 5 photos (or collages, because I break the rules like that).

Little Bit decided she wanted to paint her nails.  Herself.  Blue (thank God it wasn't bacon...).  And so she did.  I love that kid.  And I love the little dimples that still grace her sweet knuckles.  Man she's a doll.  She did inform me this week that I didn't have to sign her up for preschool next year.  Apparently she does not like school.  "So you can skip it," she said to me.  Boy is she in for a surprise.

If you have friended me on Facebook, then you know I desire to dress more like Edie @ Life in Grace who has been said to "dress like a scrapbook."   I also love how this gal has an entire series of posts related to what she wears every day.  I am not that awesome to dress cool every day.  But, I had fun with it this morning.  And I went and spent the rest of my envelope at Cato today (one week into the 2 week much for that resolve...), so I might take my picture again tomorrow.  Then it's back to jeans and t-shirts Sunday (and I don't mean the 7 for all Mankind variety). 

Seriously?  I don't even have to say a thing here.  I love this girl.

The Best Cornbread you will ever eat.  You can find the recipe here.

And finally, I realized this week that by the time I was Pookie's age, I was making my own batches of chocolate chippers.  Plus my own breakfast and packing my own lunches (that's what happens when your mom is a hard-working single warrior in the 70s.)  But my kids?  Wednesday morning this week, I poured cold cereal into a bowl and poured milk on top and called them to breakfast from their cozy warm spots on the couch in front of the TV.  *ahem*   So much for training up a child in the way he should go.  That afternoon, Pooks came home and I told her, "Go make me some chocolate chip cookies."  (Or something much friendlier, maternal, and sweeter.)  She LOVEd it.  And that batch of cookies was G.O.N.E. by bedtime.  Apparently, she takes after her mom.  She's a fabulous baker.  (And we all love chocolate chip cookies!)

It's Pinewood Derby Time!  More pics next week...Until then, ENJOY your weekend!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Pretty Betty Makes Cupcakes

Man did we have a great night tonite.  I knew in December that about 6 weeks of Life were going to get craZy right after Christmas due to extracurricular schedules, but jeez-oh has it surpassed my worst expectations!  Tonite was the first night we've been in all night since the beginning January.  And not all of us were here - Meiners was out to dinner with The Grands and The Man had a business dinner.  But the rest of us?  The rest of us pulled up a chair and made homemade corn bread, finished long overdue homework assignments, and even got some multiplication drills in.  We (and by that I mean the kids) vacuumed and dusted and cleaned the bathrooms.  We (and by that I mean I) folded countless baskets of laundry...
It was a great night.

Only one thing was missing.  Cupcakes.  Seriously.  I have a longterm love affair with small cups of chocolate goodness.  I travel far and wide to enjoy an uncommon cake in a paper coiffe.  Last night I didn't travel far at all, however.  In fact - I visited my extra fridge in the basement and devoured the final cupcake from my baking extravaganza last week.  I enjoyed it so much I not only took pictures of it, I thought I would share the recipe with you here.  So, be-bop over and load up on milk.  Because these babies aren't for the faint of heart.  These cupcakes are for chocolate lovers.  I just wish I hadn't let The Man have that strawberry frosted one last night.  Cuz then I could've topped off a perfect night tonite...

Friday, January 21, 2011

Five Photos Today

My friend Frizzy started a new series titled Five Photo Friday.  Since she's my BFF since High School Freshman year and BFFs support one another's projects, and because she and I share a love of photography (and she has SKEELZ! letmejusttellyou!), and because I'm giving Old Man Winter a little shove this week, I'm participating in her Linky Party.  Enjoy these and then go give my friend a shout!  And Happy Friday!

the docs say she shouldn't be a cheerleader.
we said she could for this.

these boys shoveled the walkways ALL around our neighborhood {for free!};
all dog walkers and runners Welcome Here!

Pretty Betty got to work for some folks on our Snow Day
where cookies for breakfast come standard

aaaaaaah!  Sweet Yum.  MY Breakfast this morning.
Old Man Winter ain't got no hold on me!
I bake, therefore I am.  (HSM reference, yo.)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

When You're Stuck

I've been stuck lately.  I'm just laying it out here for you.  I don't know if it's post-Christmas letdown, mid-winter blahs, or just what the medical term might be for me, but it's a rut.  A shallow little ravine in the road of my life, really, but I'm stepping out of it.  As of tonite.

You know I love, love, love to bake.  We're talking love.  I even got a brand new sweet-pretty-betty-mixer for Christmas from MIL after Pooks and I blew out the motor of my cheap-o inexpensive handheld mixer making that awesome gingerbread igloo.  I've pulled the new mixer out once (totally kidding, MIL).  And I'm craving Kendra's lemon blueberry scones.  C.r.a.v.i.n.g.  I bought the ingredients twice.  The first set of lemons turned into tennis balls.  Pretty sure. 

My counters have been covered.  I mean covered.  In papers and crums and syrup and did I already mention papers?  And books and cereal boxes and covered UP.

The laundry's been done.  That's a win.  And the kids all had showers tonite.  Snow day likely tomorrow, but they'll smell clean for me here in the house, so that's a win, too.

A rut.

Tonite, I finished two projects I've been staring down for the better part of January.  With them, I sense a new beginning.  When you hear what they are, you will measure me strange.

The first was small. 

I got rid of my calendar.  No, I seriously did.  I went to Office Whatever just before Christmas and bought one of those pricey leatheresque bound calendars with appointment spaces every 15 minutes in it for every day of 2011 just like I did in 2010.  And in 2009.  And pretty much every year since I graduated with my Master's degree.  Christmas morning Hubby gave me an android phone.  I don't need the desk calendar any more.  Or the 2,486 things I kept in the back of it.  So I got rid of all but the important stuff and put that in a pretty Southern Living basket on my counter with our dinner devotionals and history cards and conversation starters we peruse over the table with supper.  And I wiped down the counter.


The second thing was bigger.  You're going to think I'm crazy.  Really, you are.

The mantel.

Told you.

I took my inspiration photo (wish I knew where to give credit - I found this in a photo file on my computer marked 2007):

And I did this:

Yeah, theirs is better.  I'm kinda going craZy with all the things on it (it's been bare for about 3 weeks). I'm feeling fairly certain that I will love it.  I might paint the frame thingy black...but...I do love it!

Win again.

Take That Old Man Winter!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

on why I love the St. Louis Bread Company

I <3 Bread Co.

If you've read my blog once, then you know this.  And you already know why:

I <3 Icee Mochas.

But that's just the ice in the drink.  The cherry on top.  The tip of the iceberg.  I want to tell you about the secret ingredients to the true cola recipe.  I want to tell you about the hand-blown (OK plastic) glass.  I want to tell you the whole story - the meat and the bones of it.  Because there used to be a time when I would travel long distances to alternate Bread Cos. in order to spread the wealth so to speak (or reduce my frequent-visit-induced-embarrassment...Monday South County, Tuesday the one at the mall, Wednesday the one by the hospital, Thursday...OK.  I think you get the point.)

There are three reasons why I love the South County St. Louis Bread Company.  And flavor is the first.  But flavor is opinionated.  I prefer Icee Mochas from Bread Co over anyone else's.  Believe me, I have tried them all.  But someone else could argue that McD's is just as good.  Or Starbucks.  Or homemade.  Taste is my opinion.  I love theirs.

What I also love about my local Bread Co is that they know me by name.  Not just because I have their customer appreciation card that tells them.  When I walk in - it's like a re-run from Cheers.  Everybody knows my name.  A rousing, "Karin!" explodes from place (almost) and a magical whir starts in the blender (that's true).  They know my name and they know my drink.  Often it's made for me by the time I reach the front of the line so all I have to do is pay the price and head back out the door.  I love that!  It makes me feel warm and welcome (even when the beverage is frozen and chocolatey).

But still, that's not the main reason I love my South County Bread Co.

The main reason I love my South County Bread Co. is because of their people.

A few weeks ago a terrible thing happened in my neighborhood.  Prayer was needed and people were extraordinary and I knew that in the face of tragedy - even potential tragedy, we want to do something to help.  One time my dear friend told me - during some of our toughest times with Pookie - all we can do is pray and feed you.  Let us do that.  I put my prayer warriors on the case and sat down at the table wringing my hands.  People needed to be fed. 

I called Bread Co.

Through tears, I ordered soup and sandwiches and hot chocolates and pastries and I said only that, "People need to be fed."

I grabbed Sashi from preschool and ran to my South County Bread Co. and as I was pulling in, they called me on my cell phone and said, "Park right in front.  We're bringing it straight to you."

When I arrived, I handed them my Christmas gift card.  On the receipt, I saw "free" and "free" and "free" and was given a meal for Sash and me to share in addition to what I'd bought.  They didn't just hand out free food which would have been an awesome gesture.  They collected their employees' customer appreciation cards and cashed in all their own earned freebies - hot drinks, bagels, dollars off from sandwiches...and they bagged it all up: 'to school,' 'to friend,' 'to Karin.'  And met me at the curb.

And so it is true, what Samuel Johnson said.  "Getting money is not all a man's business: to cultivate kindness is a valuable part of the business of life."

That is why I love my St. Louis Bread Company.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

on resolve

Resolving to run again.  I'm figuring that 4 month hiatus was quite long enough now.  Back to not describing myself as 'a runner.'  Why does it have to be so difficult?  Oh that's right.  Because then everyone would do it.  (As if that's a valid reason to make it so tough on the lowly housewife wannabe runner.)

Resolving to stay within budget.  I actually still have cash in the envelope (and 5 days remaining before payday).  Even after the trip to the library today when the sweet maternal librarian looked me flat in the eyes and said, "This card has been suspended until the $38.79 fine is paid."  SAY WHAT?  Who racks up a $40 fine to the public library??  Oh.  Apparently that would be me.  Or Us.  The ones who over-use the 7 day grace period.  Invariably losing said library books right at the end of said grace period.  Books and missing sox.  Someday I will find the motherload.  I might as well go buy books from B&N.  It'd actually be cheaper.

New resolving:  No Library Fines.

Resolving to eat in more.  Including coffee.  Yeah, yeah, yeah.  I know.  I didn't even want to write that one here.  I'm a broken record of failed attempts to limit my icee mochas.  But I'm doing fairly well.  Well, until this week, anyway.  And just because this is only the second week of January and I really only did fairly well the first week of January, either, does NOT mean that I am not still going to try.  Confucious say, "There is no try.  There is only do."  Him or Yoda.   Both wise, wise men.

Speaking of wise men, did you know my husband brings me icee mochas?  2-3 times each week, he gets up, drives to Bread Co, brings home a frozen chocolatey coffee, sticks it in the freezer, and drives on to work.  When I get up, I'll see a Bread Co bag on the counter with a cranberry orange muffin waiting for me and I'll know to look in the freezer.  Seriously.  How can I compete (i.e. reduce icee mochas) with a husband as awesome as that?  And yes, I am writing that here so that in the memory of the remembering, I feel the awesomeness that is my husband.  I am very lucky.  But I lack resolve.  Totally his fault.

Yeah right.

did Daddy bring me some too?

Anyway, 3 goals.  Not resolutions.  Just goals. 

The one that frustrates me the most is running.  Last year at this time I was running 8-13 miles outside every weekend.  I can barely get through a mile on the treadmill. 

The one that embarrasses me the most is coffee.  I used to drive to a different Bread Co. every day so as not to look quite as addicted.  I'm not so worried about that anymore.  Plus I LOVE our local Bread Co.  Some day I'll tell you why.  But for today, just know that I am a HUGE SoCo Bread Co. fan.


And the best one so far is the budget.  'Cept for that unexpected cash loss at the library today.  Then again, I guess that's why you budget.  So you have enough for the emergencies when they come up.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

There is a photo

Christmas 2005
There is a photo on the TV tray behind our couch.  Two bleach blondes and a redhead smile out at me.  Dressed in red sweaters and blue jeans.  A terribly heavy ache creeps up into my chest as I realize I don't remember.  I don't remember life then.  What it was like to have just three children.  When Meiners was a toothless baby on a fuzzy white faux animal skin rug on his tummy at the Penney's. 

I remember Pookie could barely lift her chest off the floor long enough to snap the picture of all three of them there on their tummies with their feet dangling against gravity in the air behind them.  Her chest had been cut and invaded too many times and there was no strength there.  But she smiled just before her little arms could prop her no longer.  Her head faintly eskew from the level plane of her brothers'.

And I remember her jeans.  Brand new in the photo with their dark indigo hue.  So faded are they now, with tears in the knees and the seat, I've had to admit to myself that my favorite pair of little girl size 4T bootleg cut Levi's with the snap flap over the back pockets didn't make it through the last baby.

I remember. 

But I ache inside as I realize I don't feel the memory.  I grasp what I see, but what about the unseen?  What was it like then?  Was it chaos and crazy and loud and hilarious and fun and difficult and scary and terrifying and perfect?  It exists in the recesses of my mind, but in an emptier sort of way than the living part.  And I wish there had been this then.  This documentation of the everyday, the extraordinary, the poignant and the painful and the real of the now that was the now only then.

And I purpose again to be intentional in the writing.  So that I can feel the memory in the remembering.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

To End December

Boy Howdy have things been hoppin' here at Chez No.6 Cottage!  We celebrated Christmas and Christmas and Christmas!  And we spent one whirlwind day in The Windy City to see Wicked with the big kids.  Enjoy a few photos of the festivities and Happy New Year!

Sporting sweet new Christmas threads before heading to the show

A nice Chicagoan stopped to snap our photo in front of the bean.  Thank you, Nice Chicago Guy!

My sweet kids enjoying a snowbank in Chicago. 

Meiners insisted he take a few photos.  Not a bad job, Buddy!  Thank you!

Our hotel - well, an experience, not a hotel!  From piped in vanilla scents and birdies chirping in the hall to just beautiful New Years decos!  And let's not forget the warm chocolate chippers handed to us as we checked in!  Loved it!  AND only 3 blocks from the theater!  Honey did good!  <3

Money in her stocking gave her quite a spending spree @ American Girl!  And now she waits for Katie to arrive in 21 days from the American Girl Hospital after her hair transplant.  Yes.  Seriously.

The boys had equal fun spending their bucks @ Lego Land!

Oh my gosh - I cannot even begin to tell you how AWESOME this show was!  THE. BEST. EVER. 

Can't go out of town without finding the best cupcake store in town.  YUM!

I enjoyed a tasty Red Velvet Mint cupcake.  The kids and grammie enjoyed the rest.  I'll have to post comparisons to my other cupcake taste tests in another post!
 Blessings Ya'll!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...