Sunday, December 26, 2010

Reindeer Poop, AKA: Chocolate Drop Cookies

So what kind of cookies did you leave out for Santa this year? We baked our favorite: Reindeer Poop. Although, throughout the rest of the year they are known as chocolate drop cookies. These cookies are so scrumptuous, especially when they are fresh out of the oven!

Reindeer Poop, Chocolate Drop Cookies

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons shortening
1 cup sugar
6 tbsp cocoa powder (Hershey's is preffered)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, well beaten
2 1/2 cups self-rising flour

Cream together the shortening, sugar and vanilla extract. Add the well beaten eggs. Add cocoa powder, then add the flour gradually, mixing well. Drop by teaspoonfuls on greased cookie sheet or roll dough into small sized balls and place on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Busy busy busy!

I can't believe in two more days it will be Christmas! AAAAHHHHHHH!!!!
I've been super busy these past couple weeks, especially in the kitchen, baking cookies, breads, brownies and such. So, for this post, I figured I would recap the past couple weeks' activities since I hadn't gone into heavy detail about our goings on since Thanksgiving.
During the first full week of December, our friends, Jacy, Joel, and their son Liam came down from DC for a visit and to celebrate Liam's FIRST birthday!!!! Oh! I remember going to the hospital last year to see him for the very first time. And, now, he's running around and even saying words! Congratulations Joel and Jacy on getting through that first year! ;)
That Friday, the 10th, was a very special day for me. I FINALLY got my mommy tattoo! I had wanted one for so long (since Kaylan was born) but, I'm glad I waited seeing as how I don't have to worry about adding more to it as I have more children. We are done my friends, this baby factory is closed! Anyway, Jacy recommended a wonderful artist here in the Savannah area by the name of Kimberly Reed. Kim had done Jacy's latest tattoo back in September and I just knew that it was meant for me to have work done by this woman, she is amazing! Kim designed the tattoo specially for me, using Kaylan's and Dylan's birth flowers adorned with a ribbon with their names on it. Kaylan's birth flower is Lily of the Valley and Dylan's is sweet pea. It took over 3 hours because of all the detail, especially in the Lily of the Valley. Big thanks to Jacy for stopping by and checking in on me and keeping me company. That helped that little segment of time go by a lot quicker. Boy, after that second hour I was praying to be done, haha! I only wished I would have had more money and stamina to have more done at the time. But I absolutely LOVE it!!!!!

I really need to thank Kim by making some yummy Christmas cookies for her ;)

The next day, Saturday, was a double party day. One party was a 50th surprise party for a family friend, and the other party was of course for Liam's first! And wouldn't you know they BOTH started at the same time? Haha, that's how it works right? We went to the 50th birthday bash first seeing as how it was a stop on the way to Richmond Hill where Liam's party would be. We got to the celebration hall and waited and waited and waited. Leave it to this woman to be late to her own party, haha. If you know the Grizzards, then you understand. But we couldn't go without shouting "SURPRISE" and giving some birthday hugs to the birthday girl. I'm pretty glad we were there first and didn't go all the way out to Richmond Hill, because once we got there, I realized we forgot to pack a bottle in the diaper bag for Dylan. I'll go ahead and add "make a diaper bag checklist" on my list of things to do. Luckily, since it wasn't his lunch time right when we got there, all Eric had to do was leave Dylan there with me, while he and Kaylan went back to the house to get a bottle. They both got back in plenty of time to have a good seat and wait out the arrival of the guest of honor. Dylan was pretty happy too, thank goodness he isn't so much like his big sister to where he has to eat at a certain time on the dot!
After birthday wishes and hugs were exchanged, we immediately packed everyone in the truck and went on our way to the Hill. I was a bit concerned about Kaylan going without a proper nap since we wouldn't be home all day. She fell asleep just as soon as we got off the interstate, so she literally only had a catnap all day. It was so much fun to see her walking around with Owen and Liam. My little girl is growing up! She used to not even want for me or Eric to put her down, let alone leave her sight, and now she's walking around in different places and exploring! We enjoyed a lovely dinner and some even lovelier cake and ice cream. Then, for one reason or another we had to pack up and go back out. Oh yeah, we had to go to dinner that night.
It was one action packed weekend for sure!
Oh, and Kaylan without her full nap wasn't near as bad as I thought it would be. I contribute that mostly to the stimulation and distraction offered to us that day! I sit...with tomorrow being my one day left before Christmas Eve. Somehow we need to get the dining room set out of the house and into storage to make room for the play area Santa plans on giving the kids, there are a couple gifts I would really like to take to Backus Children's Hospital (I still need to call and get all the info on what is okay to donate and if I should or shouldn't wrap, etc.), Eric has to pick up a T.V. from his buddy so he can work on fixing it, and I need to take some last minute gifts (cookies) to doctors offices and hopefully to Kim if she will be at the shop tomorrow. Which reminds me, I don't even have any cookies made, so I will have to bake some more. If it wasn't for gift-giving I'd be up to my ears in cookies right now! It especially doesn't help when I make a batch as a gift and somehow about half of them go missing within the few minutes while they are cooling. That will always be a mystery.
We've got all of our gifts, thank goodness, we weren't able to do much this year. And, I'm happy about that anyway because the kids are too young to really know the difference. I don't want them to be brought up thinking that they should get more and more each year because that's not what it's about.
Thanks to family and friends from out of town for sending their gifts, they found their way here and are nestled safely under the tree. That helps to not make our tree look so sad, haha. Kaylan is loving the Christmas tree and all of the Christmas cards we have gotten in the mail! I've been trying to teach her to say "Merry Christmas" whenever she is looking at the Christmas tree and she will look at me and crack up laughing. Silly girl.
And Dylan, I believe will be a crawler by Christmas Day, we hope. He has been trying so hard lately. I just know that by the New Year at the latest he will be a master crawler. Then, who knows how long it will take him to pull up to stand and start walking. I almost don't know what to do with a crawler in the house. Kaylan never crawled and Dylan has a stealth quality about him that frightens me. I'm not used to watching where I step! I'm not aware that a sudden step back could me me tripping over him and hurting him. I'll learn soon enough though.
Well, I know this will be an extremely busy and magical weekend coming up, so let me get back to baking and playing Santa. Everyone have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS! I'll do my best to check back and update before the new year!
Everyone be safe and enjoy your time with family and friends!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Campfire Brownies

I LOVE S'mores! Especially this time of year! This recipe takes all of those yummy gooey s'mores ingredients and bakes them into delicious brownie bars! Enjoy!

Special thanks to Jacy for being my guneia pig for this new recipe!

Campfire Brownies

1 box of brownie mix (as well as the ingredients needed to make them according to the box)
1 (7oz) jar Jet-Puff Marshmallow Creme
1 Hershey's milk chocolate bar (the one with the breakable pieces)
1 1/2 c graham cracker crumbs
1/2 c (1 stick) butter
1 small can sweetened condensed milk*

*Totally optional, I just like to use this because I think it helps to hold the bars together better. I don't even use the whole can, maybe half of it, because I don't want the brownies to seem too gooey.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With one stick of butter in a 13X9 baking pan, place pan in oven for a few minutes, until the butter is completely melted. Once butter is melted, remove pan from oven and sprinkle graham cracker crumbs evenly over melted butter, creating a level layer for the crust. If you choose to use sweetened condensed milk, carefully drizzle a light layer on top of the graham cracker layer, do not completely cover or use the entire can, or else you will have an ooey-gooey mess!

*Mine didn't turn out exactly as I would advise, but it didn't hurt anything*

In small spoonfuls, scoop a few dollops of marshmallow creme throughout the pan, as much or as little as you would like. Take note that the creme will puff up and get larger in volume, so be sure to spread the scoops out well according to size. Next, break your Hershey's milk chocolate bar into pieces and nestle each piece on top of a scoop of marshmallow creme.

Next, mix brownie mix according to the box directions, pour brownie mixture evenly over s'more ingredients in the pan, covering well. Bake at 350 according to brownie mix box directions. You may have to bake for a little longer, for some reason with all the extra ingredients in the brownies causes it to bake slower (for me at least). Anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes extra should be okay.

Once brownies are done and out of the oven, place pan on cooling rack. Wait about 20 minutes to allow to cool, cut into bars, and enjoy!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

O Christmas Tree!

As promised: a few pics of our little bitty Christmas tree, enjoy!

Mommy's little helper! Kaylan assisted me with putting the tree in just the right spot.

Even Dylan partook in the Christmas Tree decorating!

Kaylan's very first Christmas ornament from last year.

And, this year, we got Dylan's very first Christmas ornament :)

This is our family ornament, the first one with ALL of our names on it!

This is our tree after we got it decorated!

This year, I was a bit stumped at what exactly "to do" about a Christmas tree. Now that we have a (somewhat) crawler and a toddler that has to touch EVERYTHING, I was a bit hesitant to put any kind of decoration up. But, I wanted Kaylan and Dylan to have that memory, even though this year won't be a lasting memory for them, I still thought of it to be a good idea for them to see a Christmas tree and associate that with a joyful time. First off, a REAL TREE was simply out of the question! I love the way they smell and look, but they are MESSY! I had a feeling that whatever pine needles didn't fall off due to shedding would have been pulled off due to Kaylan. A few folks I know or have at least seen, will but a safety gate around the tree as a barrier, we simply don't have that kind of room, nor a linkable safety gate. So, with few options and few dollars to spend, I went to Wal-Mart to look for something suitable. I found a 4-foot tall, pre-lit, white tree for only $25! I was leaning toward getting a white tree anyway, I just didn't want to pay nearly $100 more for a 6-footer, especially since I'm sure my style and taste will change over the years, along with the national trends. Who knows, maybe we can juice every bit of the $25 out of this tree for years to come, haha! I thought one of those old-fashioned silver tinsel trees would have been fun, but white was the closest thing I could find without having to search the world over.
Kaylan loves the tree, in no time she knew that it was indeed the Christmas tree. Even though she doesn't say Christmas tree (she hardly says anything for that matter), whenever I mention it or ask her about it, she will walk towards it, gaze at it and giggle! So sweet. And, Dylan, I guess, thinks it is an inconvenience. The bottom "branches" are right at his face level whenever he is "crawling" so he will fuss when the tree gets in his way.
I wish we could have decorated it more, I'm just so afraid to use anything with hooks. Although, Eric's mom got us some cute gold, shatter-proof ball ornaments, so I may try to put a few of those on at a time and just keep count each night to make sure none of them go missing. The hooks still worry me though, maybe string?

I'll have to continue tomorrow with a post of all the fun things we got to do this weekend. Time for bed, I'm trying to get better at turning in at a more decent hour. Until next time, everyone have a super great week!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Still kickin'

I'm still here! I know it's been a loooong time since I have posted, sorry bout that! I went through a bit of a slump recently and felt like I needed to take the time, get things together and get more organized so I could get a better hold of my sanity. A few extracurricular activities have been put on hold, hopefully not cut out altogether. Like the business, you remember the business? Yeah, that's been put on hold. I did take the time to make some ribbon lovies for a charity auction (check out my list of favorite blogs: Orphaned NO more- For Isabella campaign) and that felt good to do that. It's just so hard to maintain a good flow of producing products while being "Mommy" is top priority. Also, the fact that I recently went back to work part time at the cafe here in town! It keeps me busy, not that I'm not busy at home, but at least I'm able to make a few bucks here and there to save for a rainy day. I really do hope that once Kaylan and Dylan are a couple years older or starting school, that I can be a full time artist/ WAHM (work-at-home-mom). I'm a week away from a not-so-shy tattoo on my upper arm, so that may be a deciding factor as far as what kind of job or career I will be capable of doing. But, if push comes to shove, I can always stock up on a few elbow length shirts for work wear, haha!
It's been pretty low-key around here for the most part. The kids have been great! Kaylan's amber teething necklace came in in October and, even though some people think it's hippie-ish, I really think it helps a bit with the teething pain and swelling. I wouldn't swear by it by any means, but she had at least four of her top teeth come in ALL AT ONCE and her gums weren't all red and swollen like they normally would have been. I was a bit sceptical and worried about putting a beaded necklace on her, but it's been a breeze and she loves to wear it. Each bead is individually strung and tied so if it breaks, just that one bead will come off-- not the whole strand. Plus, we take the necklace off during nap time and bed time so there is no choking hazard.
We also purchased an infant-to-toddler rocker. It's a rocking chair that doubles as an infant seat. It's amazing! Definitely a must-have for families of two babies who are close in age. Kaylan loves it! Since she can't climb up on the couch by herself just yet, she loves having her own little seat to lounge in! And it's perfect for me to move to the kitchen for Dylan to lay back in it and play with the toy bar while I've got Kaylan eating her lunch and I can load the dish washer or fix Dylan's lunch. Here's a picture of it in case anyone is interested:

The bar underneath the seat folds in for a toddler rocker and folds out to convert it to an infant seat. It even has vibration like most infant seats do. It's wonderful, I wish I would have gotten it sooner!

Action shot with Kaylan :)

In other news, Dylan is sitting up by himself now! He's only sat himself up once (in the crib--yeah, that was scary), but he is able to keep his balance and stay sitting up for long periods of time now. He just doesn't know how to go from sitting up to laying down yet, he still kinda flops over and that freaks me out so I try to keep pillows and soft objects around him if he decides to "lay down" haha! He hasn't quite mastered crawling yet, but I think that is soon to come. If he is on his belly and sees something he wants bad enough, he will army crawl like his life depends on it! It's pitiful but cute at the same time. He still gets on all fours and rocks back and forth, but I think since he is so heavy he gives up on himself and just plops back on his belly and army crawls to where he wants to go. I think it will be soon though, in just enough time for me to worry about him AND Kaylan getting a hold of the Christmas tree! We're not putting any gifts under the tree until Christmas Eve night, once Santa stops by.
We had a bit of a bitter-sweet Thanksgiving week this year. Monday, the week of Thanksgiving, I got a call from my older sister, Meredith, early that morning and I just knew it wasn't good. After 82, almost 83, beautiful years on this earth, my Papaw had passed away during the night/ early morning Monday. I wept all morning, mostly because of the fact that I have been away from home these past 10 years, so I guess I felt a little guilt in the fact that I wasn't "there" during the time of his passing. I talked to Eric, and then my mom, and even though I still felt grief, I became thankful that I had such a wonderful man in my life and that he was my granddad. I have a ton of memories with him, I just wish that more of them were more recent than they were. I'm also thankful that he did get to meet Kaylan and Dylan before he passed on, I just wish he could have had more time with them. He was a wonderful man, dependable, hard working, and never had anything bad to say about anybody. He will be missed but is continued to be loved. 12-24-1927 to 11-22-2010

-Papaw meeting Kaylan for the very first time, July 2009

Papaw meeting Dylan for the very first time, July 2010

Eric gave me the opportunity to travel to Alabama while he took a day and a half off work to stay home with the babies. As much as I wanted them there with me, along with needing Eric for the support, it would have been too stressful on the babies for that type of trip. I am glad it worked out that way because with the way the day of the service was laid out, there would have been chaos! I was thankful to have that time to show my respect and support for the rest of the family.
I returned home Wednesday evening, just before the babies went to bed. It wasn't an ideal homecoming, but I know they were all glad to see me... especially Eric! We had a beautiful Thanksgiving Day, spent with Eric's parents, then the Friday after with my mom and stepdad, Joey. The babies were great and they both had a good Thanksgiving. Such a great, peaceful day. What dreams are made of! It was tough once Monday rolled around and it was back to the grind of daily life. But, that's why we have holidays like that, and EVERYBODY can celebrate which makes it even better!

Our Thanksgiving Day family pics

I guess that's enough bloggin' for one night, haha! My eyes are starting to get heavy. I got home about an hour and a half ago from a super busy night at work! We hosted a charity benefited art show and the turn-out was GREAT! I hope there will be more art shows in the future on a regular basis, especially if I'm able to make a few of my sewing creations for the craft vending--wasn't able to do that this time.
Anyway, if I find the time tomorrow or in the coming week, I'll post some pics of the babies with our Christmas tree, we just put it up today. We have yet to decorate it, still not sure if it would be best to be just lights or lights and a few ornaments. And, by a few, I mean a FEW! Haha! Or else I'll be finding all kinds of ornaments in all kinds of strange places until next year!
I'm very excited for this week coming up, many plans! At the top of the list of great things this week? JACY, JOEL, AND LIAM ARE COMING BACK FOR A VISIT!!!!!! YAY!!!!! I can't wait!
See ya'll again soon, I promise I'll try not to go AWOL for another month and a half!