Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Homemade Brownie Mix

Cole LOVES brownies. They are his absolute favorite - and, I search everywhere for a great box mix. But, no more! I found an online recipe for a homemade base mix, changed it up a bit & now have (what I think is) the best brownie mix! And, the nice part - the base mix makes a lot & can be stored for several pans of brownies!!

Base Mix (makes 18 cups mix or (4) 9x13 pans of brownies)
8 c. Sugar
4 c. Flour
2.5 c. Baking Cocoa
4 tsp. baking powder
4 tsp. salt
2 c. shortening
- in a large bowl, combine sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder & salt. Cut in teh shortening until the mixture resembles course crumbles.
- store in airtight container, in a cool place (I like fridge or freezer) for up to 6 months.

Cole's Favorite Chocolate-Chocolate Brownies!
4 c. brownie mix
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. chocolate chips
- in a mixing bowl, combine the brownie mix, eggs & vanilla; mix well. (note: this is a very thick, sticky mix! not like the box mix)
- fold in chocolate chips
- spread into a GREASED (I use crisco) pan - 13x9 - and spread as even as you can. (again: this is THICK & does not pour like a box mix)
- Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes. (mine was about 48 minutes, but, another oven was closer to 40). Insert toothpick to check doneness.
- Cool 10-15 minutes on rack - then cut & remove from pan.

These are soooo good!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Editing Fun

I've been trying to learn a bit more about Aperture ... and let me tell you, it's confusing! ha! Anyway..here was some playing this week.

I liked this perspective, I was squatted down, kind of under the plant & shooting up toward the sky.


This is actually a crop of one of the flowers in the pic above. I thought it was kinda cool :)

Our Last Fun Friday :(

"Fun Friday" has been Cole's favorite day of the week for 2 years. This is the name his Special Education Teacher, Mrs. Isaak, gave to Friday class. On Friday only the students with special needs are in the class. Now, don't get me wrong - I'm all for inclusion, but, this Friday class is amazing. Mrs. Isaak plans the coolest things for her students, and, EVERYONE participates, regardless of their level of need.

One of the funnest things is the annual Cubs vs. Cards T-ball game. It's always on the last Friday of the year. It is the coolest thing to watch EVERY student get to bat & score. (there are a few students who are unable to walk - Mrs. Isaak carries them up to bat, and, runs the bases. seriously - the woman is just that amazing!) You can tell by the look on the kids face that this day is so special to them.

Cole isn't having an identity crisis...he played for both teams that day. (a bit reluctantly! we just told him that any runs he made while batting for the cardinals would actually count for the cubs!)



And, Baby Jacob came to cheer Big Brother on too :)

Summer Project: Bookworm

Disclosure: I am not crafty or creative! Thank God I have boys & they are not critical of my skills (or lack thereof!).

Our first summer project that I will share is our bookworm. In the Winter, we do a great job at reading everyday, but, in the summer - it gets harder. Between outside activities, vacation, and the pool we don't do as good of a job. Cole's Kindergarten teacher recommended that he read 100 books this summer, so we decided to create a bookworm. For every book he reads, he gets to add another "bubble" to his worm. It's hanging in the Kitchen (clothespin to the window where his house rules are), hopefully the visual helps keep this motivating. It's gonna be a big worm if we make it to 100!


Another reading project we are starting is slowly adjusting Cole to chapter books rather than just short stories. To help with this, Jason is purchasing a book that he liked as a child, and, he & Cole will read a chapter everyday he is off. Daddy reading to him is a real treat - so I think this will be very motivating for Cole! Adding chapter books into his reading will help him hold his attention span for longer periods of time, and increase his story telling skills. I'm excited to see how this goes (well, once Dad finds the book he wants that is!).

Monday, May 16, 2011

Our first day of Summer vacation

Today was Cole's official first day of Summer Vacation. Unfortunately, he has some type of virus so he wasn't feeling good for part of it, and had to go to the Dr. But, we made time for a quick trip to the park before nap time.

Cole enjoys the merry-go-round much more than Mommy. He can't understand why it makes me dizzy - he can go around & around and feel fine. NOT ME! ha!


Another of Cole's famous faces..he's so mistreated :)


One of my goals this summer is to teach Cole how to pump his legs when he swings - he just can't figure it out, and Mommy never seems to push high enough.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Stinky Pizza

I will never forget the look on Cole's face. Jason & I were in the kitchen, cooking dinner together, Cole & Jacob were in the living room watching Curious George. Cole screams "Mom, get in here!", I said "What's wrong?" (in my, OMGosh, someone's dying voice) as I'm running to the living room. He replies "Jacob..he smells like Stinky Pizza". Jason & I both look at him completely confused, and, as him again..WHAT?! Coles reply: "He smells. Are you hearing me? His butt smells like Stinky Pizza - can you do something about that?".

Although I'm not sure I agreed that the dirty diaper resembled the smell stinky pizza (I thought more like raw sewage), we have all adopted the "stinky pizza" description now :)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Things that make me smile :)

My Brother feeding my son. Doesn't he look so comfortable? It amazes me how my too-cool for you, football playing, ladies man of a brother has no problem at all grabbing my kids & caring for them like they are his own. I love that :)


Both boys got sunglasses in the Easter Basket from my Parents. Cole LOVED his & I think they look so stinkin' cute! Oh these boys...


The mad bunny! Um, OK, so...he's got some ground to be mad. I mean, he is 5.5 years old, and, a boy...and, I still made him put on bunny ears for me. However...seeing that I labored for 16 hours, and, still ended up barely getting his big head out..I figure humoring me is the least he can do.


The Pioneer Woman's Greek Salad. Ahhhhhh... This is the most amazing, mouth watering, jaw dropping, yeah...enough said...it rocks. (and I had it for lunch this week!)


It really is the simple things in life that make me happy. Watching Cole complete a puzzle, completely on his own, in a matter of minutes. Yep, this was a happy moment for Mama.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Play Ball!

Cole had his first t-ball practice this week. He LOVED it :)


Watching these 5 year olds all run & dive on top of the ball is hilarious. I can't wait to see him in a little uniform :)

Monday, May 2, 2011

I have nothing nice to say about this...

Meet Jillian...


She's a pain in my butt. Literally. And my thighs, arms, chest...yep, just about everything on me hurts because of her.

Fell off the wagon (the pain got the best of me), but, got back on the scale yesterday - lost my breath, and, then had a date with my old buddy up there this morning.

It sucks. Bad.

Hold me accountable, OK? Because the weight has to come off, and, well...I'm a sucker for excuses. And, it hurts REALLY BAD on Day 2, 3, 4. Yeah...you get the idea, but, when you stop for 2 weeks..it hurts all over again :( So...yeah, hold me accountable.

And, that's all I got about that.