Friday, February 18, 2011

Valentine's Lesson Learned.

*Family Blog Updated.

This year it seemed like Valentine's Day was on some kind of performance enhancing drug.
Everywhere I turned there was some kind of irresistible Valentine's craft or baked good staring me in the face, and I could hardly choose which morsel of cuteness I wanted to partake in. A few blogs down, I posted some bubblegum necklaces that I thought I was definitely going to be making for my girl's Valentines. However, after pricing out gumballs and thinking about the time factor, making 30 of those necklaces...packaging them somehow...I began to feel overwhelmed. Which is why I turned to Our Best Bites, where I saw these adorable cookies:


Perfect! Cookies are easy to bust out, and really, how hard could these be? Sure, I had never worked with GLACE icing before...or piped a cookie...or piped anything...but it would be fine, right?

Next, I was in charge of my preschooler's 'sweet treat' for her class Valentine's party. So what would be cute and fun for preschoolers to eat? Off to Our Best Bites bout these beauties?
OBB Pie Pops in Blue Glass

Cauuuuuuute!!!! Since I am the queen of homemade pie crust, I just knew these would be a breeze.

Oh my gosh...ANDDDDDDDDD....since I am making pies ANYWAY....why don't I make those cute Pie in a Jar treats for Teacher gifts?????
heart pie jar OBB

Perfection. Utter perfection.

And so it began, my baking extraveganza. Husband was out of town, but no sweat. I knew I could do it alone. New baby in the house? Not a problem. I would bust it all out while he was sleeping.

Do you see where this is going? We are headed to a very dark place, my friends.

I started out right. I made the sugar cookies AND the pie dough on Saturday night so that on Sunday all I would have to do is pipe the cookies and make the pies. Easy peasy. I got the baby down for a nap and the kids settled in front of a movie, and began making my glace icing. The icing was very easy to make and turned out exactly as she showed it. The only problem is, her black icing called for food coloring gel, which I had of. Ummmmm, not even close. In the car, kids, and off to the store to buy 4 more of those...and to be safe, I picked up a bunch more red, too. Back home, the black was finally a dark charcoal color and the 'red' was about as good as it was going to get.
I pulled out my previously purchased frosting bags and piping tip. For those of you who actually know what I am talking about, I bought a #4 tip, and then I read that she used a #3. Shoot! Well, I had to make due with my #4, and it also worked fine. I figured out how to attach it to my bag (where were my reality tv cameras when I was working THAT out?) and filled it with icing, and got to piping.

Let me let you in on a little secret, friends. Piping is VERY SOOTHING. I could have piped all the day long. Sure, my piping wasn't perfect, but boy was it fun! Here are my cookies all piped and ready to go:
BLOG-2 Edit

Notice that I added a line down the middle that OBB didn't have. I think it helped define the wings more. I liked it.

So then I had to wait for that to set. Once it was ready, I filled in the middles. While this was not hard at all, it took FOREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEVER!!!!!!!!!
BLOG-3 Edit

You can see that I piped frosting in, then spread it with a spoon. Took about a million years to spread it all out.

FINALLY! All spread, and, once again, waited for it to set:


Next came the black. First I put on the black heads while I was waiting on the wings to harden, then went onto the dots. Now let me let you in on a MAJOR secret here. The black dots were SO MUCH EASIER to put on the wings that were NOT FULLY SET. If I could do it over I would have immediately put the black on before the red was even close to set. I could just push the tip (still #4) down into the red and squeeze a little and the black would meld into the red. On the ones that were set, it sat on top, kind of 3 dimensionally, which was hard not to squish when I packaged them up.

Okay, so once the black heads were set (do you see how time consuming this was becoming, waiting for the icing to set between each step?) I added the white guessed it....waited for those to set and THEN I added the black eyes. PHEW!

BLOG-6 edit

Hello, my pretties!!!!

By that time it was about 9 pm and it was off to get the kidlets in bed. They had insisted that they witness the creation of the eyes, so I had to let them stay up late to see them (because I had to wait for them to set, people.) Oh, and I made 5 cookie sheets full of these, between school friends and other friends, we needed a lot of cookies.

Fast forward to 10 pm, kids are finally sleeping and it is time to START the pie pops. Yes, start them. At 10 pm. No problem, pie is easy. And the pie crust was already made in my freezer, remember????

I pulled out the dough, made the mistake of trying to roll it out right away. It crumbled into a bajillion pieces. Rolled it out a few times, and when it warmed up it worked beautifully. I grabbed my 2 inch heart, it was tiny. I wish I would have taken a picture to show you, but it was ITSY bitsy. The trouble was, I had lost my 3 inch heart. Crap! So, I rolled out 2 inch hearts and then I flattened them out with my hand to make them larger. I filled them with her apple pie recipe (I used about 1/10 of the recipe, the pies were that small) and got them on the sticks...into the oven....and started working on the Pies in the Jar. Oh, did I mention how I had to hunt around town for the jars? And even then I didn't find the exact right ones. Oh well.

Quick glance at clock...11:30. How did it take so long to make those pies? Oh, right. I flattened them all by hand. Shoot.

Okay, so I flew into crazy mode, pressing the pie crusts into the jars, filling them with blueberry pie filling (from a can, people, times were getting desperate!) and then cut out tiny pie hearts to put on top. At this time the pops were coming out of the oven, so I feverishly whipped up the glaze to go on top. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP! The glaze was delicious!!! I threw the pies in the oven to bake...For 45 minutes????

I used the time wisely to create a container for the pie pops to stick into. I used a punch bowl and made a little tag for the outside. Then I used floral foam and glued some cute paper on it that looked like conversation hearts, and then filled the top with the hearts. Perfection.

At this point my baby woke up and by the time I got him back to sleep it was 1 am. ONE IN THE MORNING! The pies were ALMOST done baking and then I could sleep.

But wait.

The kids can't just take those cookies to school to drop in Valentine's boxes all naked and unpackaged! DARN IT!!!! DARN ITTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!!!!

I loaded all the mostly set cookies into tiny cellophane bags. Which were open on top. then I took a trip to the basement, quickly made a tag in photoshop, printed the tags, brought them up, cut them out, and stapled them on top of the cellophane bags.

Which brings me to the point of the story. There I was. At TWO in the morning. Finishing Valentine's treats for my preschoolers. PRESCHOOLERS. 4 and 3 years old. What was I DOING??? WHY??? Was I insane? What was I trying to PROVE? And who was I trying to prove it TO??

Honestly, I cannot tell you. I will say that I grossly misjudged how much work these treats were going to be. I definitely did not set out to spend 10 hours making Valentines goodies for tiny children who would not fully appreciate the magnitude of my work. I am begging year, if I even MENTION hand making treats like this again, stop me. Get on a plane, fly here, and stop me. It was definitely not worth losing my sanity over!!!

The only saving grace here were the results of the hard work. Of course everything turned out darling. The cookies were TO DIE FOR and the girls were incredibly proud to hand them out (don't worry that my older one got sick and ended up not being able to go to her Valentine's party anyway. No, I am not kidding.) I was, however, surprised to discover that in BOTH of their classes...they were the only ones to bring home made Valentines. I don't know why that surprised me, but it did. I also have to admit that as I was carrying everything into the school, I felt a bit silly. It all felt so over the top....oh well.

So, I wish I had a cuter picture of how the Valentine's turned out, but at 2 am, you get what you get.

Blog cookie edit

And the Sweety Pie Pops? Um yes, so cute, Here they are at the preschool about to be served:

BLOG-9 edut

And here they are after, just a few left over:


My favorite thing, and by far the EASIEST thing to make, were the Pie in a Jar for the teachers.

BLOG-8 edit

So there you have it. My totally insane Valentine's Day Treat Extraveganza. PLEASE tell me that I was not the only crazy mom out there up til 2 am making treats for preschool. Lie to make me feel better if you have to...or at least to make me feel a little less insane.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

And then there were Four....

So here I am, late as usual to give my 2 cents about this week's Bachelor. Let me just mention here that my baby has refused to sleep all week and we had each child get the stomach flu one right after this makes night one-million without any sleep for me. Everyone take a moment of silence for my lost sleep. Thank you.

Well, this week did not pass by without any drama, that's for sure. Let's start with the one on one date he had with Britney. I know Brad was being honest with Brit that he has no attraction to her, but it seemed a bit cold hearted to send her packing right there at dinner. He could have waited for the date to be over, no? Or even pretended to mull it over and send her home at the rose ceremony? I know he thought he was being kind, but I felt like it was almost worse to send her away like he couldn't stand to spend ONE MORE MINUTE with her. And...what was that welcoming committee back at the house? Everyone jumping for joy to see Brit return from her date? That was bizarre...she is dating YOUR man, ladies!

The other one one one dates (with Emily and Shantelle) seemed to go well, although I LOVE Emily, I am not seeing much of a spark between them. I can see why he likes her, but is there really any connection there? I felt like his connection with Shantelle was much more obvious. She seemed really fun loving and genuine on their date, I like her even more now.

The horribly awkward group date was about as distasterous as you can get. I am not sure how Brad expected the other girls to react when he was getting it on with Michelle in front of them. I am not sure how I expected them to react....I mean, I knew they would be mad, but they acted like they were about 2 years old. Especially Ashley- "Don't send me home! I am so scared!" It was so uncomfortable to watch, I felt like an idiot for her. Then Chontelle started up with the tears, and if I were Brad I would have plunged myself over the cliff into the water just to get away from those babies. I love how Michelle was SO angry and wouldn't even look at him after he gave Ashley the rose....

What will we do now that Michelle is gone? She was what brought the crazy to the show...that crazy we hate but can't stop watching. At this point I feel like it's anyone's game....


I can't believe I forgot to mention Michelle's vow of silence as she left! What was THAT??? Week after week of not listening to the verbal vomit that refused to be silenced and then....crickets. Hmmmm......

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

No More.







Make it stop.

I had to look away. I couldn't even watch her awkwardness. One 'hola' and my skin went clammy and the complete psychoness of it all nearly put me over the edge...and yet....he KEPT her.


Okay, so all the girls were SO quick on the uptake that 'someone' had talked to Brad before the rose ceremony. Does anyone else feel like that was completely ridiculous? I mean, puh-lease, there is no way a producer didn't put that bug in their ear. And, as much as Michelle freaked me out, WHY does she have to tell them ANYTHING about it? I didn't really understand that. I actually liked when she said, "I'm not apologizing, I'm just keeping it real." I'm glad she didn't apologize to them...she shouldn't have even had to have told them. (Yes, I know I sound like I am team Michelle, but at that moment I kind of was. Probably because I can't stand Chontelle.)

Nope, Chontelle is bothering me a lot. I don't know why she rubs me the wrong way....although it was genius timing of her to tell him she loves him when she had nothing to gain. VERY smart move.

Glad that Alli left, although she was cute I think it was a good choice, but I was surprised that Jackie had to hit the road. Thought the blonde girl was going to get the axe. Apparently I was wrong!

How much longer do you think Michelle has? Next week? More?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Everything Tragic Seems Trivial.

*Edit at bottom.

This past week has been a stressful one:

Cleaning, Listing, and Selling a home.

Offers. Counter Offers.

Buying a home.

Figuring out how I want my business to go this year.

How many sessions to take?

Babysitters? Nanny?

Home studio, perhaps?

Baby Weight. How to lose it when I can barely open my eyes, let alone get on the treadmill.

Money? Budgeting?

Can I learn to use my Cricut Cake in time for V-day?

How many days of preschool next year?

So many things I have agonized over this week.

Today I read THIS. I watched THIS.

I read one of the comments:

Reading your blog has made everything tragic in my life seem trivial.

I could not agree more.

EDIT: Since I wrote this post, her husband passed away. My heart breaks for them.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Super. Cute.

I don't want to ruin the surprise...but....I am DEFINITELY having my girls make these to hand out to their class for Valentine's Day!


My SISTER passed along this DARLING SITE to me and it is full of cute Valentine's day ideas.

Those are GUMBALLS! I mean, really, could that be any cuter? The only thing is...will the boys in the class appreciate them? I am trying to think of something masculine I can make with the gumballs.....

Another darling idea, and runner up if the gumball thing falls through, are these Sweety Pies from Our Best Bites. Absolutely adorable!!!

OBB Pie Pops in Blue Glass

What are your kids bringing to school for Valentine's day?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


It's the storm of the century here in the Midwest, and since my lights have been flickering for the past few hours I figured I should post now if I am ever going to because once we loose power, who knows when it will return. And you know I can't go all week without posting about the Bachelor, right? Or, as it seems lately, food.

Let's start with the Bachelor:

First off, WHO paid for that shopping spree for Shantell? Seriously? Who? How is that even close to the realm of 'reality' of a life with her and Brad. I mean, okay, helicopter rides and private concerts with Train aren't really reality either, I realize this, but walking into Fendi and buying whatever the heck you want? Really? She definitely got the BEST date. Anyway, besides being insanely jealous (like the other women in the house) I like this girl. She reminds me a bit of Hillary Swank. Anyone?

Next, the two-on-one date...cold hearted, very cold hearted to stick the Ashleys who love each other on the two-on-one date. It would have made for much better television if we had actually SEEN how good of friends they were before this episode, but whatever. I can't say that I was super surprised that he chose to send the younger, more southern Ashley home, but only because she was matched against the hot dentist Ashley. If that situation hadn't occurred, I would have been much more shocked, like if he had sent her home at the rose ceremony. I felt bad for the poor girl, bawling her eyes out. Even the camera guy had to give up on her ever looking up and repositioned the camera to film her sobbing into her lap.

Emily's date...Oops, I mean, the group date was kind of a bust. Poor Emily having to pretend to have a good time, and I thought she was pretty gracious about the whole situation but I do have to say that I did feel a bit bad for the other girls having to sit around and watch the two of them all night. Although Alli's comments in the hot tub were seriously stupid, I wanted to reach through the TV and smack her face. Insensitive much?

Michelle makes me cringe. Her alone time with Brad in the hotel room had me literally sticking my face into a pillow. Make it stop! Why is she so awkward?? I am SO glad Brad calls her out soon. All she does is tell him how wrong the other girls are for, how can she judge that? Finally Brad points that out. I think she gets cut after that.

Other than that I don't have much to say. I think his cuts were appropriate this week (although I wouldn't have minded to see Michelle go), and the scenes from the rest of the season have me pumped!!!!

Onto food: Still diligently trying to lose the pounds by March. Any low calorie treat ideas would be greatly appreciated! I am down 10 lbs from when I was 2 months post partum, 10 more would be FABULOUS.