Friday, 31 August 2012

30 Day Countdown

OMG. Like a BIG O.M.G. The summer has just flown by and so has my running schedule - it’s almost flown right out the window!
Today is the 30 day countdown. 30 days from now I will be lacing up my New Balance kicks, filling my Iphone with some fast paced running music and traversing 13.1 miles around my fair city.
13.1 Miles. Which is 21 km. Which is a LONG way. Like a really really long way. I downloaded the course map today, and realized that I don’t like to DRIVE that far of a distance, and I’m signed up to RUN it?? I think I may have been crazy when I decided to sign up for this!
I did my first long-ish run in a while today (10km) and it took me forever!! I’m going to run 14km this weekend and hopefully up my pace a little.
me, crossing the finish line at my first 10km race back in March
At the end of the day I’m not concerned about how long it takes me to finish the race, as long as I actually drag my lifeless body across that finish line.
Wish me luck; I’m going to need it!

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Miss A's Birthday Party Extravaganza!

Two weeks ago, my firstborn little princess turned six! To go along with a sixth birthday, all little girls need a party!
Miss A requested a Hello Kitty Cupcake Decorating Party. And that’s what Mama gave her!
Inspired by Pinterest we made a backdrop out of crepe paper and plastic table cloths to hang behind our fantastic cupcake and candy buffet.
Instead of goody bags, each little girl got to pick their own apron and bring it home after the party.
We decorated boxes to bring cupcakes home.
We made five colors of icing to top our cupcakes.
We had twelve kinds of candy and sprinkles to top our icing.
We played Pin the Bow on Hello Kitty.
don't mind the blue teeth- the girls raided the candy buffet and had Ring Pops!
There were presents!
We had CAKE!
It was a wonderful day filled with amazing family and friends and it was a day Miss A will never forget! 

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Photo Shoot with Alana Joy Photography

While we were camping this past weekend with my friend Alana (of Alana Joy Photography, check her out, she is fantastic!!!), we decided to use the beauty of the scenery, and the gorgeousness of our children (yes, we are biased, but that is a mother's right!) and put together a little photo shoot.
Check out the entire post here on Alana's website but here is a sneak peek of my big brave cowgirl (we took all the girls riding this weekend) in her pretty pettiskirt and boots. Don't mind the serious face - she can't be smiling all the time!!
Thanks for taking the time to read, and please take some time to visit Alana Joy Photography, she takes some amazing photos, you'll love her!

Monday, 27 August 2012

Getting Ready for Back to School

As you may know, I am the queen of list making. Sometimes I make lists of the lists that I have so I don’t forget to tick things off the list!
The most gratifying thing for me is using my trusty purple ball point pen to cross off the last item on one of my lists!
Since school starts next week – EEK! This week’s list will be filled with things to be done to finish preparing the kiddos to march off to Grade 1 and Preschool.
On the list this week:
LABEL!! I made some cute little labels for Miss A’s school supplies, at some point this week I need to actually affix them to said school supplies.
SHOES!! I purchased the girls their new school shoes, runners, and inside the classroom shoes, I need to get them organized, tags off, put neatly by the door (and move the 20 pairs of flip flops to the garage to make room!).
BACKPACKS!! Miss A got a new backpack this summer and it is super cute! Once I label the school supplies, add the shoes and the school supplies, she’ll be ready to go! Miss E’s backpack from last year is still in great shape, so she’ll get another year out of that one.
LUNCHES!! I ordered these fancy Rubbermaid Lunch Blox for Miss A’s lunches... now to figure out a list of food’s to put in these containers. At one point last year she was asking me to send her to school with bread and butter sandwiches with cheese on the side. Yup... that’s my kid. It’s crazy.
HAIRCUTS!! Miss E has some crazy curls, so I don’t know if I need to get her lovely locks cut, but Miss A has bangs and they are looking a little crazy, there is definitely a trip to the hair dresser in her future this week!
SCHOOL CLOTHES!! We are SO lucky to have a wonderful family and friends who completely spoiled Miss A with new clothes for her birthday! I don’t have to purchase one item of new school clothes for Miss A. Last week I sorted through her drawers and took out anything that she’s grown out of through the summer – and ended up with two big bags of clothes – some to hold onto for Miss E and some for the donate bin!
Looks like the week ahead will be busy busy busy! Good thing we have the menu all planned out!

Last week of Summer Dinner Menu

Well, it’s our last week of freedom and fun! School starts next week and life will get back to some semblance of normalcy. Hopefully our menu planning will get back to normal too!
In the past month I finally ran out of the freezer cooked meals that I made in a massive cooking batch back in APRIL! I only have one bag of beef taco mix left in the freezer. I think that means a massive freezer cooking session is going to be in the works for me soon.
This week I plan to start with some breakfast freezer meals. I’m going to make a big batch of Tex Mex Breakfast Burritos and some Breakfast Sandwiches
With the last long weekend of the summer coming up and another big family trip to the trailer this weekend, our menu this week will be pretty relaxed!
On the Menu this Week
Monday – Tex Mex Lasagne (using the last bit of beef taco mix!)
Tuesday - Perogies and Ukranian Farmer Sausage
Wednesday – Salmon with roasted veggies and steamed rice
Thursday – BRINNER! Breakfast for dinner! Pancakes for the kids, bacon, eggs and hashbrowns to the hubs and I!
Friday – Camping! Smokies and roasted veggies
Saturday – Camping! Steaks on the BBQ, corn and roasted new potatoes
Sunday – Camping! Turkey burgers, bacon roasted potatoes (recipe to come!)

Friday, 24 August 2012

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes with Fluffy Peanut Butter Frosting

Each month in my office we do a “birthday celebration” and a cake, cupcakes or some other treat is brought in (sometimes homemade, sometimes store-bought, all depends whose turn it is that month for planning the party). With our summer staff leaving at the end of August, my name mysteriously was added to the planning list for August!
Along with my name on the list came the request for my chocolate peanut butter cake. I made this earlier this year and it was absolutely devoured by everyone in the office.
As you may know, starting in April, I began the Quest for the Perfect Cupcake. So far I have made Dr Pepper Cupcakes, Red Velvet Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting, Turtle Cupcakes – my personal favourite, Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream, and Pink Lemonade Cupcakes.
So far, the Turtle Cupcake is as close to perfection as I can imagine, with salty and sweet melted into ooooey goooey perfection. But you never know if you have had the best until you try the rest! So, time to make my famous Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup cake into cupcakes for my friends to rate and decide how they fare on my quest!

Notice that there are a LOT more wrappers than peanut butter cups....
had to taste test, you know, for "quality control"
The best part of these cupcakes is the slightly melty Reese Peanut Butter Cup baked into the middle of the cupcake. When you bite into the cupcake it’s like an extra burst of deliciousness to bring it all together. Topped with fluffy peanut butter frosting and chopped Reese Peanut Butter Cups, and paired with a BIG glass of milk, they are absolutely heavenly!
This recipe made 24 regular and 24 mini cupcakes. You could scale it back to make fewer, or just enjoy the fact that this recipe will make you the most popular girl on the block, in your office and in your entire family!

Melt in your Mouth, Eat Them with a Glass of Milk, Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes with Fluffy Peanut Butter Frosting

Recipe adapted from here 
3 cups of all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 cups white sugar
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
10 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp white vinegar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups cold water
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
24 – 36 Reese Peanut Butter Cup Miniatures
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line cupcake pans with paper liners. This recipe made 24 regular and 24 mini cupcakes.
In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, sugar, cocoa powder, and baking soda. Mix well with a fork, then stir in oil, vinegar, and vanilla extract. When dry ingredients are thoroughly moistened, pour in cold water and stir until batter is smooth. Stir in chocolate chips and pour batter into prepared cupcake liners, filled no more than 2/3 full.
Bake in preheated oven for 6 minutes. Remove from the oven and place one unwrapped Reese Peanut Butter Cup Miniature top down into the batter. Put the cupcakes back into the oven for another 12 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the edge of the cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.
**I didn’t put any Reese cups into the mini cupcakes. I didn’t think there would be room, and at the end of it all, once they were iced, they didn’t need the extra peanut butter.
Fluffy Peanut Butter Frosting 
Recipe adapted from here 
1/2 cup butter, softened
2.5 cup creamy peanut butter
6 tablespoons milk, or as needed
6 cups confectioners' sugar
Place the butter and peanut butter into a medium bowl, and beat with an electric mixer. Gradually mix in the sugar, and when it starts to get thick, incorporate milk one tablespoon at a time until all of the sugar is mixed in and the frosting is thick and spreadable. Beat for at least 3 minutes for it to get good and fluffy.
I'm sure you could pipe this icing with your favorite icing tip, but I started baking late and by the time it came to ice the cupcakes, I used my mini cookie scoop to plop the icing on and just spread it around a little.  Then, sprinkle with chopped Reese Peanut Butter Cups, and serve!

Weekend Bloggy Reading

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Unplugged - August Hiatus

Can you believe summer is almost over?!? I promised myself that while I was on vacation that I would try to “unplug” from online life and spend more time being present with my family. 
Aside from the post about Miss A’s 6th birthday, I did not even turn on my laptop the whole time I was on vacation!
Uncle Robert with my Mom :)
We had some wonderful family visitors from across the pond – My uncle Robert and cousin Ciara came to visit from England for three weeks.

We went to the waterslides, to the beach, to the water park, to the trailer,

we watched a movie outside,

ate some home grown veggies,

oh, and there was party in the mix!
Eighteen little girls, 100 cupcakes and a candy buffet!
Miss E got training wheels and a two wheeler to ride around on… Miss A learned to ride her two wheeler without training wheels!

On her last day in Canada, we did a fun photo shoot with cousin Ciara, she’s such a doll, we are going to miss her!!
I’m working on the recipe for some amazing cupcakes I made on my Quest for the Perfect Cupcake, it should be up tomorrow!
I have so many things on my list to do this week, so many blog posts on my list to post, so many photos to edit and add to the blog for the projects we completed in the past few weeks, and a good few easy recipes to put up here too – I’m actually looking forward to September for Back to School, and all of the early bedtimes, routines and normalcy it will bring!


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