Neighbors as friends.

I kind of went on a cupcake-making binge one time when some neighbors came over for ‘dessert night’.

I always *try* to make yummy stuff for Pants as well (see the plate below with GF/DF/SF protein balls and strawberry ‘cupcakes’), but it’s just not the same…

And this is how the kiddos worked off the sugar:

Usually on our neighbor Saturday firepit nights, we just do regular munchies, though.  I also like to make a fun sugar-free iced tea from scratch, I think this one was strawberry-pomegranate:

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I come from a long line of hot lunch.

What’s happening around here…

When you totally nerd out over finding the PERFECT chocolate chip cookie recipe…
What?  You don’t bake 5 batches of different doughs all at once and then lay them out on labeled foil to compare?  Whatevs…

Sometimes I babysit the neighbor kids, but they seem to prefer hanging with Shark and Pants…hmm…

We are enjoying the summertime around here.  In June, our little Shark graduated fifth grade!  Here he is with his teacher and a few pals:

And got to go to his FAVORITE place – Wild Waves water/roller coaster park, since he was a crossing guard all year.  This kid LOVES roller coasters, he was beyond excited talking about ‘The Ring of Fire’ for days, Lol.

just let me get this sapling one more piece of bacon.


i’m really trying to embrace the ‘it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful’ motto.  i even made cupcakes this weekend (for the first time in MONTHS), and i was like, you know what?  i’m not gonna stress about it.  no, they don’t look absolutely perfect, but they are fun and summertime-y and taste really good.

they are supposed to look like icees, which is why i baked them in candy cups and stuck a spoon in them.  pants was happy because these cupcakes were for our (annual) tour de france party with his work buddies, and the colors are, coincidentally, the same as the french flag.

vanilla cupcakes filled with strawberry glaze, frosted with whipped buttercream and tri-color sprinkles.

i guess they were a hit.

nelly wants a storybook, she thinks dolls are folly

drawing out my Christmas feelings…

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and baking some december yummies…

after making i don’t know, one million? pumpkin spice muffin tops for sky’s holiday party at school, sharkey and I made some candy cane bark for the neighbors… (crush up a bunch of oreos and pretzels, melt white chocolate over the top, sprinkle with red and greed crushed candy canes.  break into pieces.  yum!)IMG_0957

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the boys and I also attempted a gingerbread house.  I *almost* threw it against the wall ;)  it was sooo frustrating trying to ‘glue’ the stupid walls together, LOL!  i was like, ok boys! on to plan B! and we ended up scrapping the actual gingerbread and just cut off the top of an old orange carton to use for the ‘house’. and you know what? it worked great!

there was never a good war, or a bad peace.

cookies1a couple weeks ago i did a cookie table at the kids’ school’s fall festival:cookietablei set up next to the coffee guy, and made three kinds of cookies, all from scratch:IMG_8306
the whoopie cookies (a chocolate cake cookie sandwich with marshmallow cream cheese filling) sold out – they were really good, if i do say so myself!
IMG_8288i made the the nutmeg-flavored sugar cookies soft but thick enough to decorate, and since i’m addicted to fondant, i frosted and fondant-ed them with flowers and aliens:IMG_8274

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IMG_8284i also made chocolate toffee bars, which were good, but not quite as ooey-gooey as i would have liked. next time i make them in bulk, i will add another toffee layer!IMG_8287it was a LOT of work, especially on friday afternoon when i had to cart all my table decorations/cookies/big umbrella/etc by myself with two kids in tow, and i definitely do NOT recommend trying to run a table at a festival with two wild kids underfoot while your husband is stuck at work till late! (thank goodness a friend came by to get dinner for the kids – thank you, wendy!) i don’t know if i would do something like this again, but i did make a few bucks and get my business name out there, so i guess it was worth it!

ps – the reason i didn’t make cupcakes was because the festival already had a cupcake booth, so they asked me to do cookies instead. i will say that it sure felt great when someone who bought both told me they liked my cookies better than the gourmet cupcakes at the next booth!

I’d start a revolution, but I just bought a hammock.

we went to a friend’s birthday celebration on saturday night, and for a gift, i brought these:our friend is german (and very proud of it!), hence the german flag colors of the fondant circles. the fondant-topped cupcakes are toffee-filled chocolate, and the other ones are strawberry ‘cheesecake’. yum.

pre-fondant topped:

strawberry-glazed filled, just waiting to be topped with cream cheese frosting and graham cracker crumbs:

melancholy is totally incompatible with bicycling

i made these cupcakes in a total rush, and they are definitely not my best work, but i thought i’d post them anyway. we went to a tour de france party on sunday (pants is obsessed), so i had to do the green, yellow, and polka-dot jerseys, which are a big part of the race.
i always double up the liners on my cupcakes because i think it looks better. (the cupcakes are double chocolate filled with butterscotch pudding, topped with a cream cheese frosting and a little fondant jersey.)

i’m also starting to get back into hiking again, and today i went with a new club for a 6-miler in the hills.

 

at age 11, i audited my parents…there were some discrepancies, and i was grounded.

wow, i think this is the longest i’ve ever gone between posts since i started blogging! maybe i needed a break? maybe i’ve been hanging on by a thread for 6 weeks straight? maybe i can never get near the computer since my nine-year-old whiz kid won’t stop oh, i don’t know, making his own 3D computer video games. i swear that kid is gonna be the next bill gates (social awkwardness included). aside from several online programs sky uses, pants even taught him a few things on a 3D animation computer program he uses at work, and within minutes sky was amazing us with stuff he came up with.

anyway, things are finally back to normal around here, whatever that looks like. all i know is that in the backyard, project ‘patty o’ is full steam ahead – we just bought a big ole’ grill and a sunshade and chairs, and pants is hard at work in the garage building us an outdoor couch and coffee table. after the outside stuff is done, he is also going to make us a freestanding kitchen island/storage cabinet with a butcher block top, which will definitely come in handy since our counter space is now so limited. our goal is to have everything done by july 4th – i will post pictures when everything is completed!

oh, lately i’ve also been doing a lot of this:
and i cut my hair. again. i know! but i just need easy right now. and i think i accidentally time-traveled to the seventies in this picture. and the kids have been up to their usual tricks…sky’s still into fantasy drawing, this time of the video game variety (of course):while sharkey’s drawings are a tad more on the realistic side:
i do love my creative boys. all three of them.

a few choice meals…
breakfastgluten-free waffles made with my new waffle maker!

sharkey’s new favorite all-fruit smoothie: oranges, mangos, banana, apple.

i feel like my tummy has fully repaired itself, so i am easing up on my dairy ban. welcome back, my beloved greek yogurt…

lunch

guess we’ve been on a soup kick…

(this is actually a picture of sharkey’s favorite lunch.)

dinner

lots of salad around here lately…

…made ten times better by the addition of italian dressing and some good blue cheese:and what’s the point of eating a potato if it’s not loaded?

dessert

want to make your husband happy? turn the best homemade chocolate chip cookies…into these: