Sunday, March 31, 2013

Spring Break Part 1

Yay! It's Spring Break for mommy, which means time to head to South Dakota to see Grammie and Granddaddy! Blakely and I got here yesterday morning and we've already taken about a million photos. So I've decided to do several posts throughout the week rather than one big post at the end of our trip. Here's what we've done so far.

Grammie and Granddaddy were waiting anxiously for us at the airport. As soon as Blakely saw them, she got very excited and took off running. She immediately jumped into Granddaddy's arms. 
 After we left the airport we went to my parent's church for Sonrise Saturday, a children's Easter experience. Each room of the church had stations that told a part of the Easter story. 
petting the lamb
Hammering nails into acorn squash and potatoes
"Jesus Loves Me" painting mural
After church, we went to see the Easter Bunny (which Blakely was very unsure of) and then came home to make Easter cookies with Grammie.
Afternoon walk with Loder
 After a busy day, Granddaddy gave Blakely the BEST bubble bath ever!!
 Then this morning (after waking up at 5:00am) Blakely immediately went upstairs and crawled in bed with Granddaddy. She got her Easter basket and then Granddaddy read her the Easter story from her new book.
We've had a wonderful 24 hours and are so excited to be here for a whole week! There will be lots more fun and pictures to come.

Happy Easter everyone! Christ has risen...he's risen indeed!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Happy Easter

Happy Easter everyone!!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Blakely's Snow Day

Lovely Spring we're having...isn't it? Oh wait, it's still snowing here. Of course it doesn't snow for Christmas or even in January. But the end of March...why not?
This is not what I signed up for when I moved to Virginia. Oh well, I might as well make the most of it...right?
This past Sunday, Blakely and I were out running errands and it began to snow, and not just Virginia type snow. You know, the kind where one snowflake falls and everyone rushes to the grocery store to stock up and schools across the area shut down.
No, this was hard, blizzard type snow (well, blizzard for this Southern gal). It was really coming down hard. As soon as we got home, I bundled her up for some fun in the snow. Although I'm not quite sure she knew what to do in it.
She just kind of stood around and stared at it for a while. After a few minutes (of her looking miserable), I brought her inside.
 She's just like her mommy. I would much rather look at snow than actually be in it!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Red Velvet Oreo Cupcakes

This post is soooo overdue! I actually made these and wrote this post at Christmas. I just never got around to putting the pictures with it. Hey, better late than never I guess.

Last week (which was actually over two months ago), I was looking for a tasty new cupcake recipe when I stumbled upon a great idea on Pinterest. It was a red velvet cupcake on top of an Oreo. Um, yes please! Anything that combines a cupcake with an Oreo has to be good.
After deciding on the cupcake, then I had to choose the frosting. Usually I will do a cream cheese frosting with red velvet cupcakes, but I was taking these to school for my fellow teachers and sometimes cream cheese frosting can get kind of runny.
I eventually chose to go with a recipe that I disastrously tried a few months ago. I found it online and it was horrible. However, the day before making the cupcakes, I saw it again on an episode of The Pioneer Woman and realized why it had been so awful before. I'll explain later in the post what I had done wrong and how to make it right.

Cupcakes (original recipe)

1 1/2 cups of sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter, room temperature
2 eggs, room temperature
2 1/3 cups of all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of buttermilk
1 1/2 tablespoons of red food coloring
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of distilled white vinegar
1 package of Double Stuffed Oreos
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Beat the butter and sugar in an electric mixer for 3 minutes on medium speed until light and fluffy.
2. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is fully incorporated. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure even mixing.
3. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl whisk together the buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla extract, and red food coloring.
4. Add a fourth of the dry ingredients and mix, then add a third of the wet. Continue adding in a dry, wet, dry pattern, ending with the dry ingredients.
5. Place one Double Stuffed Oreo on the bottom of each cupcake liner.
6. Place a small scoop of batter on top of the Oreo. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Rotate the pan after the first 15 minutes of baking to ensure even baking.
7. Cool completely before frosting.

Best Frosting Ever

Ok, so here's the deal with the frosting. I found it online a few months ago and the headline was "Best Frosting Ever." I was a bit skeptical at first because of the ingredients (flour and regular sugar) but who am I to argue with the best frosting ever. So I gave it a shot and it was awful. Because it uses regular sugar, it was very grainy and not good at all.
Then, as I said earlier, I saw The Pioneer Woman do this frosting on one of her episodes and she gave some tips as to what makes it so good. LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of whipping!
The problem the first time I made it was I didn't whip it enough. This time around I did, and it was AWESOME!!

(click here for picture instructions)
5 tablespoons of flour
1 cup of milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the flour and milk. Continue whisking until it gets very thick.
2. Take it off the heat and let it cool completely.
3. In a stand alone mixer, mix together butter and sugar. Set the mixer on high and then walk away. your laundry or wash some dishes or something but walk away and let it mix on high for a good 5 minutes.
4. When the flour and milk mixture has completely cooled, add the vanilla.
5. Add the flour and milk mixture to the butter and sugar. Once again, set the mixer on high and walk away. Just when you think it's mixed enough, mix it some more.
6. Once it looks like whipped cream (and is not grainy at all) you will have the perfect frosting!

Lexie Kate's Sesame Street Birthday

Last Sunday, we celebrated my niece's 2nd birthday. My sister-in-law Karen did a Sesame Street birthday theme. It was so adorable!

 My in-laws did an awesome sign for the cupcake table and Karen and I decorated the cupcakes with Sesame Street characters.

The Birthday Girl!
My nephew Eli
Whitney (Karen's best friend) and Eli
All the kids!
It was such a great day celebrating Lexie Kate! Happy Birthday sweet girl!