Tag Archives: birthday

It’s All About Me

This is going to be a very self-indulgent post today. The first reason is because it’s My Birthday! Yippy-Skippy!

That’s right, I share my big day with Ralph Macchio, Markie Post, and Uncle Bob (of the Uncle Bob Special… I’ll explain in another post sometime).

The second reason is because my awesome new blogger friend Christy, over at The Daily Dish, has awarded me the Versatile Blogger Award! I’m so honored  🙂 But with this award comes GREAT responsibility.

For one thing, I have to tell you seven facts about myself. I find this very difficult, actually, but here goes…

1. I play the oboe. I majored in music in college, and I was a music teacher before I had kids. But now I play the oboe in a small community orchestra that I just love.

2. I love Bugs Bunny. Those old cartoons (not the new Looney Toons that are on tv now) are genius. And I love how much my kids love them, too.

3. Remember Janice from The Muppet Show? When I was a kid I was afraid of her. I had a Janice doll, and I used to have bad dreams about her. One night I woke up from a bad dream and I took the doll and threw it out the window. The next morning, I was afraid I would get in trouble, so I quickly ran outside to get her.

Interesting sidebar, that’s the first time I discovered dew.

4. Speaking of bad dreams, I have two recurring nightmares. One is that I’m required, as an adult, to take a gym class. If you know me at all, you can see why this would be a nightmare. I never liked phys. ed.

The second dream is that I walk outside of my house, look up in the sky, and see an airplane falling out of the sky, not that far away. I really, really don’t like that dream.

5. I hate pancakes. I realize I might be the only person in the world that hates pancakes, but it’s true. I enjoy making them for my family, I just don’t like eating them.

6. I love the book The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. It is the story of how she, her father, and her sister were imprisoned for hiding Jews in a secret room in their house in the Netherlands during World War II. It is an amazing story of faith and courage, and I read it about once a year, or whenever I start to feel “boo-hoo, my life is so hard” and I need a good kick in the pants.

THE HIDING PLACE

7. I love Velveeta cheese on saltines. Yeah, yeah, I know. Shut up.

Kraft Velveeta Cheese, 32 oz

So there you have it. Exciting, right?

(It’s my birthday, so you have to say yes)

But enough about me, how are you doing?

Just kidding, it’s not enough about me yet. It’s still my birthday.

But, the rules of the Versatile Blogger Award state that I must now pass on the award to five other deserving blogs. So here goes.

The Candid Parent So refreshingly honest and funny and well, candid. She has a daughter about the same age as my Elmo, so I can relate to her stories & I love her tweets.

Tales of Cheerios and Sleepless Nights This post on food cravings is one of the funniest things I’ve ever read in my life.

Show My Face Another person I follow on twitter who just cracks me up every day!

C. Beth Blog Read her blog because she’s honest and sweet and she encourages me in my running training.

Coffee and Chocolate, What More Do You Need? We’ve had conversations on twitter about why The Man With The Yellow Hat trusts a monkey and about who was truly the right man for Lorelei Gilmore. And that is why you should read her blog. Although, really, the title should have been enough to get you there.

So there you have it. Thank you so much, Christy, for the award!

Happy Birthday, Ralph, Markie, and Uncle Bob!

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Slumber Party

My little Sarah Crewe turned nine this month, and she wanted to have a slumber party. Our first slumber party! Woohoo!!

She invited four girls, so it was small and manageable. We ordered pizza, had cake, opened presents, made flip-flop slippers (dubbed “flippers” by the girls), and that’s where the “we” ends. I went to bed.

I was woken up lots of times. “Eeeeek!!! There’s a bug” (well, they didn’t really say ‘Eeeeeek’ I just wanted to write that) around 11 p.m., “Can we have some pizza?” around 1 a.m., “Can we paint our nails” at 2, “Can we have more cake” around 3, “Can you help us with the DVD player” at 4. It didn’t really bother me; I thought it was very cute and sweet that they felt they had to ask me every little thing.

What was missing from this sleepover was one very important  slumber party component. Drama. I’ve been to lots of sleepovers. I even babysat an 8-year-old’s slumber party once when I was in college. They all have drama. But not this one. They all got along. Nobody wanted to go home. Nobody hated anybody else and then later made up but then hated a different girl. Nobody (to the best of my knowledge) pretended to be asleep while the other girls whispered about her: “I didn’t want to invite her. My mom made me.” (Not that that ever happened to me, of course. I’m just saying it could happen.) Nobody sang, “Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee” while one girl was in the bathroom.

"Look at me, I'm Sandra Dee" -Grease

Nobody escaped to the back porch and sang “Hopelessly Devoted to You” while she floated some guy’s picture in the pond.

"Hopelessly Devoted to You" -Grease

In fact, I’m pretty sure the only singing that went on was when they started singing something from Spongebob (but I am proud to say that my daughter said in response, “That show is so stupid”).

There was one point that the girls put on a little show that looked suspicially like the slumber party scene in 13 Going on 30 (minus the Pat Benatar music… man, that would’ve been awesome):

13 Going on 30

I made my first attempt at cake balls, which I think came out quite nice:

Cake Balls

I borrowed the book Cake Pops by Bakerella but I think I’m going to have to buy it. It’s full of great ideas! I also made cupcake bites:

Cupcake Bites

I’m really happy that my daughter had such a fun sleepover. Although I am continuing to wonder why I got so lucky. Does that mean the next one will be a disaster?

Don’t answer that!

Star Wars Birthday Party

My two boys, Batman and Curious George, just celebrated their birthdays with a Star Wars party.

The kids made a Happy Birthday banner:

Star Wars Birthday Banner

and I made cookies with the Star Wars cookie cutters from Williams-Sonoma:

Star Wars Cookies

We also had Obi-Wan Cannoli dip with strawberries and cinnamon sticks. (The cannoli cream dip recipe can be found here):

Obi-Wan Cannoli Dip

When one is throwing a Star Wars party, where better to turn than to justjennrecipes and her Ultimate Star Wars Party? I shamelessly copy Jenn frequently, and her Princess Leia and S’mores-trooper cupcakes were perfect for this party:

Princess Leia Cupcakes

S'mores-trooper Cupcakes

Darth Vader was kind enough to stop by:

Darth Vader

But he did cause quite a ruckus when he began fighting the little guests with pool noodle lightsabers.

His powers were no match for these young Jedi, though:

Intense battle

More battling

I know he’s evil and all, but I did feel kind of bad for him towards the end. Not unlike the ending of Return of the Jedi:

The Fall of Vader

The kids had to complete an obstacle course before they earned their “lightsabers,” and to finish the course, battle Darth Vader (who removed the mask for some of the younger padawan).

They also played a game where they had to keep balloons in the air with their lightsabers, and another game involving water balloons that didn’t go as planned but was really fun anyway. The kids kept the pool noodles as party favors.

Nutella Stuffed French Toast

My little Curious George, my baby boy, is five years old today. I know I get mushy at all my kids birthdays, but five is an especially tough one. I don’t know why, maybe it’s because he’s school aged now… no more preschooler. Maybe it’s because he made such a darn cute four-year-old. Maybe I’m just afraid that all the annoying-but-funny comments he makes about dinner (that were the inspiration for this blog) are going to become more annoying and less funny as he gets older. Or maybe I’m just sappy.

Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s it.

Batman got chocolate milk waffles on his birthday two weeks ago, so of course, a bowl of Cheerios just wasn’t going to cut it today. More chocolate for breakfast!

Nutella Stuffed French Toast

  • loaf of Italian, French, or other such bread
  • Nutella
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Slice bread into 1-inch slices. Take each piece and slice it, halfway down but not all the  way. You’re making a little pocket. Almost like a pita. Squish about a tablespoon of Nutella into each pocket (see photo). Set aside.
  2. In a shallow pan or bowl, whisk eggs until blended. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
  3. Heat a griddle or pan over medium-high heat. Spray with cooking spray.
  4. Dip each piece of bread into the egg mixture and turn to coat the other side. Place on hot griddle and cook a few minutes until one side is brown, then flip and cook the other side.

Stuffing the bread

Click here for printable.

French toast is so pretty!

Nutella Stuffed French Toast

This breakfast made my birthday boy very happy. He said, “This is sooo good! It tastes like Nutella was splattered inside the bread!”

Yesterday he told me, “Mommy, I’m trying to stay little, but I just keep having birthdays!” Sigh…

He still says funny things. For now, anyway.


Gummy Penguin Cupcakes

We are going on vacation for a week with Grandma and Grandpa Corleone. We’re going down the shore. That’s Philly talk, for “going to the New Jersey beaches.” Look for me on upcoming episodes of Jersey Shore. I’ll be the cool one, unloading a cooler full of Juicy Juice and Goldfish crackers from the minivan. Yeah, that’s right. This baby’s got not one, not two, but ten cup holders! Eat your heart out, Snooki.

Before we leave, I thought I’d give you a glimpse inside the insanity that is my mind. Here is an excerpt from my to-do list:

Things to do (not necessarily in this order):

  1. wash every article of clothing in the entire house
  2. pack
  3. clean the bathrooms, kitchen, dining room, bedrooms, and living room
  4. clean and organize the toy bins, putting toys in similar categories
  5. put away all the clothes from #1
  6. re-organize the game closet
  7. finally tackle that basket of ironing
  8. go to Sam’s Club
  9. go to Walmart
  10. decide if I’m buying that awesome blue bag I saw at the mall
  11. go to mall to buy awesome blue bag (I need it for packing)
  12. spend some time admiring new blue bag
  13. bake cupcakes for daughter’s summer birthday to share with class (done!)
  14. bake cookies I promised to bring for last day of school party
  15. go to store to buy cookies I promised to bring for last day of school party
  16. see if my bathing suit still fits
  17. stop crying and just pack the dumdum* bathing suit, already (I don’t think I’ll say dumdum, but this is a family-friendly blog, so I can’t put the word(s) I will say).
  18. run a 5K (done!)
  19. write a blog post (done!)
  20. wash and change all the bedding in the house
  21. finish reading Bossypants and return to library
  22. find the rest of the library books and return them

The sad thing is, this really is just an excerpt. These are just some of the things that I would like to get done before we leave. I know it’s crazy. I know it’s unrealistic. I know that if the ironing waited this long, it can wait another week. But I can’t help it. I walk around the house every day and see all the things that need to be done, and even though the list plagues me all the time, at vacation time, I somehow think I can turn into Superwoman and get it all done in a few days. 

By the night before our trip, my to-do list will look like this:

Things to do:

  1. pack

And that’s not because I got everything done. It’s because I finally decided that fine, okay, the toy bins don’t have to be organized before we go. The game closet can wait. I just need to get this dumdum mountain of dumdum clothes into those dumdum suitcases so we can go to the dumdum shore. (see ‘dumdum’ note above).

Anyhoo. You’ll notice that one of the items on my list is cupcakes. My daughter’s birthday is in August, during summer vacation, so she brought cupcakes to school today to share with her class.

I wanted to do something with candy on top, and my first thought was, Trader Joe’s Gummy Tummies Penguins. I puffy heart Gummy Tummies.

Yummy yummy in my tummy

Since it’s late, and I have 22+ items on my to-do list, you won’t be getting many details on how I made these. Basically, I baked cupcakes using a chocolate cake mix (yes, a mix. Hel-looo?!? Have you seen my to-do list??).

Then I made Classic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting from sweetsavorylife.com which is just so, so easy… and way better than the stuff in a can. I piped the frosting on top in two layers, and sprinkled with some blue sugar. I added the penguins, and voila! A perfect winter  summer cupcake!

Gummy Penguin Cupcakes

The other Critics were upset that they didn’t get a cupcake, so I promised I’d make them again soon. Awww, shucks! You mean I have to buy those darn penguins again? Rats!

Apparently the kids in the class enjoyed the cupcakes. Except Robert. He said he didn’t want one. I don’t know what his problem was.

Okay, back to my list…


Super Easy Ice Cream Cake

Yesterday I had a baby. I blinked, and then today she turned two. How did that happen?

I love two. It’s such a great age. They’re defiant, but still so darn cute. I think three is the “terrible” age. Two is darling.

Usually.

My now two-year-old has learned some new words this past week:

“chocolate eggs,” “chocolate bunny,” “jelly beans,” and “me too.”

I think “me too” is her favorite. She can be at the complete opposite end of the house, but if she senses that somebody, somewhere, is getting something good, she comes running, “Me tooooooooo!!!!!!!”

She also has a new habit. It goes something like this:

Her: My Elmo milk? (which translates to ‘May I  have some milk in my Elmo sippy cup, Mother Darling?’)

Me: Say please

Her: Peez. Water.

Me: You want water? Or milk?

Her: Yes.

Me: Water?

Her: Yes. Water. Milk.

Me: Which one?

Her: Yes. Water. Milk.

Me: Okay, I’ll get you some milk. I open the fridge and remove the milk carton.

Her: Noooooooo!!!!! Water!

Me: Okay, I’ll get you some water. I hand her the cup of water. She throws herself on the ground.

Her: Noooo!!!!!! Milk.

As I go through this exchange, I realize how ridiculous it is, but once we’re in the middle of it, I can’t seem to get out. It’s like in Spaceballs when they set the spaceship to “ludicrous speed” (because light speed is too slow): “We can’t stop! It’s too dangerous!”

See how cute two-year-olds are?

I learned how to make this cake from a family at our church with five (now grown) children. I’m guessing they made their fair share of these cakes over the years 🙂

Super Easy Ice Cream Cake

  • 1 package oreos (I use double stuff)
  • 1 1/2 quart horizontal carton ice cream (the kind that used to be a half gallon. PLEASE do not get my husband started on shrinking ice cream containers!)
  • 16-oz jar of hot fudge sauce

Directions:

  1. Remove ice cream from freezer and let soften while you work on the cookies.
  2. Using a blender or food processor (or ziploc bag & a rolling pin) mash the cookies into fine crumbs. I use the whole package, minus four cookies (one for each kid to sample… “quality control,” of course). Pour into a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
  3. Remove the lid from the hot fudge sauce and place jar in microwave. Heat on high for about 40 seconds. Spoon the sauce all over the cookie crumbs and try to spread as evenly as possible. This creates a lovely chocolate-y gooey mess that would make Willy Wonka proud. Is it wrong that I wanted to scoop some up with my hands and eat it? Probably.
  4. Remove the lid from the ice cream carton. Place the carton on a large cutting board. Using kitchen shears, cut the package down the four sides (see photo). Press the sides down so you just have the ice cream block sitting there.
  5. Cut the ice cream into slices about 1/2-3/4 inches thick. Honestly, I never measure, I’m just trying to give you an idea. Arrange the slices in the pan, Tetris style, and fit them as best as you can. By now the ice cream should be nice and soft and mushy. With the back of a spoon, spread the ice cream around, just a little bit, to fill in any holes and make the ice cream somewhat even.
  6. Place in freezer for four hours, or until firm.

Ice Cream container cut open

My daughter asked for an “Abby Elmo cake.” I used Wilton decorating gels. You MUST freeze the cake for AT LEAST four hours before you try to decorate with the gels. If you don’t, maybe because you were trying to hurry up and take a picture of the finished cake for your blog because tonight after cake you are going to see Dennis Miller, then the colors will run, and you will wind up with a psychedelic Abby Cadabby:

Super Easy Ice Cream Cake

I can’t stop laughing whenever I look at her! It’s okay. As long as my not-a-baby recognizes her, it’s all good.  My boys both said it still looks good. Although, they were playing Star Wars Lego on the Wii when I showed them the cake, and their answer was kind of like, “Oh, yeah, that looks good Mommy… Look out! Here comes Darth Vader!” Or something like that.

My baby is two. Sigh. Yesterday she was born, today she turns two, tomorrow she’ll be going off to college…

Eh, there’s no time to get sentimental. I must focus on the present, for as Jerry Seinfeld said: “A two-year-old is kind of like having a blender, but you don’t have a top for it.”

Gotta run!