Sunday, May 30, 2010

Monday, May 24, 2010

Catching Up

I had a busy week, baking cookies for a wedding.

Two days of baking ...

Two days of icing ...

Two days of wrapping ...

... and off they go!

Our catering order from Dora's Communion party came in these fantastic stacking trays, which worked out perfectly for transporting 250 cookies.

And Dora got to ice the leftover hearts.

Clark eying up the final product.

Cookie order was immediately followed by planning for Relay for Life on Saturday. The kids helped me decorate cupcakes, I love the color coordinated sprinkles, too bad these were served at night. Oh, well. Congrats to Team Mariposa for succeeding over and above their fundraising goal and throwing a heck of an ice cream party! Cold Stone cake, yu-um.

Clark went for the classic chocolate with chocolate sprinkles.

And, guess what we watched last night?

I have mixed feelings. My initial reaction was utter disappointment - though I had no expectation of every question being answered, I hoped for some insight into the biggies. But I think the biggest lesson learned from the last six years ... sci-fi shows are just not for me. But the cookies were fun to make. Too bad I won't be getting any more orders for these!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Picky McPickerson

So, I have one very picky eater at home. The other two are fairly particular, but the middle one is in a class of his own. I was an extremely picky eater growing up, so it's very easy to put myself in his shoes. There were many family gatherings where I ate only a buttered roll for dinner. It caused my parents lots of stress. I remember many fights over food and always feeling self-conscious about my pickiness. Clearly there was something wrong with me, but I had a food comfort zone and the idea of breaking out of that was unthinkable. I'm happy to say that even though I would never call myself adventurous, there are many, many, many foods that I eat as an adult that I never would have gone near as a child. So ... long term, I'm not too worried. I know his tastes will change as he grows older.

But. BUT. Dealing with it in the meantime is a daily challenge and a struggle. I can think of a long list of foods that I ate as a child that he won't even touch. Hamburgers. Tacos. Chicken. Green beans. Pizza. Salad (plain of course, no dressing). Grapes. Bananas. The list goes on.

I've read lots of advice on magic ways to get kids to try new foods: charts! fun shapes! cool names! Yeah ... SO not going to work on middle child. The general school of thought seems to be: leave them alone, let them eat what they want. I'm cool with that. It's been our approach up to now. However, lately I feel like this approach is taking us two steps back, and he's now eating even less variety than he did a year ago.

Problem #1: Mealtimes are incredibly stressful for me. He will not try any new foods, period. He will not eat 75% of the selection of food put before him. But he's often complaining about being hungry.

Problem #2: He's bringing the other two down with him. Dora has always been a great try-er. She eats slightly more things than Theo and will try many things happily. HOWEVER. There's been a lot of "How come I have some on my plate and Theo doesn't? How come I have to try and Theo doesn't?" I remind her that she and Theo are different, though I sense that is not a satisfying response. The fact is that she is very agreeable in food matters, where with Theo it would cause a several hour meltdown / showdown that's just. Not. Worth. It. Consequently, Dora has been eating much less of a variety than she used to. AND I see Clark gradually following in their footsteps.

I've read not to use dessert as a reward, but we're a sweet family. We like our desserts. What do I do with a child who eats nothing but plain noodles for dinner and then expects to have ice cream with the rest of us? Letting him have an alternative snack after dinner just makes me crazy, even if it's a healthy option. Because once dinner is over, I am DONE serving food for the night. Listening to him complain about how HUNGRY he is makes me want to cry (and I do!)

I also want to add: I am a very simple cook. Nothing fancy, nothing crazy, food that I think an average kid would eat. I already try to serve at least one thing with each meal that I know he'll eat. (Short list: carrot sticks, green peppers, plain noodles, white rice.)

So, I'm turning to you, dear Internet. I'm ready for a new strategy and welcome all comments and ideas. Let me have it.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Baking Monday - Chocolate Shortbread

Okay, it's a repeat, but my challenge for today's Baking Monday was something chocolate without eggs, because we had no eggs and I was in the mood for chocolate. I really wanted to make my grandma's double chocolate cookies, but those will have to wait for next week.

And more artwork today. Guess which one was done by the boy and which one by the girl?

Sunday, May 16, 2010


When Dora was younger, she used to give names her Polly Pockets, and she always made exotic, unusual choices, rarely named after anyone we actually know with that name. Lately, she's been naming the subjects of her portraits as well. This one came home from school last week:

And when I innocently inquired, "Who's Isabel?" of course came the obvious response: "She's the girl in the picture." and you could just hear the implied "Duh, MOM." in the tone of her voice.

Dora made her first piece of digital artwork today:

And BTW, her name is Deborah.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday Sweets

I was having trouble focusing on tasks today, and easily distracted. I wasn't in the mood to get any real work done so ... I made treats!

I recently got this chocolate mold from Bake it Pretty (this one, too! I can't wait to use it!) and wanted to try it out. Leftover cake in the freezer? Check. Chocolate melts? Check. Color chocolate melts? Well ... there's some green. So! Green cupcake bites it is!

Love these. Super easy. Way easier than molding them by hand.

And super cute! By the way, cake pop filling holds up very well in the freezer. Dessert tonight!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Big Weekend

Dora celebrated her First Communion this weekend. After eight months of preparation, I can't believe the big day is finally over! Her class worked very hard this year to get ready. Our parish is blessed with a wonderful Religious Education director. She has a talent for commanding the kids' attention while speaking in a kind, respectful way. She has helped them understand the importance of the occasion in a way that I could not have as easily expressed. And apparently, she has some pull with the Big Guy, because our weather forecast called for rainstorms that morning, but the skies were clear and blue!

Dora was so proud and happy, she did a great job and was very exited to go to mass the next day and recieve communion with the other kids in the choir for the first time. She also loved the dress ... many thanks to her cousin Anna for handing it down!

And, fancy dress called for fancy hair ...

Years ago, I was at a salon for a haircut and saw two little girls with elaborate updos and was shocked - shocked! - when their moms said they were for First Communion. I had no idea that the event had gotten so formal. (Imagine here my First Communion picture, in which I am wearing a minidress and knee socks.) Her dress called for a hairstyle nicer than I could provide, and we were both happy with it ... I think it was simple and sweet.

Of course there were cookies for the big day.

... and not a single leftover!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Spring Baking

Things have been busy over here with baking projects, organizing a summer camp event and preparing for First Communion this weekend. But I wanted to take a moment and post some pics before they get too old ...

Last Saturday was our annual Spring Fling event!

I worked up this logo and was hired to make cookie favors for all the guests.

I loooove the way these colors turned out.

They looked great all put together.

These cookies were for an awesome event that our chapter organized on Sunday as part of Mothers & More's Power of a Purse campaign.

I've had these girly cookie cutters for quite awhile, but never had such a perfect opportunity to use them before.

Congratulations to our local Power of a Purse committee on planning such a successful event!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Baking Monday - Inside Out PB Cups

Thanks to John for passing this recipe along!

They're not like a true Reese's Inside Out (why in the world did they stop making these?) But still pretty darn good.

It's more like shortbread than a cupcake. Messy to eat, but delicious. The bottom and top crust get baked separately and then layered together with the filling.

I doubled this recipe to make 12 cupcakes (because only six cupcakes? What's the point?) The recipe makes a lot of filling, so the tops got a little decoration, too. The filling is a chocolate-pb mix that would be awesome on cake or sugar cookies.

Verdict: A keeper! And they look pretty, too. But serve with a fork and napkin!