because behaving is boring

Easter

Well I don’t know about you guys, but I can always tell when spring is here because we suddenly go from being stuck in the house to just constantly on the go. I love the craziness that comes with the warmer weather,  though, and I think the boy is just excited to finally spend time outside.

Friday evening,  The BF put a field tile core (think field drainage pipe) in the back yard and O had a ball playing on and in it while I made dinner.

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Saturday morning I got up early (well, that’s every morning) and baked this lemon blueberry cake while the boy ate his peach oatmeal for breakfast. just as I was putting the cake into the oven, The BF popped in and asked if we wanted to go to Croy Creek to look for a rooster. Um, of course we did!

Croy Creek is a huge outdoor flea market…You never know what you’ll find there. It’s just a ridiculously awesome thing to see, tables and tarps covered with glorious piles of crap as far as the eye can see. People also bring small animals like rabbits, goats, chickens, and even miniature donkeys and ponies.

The BF got some cages ready and gassed up the van while the cake baked and cooled, then we piled in and headed to junk paradise.

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Unfortunately,  there weren’t many chicken peddlers this weekend so we came home roosterless. I was ok with that because it just means we have to go back.

The boy was mesmerized by all of the excitement and spent a lot of time pointing and saying, “Oooooooooh, mama!” And, “See? See?!”

On our way home we stopped at this awesome little diner that has the best Greek omelet ever. I also love this place because of a slight misprint on their menu:

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After eating, we took our time heading home. We checked out little towns and stopped by our little place on Raccoon Lake to see what needed to be done before we spent the night there for the first time.

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O helped by sweeping the porch.

We got home in time for O to have a late dinner while I made the icing and finished the cake. He was covered in dust and dirt, so into the bath he went…where he immediately decided to poop. Thank goodness The BF was there because while I scooped up O, he took care of the rest. I guess that’s a milestone I can write on the calendar, huh?

Easter morning was pretty relaxed. I showered while O ate breakfast and played with dad, then The BF took his turn to get ready. We had lunch with my family, then played with bubbles and his new golf set before heading to an Easter Egg hunt and dinner with The BF’S family.

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After hunting eggs, eating a ton of food, and playing outside with his cousins, I think O was feeling a little slap happy. After dinner wrapped up, I was chatting with a few of The BF’S family members when he lifted my shirt and started blowing raspberries on my stomach. At first I was a little embarrassed,  but there wasn’t much I could do. As soon as everyone else in the room started laughing, O got excited and had to really show off. I almost fell off of my stool because I was laughing so hard.

The boy was so worn out that he actually slept until 8:00 this morning. I think it’s safe to say he had a good weekend.

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Know it all

I’ve always been a little socially awkward…even before it was (apparently?) cool to be an introvert. These days I am perfectly happy to hang out at home with the boy. If something requires putting on real pants and actually being around other people, I get a little nervous.

I generally enjoy meeting and interacting with other people…The problem is that I am extraordinarily good at shoving my foot in my mouth.

Recently,  I was introduced to a couple with a daughter right around O’s age. While the kids played, we chatted about general toddler stuff. Everything was great until…

“So she is just so into Bubble Guppies right now! Like, we have tons of episodes DVR’d. We can just turn one on and she’s so into it we can actually relax. Does he watch Bubble Guppies?”

Shit.

“Well…no…”

“Really?  You should turn it on for him one day… I’ll bet he loves it! I think it’s the bright colors. Like, maybe it hypnotizes ‘em! What does he like to watch?”

Sigh

“He actually doesn’t watch TV…”

Ok, so do me a favor. Just go ahead and read the above sentence out loud. Just try to do it without sounding like some kind of smug asshole. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Can’t do it, can you?

So there I was, feeling the urge to apologize for my choice to keep the tv off bubbling up until I finally had to say something…

“I actually did try to get him to watch Sesame Street there for a bit, but he didn’t pay attention…”

And, given the nature of the conversation,  that’s where I should have stopped talking. Did I? Well of course not.

“I kind of feel like Sesame Street talks down to kids, though. And then I read up on screen time and how it impacts a child’s ability to learn…I guess it just seemed like a better idea to turn the TV off during the day since the American Academy of Pediatrics actually recommends no screen time at all for kids under the age of two…”

Way to go, jackass.

Both the mom and the dad were looking at me with a bit of a blank stare, as if they weren’t entirely sure how to proceed. Eventually, the dad recovered enough to ask if I watch TV at all.

“Well I didn’t, but recently I started watching Jeopardy in the evenings…”

This is exactly why you were not one of the popular kids in high school.

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His preferred method of entertainment..

If this were an isolated incident,  I’d just shrug it off and walk on…but…

There was the time my aunt asked if I’d ever tried teething beads for O. I responded with a rather loud guffaw,  “They’re made from tree sap? That’s about the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard!”

Too bad she was being serious, jerk.

And the time someone asked what kind of juice O likes…

“Oh, yeah…He doesn’t drink juice. The dentist actually recommends milk and water only.”

Thanks for the info, Encyclopedia Britannica.

OR how about the time someone at a party offered to fill his sippy cup with sweet tea…

Ok, wait. I’m not going to apologize for that one. I might have rolled my eyes a little and maybe that wasn’t nice but…sweet tea? I’m not raising the next (male) Honey Boo Boo, ok?

Baked gnocchi

I went bra shopping yesterday for the first time since I had O. Let me tell you, it was quite an experience. I tried on a whole two bras before declaring that I needed to check out a store with better selection.

It was actually a far more frustrating event than bathing suit shopping was, believe it or not.

So I came home empty – handed and a little annoyed, not to mention cold because, snow. Dinner hadn’t even crossed my mind, so I was incredibly happy to open the fridge and see a half-full skillet of baked gnocchi just chilling (literally).

Gnocchi, if you aren’t familiar, are little potato dumplings that can be used in a variety of dishes in place of pasta. They are happy little pillows of potatoey goodness. I prepared mine with a pretty basic meat sauce, topped everything with cheese, and then baked the skillet until I couldn’t stand it anymore. Want to try it? Yes, I think you do.

Baked Gnocchi

1 package gnocchi (or one recipe of homemade gnocchi)

1 pound ground pork

1 small onion, diced

1 smallish green (or red, or yellow) pepper, diced

About 3/4 cup mushrooms, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 can Hunt’s spaghetti sauce

1 bag pre washed baby spinach

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

A generous handful each of mozzarella and Parmesan cheese

Italian seasoning

Salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 425°. In a cast iron skillet over medium heat, brown the pork along with peppers, onion, garlic, and seasonings. Drain.

While the pork is draining, add mushrooms to the hot skillet. Season with salt and pepper, and let brown for a few minutes. Return pork to skillet and add tomato sauce and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Give it a good stir, then add spinach. You may have to do this in batches…Add some, cover and let wilt, stir, add some more…etc.

Turn the heat down to low and let the sauce simmer. Prepare gnocchi according to package directions and drain. Taste sauce and adjust seasoning as necessary, then gently fold the gnocchi into the sauce. Top with as much cheese as you like, then bake for about 15 minutes. Feel free to turn the broiler on to really get the cheese brown and bubbly.

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Serve with a salad and some cheesy garlic bread.

A satisfying one-skillet meal that is BF approved, toddler approved, and definitely mama approved!

Weekend

After a crazy two weeks of near-constant crocheting and multiple post office runs, I finally have time to relax. I made 8 pairs of flip flops, 4 owls, a baby duck, and a giraffe.

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All while keeping up with the normal SAHM stuff. It was nuts.

So I apologize for being so absent lately, but whenever I could squeeze in a few moments of quiet time, I would open WordPress and then just stare at the blank screen.  I couldn’t even muster up a food post, because I relied pretty heavily on some of my old faithful recipes. Well, we also had Taco Bell one night after the boy went to bed. Ok, and there might have been an Arni’s pizza, too.

I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining…I’ve had a really awesome couple of weeks and yesterday was kind of the icing on the cake. We loaded up the van and took a trip to Fishers for a birthday party (the birthday boy was the recipient of the giraffe). O had a ball playing outside and making new friends. Of course, we all had party food and cake with ice cream. O was more concerned with playing than eating, so mama had to eat most of his cake.

It’s rough being a mama sometimes.

After the party, we stopped by my friend’s bakery (You should check it out: Sweet Home Cupcakes in Noblesville,  IN). I was blown away by the amount of work she and her husband have been putting into the place and I can’t wait to visit when she re-opens. She even gave us a couple of lemon cupcakes to take home. Have I ever mentioned my love for lemon confections?

We decided to stop for dinner at a Mexican place before heading home since O didn’t eat much at the party. He scarfed down some French fries and chicken nuggets while The BF and I had pollo fundido and tacos. I even got a little wild and had Pepsi.

By the time we got home, the boy was sound asleep. We changed his diaper and put some comfy pants on him, then off to bed he went. When I got back downstairs,  the bakery box was sitting on the counter mocking me. I knew I didn’t need to eat a cupcake after everything else I had eaten but… how could I resist that lemony goodness?

I gave in, and it was the best darn lemon cake I’ve ever had. The perfect (if not slightly glutinous) end to a really lovely day.

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Top: O having a blast playing outside. Bottom left: The giraffe I made for the birthday boy. Bottom right: Got some new bling at the party!

I have spent today doing some major spring cleaning and enjoying the company of The BF’s wonderful mom. It’s been a good weekend.

Wordless Wednesday

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Wordless Wednesday

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Coke cake

Last week I tried a brownie recipe that I saw on Pinterest.  I was really excited about these brownies,  because the recipe called for Mexican hot chocolate tablets. I love Mexican hot chocolate, and I was just sure it would make an excellent brownie.

I mixed them up during O’s morning nap and popped them into the oven. According to the recipe they only needed 20 minutes to bake, so I cleaned up and took care of a few things while the house filled with the delicious smell of chocolate.

When the timer went off, I opened the oven door and could tell they weren’t done. Nothing an extra ten minutes wouldn’t fix…

Wrong.

In total, they probably baked for an hour before I finally gave up. I don’t know what happened, but something with that recipe was wrong. Queue sad trombone.

Talk about a major disappointment.  I still wanted something chocolatey and cakey, but I was mad at Pinterest.  I decided to go with something I had never attempted,  but I knew to be tried and true.

Ladies and gentlemen,  I present to you…

Coke cake.

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My mom used to make this for us all the time when I was younger. While I was at mom and dad’s on Friday, I asked for the recipe…Mom pulled out her trusty Millgrove Church cookbook and I wrote everything down, complete with mom’s changes (neither of us can follow a recipe exactly as it’s written).

Coke cake (adapted from the Millgrove Church cookbook):

For the cake:
2 sticks butter
1 cup Coke (not Pepsi, not generic, certainly no other flavor. Don’t even think of using diet. COKE)
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine butter, cocoa, and Coke in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, stir flour, sugar, and baking soda together in a large bowl. Crack eggs into a seperate small bowl, add milk and vanilla, and beat until combined.

Once the cocoa mixture is boiling, remove from heat, let cool briefly, and pour over flour mixture. Stir, check to make sure it isn’t too hot (You don’t want scrambled eggs!), then add milk mixture and stir until a smooth batter forms. Pour into a lightly greased 9×13 pan and bake for 30-35 minutes.

For the icing:

1/2 stick butter
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
6 tablespoons Coke
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Once again, bring butter, cocoa powder, and Coke to a boil. Add vanilla and powdered sugar and stir. Add nuts and stir again, then pour over cake and spread evenly. Let cool until icing sets (it’s more of a glaze, really).

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It’s perfect, chocolatey, moist, delicious. Not quite health food (uh, hello butter) but a wonderful occasional treat. This tends to be a big hit at pitch – in dinners.
Just try not to eat the whole thing at once. I know it’s tempting…but be strong.


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