Sunday, January 31, 2010

Puzzles, Puzzles, Puzzles

For Christmas, we got a big box of Disney character puzzles.  It had puzzles of all different sizes from 150 pieces (which the kids can put together with only a little help from me) to 500 piece puzzles.   And which one do you think they chose to do first?  The 500 piece of course.
Which honestly was fine by me, because it meant that I got to put together most of it.  I love putting together puzzles.  My favorite part is putting in the last piece and seeing it all complete.  I am such a good mommy (yeah right) though, because I put off the satisfaction of the last few pieces and saved them for Dallin and Mandy so that they would get to enjoy the best part of the puzzle.
So do I get some kind of reward for such a life altering selfless act?  I’m thinking maybe chocolate.  That’s always a good reward :)

Saturday, January 30, 2010


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Since she was tiny, we have called Mandy, Mandy Moo Who.  Sometimes that is shortened to just Moo, or sometimes we refer to her as Moo Girl.  Don’t ask us why.  It just happened that way.

As Nathan was taking Mandy out of the bath the other day he called her Moo Girl and she responded back, “No, I wanted to be called Gingerbread Girl.”  Yeah, we don’t get it either.  But, it makes about as much sense as calling her Moo, right?

Friday, January 29, 2010

Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes

As promised, here is the cupcake recipe.

I made them again yesterday to take over to our friends house and they were a huge hit there as well.  I’m telling you these things are FANTASTIC.
To make them you will need:
1 chocolate boxed cake mix (my favorite is Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge) plus the ingredients listed on the box
1 cup mini chocolate chips
2-8 oz blocks of cream cheese (softened)
1 egg
1/2 cup white granular sugar
1-8 oz tub cool whip
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
To start, mix up the cake mix as directed on the box. Fold in the mini chocolate chips.  Then mix up the cheesecake filling.    Whip together 1 block of cream cheese, 1 egg, and 1/2 cup of sugar.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prep your cupcake pans.  Either grease them well or use cupcake wrappers.  Fill each cupcake 1/3 full of the chocolate cake batter.  Then top with 1 tablespoon of cheesecake batter and then 1 tablespoon of chocolate batter.  It makes about 28 cupcakes.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 16 to 17 minutes.  You want them to be at the point where they are almost done, but just ever so slightly underdone.  That helps keep them super moist.

You could eat them right out of the oven, with all the little chocolate bits nice and melty and be perfectly happy.  Seriously delicious.  Or you could go on and make icing for them.  The original recipe suggested using either chocolate frosting or your standard cream cheese frosting.  I decided to go with a lighter fluffier cool whip/cream cheese frosting to balance out the denseness of the chocolate and cheesecake.
To make it, just mix together 1 block of cream cheese with 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar until very smooth.  Then fold in the whole tub of cool whip. 
Decorate the cooled cupcakes as desired.  They are best eaten at room temperature, but should be stored in the refrigerator because of all the cream cheese and cool whip.  So if you make them in advance and store them in the frig, be sure to take them out an hour or two before serving.  When eaten cold, the little chocolate chips get all hard and it just isn’t as good.

I love these cupcakes!  From the outside they look like a normal chocolate cupcake.  Then you bite in (and wow that was a good bite)

and you get this surprise burst of cheesecake.  It’s perfect.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Last weekend we were invited over for an oyster roast at the home of long-time family friends.  We love going to their home because they have a humongous back yard where the kids have the most wonderful time.  Layton enjoyed being pushed around on the little cars/bikes. 
Dallin, Mandy, and Chloe spent most of the evening jumping on the trampoline.
It got pretty dangerous at times.
But there was also lots of love.
After the oysters were all roasted,
Nathan dug right in.  I just don’t know how he eats them.  I just can’t stomach them.
Thank goodness Sister Wheeler made some of her famous corn chowder.  So Yummy.  Not to mention these amazing cupcakes that I tried out.  I don’t normally like to try out a new recipe to take somewhere because sometimes it is not always as good as I thought it would be, so normally when I take something somewhere I stick to tried and true recipes.  This time though, I came across this cupcake recipe that looked so good.  Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes.  Just the name sounds good.  They turned out even better than I thought they would.  I took 24 of them over there and people were complaining that I didn’t bring enough!!!!  I promise, I’ll share the recipe tomorrow.
The kids enjoyed roasting a few marshmallows
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over a beautiful fire.
That fire really is lovely isn’t it?  The flickering flames of a fire can be so mesmerizing.  That is until the flames get so high that they become terrifying.
The big event of the evening was the burning of Christmas trees.  It was crazy how high they burned.
It was easy to see how quickly during dry weather acres and acres of forest could be consumed so ferociously by the greedy flames.
The intensity was so great that all the plastic cups left on the tree stumps near the fire melted.  It was crazy and amazing and a little scary and strangely beautiful all at the same time.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Where’s Layton?

We were sitting in the living room.  I told Layton, “It’s time to take a nap.”  He jumped off the couch and went running off as fast as his little legs would carry him.  Where to?  Do you see him?


He had run straight into our closet and hid behind the vacuum cleaner.  I guess he figured that because I don’t exactly clean up that often that I would NEVER think to look there for him.


He is such a stinker.  When I found him he just laughed and then I hauled him off to bed. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

It appears I’ve lost another one

to the Orange and Blue idol.
Honestly though, I really don’t blame her.  What 4 year old do you know of could resist the temptation of putting on a cute hand-me-down cheerleading outfit from one of her favorite aunts?  I think it would be impossible.  It’s ok though.  I have a plan.  I’ll just keep drilling FSU into her head so that when she is old enough to go to college she’ll have it so deeply impressed onto her subconscious that she’ll know the right school to go to.  Let’s hope it works!
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Monday, January 25, 2010

I’ll be your best friend…

We have now discovered the secret to immediate friendship and cuddling with Layton…just offer to read him a book. 
Take his relationship with Mandy for instance.  It has always been kind of rocky.  They don’t normally play a whole lot together.  Not like Dallin and Layton, they play together all the time.  I think a lot of it has to do with age.  Another key component is that I think they are both jealous of any attention that I pay to either one of them.  They are both very much mama’s children and so it makes sharing me kind of hard.  They fight about everything.  But, the second that Mandy offers to “read” (she can’t actually read, she just remembers the words and quotes them) Layton a book, she is his new best friend.
I’m telling you it really works.  We don’t get to visit my family very often and so Layton always takes forever to warm up to them each time we go for a visit.  Not this time though.  My dad offered to read him a book and they were instant best buddies.
Seeing Daddy’s success, Mama Doris gave it a try and it totally worked for her too.  He even gave her some love pats on the face.
So now you know the secret.  If you ever want Layton to come sit and cuddle with you, just offer to read him a book and you’ll be friends for life.  Or well, maybe not life, but at least until the story is read :)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Got my fingers crossed

that I’ll get to do this today.
It’s the best part of Sunday afternoons.  Wish me luck!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Somebody needs a Spanking

  So Layton decided to deliver it…




After being shown who is boss, Nathan did as he was told and allowed them all to hop on.


Good times!


Friday, January 22, 2010


Dallin actually received his report card early last week, but they just did the awards ceremony for his grade yesterday.  He has done really well so far this year.  I didn’t realize that he would be getting letter grades this year, but he has.  The first nine weeks he made all A’s and one B in math.  This nine weeks he improved his math grade and made all A’s.  I’m not sure that really means a whole lot though in the first grade, because I’m pretty sure that a majority of his class made those types of grades as well.  But nonetheless, it does mean that he is doing well and we are really proud of him for that. 
This nine weeks, we were happy to see that he received the "Principal’s Award” for being an outstanding student.  One student in each classroom is chosen each nine weeks to receive it, so in all, only 4 students from his class will receive it this year.  I don’t think it really has to do with being the smartest one in class, but just one who is trying hard not only to do well at his schoolwork but also at being a good helper, a good classmate, and an all around good person.
He really is a sweetheart and it is nice to see that his teacher recognizes that in him too.  We are so proud of him and love him so very much.  We especially loved that along with the award he received a gift certificate for a free kids meal at Longhorn Steakhouse.  I see steak in our not too distant future!  Yummy!

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Sometimes Layton demands things and sometimes I don’t have time to respond.  During those times he just takes matters into his own hands.  Like when he was in the mood for an orange, or in this case a satsuma.  So quite often I come across him doing some rather surprising things.
At lease he was very neat about it.  No peelings on the floor.  All carefully placed in a pile up on the countertop.
His determination  was seriously intense.
Ah, the sweet fruits of his labor.  Mmm were they good.
You know, I am always amazed at what he does.  Then I take a second and think about it realize that it really isn’t all that amazing that an almost two year old can figure out how to peel a satsuma.  In fact, it would be more surprising if he couldn’t.  It is just that when I look at him, he is so tiny and still has such babyish features that it is like watching a 9 month do something like this, which really would be AMAZING.