She Teaches Me {Mothers of Daughters}

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Now that my baby girl is three (almost four!) months old, I’m learning to read her signs better every day. I know what makes her laugh (the stinky feet game and chug-a-chug-a-choo), what makes her smile (her sister, spitting up, hearing how much we love her), and what makes her close her eyes in bliss (kissing her softly on the cheek, rubbing the side of her head).

And, like with all babies, I’ve learned what makes her cry.

It’s not actually a long list; she’s a good-natured, laid-back baby. But when she’s hungry? WATCH OUT.

She can go from conked out and snoring to red-faced and screaming in about 2.4 seconds. She can be happy as a clam one moment and hangry (you know…hungry+angry?) the next. And while she obviously can’t speak any actual words yet, I am pretty sure I hear her loud and clear in those instances.

Mommy! MOMMY! MOMMYYYYyyyyyyyy!
I need food! Now! I NEED FOOD NOW!
{Food! GET IN MY BELLY!}
Why don’t you feed me? Why don’t you LOVE me?
I’m never going to eat AGAIN!!!
Food! I need it! I’m going to perish right before your eyes!
Gahhhhbaaaahhhhmeahhhhh! Foooooood!
This is it. The end is near. WHY WON’T YOU…
wait.
Um.
Is that a…
Mmmm…bottle.
Thank you, sweet Mommy. I’ll never doubt you again.
{Until the next time…}

I’m talking about one of the [MANY] ways I’ve been surprised by motherhood over at Mothers of Daughters today. Join me there?

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Frosting

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Frosting

Get a spoon. No, wait. Hide the spoons. No, definitely get a spoon.

When I saw this recipe on Pinterest (via Chef in Training), I knew I had to make it. And soon. The problem? I didn’t have a special occasion that was crying out for cupcakes.

[I know, I know, any regular Thursday is crying out for cupcakes when they come topped with CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE DOUGH, right?]

Right. And so on a regular Thursday, Annalyn and I made cupcakes. We used a box mix for chocolate cake, so we could get right down to business with this frosting.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Frosting

JUST LOOK AT IT. You want the spoon now, don’t you?

When I read the recipe, I took note of the fact that Nikki used two different methods when frosting her cupcakes. I’m going to call them the squeezing method and the spackling method. [No, I'm not a professional baker. How'd you guess?]

Squeezing is actually piping, and since I don’t own any actual frosting tools, I put a few spoonfuls in a ziploc and then snipped off the corner for a makeshift piping machine. (Machine? I DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY’RE CALLED.) And it did look pretty that way. But really, since these cakes were just for us – and because I told Annalyn she could help and piping is a bit above her pay grade and skill level – it wasn’t necessary.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Frosting

And so, spackling won the day. We used a skinny spatula (me) and a big spoon (her), and just scooped and dropped and smeared and dabbed it on there. I’d recommend waiting until your cupcakes are completely cool for this method. And even then, if your assistant happens to be six years old, you may end up with a lot of crumbled or torn cupcakes.

Which is rough, because every cook knows you have to eat the ones that get broken.

In the end I resorted to eating these cupcakes (not ALL of them, not all at ONCE!) with a fork. Which isn’t actually all that different from how I want to eat all cupcakes. Because cupcakes are impossible to eat neatly. Whose idea was it, anyway, to turn messy ol’ cupcakes into a craze?!

ANYWAY. They were delicious. But the cake itself wasn’t actually necessary, and I decided that the next time I make this (soon…it really must be soon!), I’m not messing around with the cake and I’m just going to dip into it with graham crackers. Or chocolate crackers. Ooooh, yeah, THAT.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Frosting

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Frosting {or Dip}

4 oz cream cheese, softened
5 tbsp butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 envelope Dream Whip
2 tbsp milk
1/2 cup flour
3 cups powdered sugar
1 cup mini chocolate chips

Mix together cream cheese and butter, then add brown sugar, vanilla and Dream Whip. You probably want to use your electric beaters on this one to make sure it gets mixed evenly and smoothly. Add in the milk, flour and powdered sugar. (Depending on the consistency you want, you can add more milk or powdered sugar.) Fold in the chocolate chips. Then serve with whatever instrument you’d like to use to get it to your mouth – cupcake, cracker, spoon…

Enjoy!

This post will be linked to Mouthwatering MondayMelt in Your Mouth Monday, Marvelous Mondays, Pin It Monday, Totally Talented Tuesdays, Works for Me Wednesday, Wow Us Wednesdays, Wake Up Wednesdays, Show & Share Wednesday, Wow Me Wednesday, What’s Cookin’ Wednesday, Full Plate Thursday, Foodie Friends Friday, Foodie Friday, Weekend PotluckIn & Out of the KitchenPinworthy Projects Party and Eat. Create. Party.

Throwback Thursday Stories: Easter

Easter pics

Once upon a time in a land far, far away I collected every printed photo I owned and organized them. I put them in envelopes by subject matter and then stuck them, chronologically, in a box.

It was awesome. (It was before kids.) I was going to scrapbook all the the things.

And I did scrapbook a lot of things. But definitely not all of them. I did, however, keep taking pictures. And there for a while, I printed them out. I printed a lot (A LOT) of them out. (Especially when Annalyn was born!) Then I made a scrapbook for my mom and collected a bunch of old family photos for that. Then my mom and dad cleaned out some part of their house (basement? cedar chest? I don’t remember.) and gave us ziplocs full of old photos.

And still, I kept taking photos and buying photos and PHOTOS PHOTOS PHOTOS.

I have a lot of photos, people. And they are completely NOT organized.

You guys. I can’t even describe the madness, the chaos that is my bin of photos. AND THAT’S NOT EVEN CONSIDERING THE ENTIRE BOX OF PICS I FOUND IN MY GARAGE THIS SUMMER! I’ve got old school wallets mixed with baby pictures mixed with Christmas cards mixed with yellowing family photos. It’s a mess. And these days I just avoid those beautiful photos altogether.

Until my friend Jessica said she was starting a weekly link-up called Throwback Thursday Stories.

I actually pulled out almost all of the photos in that bin (the one hiding at the bottom of Adrienne’s closet-slash-my craft closet) to find something just right for this first week of #TBTStories. Even though I found a whole lot of gems, these Easter pictures seemed apropos.

Throwback Thursday Stories: Easter

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That’s my grandad in the middle picture. I’m not sure why he’s wearing half a plastic egg on his head, but as I know from watching my own dad with my girls, that’s just how grandpas do.

Though the beautiful hat in that top photo is lovely, as I started thinking about Easters in years past, it made sense to share pictures of me with family. Because while Easter is obviously a celebration of the resurrection and our salvation through Jesus, it’s also been a great excuse for my family to spend time together.

I couldn’t find any photos of the cousin Easter egg hunts from 30 years ago. (Maybe my mom kept those!) But when I think about Easter, when I think about family time, I can see those pictures in my mind. Eggs and dresses in pastels, and my cousins helping my brother and me find those eggs.

I also remember Easter egg hunts with my friend Elise, and more recently, I remember singing MY FACE OFF in the choir at half a dozen church services. But what comes to mind most of all are those cousin egg hunts.

So it makes sense that this Sunday we’ll be doing the same thing. I mean, my cousins and I won’t be hunting the eggs. Our kids will, though. And somebody might even wear lace. (But no hats. I’m pretty sure we won’t be wearing hats.)

To read more Throwback Thursday Stories, visit The Mom Creative!

How does your family celebrate Easter?

When Mom Needs a Timeout {MomAdvice}

When Mom Needs a Timeout

“Mom? What’s for lunch? Mom? MOM! Hey! MOMMMMMMMMMMM! What. Are. WE. Doing. FOR. Lunch?!”

Before she could ask – or say my name – One. More. Time, I said, carefully and through gritted teeth, “I can’t talk to you right now. I do not have anything nice to say.”

We were driving home after church, after a week full of fighting and talking back and directly disobeying every big and little thing. We were headed home (by way of Taco Bell), after a morning full of arguing and interrupting the grown-up talk and smarting off in front of the pastor.

Though my newborn has started sleeping for a few more hours in a row overnight, I still feel like a stiff wind could knock me over – or at least lull me into a nap – most days. So fighting against a strong-willed six-year-old had worn me down.

This mama needed a time-out!

Join me over at Mom Advice as I share some ideas for taking a timeout
- and share your own ideas, too!

Monday Morning Mmmm: Southern Green Beans

Southern Green Beans recipe

Thank you all for welcoming my brother to the blog so warmly the other week! You all are sweet – but you’ll really, REALLY love him if you actually try that corn casserole. Personally, I’m looking forward to eating it again at Easter.

But – and I hate to bring it up, but I figure you might need to know – I have a really good side dish recipe that would be great at your Easter dinner, too.

No! I’m not competing with my little brother! I’m NOT. I’m JUST SAYING that he’s not the only one with a good family dinner type of recipe on his hands. And mine has bacon AND brown sugar. So. There you have it. That’s all.

Really.
Okay?
Okay.
Moving on.

I pin a lot of recipes, but – and this is going to really shock you – not a whole lot of them feature vegetables. I just looked. I have 45 pins in my “Fruits and Veggies” board, but 160 pins in my “Dessert Should be Eaten First” board. I even have more breakfast pins than fruits and veggies. Breakfast! That’s just one meal, not even a food group!

Crazy.

And irrelevant, now that I think about it. Because despite my sometimes aversion to vegetables or anything healthy, I pinned a recipe for “Southern” green beans. Actually, it was a recipe for “quick, Southern” green beans.

I’m using those quotes because a) I’m pretty sure anyone in any state or region could eat these green beans and agree that they are delicious, and b) it’s possible the original cook and I have different definitions of the word, “quick.”

Still, quick or not, Southern or not, this recipe from Mary over at Chattavore has become one of my favorite things to cook for family dinners.

Except, well, I don’t really follow the recipe exactly. Since I’m making it for my whole family, I double or triple it. {You might be thinking that’s why it’s not a “quick” process. And, yup. You might be right.}

Still, it’s worth the time. (And it doesn’t take THAT much time, okay? Don’t worry, fellow procrastinators and overwhelmed-by-to-do-lists-and-lifers!)

Southern Green Beans

Southern Green Beans

4 strips thick-cut bacon, cut into small pieces
1 small onion, sliced thin
1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut
2 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup brown sugar
salt and pepper

Cook bacon over medium heat until almost crisp. Whatever you do, don’t drain it! The bacon grease – I’m sorry, DRIPPINGS – are what make these beans Southern, after all. Add onions and cook until soft-ish. Add the green beans and chicken stock to the pan. Once it’s simmering, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes more. When the green beans are almost as soft (or firm) as you want, remove the lid and crank up the heat. After most of the liquid is gone, add the brown sugar, season with salt and pepper, stir and serve.

My next goal is to make these in the slow cooker. I’m pretty sure it would work great. I just need to remember this goal more than an hour or two before I’m scheduled to be at a family dinner with green beans in hand.

What’s your favorite veggie side dish?