Sunday, January 31, 2010

Apricot Cupcakes

Today's delightful recipe was for Apricot Cupcakes. Just check out some of the yummy ingredients...

Sous-chef, Heather, was on hand to help. I'm finding that one sous-chef is enough, and that I get to interact more with the one (bonus: no fighting over who gets to do what). Check out my lovely apron too...

There were 3 cups of Apricot preserves in this recipe, plus another 3/4 cup in the filling. Both the liquid ingredients and the dry took up their own normal size bowls. We had to break out the mongo bowl for the combining of the wet and dry...

After the cupcakes cooled a bit, they were cored to make room for the filling.

Heather helped to load up the centers with the gooey filling made from orange juice, lemon zest and juice, flour, cooking sherry and egg yolks.

The cores were replaced to hide the filling...

and here they are all ready to deliver. I printed some tags this week so that the deliveries would have a little extra something special.

This recipe had several ingredients and was time consuming. The coring and filling took the extra time. The cupcakes were tasty, but not over-the-moon. I'll have to see how everyone liked them. It will not hurt my feelings if they weren't a favorite. It was still an adventure to try the recipe, and they weren't awful. Some of the cupcakes seem to be more muffin-like, so that could be adding to my disappointment with some of the recipes. I guess that's what this adventure is all about. We already have some favorites, and we're only a month into the project!

Next week I'd like to his some of my local blogger friends in the tasting...Shari, Kristie, Hillary, Alex...I would love to include you girlies in the fun. I'll be in touch.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Green Eggs & Ham

It was actually green eggs and turkey, with green waffles. I slept through the planning part so I'm not sure what the motivation was, but Heather came to read me Green Eggs and Ham in my bed. Then it was off to the breakfast table. It was actually yummy.

Later on, I hung my new cupcake towels. The blue ones are from my made-of-awesome friend, Sheryl. The pink came from Kohl's. It was on sale, and I had to have it. Along with my cute apron.

Tomorrow I will deliver this little treat to my secret Valentine. Ah...the wonders await! Thank you Shari for organizing this little exchange. I LOVE doing these kinds of things.

Friday, January 29, 2010

More Little Things to Love...

The sunset on Wednesday night...The moon on Wednesday night...
My new apron...
Isn't it perfect??

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Little Things

There are little things that happen each day that bring me joy.

My girls have a Daddy who will stop and play with them. Daddy really does built the best marble runs.

Jenna in a silly mood is such a hoot.

Sweet Heather. She was out in the living room doing her homework while Daddy and Jenna played. This girl works so hard. Last night at the dinner table she said, "I'm not really good at anything." (a thought that occurred to her at school that day). I proceeded to tell her that she was the best at a lot of things--No body smiles the way she does; no body laughs like she does; no body has the super fun energy she does; no body is as sweet and kind as she is; no body is as good a friend as she is; no body had the beautiful eyes that she does. These were a few of the things we said. She was grinning from ear to ear. She is going to be a fabulous girl her entire life. This is only the beginning. I can't wait to see her soar.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Buttermilk Orange Cupcakes

Cupcake making was delayed one day so they would be fresh for their recipients...

at Book Club on Tuesday!

My Book Group meeting is Tuesday evening and a couple of these girls are following my blog, so that just seemed pretty perfect.

We have read The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, both by Suzanne Collins. I was going to make the Black Forest Cheese Cupcakes or the Black Bottom Mini Cupcakes, but the Buttermilk Orange was screaming for a couple of reasons:

#1 I had buttermilk from last week's cupcakes.
#2 Oranges are in season and I have a yummy tree bursting with fruit right in my back yard.

I am "theme girl" so I can totally make this fit:

#1. Katniss and her family live off the land. Oranges grow on trees on my land.
#2 Orange is the color of fire which is what Katinss and Peta wear to the opening ceremonies
#3 The ingredients we used can be found in the bakery that Peeta's family owns.

See. It totally works.

Okay, here are the pictures...

The not-so-remarkable looking finished product...

The oh-so-yummy sounding orange sauce...
mmmmmmmm...smells delish!

Cupcakes after having been drenched in orange sauce...

Shimmery, sugary, orange cupcakes just waiting for some tasters.

I inhaled, I mean tasted, one and they are divine!!! See you tomorrow girls!

p.s. Sheryl, you have to come now. Hee, hee.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Good-bye, Hello!

Today was the final day that our friends had their house. We ran over for a quick good-bye to the old house now that it's all emptied out. The girls have had many fun hours playing in this house, and Shelly and I have had many fun hours gabbing and getting to know way too much about each other. Ha, ha!

Of course we had to have a few minutes of tree climbing good-byes too. This is the greatest tree climbing tree around, and boy have all the kids enjoyed it. This yard has been a favorite outdoor spot along with the small cul-de-sac adjacent to the house. Tons and tons of memories here too.
Caleb is in the tree here--it is ginormous!
And here's the gang...

I'm sure the Holbrooks will not miss the extreme flooding that happens on this corner! It prevents anyone from being able to cross the street, and every teenager (and 46-year-old neighbor two doors down) who drives by has to see how far into the yard they can spray the huge lake puddle. This is a couple of hours after the last rain. It just takes tons of time for the water to go away. It's great for splashin' though!

Jenna burst into tears the minute the Holbrooks drove away this afternoon. So we planned a little secret hello for tonight to bring a "Happy New Home" gift. Their new house is so bright and beautiful and just plain cozy. We are so happy for them! (See Shelly, I hardly got any mess in this shot! - Hee, hee. We clocked it from drive way to drive way and they are only seven tenths of a mile from us. I think we can do this! Hugs and happy new home wishes to our dear friends!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


This is the Huntington Beach Pier. The red roof is the Ruby's Diner at the end of the pier. That is the water spout aka tornado that hit land yesterday around 1:00 p.m. Those poor people having lunch yesterday must have choked on their french fries. Holy Crow.

A Tornado? Seriously?

So yesterday it was raining. I thought, "I'll take a couple of pictures so that Kelly can see what it looked like while he was at work (about 45 miles away). I couldn't quite get a good shot of the rain, but you can see in the first picture the water pouring from the rain gutter.

Then I went to the front door to check out the front. I took this shot, but then decided my telephoto lens would capture more of the actual driving rain. So I went to the other room to get my lens...

and came back to this...

Hurricane? Tornado? I didn't know, but it was definitely NOT normal. I decided to shut the front door, and when I turned around, the warning was going across the television from the emergency broadcast system (the ones that never apply to my area), "Tornado warning issued for the following counties...Orange." Eeek! That was us. A tornado warning? Really?

Within about 15 minutes, the rain stopped. This was my back patio...

Fortunately, no major damage was done. I knew my fifth-grader would be at school freaking out, but what was to be done? By the time I picked up the kids, the sun was shining. We had lots of fun things to talk about (lighting, thunder, wind, the puddle in the bottom of Heather's rolling backpack), and there was still anxiety at bed time. But the good thing is that these events are rare. The water spouts that hit land, get renamed Tornados, and blow through once-in-a-while do not do the damage like they do in the mid-west. I think that comforted my kids knowing that kids along "tornado alley" live with this kind of thing all the time.

More rain forecast for today. Let's hope the water spouts stay over the water.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Need to Organize

I really think that our need to organize our lives, our selves, our space, etc. is an inherently Divine quality. It is, like other Divine qualities with which we are endowed, something that needs to be practiced to be perfected, and it may just take our whole lives to get there. But the important thing is that we keep trying, right?

I dream of being an uber organized guru to whom people come to for advice. Actually, I know how to be organized, and people have asked my advice. So what's wrong with me? I just wish I could practice what I can preach and know like the back of my hand. That way when some one asks me for advice, I don't appear to be a fraud.

Anyhoooooo, if you are looking to get a little organization going in your life, these two books are the absolute best for organizing your space and your time. I have them on my shelf and have read and re-read, highlighted, made notes in--they are just awesome. What is so awesome? Julie doesn't try to hand you a system that works for some random stranger to try to fit into your life. She asks questions and gets at the root of what makes you tick. Then she gives tried and true methods as a framework for your organization. When you marry your style with her tips, you'll have a match made in heaven.

Check them out. You'll be glad you did.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Almondo Cupcakes

Today's cupcake was called the Almondo Cupcake. Another almond delight, but this time with loads of brown sugar and almond extract. The recipe called for Amaretto, however, I didn't like that it was also included in the frosting and would not 'cook out' in the process. It was pretty funny when I asked the Albertson's guy where the Amaretto was kept.

Me: Do you have Amaretto?
Clerk: Isn't it with the liquor?
Me: Oh, I didn't check there.
Clerk: It's next to the Triple Sec.
Me: ???
*Mormon girl is introduced to isle 9. The liquor isle.*
Clerk: Here it is.
Me: Doesn't it come in a smaller size like for baking?
Clerk: No. Anything small like that would be easy to slip in a pocket.
Me: Thanks.

I did learn that a very large and pretty bottle of Amaretto is the same price as a teeny weeny bottle of Almond Extract. But there was a conversion table on the side of the extract, so I put the Amaretto back.

Okay, on to the baking...

My happy helpers...The joy this week was that Heather could scoop and level off the flour without being told how. It's only her third week of training. Laaaaaah!

This batter was much more cupcake like than our first Applesauce Cupcake recipe.

The cupcakes didn't rise.

Some even sunk.

But boy were they delicious! The icing was powdered sugar, whipping cream, more almond extract and butter. I inhaled two right away. Although these look less pretty, they are the favorites so far. The girls want me to leave out the slivered almonds next time. I think I will. They don't really add much except crunch.
Bon Appetite!

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Once upon a time, there was a family who moved from Utah to California. They needed a place to live and found a home on a street two doors down from another nice family. Slowly but surely, the two families met, and a friendship began. The family who had moved in had 4 children and one on the way. The littlest girls from each family were born just two weeks apart, and are definitely more like sisters. After nearly 9 years of school, church, holidays, vacations at the beach and tons of play time (for the kids and the mommies), the families have become more than neighbors, more than friends. They are each other'

As the Holbrooks prepare to move to their newer, bigger, way nicer home, we are so happy for them even if we are terribly sad not to have them be two-doors down from us. We'll get to be at the same school even if it's not the same ward, and they are only .5 miles from us. The kids have not completely processed this, but we'll try to make the transition as smooth as possible.

As I thought about the past eight years, I pulled some of our favorite photos that are a great reminder of all the fun times we've had. It is a comfort to know that although they won't be so right-next-door close, we won't be losing our fun friendship and great times together.

Jenna's 1st birthday. Jenna and Sarah began playing together around this time. Caleb and Hannah came to celebrate with us too.

Feeding the ducks at the park...

Heather's 4th birthday

Jenna's 2nd birthday

Our first family vacation together

Jenna's 3rd birthday


Heather and Caleb (age 6)

Hannah, Heather, Sarah and Brittany

Hannah, Heather and Rachel (our other close neighbor friends) on their way to school

Heather and Caleb (age 6)

Sarah and Jenna (age 4)

Lunch at Burger King after school

Michelle and I taught home pre-school together. We took the girls to Disneyland one day...

Sarah and Jenna in their princess garb at Disneyland (age 5)

Jenna and Sarah during home pre-school

A random, odd dress-alike day

Jumping in the leaves 2008
Sarah, Jenna, Heather, Caleb and Jonathan

Last day of school in 2009 - Winter break

Last day of bike riding back and forth to each other's house...