Friday, April 26, 2013

Strawberry Muffins with Berry Glaze

I thought I had lost my paper copy of this recipe, and when I found it (under the couch of all places!) I decided to post it here so that I won't ever lose it again.  I got this muffin recipe from a friend in Memphis, and they are so delicious, especially in the spring (or the very tail end of a very long winter).  They are almost more like cupcakes with the glaze on top.  This is another recipe that I take places if I need to bring a breakfasty item.

Strawberry Muffins with Berry Glaze

2 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
2 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and cut in chunks

3 large strawberries, hulled and cut in chunks
1 tsp lemon juice
1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray muffin tins with baking spray.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar.  Add milk, yogurt, vanilla and melted butter, whisking gently.  In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.  Add to milk mixture and stir just until moistened.  Gently add berries.  Spoon batter (it will be thick) into muffin cups.  Bake about 25 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.  Cool on wire rack.  Meanwhile, place glaze ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.  When muffins are room temperature, dip top into glaze and return to rack to set.  Makes 12 muffins.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A visit from Hooty

When Grandma and Grandpa were visiting last week, they got to go to Amelia's preschool to be snack helper.  Everyone said they had a very nice time, and Grandma came home with several art projects that other kids had made for her.

Amelia wanted to bring carrots ("because they're my favorite!") and clementines for snack.  Amelia set up for snack all by herself, and made sure her best friends and Grandma and Grandpa were all sitting next to her.  She likes to be helpful, and she knew just what signs to put in the food bowls - "Take 1" for the clementines and "Take 2" for the baby carrots (although those did not seem to be very popular because she brought a lot back home.)

And then Amelia got to bring Hoot the Owl home to spend the night at our house.  Hoot went on all kinds of adventures with Amelia including going on an Easter egg hunt outside (both Amelia and Megan loved to hide the eggs, and were very good at helping the other find them afterwards).

He also ate some mice for lunch; Amelia said he enjoyed them.  When she shared the journal with her class the next day, all the boys wanted to know if he ate real mice, so Amelia explained that they were just kitty toys.

Then Hooty went on a walk in Amelia's new camel backpack from Israel.  We did the sneaky back way walk, although backwards, and wore our rainboots because it was a little muddy.  Grandpa and Amelia walked purposefully back to the house, but Grandma, Megan and I explored all kinds of animal holes and picked up lots of natural materials like pinecones, corn cobs, pine needles.

When we got back to the house, Grandpa had found our kite and was successfully flying it, although it didn't get too high because it wasn't quite windy enough.  Hooty enjoyed chasing the tails of the kite with Amelia.

Then all the girls painted using our nature finds.  Grandma really enjoyed getting to do an art project with us!  Unfortunately, Hooty tried to help, and ended up falling in the paint, so I had to give him a bath.  The kids (and the teachers, thankfully) thought that was pretty funny.

Amelia wrote the following journal entry about her time with Hooty:

If you can't read 4-year-old, her writing says "Hooty went on an Easter egg hunt with me.  He went on a walk with us.  He ate mice."  Then she dictated the rest to me because she was tired of sounding out words (it's a lot of work!)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

First Day at the Park in 2013

We finally went to the park this morning, for the first time all year.  It was sunny outside after preschool was over, and Amelia overheard one of her preschool friends planning a trip to the park, so the girls begged to go, too.  I thought it would be fun, even though it was only 43 degrees and kind of windy.  They chose the race car park, and we had a great time.  We had our first 60 degree day on Monday, but we stayed near the house then coloring with chalk and playing with the fairy garden because I wanted to clean up the garden a little.

Anyway, the girls are going to have so much fun playing at the park this summer!  Megan can now do just about anything Amelia can do, and Amelia loves to have Megan tagging along after her.  Showing Megan how to do things helps Amelia be a little more brave about things like the monkey bars or the long dark slide.

They discovered a huge leaf pile outside the park fence, and played in that for about 20 minutes.  We didn't get to play in the leaves last fall (our two spindly trees dropped no more than 50 leaves between them last fall) and so they had wonderful time throwing leaves on each other and burying themselves in the leaves.  They didn't want to go home for lunch, they were having so much fun!

I think they're going to need baths tonight!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Chocolate Chip Scones

I stopped posting recipes because I figured nobody was really interested in making them, but I am making an exception for these scones.  They are seriously the best scones ever, and they are very easy to make.  I got the recipe from my friend Jen, after she brought me a few when I was sick once.  I have shared these scones with quite a few people, and almost everybody has raved about them and asked me for the recipe.  They are now known as "Marcie's Scones" at Amelia's preschool! 

Chocolate Chip Scones

2 cups flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
¼ cup sugar
¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 ¼ cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2-3 tbsp. sugar

1. Position a rack in middle of oven and preheat the oven for 425ยบ.
2. Stir flour, baking powder, salt, and ¼ cup sugar in a bowl.
3. Stir in the chocolate chip pieces.
4. Pour in the cream and mix with fork until it holds together. (Dough will be sticky.)
5. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and sprinkle lightly with flour.
6. Knead the dough 10 times, pushing it away from you with the hell of your hand, folding it back over itself and giving it a quarter turn each time.
7. Pat into a 9-inch disk.
8. Brush with melted butter
9. Sprinkle with 2-3 tbsp. sugar.
10. Cut the dough into 12 pie-shaped wedges and transfer to an ungreased baking sheet.
11. Bake until the tops are golden brown, 14-17 minutes (maybe even less time, watch closely).
12. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Yield: 12 scones 

Note to self: do not double the recipe then make three disks to try to get 36 scones, they will be too small and dry out too much in the oven and lose their delicious moist texture.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Megan's new favorite pasttime... talking on the phone:

Whenever Amelia wants to call Grandma and Grandpa to tell them that she played Draw Something with them, Megan says "I want to talk on the phone, too!"   She had a 10 minute conversation with Grandma the other day; I don't know how much Grandma understood, but Megan talked pretty much nonstop.  What a change from a year ago when she was very quiet!  In the picture above, she had just told me to go away because she wanted privacy for her conversation with Grandma.  Oh, she's going to be a handful when she's 13!

Amelia was very happy after ballet on Monday, so I got a natural smiling photo of her.  I've been playing around with some different lighting edits in photoshop.  Which do you like best?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Easter Egg Dyeing

Becky, Brian, Natalie and Noah came over the Saturday before Easter to celebrate birthdays and dye Easter eggs with us.  We enjoyed getting a chance to visit with Uncle Tom and Aunt Cheri, too!  Amelia especially liked meeting Aunt Cheri, since she has been playing Draw Something with her for months.

Everyone really enjoyed Aunt Marge's three layer chocolate cake, especially Megan!

The kids really did have fun dyeing Easter eggs, although in my photos they all look bored.  

Don't drink the vinegar, Megan!

Grandma decided to get in on the fun, too!

Amelia drew a cute chalk Easter bunny on the driveway, and then drew a path leading to the back door so that the Easter bunny would know exactly where to go to hide the Easter eggs. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Happy Easter! (11 days late)

We had a lovely Easter at Mom & Dad's house this year.  Becky, Brian, Natalie & Noah came to church with all of us, and the kids were all pretty well behaved.  The weather wasn't super warm, but it was warm enough to go outside wearing only a sweater instead of a coat.  Amelia was happy that the Easter bunny got to hide eggs outside - she thinks that's typical for Easter, since it has been unseasonably warm on Easter every year since she was old enough to hunt eggs.  I hid Megan's eggs, and they were very easy to find.  Dad hid Amelia's, and she needed hints to help her find them.  She hasn't really figured out how to search for eggs, since she's used to them being really easy to find (and her were hidden a little harder than everyone else's this year, too). 

The Easter bunny even hid an egg in the snow pile!

Noah was so nice to Megan, holding her hand while she walked on the "balance beam".

 We took a lot of photos of all the kids together trying to get a really good one (it felt a little like we were paparazzi with all the cameras pointed at them!) but mostly we got photos where someone looks silly!  First I asked them to show me their Easter baskets:

Then we tried a few "No Smiling!" dictates:

Then we told them to act like bunny rabbits.  I love it how Natalie is hopping so enthusiastically!

A nice posed photo with Grandma and Grandpa:

followed by one in which everyone tried to give Grandma and Grandpa bunny ears:

I'm really happy with the way this photo turned out (thanks, Becky!)

 We let the kids watch Mickey Mouse cartoons while we were waiting to eat dinner, and then again after dinner while the adults talked at the table.  In fact, we were almost able to eat dessert without the kids noticing!  They were so cute all snuggled up watching tv:

Then all the kids went outside because they wanted to hide eggs for Grace, and then help Grace find them!  Then we hid eggs for Grandpa, and again for Grace.  I'm sure Mom will find a few eggs still hiding when she cleans out her flower beds! The kids has such a good time hiding eggs (although we ended up with about six eggs in the mailbox.)

Both Grace and Grandpa read a few books to all the kids at once:

Hope all of you had a lovely Easter, too!