Totally Random Thoughts

I was walking through the hall at church today and passed a group of children. A boy was saying “I’m Sir Farts-A-Lot”. Then I smelled it. Gag.

On a sweeter note, I was on my way to the Bishop’s office to deliver the leftover cookie dough cupcakes when I saw them. A hoard of children all waiting to see the Bishop. As they spotted the three cupcakes on the tray, pandemonium ensued. I was begged by no less than 6 of them to “please please please give me one of those!”. I didn’t. Sorry, but the Bishop works long hours and thus deserves them more.

Last but not least, I had just fallen asleep when Hayden rushed into the room to tell me about something. Sigh. At least I haven’t broken my no-nap streak. I think I’m going on 2 years without a nap now.

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes


I heard about these cupcakes months ago, and have been wanting to make them ever since. I finally had an excuse- I made them for a “homemaking” lesson in Young Women’s. If you like cookie dough, you will love these. They are so good.

First you’ll want to make the batter for the cupcakes (recipe is at the bottom of the post) and fill your cupcake papers 2/3 of the way full. I used my big scoop and it worked perfectly. 

 Bake. You’ll know they are done when the center springs back after lightly pressing it with your finger. Cool them in the pan for a few minutes, then on a wire rack.

 After the cupcakes are completely cooled, carve a cone out of the center of the cookies.

Take a small portion of the chilled filling and place it in the holes you just made.

 Cover with a swirl of the frosting and garnish with mini chocolate chips.

Yum!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes
(High Altitude)
Yield: 24 cupcakes
Ingredients:
Cupcakes:
3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) butter, softened
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
5 large eggs
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt (heaping)
1 cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Filling:
4 tbsp. butter, softened
6 tbsp. packed brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
7 oz. sweetened condensed milk
½ tsp. vanilla extract
¼ cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
Frosting:
3 sticks softened butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1-2 Tbsp. milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Directions:
For the cupcakes, cream butter and sugar together for a few minutes or until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well. Whisk dry ingredients in a bowl and add to butter mixture alternating with milk until mixed thoroughly. Add in vanilla. Scoop batter into muffin cups. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until top springs back when lightly pressed. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then move to rack. When cooled completely, cut a cone from the center and fill with cookie dough filling.
For the filling, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Chill until ready to use, or at least 20 minutes.
For the frosting, cream the butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add the remaining ingredients and blend well. Pipe on top of cupcakes, and sprinkle with mini chocolate chips if desired.
*I saw two different types of filling for these. One was an actual cookie dough without eggs that you freeze and bake in the cupcake, and the one above. I tried both, and I loved the second option so much better. 
Credit: Inspired by kevinandamanda.com, recipes adapted from Annie Eats

How I Painted My Kitchen Cabinets

Whew! Going through these pictures makes me realize how glad I am to be done! It was a big job. I did it by myself, with the 3 kids hanging around and trying to run through the wet paint. So if I can do it, anyone can! Really.
Here is how I painted my kitchen cabinets.
Step 1: Prep Kitchen
I took everything out of the drawers and cabinets. The food and plates and silverware and some other things went in the pantry. Everything else went on the countertops, which I covered with garbage bags. 
Tape around the cabinets, and on the shelves right next to the frame.
Step 2: Remove hardware
I found it was easier to take the doors off the frames first, and then remove the rest of the hardware from the door.
I took off all the old bumpers. I didn’t want to have to paint around anything.

Make sure to label your drawers and doors, and keep the hardware together.
Step 3: Sand. My dad let me borrow his orbital sander. I really don’t think I could have done this without it. I highly recommend using one.
You don’t have to sand a ton, just get the shine off.
                                   SHINY!                                                        DULL.

Step 4: Caulk
When I starting painting the cabinets a few months ago, I didn’t do any prep work. There was a pretty big gap in all of the cupboard doors where the trim and panel met. This is what happened with the paint:

So I decided to caulk in that space. It was a huge pain, it took forever and was messy. If I could go back, I would still caulk the doors. However, I wouldn’t have tried to get it done so fast. I got sloppy with the cleanup, thinking I’d sand it down later. Didn’t really work out that way. If you are going to caulk, definitely make sure you wipe it up thoroughly before it dries. 
This is what I used. I actually got two on clearance for 25 cents each!
Run the caulk along the edges.

Smooth with your finger. Keep a wet rag handy to clean off your finger.

Clean up the excess (very important!)
Step 5: Paint
I painted the cupboards first, and then the doors and drawers.

I ran out of floor space, so I just stacked up the drawers on bar stools.
The cupboards were all over the kitchen floor. It was too cold to paint them in the garage, so I just layed out a plastic painter sheet and lined them up inside.

 I used plastic bathroom cups to prop up the doors so they wouldn’t stick to the plastic. I painted two coats on the front of the doors, let them dry for 12 hours or so, flipped them over and painted two more coats on the other side.

I cut into the corners with a paintbrush, and used a high density foam roller for the rest. Like this:
Step 6: Finish
After letting them dry for at least one full day, replace all the hardware and hang the doors back up. Put some new bumpers on the doors and drawers. If you don’t, the doors will stick to the frame.

Remove the tape. I like to run a razor along the edge so the tape doesn’t pull the paint off with it.

My Christmas Gifts

This year for Christmas I asked for two things. A new rolling pin and a big scoop. My wonderful hubby pulled through, and got both! He got me a french-style rolling pin. It’s tapered in the middle. It is surprisingly easy to use- probably easier than a regular rolling pin. I love it! 
The scoop is perfect for cupcakes or muffins, or giant cookies. I would definitely recommend these scoops for cooking and baking. I have a smaller one I use for cookies and other things. I got mine from Sparrow Hawk, a local kitchen store. You can find them in a few different stores as well, but I don’t know about the quality of the other ones.

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I found this recipe while searching for Cookie Dough Cupcakes (which I will be making soon!). I love the way they are crisp around the edges and chewy in the middle. Delicious. I changed up the recipe a little to suit my taste, and adjusted it for high altitude. Let me know if you try it!



Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies- high altitude
Ingredients:
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3 sticks (1 1/2 c) butter, melted and cooled until warm
2 cups brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs plus 2 egg yolks
4 tsp. vanilla extract
2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (more if desired)
Directions:
Preheat oven 325°.  Move rack to upper position.
Whisk dry ingredients together in a medium bowl; set aside.  With electric mixer, or by hand, mix butter and sugars until thoroughly combined.  Beat in eggs, yolks, and vanilla until combined.  Add dry ingredients and beat at low-speed just until combined.  Stir in chocolate chips. Form 1-inch balls. (I use my cookie scoop from Sparrow Hawk)
Bake until the edges are light golden brown (approximately 9-11 minutes).  Do not overbake.
Cool cookies on sheet for 2-3 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 


Yield: Approx 8 dozen small cookies.

Credit: Recipe adapted from Annie’s Eats.

Cowboy Nachos

I have recently fallen in love with The Pioneer Woman’s site, and especially all of her recipes! Seriously good. Not only does she have delicious recipes, but she takes photos of each step and she is a great photographer.
I’ve made nachos before, but usually just taco meat and cheese on chips. Enter Pioneer Woman’s Cowboy Nachos. Yum. And that’s an understatement.
I realize my photo doesn’t do it justice- hers is much better : )

And just for fun…
He thought it would be fun to suck on a lime. And of course, he’s naked again. He strips as soon as we walk in the door- am I alone here??

Mom Bucks/ Chores

I made this money with my face on it for “Mom Bucks” several months ago, and am just now getting around to finishing the concept. This will be the first time the system is implemented, so we’ll see how it goes. I really wasn’t sure how many bucks vs. rewards I should do, so that may need some adjusting after we try it out for a while.
So the basic concept is Hayden (and Parker, but mostly Hayden) will have a list of chores he can do throughout the day. For each chore he completes, he gets one “Mom Buck”. Then he can cash them in for special rewards.

P.S. I finished painting the cabinets!! Thank goodness…

I like to live life on the edge

(alternate title: call me crazy…)
I braved 4 stores today with 3 kids 
AND
I didn’t have a stroller
AND
I bought some curtain fabric without measuring my window, just because it was on sale
AND
I decided to park at the opposite side of the strip mall so I had to carry said fabric on a huge bolt all the way across the parking lot, with 3 kids and no stroller.
AND
I’m thoroughly exhausted.

Immeasurable Love

As I sit here, my children are eating breakfast.
I hear slurping milk.
I’ve already had to give a time-out warning this morning. “We do not throw milk on our brothers!”.
All 3 kids are making noise. It seems they can’t ever be quiet.
The kitchen is in disarray.
The couch pillows are off the couch. Again.
I’m tired from a sleepless night. Hayden crawled into bed with us without detection, and then peed the bed while he was sleeping. Love it when that happens.

Then Hayden climbs on the couch next to me and gazes in my eyes. He says “I love you to the moon”, so I say “I love you to the moon and back to Earth!” And he replies “I love you to the moon and back to Earth too- we love the same kind of love!”. And my eyes fill with tears. The love that I feel for these children is immeasurable.

There are no perfect days around here, but there are perfect moments. And that was one of them.