Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter and "Not Quite From Scratch" Carrot Cake

 Happy Easter Friends!


We ran around completely crazy yesterday: Church Easter Egg Hunt followed by Family Easter Dinner, followed by a sleepover for The Short Chic. With the Short Chic away, we enjoyed a rare night out at a fancy restaurant south of the river, and then ended our night with a near midnight trip to the store to avoid shopping on Easter. 

 My hope for Easter day was a low key day at home. My mother and a brother joined us. My Father-in-Law stopped by. I had envisioned a leisurely day at home with the windows open, the spring breeze blowing in, and lounging in my outdoor living space.  



The Husband fired up the old smoker for the first time this year. He smoked ribs, chicken, and brat's.
I made deviled eggs out of our Easter Eggs and my momma brought up some cheesy potatoes. I also felt  a carrot cake was the most perfect dessert for this Easter. 

I have come to realize something about myself. I am a semi-homemade kinda mom. I love to create yummy dishes for my family and friends but I also don't find myself wanting to reinvent the entire process.  A few of you who know me the best will refute this and remind me that I do occasionally go the whole nine yards. But, those are exceptions to the norm and not the norm. Sometimes a girl just needs to remind herself that she can do anything she wants to do!

Here is my "Not Quite From Scratch" Carrot Cake! I have to tell ya, it was amazing. The frosting was perfect. Just a touch of sweet to accent the spice in the cake. I did add walnuts, they can be omitted if you have a thing against them!


"Not Quite From Scratch" Carrot Cake

1 package yellow cake mix 
2 cups grated carrots 
1 cup Crushed Pineapple with juice
1/2 cup water 
3 eggs 
1/2 cup vegetable oil 
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts optional 
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 


Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour cake pan. I used two rounds. You can use whatever you would like.

Combine cake mix, carrots, pineapple with juice, water, eggs, oil, pecans and cinnamon in large mixing bowl. Beat at low speed with electric mixer until moistened. Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. 

Pour into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan.



I made a simple cream cheese frosting:

2 packages of cream cheese
6 T butter
1 1/2 t vanilla
5 cups of Powdered Sugar

The frosting was pretty soft and in hindsight I should have put it in the fridge for a while before I frosted the cake. 



I have very fond memories of Easter Sunday as a child.  I loved Easter Egg hunts. I loved getting up in the dark and attending sunrise church service. That is the feeling I strive to bring to my children every year on this special day. It is a day to rejoice. And today was a perfect Easter Day in a really perfect Easter Weekend. I hope you had a perfect day and enjoyed this Easter! 




A Kansas City Geography Lesson

My home town has been in the news lately:


  • Yes, someone is driving around our city shooting at cars. The good news, the police made an arrest befor anyone was seriously injured. 
  • Who knew Lorde loved George Brett? 
  • And of course, Miley Cryus was hospitalized here in Kansas City since she cancelled her show on April 15.
Miley tweeted this message the night she got sick:



As soon as I saw it, I heard the nails dragging down the chalkboard. Really? Once again, a celebrity shows their complete and utter lack of knowledge about Midwestern geography. 

I recognize that it is not just celebrities. I attended a football game in Denver many years ago. The Denver Bronco's were playing The Kansas City Chiefs. A fan stood up and hollered out, "Go back to Kansas!"  

Even my beloved Miss Medical Student asked, "What is there to do in Kansas?" when she was about to visit us for the first time.

Okay, so here is the deal. Yes, there is a Kansas City, Kansas. But, there is also a Kansas City, Missouri. But, everything you might know about Kansas City is mostly in Missouri. Not Kansas.
Kansas City Map, Kansas and Missouri, United States 1920

Rock group Puddle of Mud and Rapper Tech N9ne started here. Thomas Hart Benton. Even Walt Disney lived in Kansas City, Missouri as a young child. Kansas City host the American Royal Barbecue and Livestock show every year.  You can visit the Negro League Hall of Fame or the Liberty Memorial - The National War World I Museum. 

Besides our sports venue and our event center, Kansas City, Missouri has other famous residents.  H&R Block, Hallmark Cards, Cerner Cooperation, AMC Movie Theater, Applebee's Restaurant, Russell Stover Candies, and even Boulevard Brewery Company.

I guess part of the misconception is that other states who have a city named after their state are actually located in their state. The way New York City is in New York. Or Oklahoma City. It unfathomable that Kansas City is in Missouri not Kansas. But then again, there is a Kansas City, Kansas. It just isn't the one that most people want to refer to when they are referencing Kansas City.

I don't want you to think I am hating on Kansas City, Kansas. I am really not. I should note that if you ever visit our area to watch the Major League Soccer's 2013 Winners of the MLS Cup, Sporting Kansas City, they do in fact play in Kansas City, Kansas. NASCAR's Kansas Speedway is also in Kansas City, Kansas.

There is an outdoor amphitheater in Kansas. When I was a young person I attended a lot of concerts there. It would be more than appropriate to address the crowd with a "Hello, Kansas!" You know, because it is actually in Kansas!

But when Miley tweets out an apology to Kansas when she was scheduled to play in Missouri, it is not an appropriate way to greet her fans. I get that she is a performer and waking up in a different city each night is hard but is it too much to think that a personal assistant would educate her on where she is at and how to greet her fans?

Is it?





Friday, March 14, 2014

Prayers Needed

As we sat at The Boy's potentially last high school game The Husband's cell phone went off and brought some bad news. His niece was involved in a serious car accident. 

As information about the accident and injuries poured in, it became evident this was a very serious incident. 

This past week, I visited her crash site. I am thankful she is here on this earth with us. If you do not believe in a higher power, I am not sure how you can see these photos and not believe in something bigger than us.

She was traveling east on a gravel road. She was attempting to make a left hand turn at an upcoming intersection when she lost control and hit a tree. Head-on. 


Not the tree in the foreground of this photo but the tree in the background. Evidence of the crash is still visible. 


The crashed automobile was a few miles away from the crash site so we paid it a visit as well.


The vehicle was a Chevy Tahoe. Seeing it scrunched up was stunning. Everything was so mangled. And compressed. 


Two days before we visited the site and vehicle, it stormed. I am sure a lot of the blood was washed away but there was still evidence of her injuries in and on the car.


 The footboard had been pushed so far back that there was no space between the floorboard and the seat. She suffered little injury to her left leg. The right leg, however, is crushed from the hip to the foot.
It is clear to see why when you look at these pictures.


As we walked around that day, my mind had a very difficult time processing what I was seeing. It is clear that she is lucky to be alive.


 She is not medically stable yet. She is in the process of recovering and that includes numerous surgeries. Any warm thought or prayers that you can send to her would be greatly appreciated!




Saturday, March 8, 2014

Monster High Birthday Party

Six candles on her cake. Six wishes she gets to make. My baby girl has turned six. Somewhere I blinked and she went from being a cute baby to a little girl.

A little girl with an opinion! I use to tell her what the birthday theme was going to be. Now she tells me. This year she wanted demanded a Monster High themed party. This was my year to simplify her birthday party. I am not sure how I did on that end. You will have to share you thoughts on my "success" at scaling back.

We opted to do a few things different this year. We did not have the party at our house. Instead it focused around an activity. We chose swimming {one of The Short Chic's favorite activities}. So we had the party at a local hotel that has a public access swimming area.



The Decor:

The decor needed to be simply as we are lugging everything to a hotel. The Husband and I added ribbon and tulle to water bottles.  I found the Monster High logo's on the internet and printed them out. I had hoped to put them on top of the water bottles but my hole punch was too large. Instead I punched a hole in them and added them to the tulle.


 I made the centerpieces for the party.  They were so easy. I printed a black and white skullette out on cardstock. Then I used a paintbrush to brush on Elmer's Glue and added extra fine glitter. When the glitter and glue dried I cut out the skullette and adhered it to black foam. I covered a dowel rod with washi tape and put in between the skullette and foam.



To finish it I placed some floral foam inside a sparkly container and added some black crinkled paper. 



The Cake: 

This is the first year I have not made my own birthday cake. This cake was made by Nellie's Custom Cakes in Claycombo. The Monster High Doll in the center is Rochelle Goyle. I wish I could have videotaped The Short Chic's reaction when she first saw the cake. She loved it!

 While I may not have made the cake, I did try my hand at making Monster High Sugar Cookies for the party. They ended up looking pretty good although I know they are no were close to perfect. I will say that by leaving the cookies out to dry caused them to be as hard as hockey pucks.


Thankfully, The Husband remembered that his mother use to put bread in with cookies to keep them from drying out. We put the hardened cookies in a container with bread and sure enough, the day of the party they were perfect!


The Party:  Every Monster High Doll comes with a Journal. The Journal is written in a black and white composition book. I found mini composition books at the local dollar store and also purchased some Monster High Stickers. The party guest were able to decorate their composition books while the adults served the cake.


The Gifts:

This Monster High fan received several new Monster High dolls for her birthday. 

                            

My house is over run with Monsters!

                              



 The night of her party we were predicted to get hit with a massive snow/ice storm. Unfortunately, the storm did start as her party was starting. Luckily for us, it did not get really bad until the party was over and our guest were home. 

Speaking of home, The Short Chic had one last surprise waiting for her at home. A brand new Monster High Bicycle! 

No more baby bike. She now has an 18 inch bicycle just waiting for spring to arrive!


Monday, March 3, 2014

My Top 10 2014 Oscar Moments

From years past, you probably know I have a special love for the Oscars. Since 1998 my best friend and I have been in love with the gold statue and it’s big annual party. We usually have a large party featuring food and drinks from each of the Best Picture Nominations. You can see our former parties here: 2011, 2012, and 2013.

This year neither of us got it together. We did not see all of the nominated movies. We did not plan a party. We did not even get together to watch the Red Carpet Coverage or the show.  Instead we dealt with children, illness, and snow storms. 

We did however watch the Show and text each other regularly. Here are my top ten 2014 Oscar Moments:
 1.    Red Carpet; when Best Supporting Actress Nominee Lupita Nyong’o arrived in the breathtaking blue gown with that diamond headband she literally made my heart race. Beautiful and elegant and oozing of Oscar worthy attire. In my opinion she out-shined everyone else.

                                                       

2.  Red Carpet: Jennifer Lawrence keeps everything real to me. She is glamorous. She is an amazing actress that stole my heart in Winter’s Bone a few years ago and I love rushing out to see her movies. But the reason I love her is so is so real. Every single interview I hear of hers I wish more girls could be as grounded in reality as she is. So, was I surprised to see her take a tumble on the red carpet last night? NO! Maneuvering those dresses in those heels; it is a wonder not more people tumble.

                                                     

3.   Ellen DeGeneres as host. Yes, her jokes were little punchy. But she was funny. She was entertaining. And for goodness sake, she actually served PIZZA to the crowd! 

                                                   

4.       Ellen DeGeneres wardrobe changes. I loved her opening suit and her closing suit. I love that she served greasy pizza in a white tux! And seeing her dressed up like Glenda The Good Witch from The Wizard of Oz was just funny enough to make me laugh out loud at home by myself!

                                                   

5.       Jared Leto’s Acceptance Speech. He might have melted my heart by victims of discrimination and standing with and for them but it was his words about his Mother that make this one of my favorite Oscar moments! Who does not love a man who loves his Mother?

                                  

6.       Lupita Nyong’o’s Acceptance Speech. “No matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid.” I wish that every child was reared to believe this. Think of how completely different our world would be.

                                     

7.       Matthew McConaughey’s Acceptance Speech. There were actually some wise words in there. Mixed with that thing Matthew McConaughey has that makes us love him. I have watched his speech on youtube several times and just smile.

                                    

8.       Frozen winning Best Animations Feature Film and Best Song. Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez’ acceptance speech was cute and surely the thing that makes Disney Magic Happen. 

                                
9.       Oscar’s 2014 In Memoriam. This tribute each year is a personal favorite. I love reminiscing about their performances and what made them famous to us.

                           

10.   Social Media. Unlike any other Oscar the feedback and interaction with this year’s Oscar were immediate thanks to Social Media sites like Twitter and Instagram. From the beginning of her hosting duties, Ellen had the cell phone pulled out. We immediately went to Twitter to see if she was really tweeting and she was! I mean who has not seen the group selfie taken by Bradley Cooper during the Oscars? It is a fact that this one photo crashed Twitter as people retweeted it 2 million times during the show.  I spent the night flipping between facebook, Instagram, and Twitter just to keep up and see what was trending or not. 

Those are my favorite moments. What were yours?

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Frozen Sing-A-Long (Another Disney Side)

A week or so ago, The Short Chic was invited to a Frozen Sing-A-Long birthday party.

The Husband and I armed wrestled to see who would take her. I cheated and won!

The party was a local movie theater. They had a party room that we meet in before the movie. The birthday girl's momma, my friend Jen, had a craft ready for the girls. 

Since it was a Sing-A-Long, she had the girls make microphones. They were so creative and cute!  She painted a Styrofoam egg in glitter paint and put them inside empty bathroom tissue cylinders of black cardstock. Each girl got to decorate their microphone with their name and other stickers. 



 The theater had a wall full of stars. It made the backdrop for silly photos. Maybe only my child got the memo about being silly?


Afterwards we got a tour of the movie theater. It was a simple tour. Less complicated these days that what it was in the past. The machine below is the large projection machine that projects the movie onto the screen. The silver tubing on the top blows cool air directly onto the machine to keep it cool during use. The sound equipment is in the background of photo.  

Useless trivia fact: each projection bulb cost about $2,000!



After our tour we were escorted to our reserved seats for the movie, Frozen.  Since this was a Sing-Along version, we were able to follow along with the words and sign out loud! Very few people in our showing did that. Except my friend Meeghan. She sang out-loud. Loudly!


Just kidding Meg's! 


I know The Short Chic and her friends enjoyed signing along and using their microphones!


We had so much fun watching The Birthday Girl and her friends as they Showed Their Disney Side! 

Are we the only one's who love Disney Princesses? Did you know that Disney has Eleven "Official Princesses"? Can you name them?


Friday, February 28, 2014

Tammy's Disney Side

I am not the only person I know showing their Disney Side. A few of my friends have recently shown their Disney Side. In honor of Disney’s latest campaign, “Show Your Disney Side” and @Home Celebrations, I am showing a few other celebrations I have recently been a part of. You can show your at DisneySide.com.



This lady had a birthday this week. We celebrated in the office by doing a “Week of Birthday”. She got a small gift every day of the week.

On Monday she was given a simple roll of Mickey Mouse Duct Tape. {Have you checked out all the cool patterned Duct Tape available?} Along with the Duct Tape, I sent her this link to make your own Duct Tape Wallet.


She went home that night and made a Mickey Mouse Duct Tape Wallet. I have never seen someone so excited over a roll of tape!


In addition to Mickey Mouse party lights on Tuesday when Tammy came to work she found hanging above her cubical a bunch of Mickey Mouse Decorations. She was tickled to death! Tammy says the decorations will now stay up till 2022. That is the year she will retire.  And the year I will cry. Thank goodness that is eight years away and I don’t have to think about it now.


Wednesday we had to give her two days worth of presents because she decided to take a day off work. Besides Mickey Mouse the thing that she likes the best is Coca-Cola. So, what a better combination than a Mickey Mouse Tumbler with a 12 pack of Coke? She could not think of a better combination!


On our final day of celebrating her, she got a Mickey Mouse candy jar full of her third favorite thing in the world; dark chocolate:  Dark Chocolate M and M’s, Dark Chocolate Lindor Truffles, and Dark Chocolate Dove Promises.  If you ever want to see a happy coworker, fill her favorite candy jar up with her favorite guilty pleasure!


Happy Birthday, Tammy! I hope you have a wonderful year full of good surprises all year long!

Disclosure:

I received free products in order to host the Disney Side@Home Celebrations. The opinions expressed here are my own.