Saturday, October 29, 2011

Owl Cupcakes

I just got done making these cute Owl Cupcakes for a Halloween party. (I borrowed the photo from the site that gave me the idea). I used this chocolate cupcake recipe and this chocolate buttercream frosting recipe. Aren't they cute and festive?  (And quite easy)!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cheddar Bacon Dip

Try this. It's so good and so easy.
 I'd love to say that I adapted it...but I didn't. It's good the way it is.

(Click on the picture to link to the recipe on Crumbs and Chaos).

Cheddar Bacon Dip

16 oz sour cream
1 packet Ranch dressing mix
3 oz Bacon Bits (the kind in the bag, not the jar)
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Mix together and refrigerate for 24 hours.  Serve with crackers, chips or veggies. 

Monday, October 24, 2011


A couple of videos of Aubrey demonstrating her love of playing on the ottoman.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pumpkin Patch

Like many families, we have an annual tradition of going to a pumpkin patch. Of course, it doesn't always work out the way I envision it.

Our day was all planned out. Tyler's soccer game at 9 am, with the remainder of the day in Hesston including a trip to the pumpkin patch. But, when we arrived at 8:45 for the game and found out that the time was changed to 11:15, we had to change all of our day's plans. 

I had my heart set on going to the pumpkin patch that day. So, we still went, but waited until evening. Aubrey was a bit fussy (she started a head cold this week), about 10 minutes before they closed, Tyler told me that he was sooooo hungry ("because, I'm always hungry, Mom"), and Wayne was not terribly excited about going to begin, perhaps it was okay that we didn't have a whole lot of time there this year. Believe it or not, everyone did seem to enjoy themselves while we were there.

We checked out a new patch - Papa's Pumpkin Patch.

Tyler enjoyed going down the "slide."

The little lady

Aren't we cute little flowers?

I didn't realize until today that Wayne captured this one. Ha! :)

Afterwards, we were happy that Ted and Sue could roll with our change in plans. We met at El Cerrito and enjoyed a delicious meal. What a nice ending to the day.  :)


While Tyler practices soccer, Aubrey and I walk the paths through the woods or around the pond. At  Thursday evening's soccer practice, a 4 year-old girl cozied up to Aubrey. Aubrey was not excited to have another little mommy trying to herd her around, so it was hard to get a good picture of the two of them. But, I took a few pictures anyway. It was a great evening to be outside, enjoying the crisp fall weather.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Came across this website today...and not only are the recipes intriguing, I really enjoyed her writing. And writing about bribing her kids reminded me of my recent post about Tyler's incentive chart. I never said that "my kid will never"__________, but I have done and said things I didn't think that I would. :)

In any case, she has some fun and tasty-looking seasonal recipes that I'd like to try too...
Full disclosure here - I'm only allowing myself to eat sugar (and things that are high in carbs) one day a I don't bake or make sweets nearly as often as I used to. So, I may not get to these...but a girl can dream. :) (And make things for other people).

(click on the picture for the link)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

21 Months

At 21 months, Aubrey is talking more (in words we can understand) :) - and on October 1, started nodding yes and saying "uh huh" instead of saying "no" in answer to every question. This was quite a happy thing for Wayne and I, as it makes communicating much easier!

Elmo and "Coco" (cookie monster) have captured Aubrey's heart. No, to be more accurate, are quite an obsession of hers. She often asks to watch Elmo (Sesame Street), listen to Elmo in the car, and read Elmo books at bedtime and in between.
Her blankie and pacifier at nap and bedtime are essentials.

She is eating more foods, but is generally adamant that she feed herself.

She is still enamored with dogs, and really, any animals. She also loves babies. She gets a little pout quite often, but when she thinks a baby or animal is sweet, she pushes her lower lip out, cocks her head to the side and makes little "ohhh" sounds. It is quite sweet. She gives sweet hugs with a pat, and lots of kisses too - sometimes with her pacifier still in place.

She continues to be a very active girl, with little fear. She keeps us on our toes! :)

The Park

A trip to the park...

Celebrating with the Stuckeys

Friday night, Ted and Sue came to celebrate Tyler's birthday. We hadn't seen each other since our trip to Indiana, so it was nice to catch up and spend time together.

Tyler, opening a present.

Aubrey, trying on Grandpa Ted's coat.

Tyler had originally requested a peanut cake for his birthday. He explained that he wanted it in the shape of a peanut, with peanut butter frosting. We hadn't made a cake for his birthday party, so I decided to make a cake for Friday night. (I didn't make it in the shape of a peanut, though). I chose a couple of simple recipes that used ingredients I had on hand. So, I was able to make this between doing laundry, soccer practice, baths, supper, etc on Thursday evening. It's that easy! And, it was tasty.


Nonstick vegetable oil spray
3 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups water
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9-inch cake pans with nonstick spray. Line  pan bottoms with parchment paper. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Whisk in liquid ingredients until batter is smooth. (I just used my stand mixer, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl frequently). Divide into pans (scant 3 cups each).

Bake until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out wiht a few crumbs still attached, about 28 minutes. Cool cakes in pans 15 minutes. Cut around cakes and turn out onto racks. Peel off parchment paper and cool.

-Adapted from

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons milk, or as needed
2 cups confectioner's sugar
1/4 teaspoon maple flavoring (optional)

Combine butter and peanut butter and beat until mixed well. Add confectioner's sugar and maple flavoring. Beat to combine. Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until it reaches the desired consistency.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sausage and Lentil Soup

Today was rainy and cool and called for a simmering pot of soup. We started making this soup last winter, and it quickly became a favorite of Wayne and mine, and I'm surprised to see that I haven't shared it yet. If you like it a little less spicy, you can omit the red pepper flakes and use a less spicy sausage.

Sausage and Lentil Soup
Adapted from Heather Gingerich/Siloam Fellowship cookbook

1 pound Italian sausage, sliced and casing removed
1 T oil
2 carrots, diced
1 lg onion, chopped
2 cloves crushed garlic
3 stalks celery, diced

In a stock pot, brown the sausage, then remove from the pan. Add a little oil, about 1 T, to the pan. Add the carrot, celery, onion and garlic. Saute until tender. Add the sausage to the vegetables.
8 c chicken broth
2 large cans (28-oz) petit diced tomatoes
2 c dried lentils (rinsed and drained)
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
1 bay leaf

Simmer until lentils are tender, 30-45 minutes. Remove the bay leaf. Remove 1/3 of the soup and puree it, then return it to the pot. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Ice Cream Cake

Ice Cream Cake
Adapted from a recipe from my Aunt Joye

2 (1/2-gallon) containers ice cream
     (Tyler picked Cappuccino Chunky Chocolate and Cookies and Cream)
1 cup chocolate chips
2 cups crushed Oreo cookies (frosting removed)
1/2 jar hot fudge topping, warmed (optional)
1 8-oz container Cool Whip

* In the microwave, melt the chocolate chips. Mix well with Oreo crumbs. Spread on waxed paper to cool and then break apart.
* In a 10-inch spring form pan, spread 1 container softened ice cream. Spread the hot fudge topping on top of the ice cream then sprinkle with the Oreo and chocolate mixture. If you'd like, only sprinkle 2 cups of the crumbs and reserve the remaining to decorate the top of the cake.
* Freeze for at least 30 minutes. Add the second container ice cream. Freeze for at least 4 hours.
* Remove the sides of the spring-form pan. (You may run a little warm water on the side to loosen). Return to freezer until firm.
* Spread Cool Whip evenly over the top and sides and freeze again before decorating.

Tyler is 7!

On Thursday, October 6, Tyler turned 7. Since he had soccer practice on his actual birthday, Wednesday we went out to eat at the restaurant of his choice (barring fast food options). He picked Texas Roadhouse.

Aubrey enjoyed dancing to the music.

We need to practice proper behavior at sit down restaurants...

On his birthday, I brought treats to his class. I thought it was sweet how excited they all were for a little treat.
He excitedly told me how people had been singing Happy Birthday to him throughout the day.

That evening, he opened his presents from us.

Opening his own tennis racquet. He wondered whether we had just wrapped up a racquet we already had. ;) I explained that Daddy played through high school and college and now he would be able to learn with his own kid-sized racquet.

Saturday, he celebrated with his friends at All Star Sports. We had intended to play mini-golf and ride the go-carts. Both outdoor activities. But, after a summer of drought...yesterday afternoon, it rained and rained. Sooo, we adjusted our plans to indoor activities. Laser Tag and arcade games.

Taking a break to eat.

Opening presents.

Back at home, the Pankratz's and Jaberg's joined us for ice cream cake.

Otto & Huey Pankratz and Aubrey playing a counting game on the iPad.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Remembering Grandpa Wayne

This weekend was the Memorial service honoring the life of Grandpa Wayne B Stuckey. We really enjoyed spending time together as family. It was good to be able to share memories, cry, and laugh together.

My parents knew Wayne, and came down as well. As my mom said, "it's hard to imagine Billie or Wayne without the other." Exactly. I feel the same way.

I put together a video of photos from the weekend, followed by photos from the memorial service.