Thursday, September 30, 2010

Cookies in a Jar

Don't they look so CUTE?
As I searched and searched the Internet for a "Cookie in the Jar" recipe I did not anticipate that it was going to be so difficult. My girls were going to be handing these out as party favors for their birthday party and we needed the recipe now! The few recipes I found (and tried) would NOT fit into my jar! This were just average size mason jars you can pick them up almost anywhere, I am not sure what these other people were using but the ingredients did NOT fit. After much frustration and finally succeeding we were VERY happy with this recipe from All Recipes. The ingredients was easy, it all fit into the jar nicely and we enjoyed the taste of the cookies very much! (Yes, we had to bake a batch too, because what if they didn't taste good, why would we want to hand them out to all their friends!) 

The recipe above pretty much explains it all! Buy some mason jars, get all the ingredients (you need kind of a lot, we made 12 of them), and then start your assembly line and fill, fill, fill. These are GREAT party favors, teacher gifts and of course they work wonderful for Christmas time. Pass them around to the neighbors too (they will love 'em). We bought some cheap fabric and cut into nice 6"x6" squares, get yourself some cute ribbon and you are ready to go! Below is the "actual" recipe that MUST be attached to the jar, so your friends and family will know how to make the cookies after you pass them out. Just print these out and attach either to the back, staple to the fabric or glue to the actual mason jar. Just make a few of these up and you are ONE step ahead of the game when it comes time to pass out teacher gifts at school, holidays are just around the corner and will be here before you know it (how CUTE would these be with the NEW fall M&M's I just spotted at Target yesterday!!!)

(click on this photo and print out to attach to cookie jar)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Shrinkvivor Challenge (Week 2 - DOWN .2)

BLACK TEAM ROCKED IT THIS WEEK, we survived week 2 !!!
Another week behind us, and even with a birthday party, I survived. So, week 2 down and 5 more weeks to go! The BLACK TEAM had a few inner-challenges of our own and some I made and some I didn't. Our challenges this week were "minutes of exercise" and "NO fast food"; then we added "rolling out of bed for 10 minutes of sit-ups/floor exercise" and "trying to reach 120-200 minutes of exercise each day".
WATER - WATER - WATER I still tried to hit the 120oz of water (challenge from week 1) and I can say about half way through the week, I was SO sick of water. But I picked it back up and I can honestly say WATER does help with weight loss. So, DRINK YOUR WATER!
MINUTES OF EXERCISE... I was doing SO well at the beginning of the week. Each day I get in 35 minutes of Boot Camp and I up'd the minutes by adding in walking, exercise DVD or swimming. I did not reach my OWN challenge of doing 120-200 minutes of exercise each day, but I can tell you I DOUBLED my exercise everyday this week and it felt GREAT! Although not showing on the scale as much as it did last week (with a loss of 4.2), I can really start to tell in my clothes feeling so much looser. (and people are starting to noticed, that is a sure sign you can tell you are loosing weight; when people notice).
NO FAST FOOD: enough said. I DID IT! I really did not go through one drive through this week and not even one restaurant either. So, proud of myself.
ROLL OUT OF BED EXERCISE: this is such a great habit, and well exactly that it MUST become a habit. Somedays I was able to roll right out of bed onto the floor and do some sit-ups and other days I was running late and did try to do them right before bed. I even went to bed at 2am on the night of my twins sleep-over and there I was at 2am on the floor doing my exercises. I was proud and need to continue to PUSH myself to do this everyday!
The SHRINKVIVIOR CHALLENGE is helping me to PUSH MYSELF when I am tired, PUSH MYSELF when I don't want to do that extra 30 minutes of exercise and PUSH MYSELF that extra step because I know my tribe members are pushing themselves too and it's a TEAM EVENT and I want to be a strong team member. Today is weight in and all week I have done TWICE as much exercise as last week, ate LESS food and the scale was NOT my friend this morning. I only lost .2 lbs. Now, I ask was this my body saying....
"HOLD ON WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" (I LOST 4.4 lbs last week)
"WAS THIS MY LACK OF EXERCISE?" (No, I did DOUBLE the exercise this week)
"WAS IT BIRTHDAY PARTY FOOD?" (I did only taste everything, that can't be it)???
I am still not sure of the answer, but I do know in my heart I did EVERYTHING I could to loose weight and it just didn't happen this week. Am I giving up? HECK NO!! I really hope I make it another week with my tribe and NOT get sent to Exile Island, the daily emails from these ladies are SO valuable!

Total Weight Loss

Down 4.4 lbs

First Week’s Weight:
Today’s Weight:

this week loss:
Challenge goal weight (in 7 weeks):
Ultimate goal weight:

LIFE-TIME Goal would be to be in the 130’s, and yes I don’t even care if it’s 139. I am posting my weight here (because on The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans they say Coming to terms with the number on the scale can aid you in your weight-loss”)
Here's to 5 more weeks to go on this ULTIMATE SHRINKVIVOR CHALLENGE!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Pan-Fried Onion Dip

As promised, here is the recipe for Pan-Fried Onion Dip. This recipe was served at a Cheerleading Party and my girls just feel in love with it. They begged me to call the other cheer mom and get the recipe. Come to find out it was their favorite recipe, as it is ours now. The cheer mom (Susie) was happy to share with us and now it has become a staple at our home too. Anyone and everyone knows that if there is a party, bbq, get-together of almost any kind at our home we will be serving this YUMMY dip! I dare you to try it; just know that it will become your most requested dip too!

Pan Fried Onion Dip
from a friend Susie

2 large yellow onions
4 tbsp butter
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
8 oz (or 1 cup) cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise

Cut the onions in half, and then slice them into 1/8" half rounds. (about 3cups of onions). Heat the butter and oil in a large sauté' pan on medium heat. Add the onions, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper and sauté for at least 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally for 20 more minutes, until the onions are browned and caramelized. Allow onions to cool.  Place the cream cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until smooth. Add the onions and mix well. 

Serve with your favorite chips (our new favorite is veggie chips) and Enjoy!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Twins Birthday Party = TWO Cakes

As you know or just read (via my blog) my twins just turned 17 years old this past Saturday (needless to say busy weekend)! And this year first time EVER they asked for TWO cakes, and of course mom was happy to oblige. I was asked to make a FUNFETTI Cake (okay, easy, right out of a box!!!) and a CHOCOLATE BANANA CAKE (that one, not quite so easy)! I think the second one my daughter just pulled out of her head, I have never ever made a Chocolate Banana Cake and we have never even eaten a Chocolate Banana Cake. I headed right over to my trusty little Internet search and WOOLA... a Chocolate Banana Cake from the Joy of Baking.

The parties were a blast, yes BOTH parties! We had a daytime party for close family & friends. We played baseball (and had baseball cupcakes, of course); grilled hotdogs, ate cracker jacks and cotton candy. I made the girls their all-time favorite dip (Pan-Fried Onion Dip...posting tomorrow) and G'ma made her famous yummy potatoes (I'll have to post that recipe soon too). Then in the evening the girls had their 12 closest friends come over for a sleep-over and some COOKING FUN (I can't wait to post what they did... let's just say COOKING SCAVENGER HUNT and BBQ PIZZAS).

Funfetti Bundt Cake
not much needs to be said (it's just perfect right out of the box)
We did use a homemade frosting (see below for recipe)!
Buttercream Frosting

3 sticks butter, softened
2 lbs. powdered sugar (approx. 7 cups)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
whipping cream or 1/2 and 1/2 – enough to thin frosting to desired consistency

Beat butter in mixer on medium high  for 2-3 minutes or until pale and creamy.  Reduce speed to medium and add sugar, 1/2 cup at a time.  Beat well after each addition increasing speed to high after all sugar is added. Add vanilla and food coloring if desired.  Beat until buttercream is smooth.  Can be refrigerated for several days if covered.  If refrigerating, bring to room temperature before using and beat on low until smooth.

Chocolate Banana Cake
we did NOT use the Chocolate Frosting in Joy of Baking recipe
my daughter LOVES LOVES the Buttercream Frosting (recipe above)

Chocolate Banana Cake
found over at Joy of Baking

2 cups granulated white sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 medium sized bananas)
1 cup warm water
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place rack in the center of the oven. Butter, or spray with a non stick vegetable spray, a 9 x 13 inch pan. Set aside.  In a large bowl whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs, mashed bananas, water, milk, oil, and vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir, or whisk, until combined. You will notice that the batter is quite thin. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.   Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. When completely cooled, frost with Buttercream frosting (above).

Happy Birthday (once again girls).... until next year! HAVE AN AWESOME & BLESSED 17th year!

Saturday, September 25, 2010


To my beautiful daughters,

Kayley (left) & Ashlyn
10 months old
WOW, 17 years old today! This next year is gonna go by SO fast! This CRAZY MOM just wants to stop time; but I am also SO excited to watch you grow up into such AWESOME LADIES! I am so proud to be your mother. God has so many plans for you.... Dating, College, Dancing and so much more! I LOVE watching year after year the amazing things you do. I LOVE YOU BOTH SO MUCH!

My babies born September 25, 1993 (weighting in at 7lbs 8oz and 7lbs 12 oz; HUGE for twins)! You were AWESOME babies for me (and being a single mom) I was SO VERY grateful! You slept through the night at 6 weeks old, what more could a new mommy ask for! Sleeping, Eating, Napping all went so perfectly until you became a toddler and got a mind of your own!
The toddler years playing, fighting, biting. Oh yes, biting and then biting some more! You drew blood, made bruises on one another and wrestled each other to the ground. (Oh, wait SOMETHINGS haven't changed... JK).

Ashlyn (left) & Kayley
3 years old
Preschool began and you loved it. Loved playing with other kids and enjoyed going (most of the time). And since you guys wouldn't talk for forever and ever, you enjoyed taking your name tags off of each other and mixing the teacher up so she didn't know who was who (and you don't think you look alike, huh). And the times you weren't at preschool you spent with your Grandma (later nicknamed G'ma). You spent hours and hours with Grandma, days and days with Grandma too! (sometimes, mom just needed to get away for a weekend or two)

Then began your movie career (well it actually started with your first interview at 15 days old). And boy did we have a lot of fun taking you to movie sets when you were younger, they would spoil all the children on the sets (toys to play with, food and whatever you needed). You both enjoyed it too and the memories, the movies, VHS tapes and the videos you have from all the different acting things you did will be a cherished memory that you will have forever.  

Garrett, Ashlyn, Kayley, Brenda & Adam

Jessica, Nicole, Kayley & Ashlyn
your first slumber party
You have AMAZING Friends that you will have for a lifetime. I meet great moms in the Mothers of Twins Club (and still today most of my good friends are ladies I meet when I was pregnant with you two) and their children soon became your best friends. I am so happy that still today you have these WONDERFUL friendships that can never be taken away. These five people are your closest and dearest friends who I know will be there for you in the next coming year as you continue to grow and in the following years after that as you all make your way into young adulthood. The memories you have shared with these five people make up your entire life! Playing, Sleepovers, Camping, Vacationing, Dance/Cheer Competitions, Holidays, Disneyland, Just Hanging Out and so much more! And then when you were 11 years old we got to move onto the same street as the twins and now you've been able to grow up on the same street as your best friends, HOW AMAZING IS THAT?

Kayley (left) & Ashlyn
When you were 3 years old another AMAZING person came into your life, the person you call DAD! He has been there for you every step of the way, he adopted you and you are "his daughters". I thank God everyday for bringing you such a hard working and amazing daddy! You girls are SO LUCKY!!!

You have two terrific brothers too, (although you don't always get along) I know you all love each other and I can't wait to see how your relationships grow with one another as you become adults.

Kayley (left) & Ashlyn
First Dance Team "RugRats"

You two are so devoted to everything you do. I am so proud of you for being on a WORLDS dance team last year and coming in 2nd place, your team did amazing and ROCKED IT OUT!!! I can remember in the old days me trying and trying so hard to get you to like something. Anything. We tried it all. Baseball; you'd let the ball go right through your legs. Soccer; you BOTH had to be goalie at the same time and when you didn't feel like running down the field you would just walk off and take a break. Then we found "IT" the "IT" we had been waiting for and it was competitive cheer and competitive dance. And you LOVED it the first day you left the gym dripping in sweat and you said "when can we go back". You started at 8 years old and haven't stopped yet. We rearrange our entire life for cheer and dance competitions, we cancel vacations and come home early, we travel from California to Minnesota just to watch you get out there and dance your hearts out. And everyday you want it MORE... MORE.. and MORE!!! You have danced and cheered up to 6 days a week for 2 or 3 hours a day and you still want to go back for more. This has been your life. This is your passion and it's so good to see you LOVE and ENJOY it so much! (believe me there have been plenty of tears and hard aches along the way, but you get right back up and try harder)

Kayley (left) & Ashlyn
Worlds Dance Team - 2nd Place (2010)
I cannot even begin to tell you how proud of you I am in your school work. Achieving what you have from where you came from is beyond belief. I know you guys will do amazing things with your life and I am so excited about your future. This next year is going to be another amazing year of growth as you spend your last year as a child and become a young adult! GO GET’EM GIRLS!!! I LOVE YOU AND I AM SO PROUD TO BE YOUR MOM!

“But Jesus called the children to him and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Luke 18:16

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