The Chanukah Festivities, that is. Because before you turn around,
Chanukah'll be here, ringing the doorbell and needing all sorts of things, like
candles and oil and latkes and donuts and presents and more presents and songs
and school plays and teacher gifts and if you don't start at least planning now,
you're just going to wind up ripping the doorbell off the front of your house,
and then you won't hear the UPS guy coming and your packages will be rerouted
back to the distribution center where you'll have to go and pick them up (this
actually happened) and let me tell you, those UPS centers, they're never in a
So please, I'm begging you, start thinking about Chanukah now and you'll
spare us both from having to sit through another run-on sentence like that. It
But what was pretty today, or rather pretty fun, was building a menorah out
of lego. I had been telling my boys that we should build a menorah out of lego,
thinking we'd use the bigger sized Duplo legos and make it easy. They thought I
meant their teeny-tiny lego and were devastated to hear they were wrong. So the
teeny-tiny lego menorah will be tomorrow's project. But here's today's - and it
came out kind of cute. It lasted all of three minutes, until the baby saw we
were playing with her stuff and started yelling "mine, mine!" and knocked it all
over. But at least we got a picture.
Doesn't my carpet look so clean? I so love just vaccumed carpet.
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I'm not sure where the whole last week went, but I do know we went to see
The Muppets this past Thursday and I have to say, it was fantastic. Josh and I
were laughing out loud and I even got all teary-eyed at the end. The kids, not
so much. See, here's the thing. If you're in your thirties, then chances are,
you grew up with Kermit and Piggy and Fozzy and Beaker and feel close to them,
almost like old childhood friends. If you're not in your thirties, then you don't
really know the muppets as well as you should. But this movie assumes you have a
working knowledge of the muppets, so if you are just introducing yourself,
definitely start with The Muppet Movie
, move on to The Great Muppet Caper
the trilogy with The Muppets Take Manhattan
. Then go see this movie.
My oldest kid loved it, he laughed and laughed and pretty much memorized
the movie from seeing it once. My five year old liked the musical parts but was
bored silly the rest of the time and spend that time working his way through a
soda, a bag of twizzlers, some m&ms, a huge thing of popcorn and then a
stomachache. My three year old saw the previews for the upcoming Alvin
and the Chipmunks movie, laughed her head off and thought the movie was over and
it was time to leave. She was not happy to hear that the real movie hadn't even
started yet. She spent her time crunching the popcorn on the floor with her
shoes and hogging the m&ms, much to the consternation of her five year old
brother who kept asking where the m&ms were.
So what were we
grateful for this Thanksgiving? Mostly that the
theater was pretty empty so that it didn't matter if we made a lot of noise. One
goal to add to our New Year's Resolutions - teach the kids to whisper.
Anyway, if you have been following along, you will know that the whole Cookie Tuesday
thing seems to have fallen by the wayside. I've
been thinking about what happened and I think there were two reasons. One, it
was the summer and just so hot in my air-conditionerless kitchen, so the less
the oven was on, the better for everyone. And secondly, I have been trying to
cut back on the treats sitting around on my counter. My kids are chocolate chip
cookie lovers, so I make those for lunchbox snacks. But the other cookies were
mostly just sitting and talking to me. Instead of just walking away, I was
talking back to them, engaging them in conversation and then eating them so they
wouldn't feel bad, and that was not working out well for my dieting ambitions.
So instead of Cookie Tuesday, I am introducing Soup of the Week. I'd like to say
it would be Soupy Sunday or something like that but committing to a certain day
is way too much pressure right now. So Soup of the Week it is.
And this debut soup is an oldy but a goody. Weight Watchers Zero Point
Soup. I used to eat this all the time and I am pretty sure I was skinny when I
used to eat this, so I'm going with this one. The original recipe can be found
on the Weight Watchers website. Here is my version. I played around with it and
added a few more zero point vegetables to make the soup thicker, but it's still
Jen's Zero Point Soup
1 onion, sliced thinly
10 baby carrots, cut in thirds
1 container of fresh mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 bag of cole slaw
1/2 of a 20 oz bag of frozen green beans
3 tablespoons of tomato paste
1 teaspoon of pareve soup mix 6 cups water
2 zucchinis, washed and diced, but not peeled.
Spray a large pot with cooking spray and add the onions, carrots, mushrooms
and garlic. Saute for 5 minutes or until the onion starts to get soft and the
mushroom shrink in size. Add the cole slaw mix, the green beans, the soup mix,
the tomato paste and the water. Mix well and bring to a boil. Allow the soup to
simmer for 20 minutes, then add the zucchini and simmer for another 10 minutes
or until the carrots are cooked through.
The soup is yummy, fills me up, and best of all, no one else in my house
likes it, so it's all for me!
You can throw out all your other banana bread recipes, because this one was
so good, it was gone before I could take a picture of it in the pan. The best I got was the
inside of one of the snack bags the kids put into their lunchboxes for the next
I won't make you wait by telling a whole long story, so here's the recipe.
It takes about three minutes to throw together, unless your bananas aren't
overripe yet. Then it'll probably take three days.
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and spray a loaf pan with cooking spray.
In the bowl of your standing mixer, add 2 ripe bananas, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup oil
and 1/3 cup milk or soymilk. Mix well. Add in 1 cup sugar, 1 tsp baking soda and
1 and 3/4 cups flour. Mix again. Pour into the pan and bake for 45 minutes. At that
point, my banana bread was not done, but it was getting very brown on top
and my kids don't like that. I tented the pan with foil in the oven and let it
bake for another 10 minutes and by that time, a toothpick that I poked into the
bread came out clean.
I can't say if this bread freezes well or even stays fresh for the next
day. But I can tell you that it's one heck of an after-school snack.
Brownies are our go-to Shabbos lunch dessert, specifically Duncan Hines
brownies, as Josh believes that no brownie made from scratch can beat a Duncan
Hines one. After years of trying, I've given up. Which is fine, because I don't
really love the taste of Duncan Hines anything, so the less I eat, the better. Works for
Then yesterday, my nursery girl asked if we could make cupcakes instead of
brownies this week. I said sure, either way, I'm mixing something from a box.
But to make these yellow-cake-mix-cupcakes a tiny drop more interesting, baby
and I added sprinkles.
We threw some rainbow sprinkles on top.
Baby ate her share of the sprinkles. One. Sprinkle. At. A. Time.
And out came these - tie dyed cupcakes. I guess when sprinkles get hot enough, they melt. I thought they'd sink to the bottom of the cupcakes, but this is way better.
So fun. And so by accident.
These can also be called crazy rainbow cupcakes. And if you call them
that, you can use them instead of the rainbow cake
we made a few weeks ago.
These are much easier. Go for it.
Don't be shy! If you like what you read, leave a comment please!
Can you believe that in exactly one week from today, the new Muppet movie, The Muppets
, will be in theaters? That's only seven days away!!! And my kids are
so excited. Well, they're kind of excited, 'cause for them, it's more about the
idea of someone buying them soda and popcorn and licorice, than about the actual
muppets. And why is that? It's because this movie is not really for the kids,
it's for every thirty-something adult who is insanely, if quietly, excited to
revisit (parts of) their childhood and is just taking along the kiddies because
it's weird to go to a rated G movie without small people.
My whole family is going - parents, brothers, uncles, aunts, cousins - this
family Thanksgiving tradition, a movie and maybe some pizza. We did it
for years, until my kids were born. It's somewhat frowned upon to bring a crying
newborn to the movies (although now that I am a seasoned mom, I know that the
insanely loud movie would have made the kid stop crying), but now that the kids
are a drop older, Muppets, here we come!
It's been so long since Josh or I have been to a movie that I was quite
shocked to learn that most everybody - except all those moms, who like me, haven't left the house in years - buy their tickets online. It's like buying an airline ticket, also something I have not done in years.
Anyway, in celebration of this momentous occasion, we will be making Kermit
Cupcakes to eat at our happily-turkey-free-Thanksgiving-feast. Yup, you
heard me right! Cupcakes that look (hopefully) like Kermit. So get ready,
because that's the plan for this Sunday. Check back to see the fun!
I just love Beaker so much.
Oh, and just as an aside, have you seen the trailer? Fu-nnny. Apparently Fozzy has shoes that fart (sorry, Aunt Cathy, I mean, pass gas). A word to the wise - make sure your kids go to the bathroom before the movie starts. I don't want to have to run back to the van for the emergency underwear when they start laughing so hard they can't hold it in. Good tip, Uncle Josh.
Don't be shy! If you like what you see, leave a comment!
What a difference a year makes. Last year, when we went away for the
weekend with Josh's school, my kids trashed the hotel room, the drive took twice
as long as it should have and once back home, we (I) didn't unpack for weeks.
You can see all the fun we had here
We vacationed with the school once again, this past weekend, and now we're
back. I still haven't unpacked, but we've only been back home 36 hours, so I
think I'm still okay.
One of the deals Josh and I made before we left, was that he needed to
vacuum out the car. I was very much opposed to sitting in a car with all the
kids and the huge mess that is our everyday life in the van. It's one thing for
cheerios to fall out of the car when the kids get out of the car at the dropoff
line. It's quite another to spend hours in the car, having no where to put your
feet because there are so many empty water bottles on the floor and watching
granola bar wrappers tumble out at a rest stop on the NY Thruway.
So Josh vacuumed, and you can see the clean carpet here, slightly.
Twenty minutes into the drive, I kid you not, this is what the car looked like. You can
shake your head. I did.
This is where we pulled over when someone had to go now and there was no
bathroom in sight.
And this is why he had to go now. Josh and his Super Big Gulps. You can shake your
head here too. I did.
This year's weekend away was an entirely different experience, both good
and bad. The kids, obviously, are a year older, so the things they found
fascinating and I used to distract them (look, it's you in the mirror!) last
year didn't really work this year. The baby too, a year older, had a whole other
set of issues. Last year, she was (somewhat) content to sit in her stroller and
just watch. This year, at twenty months old, she is more of a mover and a runner
and climber and a faller. And there were lots and lots of steps and ramps and
couches and tables and water coolers to climb and run and jump on. On the bright
side, the kids were able to stay up later without falling apart, and their table
manners were slightly better than they were last year. Oh, and there was only
one incidence of vomiting this year, so we're making progress.
You know, it's funny. We drove and drove and drove and the baby repeated her refrain
of "owwt! holllle me!" pretty much the entire way there. And at some point, the highway
turns to road and it looked like you have completely left civilization. Or New York. When
in reality, you have left neither. And you wanna know how I know. Because at the
turnoff before the hotel, this is what greeted us:
Of course we stopped, you don't even have to ask. It was a SuperCenter for goodness
sakes. We haven't been to a good Walmart SuperCenter since we lived in Phoenix,
back before we had kids and shopping meant actual shopping and not sprinting through
the store like your panties are on fire.
So yeah, the kids had a blast and were so exhausted when we got home, that all four
of them were sound asleep by 6pm last night, which for me, was the best part.
And, and, one of my boys even slept until 7:45am this morning,
completely unheard of in this house of children who wake before the dawn.
The sleepfest did make us late for school, so instead of worrying and
yelling and making everyone eat breakfast and get dressed faster, I just let it
be. Then I patted myself on the back for being a mommy who thinks before she
We mosied on out of the house at about 9am and because sometimes it takes a
totally laid back morning to remember how cute and sweet and cherished your kids
are, we made ourselves even later for school, and stopped at Dunkin Donuts. And
$4 later, I had four oh-so-happy little kids. Sometimes it just takes a donut
to remember how little it takes to make them happy.
Thanks so much for stopping by! If you like what you've read, leave a comment please!
Remember my Wipe. Flush. Wash. sign from last week?
Well, it was feautured on Roca and Company,
another mommy blog, today!
You can see it here. Thanks Carmen, you made my day!
There was no school yesterday and it was a long day. A long long day. We
did stickers, we colored, we glued things, we watched tv, we looked through all
the holiday catalogues that arrive in the mail every single day and circled all
the toys we want someone to buy us for Chanukah. We also played outside before, after
and while my bro was here for a while. We even made chocolate chip cookies.
I'm not sure how this is possible, but it was still only 2pm.
And in the later afternoon, when things really started to really get crazy,
we made dinner. It was only three o'clock, but it seemed like the right
time to do it. So we did. Together.
Sometimes you just have to say all in because really, has there ever been a
mess so big that you haven't been able to clean up?
Having said that, this is what we made - hush puppies. Or at least this is
what I thought hush puppies were. Turns out, not so much. We made hotdogs
wrapped up in dough, but when I googled "hush puppies recipe" I got something
that was a cross between deep fried corn dogs and hot dogs wrapped in mashed
potatoes and boiled. I do believe, though, that the main theme through all the
recipes that came up were sticks. Ours weren't that complicated and did not
include corn, potatoes or oil. They almost included sticks but then I got
nervous after I stuck the skewers* in, I thought the kids would hurt themselves
when they bit into the hotdogs, so I took them out.
Either way, this is what we did, following no recipe:
Open up a package of hotdogs and count the hotdogs. I was sure there were 8
so I divided my dough into 8 pieces, but there were only 7 hotdogs. Didn't
hotdogs used to come in packs of 8?
Anyway, make a batch of dough, using this recipe
or use some premade pizza
dough - Trader Joe's has awesome pizza dough for 99cents, you really can't beat
that - or use refrigerated crescent dough, and if you can find one that is both
kosher and pareve, can you tell me what brand it is, please?
Divide the dough into seven pieces and roll each pieces into a long strand,
about 16 inches long. Stating at the top, wrap the dough around the hotdog and
place on a foil covered cookie sheet. Brush the dough with a beaten egg and bake
in a 400 degree preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until the dough is
Allow the hotdogs to cool for a good while because they get really hot
inside their little dough homes. I served these with cole slaw and leftover
roasted sweet potatoes and cauliflower and it went over well, if I do say so
*If you are not skewer-phobic like I am, and you are using wooden
skewers, make sure to soak them in water for 30 minutes before putting them into
the oven, otherwise they may burn.
Thanks so much for stopping by! If you like what you've read, leave a comment, please!
I made these a few months back for my 6 year old's birthday party at Home
Depot. If you've been following along, you'll know what I am talking about. If
you're new here (welcome!) then you can see everything about that really fun
party right here
My son had requested that we have a barbecue at his party, but since it was
to be held inside
the Home Depot, I wasn't really sure how to pull that off. So
we made these hamburger cupcakes and cookie french fries instead and they
were a hit. And I know that there are several mommies in my son's class who did
not believe me that these were really easy to make, so I'll show you.
The original idea came from Bakerella
and I pretty much followed her
directions exactly (for once!).
I baked a batch of Duncan Hines cupcakes using the yellow cake mix, but
followed the directions for the pound cake on the side of the box, using a box
of vanilla pudding, extra eggs and whatever else that recipe calls for.
Then I baked two boxes of Duncan Hines brownies, the cakey kind, not the fudgy
kind, because as much as I love a good fudgy brownie, I needed them to hold
While the cupcakes and the brownies were cooling, I made the frosting.
Using one larger size container of Duncan Hines vanilla frosting, I tinted most
of it green using the green colored food gel colors from Wilton. The rest (about
6 tablespoons worth) I tinted ketchup colored, using red and purple gel food
colors in a 3:1 ratio - so that would be 3 drops of red to 1 drop of purple.
Once your cupcakes are cooled, slice them in half horizontally, to make
them look like hamburger buns. If I had had a little more time, I probably would
have cut them in thirds and discarded the middle piece so that the buns were not
quite so thick, but it worked out fine this way too.
Then, using a round cookie cutter or a glass cup the same size as your
buns, cut out circles from the brownies. I was able to get 12 brownies from each
pan of brownies, which worked out well because I had baked 24 cupcakes to begin
As Bakerella suggests, you'll know what do with the brownie scraps. I have faith in you.
Remove the top half of each bun and place a brownie burger on each cupcake
bottom. Fill a sandwich bag with the green icing and if you have a cake
decorating tip and a coupler to attach the tip to the bag, go for it. Well,
actually, go for it before you fill the bag with icing - but if you have the
coupler and tip you would already know that. If you don't have those items and
have no idea what I am talking about, no sweat! Just fill the bag with icing,
twist the top of the bag closed and snip a teeny-tiny corner off of the bag.
When you squeeze the bag, the icing will flow out if that tip.
Or, and here's what I did - it was 11pm and I couldn't find any couplers. But
I could find the cake decorating tip - so I improvised. Get some good 'ole duct
tape and attach the tip to the bag with tape. Perfect.
Pipe lettuce onto each brownie. Then do the same with the red icing. Pipe
ketchup. Replace the top of the cupcake on to the brownie, pressing down very
lightly so the lettuce and ketchup icing flows out of the sides a little.
I stuck a toothpick into each cupcake at this point just as a little
insurance policy. I really didn't want the tops sliding off of the brownies
because of the icing.
Then take your super-expensive and tiny jar of sesame seeds and marvel at the
cost of so few seeds. Brush the tops of your burger buns with a small amount of
water and sprinkle the sesame seeds on top. Delight in the fact that they now
look like actual hamburgers.
Place all your hamburger cupcakes in pans and set them aside. On to the french fries.
First, I want to say that the template for the adorable french fries holder
came from here
. It was probably more time consuming to put together the
envelopes for the french fries than it was to make the fries.
The second thing I would like to point out is that having a Silpat mat when
baking these or any cookies is really the way to go. These mats are made of
silicone, can be placed in an oven that is up to 500 degrees and don't allow
your cookies to stick to the pan. They also help the cookies bake to an even
color. I don't know why and I don't really care, but I do know that I love them.
So go, go now and pick up a few for yourself. Go ahead, I'll wait.
Start by mixing up a batch of Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix, using the recipe for the
roll out cookies. Divide the dough in thirds and roll out the dough onto the
Silpat mats, baking one batch at a time if you have only one Silpat mat.
Once the dough is rolled out onto the Silpat, use a knife or a pizza cutter
to cut the dough into french fries. Starting from the long side of the dough.
cut narrow lines vertically through the dough, making long thin french fries.
Then make one horizontal cut through the long side of the dough, in the center,
cutting all the french fries in half. Sprinkle the cookie dough with a nice
amount of sugar.
Right when they come out of the oven, hold onto the pan (use an oven mit,
please!) and with the same knife or cookie cutter, recut the initial line that
you made before you baked the cookies. Sprinkle with a nice amount of sugar
again and let cool. My cookies spread in the oven a little more than I had
liked, so I used the pizza cutter to cut those in half, vertically, again, while
they were still hot and before they got crunchy.
Once they cooled off, I piled them all into a pan and baked the next batch.
Once all the french fries were done, I packed them into the little holders and
off we went to the party.
Wait, that's not true, We didn't go right off to the party. The party was three days later.
But the good news is that I stored all the cupcakes, covered, in the fridge and the
cookies, covered, high up in one of my cabinets where no one would look to find
them, and they were still fresh and very tasty the morning of the party.
Thanks so much for reading! If you like what you saw, please leave a comment!
If you've ever done any laundry, you know that, at best, one sock will be
missing when the load comes out the dryer. At worst, one sock of every pair will
be missing. I've never understood this, I cannot explain it and I doubt science
will ever come up with a plausible explanation either. It's just one of those
things that has to be accepted on faith.
Having said that, there also exists the phenomenon of socks seeming to be
mateless when in fact, one sock wound up in the laundry while the other did not.
I can blame this on the kids, but if we're being honest with each other, this is
learned behavior. From their father. And I know that this is inherited from Josh
because I don't wear the large black dress socks that I find next to the bed, on
the bathroom floor, in the living room or under the computer desk. It's been
almost nine years since we got married and nine years since I began finding socks in random
places, so I have just accepted this, made peace and moved on.
However, I refuse to spend my life buying socks, so whenever I find a sock
that has no buddy, I stick it in one of the drawers of my nightstand and hope
for the best. Once in a great while, or when I cannot jam one more sock into the
drawer, I will dump the whole load of socks into a bucket and sort. I really
dislike sorting. My five year old, on the other hand, loves sorting, Sadly, he
was in school when the drawer overflowed and I kind of thought that signing him
out early to do laundry would be a misuse of the school's sign-out sheet.
This is the bucket of socks before the sorting and pairing began. We were done two hours later.
I could have spent those two hours going to Target and buying new socks -
and dumping my bin of unpaired socks in someone's Dumpster on the way, but that
would be wrong. Both the buying and the dumping would be wrong. So I didn't.
Baby and I sorted, paired, made a huge mess and came up with this. A bucket of
deliciously sorted socks.
And the goddess of all things laundry wept with joy.
Thanks for reading! If you like what you've read, leave a comment please!