"Friendship is born at the moment when one person says to another, 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one'."

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Joyeux Kitchen: Waffles Of Insane Greatness

I can't take credit for naming this recipe (or really anything about this recipe)--it's from Food Network, I know, huge surprise.  It's a family favorite for weekend mornings, and I've also used it for a girls' fondue night and it was spectacular.  If you think you've had good waffles you ain't seen nothin' yet.

Waffles of Insane Greatness
You'll need:
  • 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup whole milk or buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Butter and syrup, for serving
Combine the dry ingredients.  Add the wet ingredients, mix well, and then let the batter sit for 30 minutes before making your waffles.  My recipe notes: I always use buttermilk and I substitute canola oil for vegetable oil.  And I always make a double batch because the whole family goes back for seconds and thirds.  Happy weekend brunching!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Laundry Situation

Laundry for five is a daunting task.  Humorous really.  The sheer volume of it--absolutely laughable.  The hamper is always full.  Even if I can get it all washed and folded, it usually sits upstairs in stacks for a couple weeks without getting put away. 

Anyway, this is our normal laundry load that accumulates in two or three days (that's right, childless-readers--this is TWO DAYS of laundry).  I've definitely spotted a trend in the past year.  Notice anything?  Giant pile of towels.  Giant pile of the girls' clothing.  Nice sized stack of Doug's stuff.  All the kitchen dish towels and washies.  Then, see the teeny-weeny pile at the end of the bottom picture?  Yep, that's mine.  And that's the size of my pile every time I do laundry.  Socks and undies and usually running clothes, that's it.  I've minimized the amount of my own clothing that gets thrown in the wash, because I cannot fathom adding to this clean-clothes-catastrophe. 

Is it just me?  We mommies are, by nature, a self-sacrificing bunch.  I have noticed myself making sure the kids have the best, the most, of things around here: fresh berries (I eat one but make sure their bowls are brimming), choice T.V. privileges in the morning (can't remember the last time I caught The View), a heavy influence on the dinner menu (this one's Doug too--his list of "I Won't Eat That" is as long as the kids' is).  If you watch The Middle, they recently addressed this plight of mothers/parents everywhere.

Totally hilarious.  BEEN THERE.  Maybe you don't share my laundry plight, but are there times you find yourself catering to the kids when you should really be catering to yourself? 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

How YOU doin'???

"It's about sex, love, relationships, careers, a time in your life when everything's possible. And it's about friendship because when you're single and in the city, your friends are your family."

-Crane, Kauffman, and Bright pitching the series to NBC.

"There's nothing to tell. He's just some guy I work with."

That was the first line of the series. What is it about Friends? Does every generation have a show like this? The characters were real, quirky, relate-able. You could imagine walking in to Central Perk and striking up a conversation with them (at least we could...) You could see yourself in them.

[Lindsay] I know I'm a little bit Monica...okay, A LOT Monica! Friends started when I was in high school and took me into my twenties. I never missed Thursday night TV. Monica and I were planning our weddings at the same time...uber-organized binders and all.

The show (either re-runs, DVR, or DVD) invades our houses on a daily basis. No one is safe (and we're pretty sure our husbands secretly enjoy it). Dan and Doug have both impressed us with a random Friends quote on occasion...and it's probably a weekly occurrence that Sarah and I fit one into conversation or have something that relates to a plot line that sends us into snorts & giggles.

[Sarah] I feel like it's a part of me, as if I might be an entirely different person had it never existed. Friends was on from 1994-2004: formative years in my life...teenage years, hormonal years, deeply emotional years. I connect huge moments in my life with what was happening on Friends at the same time. I remember crying through the episode that aired right after 9/11 (Chandler and Monica's wedding), when no one was sure if it was okay to laugh again. Friends is still my go-to programming when I can't sleep or need a laugh after a stressful day--a constant and dependable source of humor and comfort with a click of the remote.

This "Which Friend are you?" question is an interesting one. Lindsay and I, together, make one whole Monica! She's the organized, where-will-all-the-ribbons-go Monica, and I'm the uncooked-batter-eater, chef Monica.

Lindsay's collection of books and magazines re: Friends
We wanted to include a sappy Friends montage, best moments and such, but embedding from YouTube was 'disabled by request'. Click this link to watch some of the best scenes from 10 years of Friends.

Here's the original Friends fan site
Friends Cafe, another great resource for all things Friends-related

Favorite quotes:
"See...he's her lobster!"
"Where will all the ribbons go?"
"Look at me, I'm Chandler. Could I BE wearing any more clothes?"
"Your money's mine, Green." "Your fly is open, Gellar"
"Joey, stop the Q-tip when there's resistance!"
"It is unreasonable to expect a child to wait for a light bulb to cook brownies"
"Phoebe, stop cleansing my aura"
"First name Crap. Last name Bag"
"So how many cameras are actually on you?"
"Hello, Vegas? We would like more alcohol. And you know what else? We would like some more beers"
"Hello Mrs. Ross! Well hello Mr. Rachel!"
"When there is a 'D' on the end of fine...your not fine"
"His legs flail about as if independent from his body!"
"You were my midnight mystery kisser?"
"I came with Monica and I'm leaving with Weird Al"
"pivot, pivot, PIVOT"
"Gum would be perfection."
"Paper. Snow. A ghost!"
"It's my nubbin..."
"This is Chandler Bing." ... "Whoa.  Short message."
"They're my new, I don't need a job, I don't need my parents, I've got great boots boots."
"Joey ate my last stick of gum, so I killed him."
"What a weird way to kick me when I'm down"
"Tartlets? Tartlets? Tartlets? The word has lost all meaning."
"One side of my butt is totally asleep, and the other side has no idea."
"What? You're, uh, you're... you're over me? When... when were you... under me?"
"Don't you have to be Claymation to say stuff like that?"
"How do you expect me to grow if you won't let me blow?"
"Hey!  It's not that common, it doesn't happen to every guy, and it IS a big deal!!"
Lindsay's cat watching Friends...
Phoebe songs:
Oh, the cow in the meadow goes moo,
Oh, the cow in the meadow goes moo.
Then the farmer hits him on the head and grinds him up,
And that's how we get hamburgers.
Now, chickens!

New York City has no power
And the milk is getting sour
But to me that is not scary
Cause I stay away from dairy

Smelly cat, smelly cat, what are they feeding you?
Smelly cat, smelly cat, it's not your fault.
They won't take you to the vet.
You're obviously not their favorite pet.
It may not be a bed of roses.
And you're no friend to those with noses.

Now grandma's a person who everyone likes
She brought you a train and a bright shiny bike
But lately she hasn't been coming to dinner
And last time you saw her she looked so much thinner.
Now your mom and your dad said she moved to Peru,
But the truth is she died and someday you will too

I found you in my bed...
How'd you wind up there?
You are a mystery
Little black curly hair
Little black curly hair
Little black, little black,
Little black, little black,
Little black curly hair

Are you in there little fetus?
In nine months will you come greet us?

Whenever I get married
Guess who I won't ask to sing!
Somebody named Geller! And somebody else named Bing!

Lindsay's dog named Phoebe

Rachel: Do you guys have to go to the new house right away, or do you have some time?
Monica: We've got some time.
Rachel: Okay, should we get some coffee?
Chandler: Sure. Where?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Green Bunny: Little Photographer

Somehow, this layout takes me right back to the moment more than others do. And what a wonderful moment!

The summer Carter was born, Logan was two and a half. He was obsessed with cameras...taking pictures...having pictures taken of him. Saying "cheese" was a frequent occurrence. I put together a backpack for when he came to the hospital with grandma and included two disposable cameras. I thought it would be fun to see this experience through his eyes. He LOVED it and actually did a great job.

These are a couple shots from his camera...his view of the day his little brother was born...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Play That Funky Music

Sharing & comparing our workout playlists today. SURPRISE...we have several of the same tunes! Check out our lists and you might find your next running song obsession... 

Yes, I exercise too. I just don't love it enough to make it a hobby. The other day, I decided to run like Phoebe on the treadmill for a bit...just to make it more fun. :)

Hold It Against Me - Britney Spears
Runaway Baby - Bruno Mars
Firework - Katy Perry
Poker Face - Lady GaGa
Rock Your Body - Justin Timberlake
Just Dance - Lady GaGa
Teenage Dream - Katy Perry
Hey, Soul Sister - Train
Need You Now - (Glee Cast Version)
Dream On - (Glee Cast Version feat. Neil Patrick Harris)
Ours - The Bravery (Eclipse Soundtrack)
Supermassive Black Hole - Muse
Bad Romance - Lady GaGa
DJ Got Us Fallin' In Love - Usher
Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It) - Beyonce
Since U Been Gone - Kelly Clarkson
My Hero - Foo Fighters (Varsity Blues)
I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas
California Gurls - Katy Perry
Footloose - Kenny Loggins
Don't Stop Believin' - (Glee Cast Version)
1999 - Prince
If You Could Only See - Tonic
Jessie's Girl - (Glee Cast Version)
Hungry Eyes - Eric Carmen (Dirty Dancing)
Lovefool - The Cardigans (Romeo & Juliet)
Manhunt - Karen Kamon (Flashdance)
Falling Down - Avril Lavigne (Sweet Home Alabama)
Makes Me Wonder - Maroon 5
I Will Survive - Gloria Gaynor
Jump - Van Halen (Glee Cast Version)
Smooth - Santana & Rob Thomas

Just A Girl - No Doubt

Running without music is like chips with no guacamole--BORING.  Last week, I saw a guy in Lakeland Hills running with his iPod, singing, and playing air drums. A kindred spirit! So glad it's not just me, I thought to myself. :)  I like to think of it as performance running...I try to keep it to a minimum when people are within earshot. I'm always on the hunt for my next favorite song; Runner's World devotes a page of their site, called Music is Motivaton, to runner's favorite tunes--check it out for some great ideas.

All American Nightmare - Hinder
Already Gone - Kelly Clarkson
Animal - Neon Trees
Best Days of Your Life - Kellie Pickler
Billionaire - (Glee Cast Version)
California Gurls - Katy Perry
Dirrty - Christina Aguilera
The Distance - Cake
DJ Got Us Fallin' In Love - Usher
Don't Stop Believin' - (Glee Cast Version)
Dream On - (Glee Cast Version feat. Neil Patrick Harris)
E.T. - Katy Perry
Empire State of Mind - (Glee Cast Version)
Enter Sandman - Metallica
Forget You - (Glee Cast Version feat. Gwyneth Paltrow)
Gives You Hell - (Glee Cast Version)
Greased Lightning - John Travolta
Gunpowder & Lead - Miranda Lambert
Hold It Against Me - Britney Spears
Holding Out for a Hero - Bonnie Tyler (I like to imagine I'm driving the tractor :)
I'm So Excited - The Pointer Sisters
I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas
I Will Survive - Gloria Gaynor
(If You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To - Weezer
If You Could Only See - Tonic
Love the Way You Lie - Eminem (feat. Rihanna)
Marry You - (Glee Cast Version)

Need You Now - Lady Antebellum
Only Girl (In the World) - Rihanna

Porn Star Dancing - My Darkest Days
Thriller / Heads Will Roll - (Glee Cast Version)
Uprising - Muse
Wildflower - The JaneDear Girls

What are your favorite workout songs?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Not Your Average Valentine's Day Dessert

Think outside the box for Valentine's sweets this year!  Here are some scrumptious ideas from my favorite blogging bakers (and Paula, who doesn't blog, but who is fabulous nonetheless). 

Ree has done it again! Haven't made these yet but they look delish, and you could customize them with any lovey-dovey phrase. Also check out her ideas for a simple Valentine's dinner.

Paula Deen's Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

One of Bakerella's viewers sent in this idea, stemming from Bakerella's original cake ball recipe.

Lindsay and I are going to tackle the macaron project soon.  Stay tuned.  Happy Valentine's Day and happy baking from Fifty Tiny Toes!  xo

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Happy - Heart - Day!

Just a little something I made for my man...hope he doesn't check our blog before Monday.
Historically, Valentine's Day is not one of my favorite holidays. I can take it or leave it. But this year, I am finding myself drawn to the red and the hearts more than ever. Today, I picked up a bunch of supplies (that were surprisingly well-priced) at Party City with the boys. Sidenote: When we got home, Logan said, "Mom, I had fun at the I Love You Store!"

Anyhow, I had a really fun idea for a craft or card with little ones. It's a simple project, but oh-so-cute! All you need is an ink pad, some white paper, and some adorable little fingers:

I did this with both boys. Place their pointer finger in the ink and then make two fingerprints in the shape of a heart. I made several hearts for each kiddo. I made sure to spread them out on the page knowing I would be punching them out with my circle punch. I added a digital element from Ali Edwards at DesignerDigitals.com and some ribbon and came up with this (Really...sorry, honey, if you happen to look at this post before Monday!):

One more: This was super simple. I cut out pieces of a paper doilie to create the flowers. Added the adorable pearl brads and rub-on sentiment and...voila!

Not sure yet what I will do with all the other fun stuff...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Smorgasbord of Mommy Stuff

Hello mommies!
Today, let me delight you with various mommy goodies pulled right from magazines, websites, and blogs that I love.

Valentine Printables from Parenting.com:

Sleepy-time strategies from Family Fun's February 2011 issue:

Grace is Overrated offers adorable fill-in-the-blank journaling pages like this one:

I pulled the article below from Parents Magazine when Logan was almost 2 and posted it inside my kitchen cabinet for those especially challenging days:

Memo To Mommy

Stop freaking out about the mess! There's always time to clean - but how often do we get to make mud pies?

Love me, even when I'm naughty. I'll only be this age once.

Be patient. I do everything for a reason, but I don't know enough words yet to give you an explanation.

Let me do it. I know you can do it faster and better, but sometimes experience is the best teacher.

Don't expect too much of me. I want to do what you ask and make you happy, but I'm still little.

Don't try to reason with me when I'm having a tantrum. Trust me - I can't hear you over my own screaming.

Keep your promises. It's all about trust. When I'm a teenager, you'll understand why it's so important.

Don't keep asking me if I've been good. I'm not even sure what that means, but if I was bad, I'd never admit it.

Set limits. I can't actually eat a whole box of cookies - I just want to see if I'd get away with it.

Don't let me think that you're perfect. I feel a lot better knowing I'm not the only one who makes mistakes sometimes. [This one is my favorite!]

Loving MamaBargains.com! This site offers great deals (products for both women and children) until they are gone and then posts something new. The items are always 40-80% off retail value. You may see up to 10 deals in one day depending on how fast the items sell out. These adorable shoes were featured yesterday for $8.00:

Check out the free online family planner/calendar at cozi.com which now has apps for both the iPhone and droid:

Muffin Mix-Up from Family Fun February 2011:

And, take a peek at BabyCenter's Simple Ways to Make Your Child Feel Special:
Create little morning moments
Snuggle and cuddle
Make up special stories
Ask for help
Break the rules
Have fun at bedtime
Get silly
Use your words
And just pay attention to the little things

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Joyeux Kitchen: Cookie Dough Cupcakes

Amanda-from-kevinandamanda.com's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes

Lindsay requested these for her birthday.  They looked like a bit of a project and October was a wild month around here, so they got shelved for another date (don't worry, she got somethin' REAL nice--Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bites).  Super Bowl Sunday seemed like the perfect excuse to dust off the recipe!

I've been called a lot of things in my day...patient is not one of them.  I like my food and I like it NOW.  For instance, I've never pickled anything because you have to wait sooooo looooong to enjoy the fruits of your labor, and I'm just not built like that.  So when I saw that this recipe really takes two days to finish up and eat, I immediately disregarded the overnight step with a casual "Pssssh, I don't need to freeze that dough, it'll be fine, and this way I can eat it TONIGHT!"  This instant gratification is very American of me, I understand that.  Fortunately this time my impatience was in tune with my baker's instincts--no need to freeze the balls, although I might try it that way someday when I have more time on my hands.

The only other alteration I made to the recipe was probably unnecessary and definitely excessive: I subbed heavy cream for the milk in the frosting.  It was good.  SO good.  In fact, the girls are eating bowls of it right now (because it irks me when I make gourmet cupcakes and they lick the frosting off and throw the rest away, darn kids, no appreciation for the finer things in life, don't they know starving kids in Africa would KILL for these cupcakes!....).  Anyway, just giving them bowls of frosting has resolved my frustration on the matter.

These are amazing--thank you Amanda!--and your Super Bowl guests will be clamoring for the recipe.

Bon appetit, friends.  xo
Side note, post-baking second batch:  This recipe says it makes 24 cupcakes, but both times, for me, it made at least 30.  Also, the second time around, I did freeze the balls.  It extends the cooking time a little bit because the middle is so cold, it keeps the dough from baking evenly.  Just watch them really close and pull them out when the tops get nice and golden.  One more thing: the cookie dough ball recipe makes enough balls for two batches of the cupcakes.  Roll up the rest of the balls and stick 'em in the freezer for next time!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Joyeux Kitchen: Cinnamon Roll Pancakes!

Baking Serendipity's Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

These were a hit with the whole family: two breakfast favorites smooshed together to create the perfect storm of gooey carbs and sugar.  I made cream cheese frosting without a recipe (about 2/3 a brick of softened cream cheese and then kept adding powdered sugar and drizzles of milk with the hand-mixer until the taste and spreadability were just right).  I'm sure syrup would be just fine, but the cream cheese spread...my oh my...got all melty when it hit the hot cakes... it's okay to moan with delight about your own cooking, right? 
P.S. -- Yes.  I served these delicious pancakes on paper plates with plastic forks although they were deserving of our wedding china.  The dishwasher is broken and heaven help me I am TIRED of doing dishes.  Even if you come over for a steak, I'm gonna give it to you on the finest paper plates Target has to offer.

Additional note:  I just realized that I lied about these being 'a hit with the whole family'.  I had to forcefeed them to our four-year-old, but it all fairness, the only maindish type foods she will willingly eat are cold cheese sandwiches and bagels with cream cheese.  That's another post entirely.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Green Bunny: Five Favorites [Paper Brands]

I recently spent an entire Saturday scrapbooking with no interruptions (at a hotel conference room) and it was FABULOUS (thanks, honey!). I had a lot of catching up to do. Most of the layouts I worked on were from Summer and Fall:

LOVING Echo Park paper right now! Used 'Sweet Summertime' on a number of layouts last weekend, 'Little Boy' is utterly adorable, and 'Everybody Loves Christmas' was used a bunch in my December Daily.

And a couple more I [heart] right now:

Pretty much anything by October Afternoon, especially 'Fly A Kite' and 'The Thrift Shop'

'Lemonade' by Basic Grey

'Lil Man' by Cosmo Cricket