Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Our New Favorite Cookie...Recipe Shared

It's no surprise to anyone that knows me...I LOVE to cook/bake.  But as I've gotten older I've learned that I cannot leave a recipe alone...I always have to add my own elements.  These cookies are the perfect example and the first recipe that I would really call my own.  There are a couple small things I pulled from another recipe but for the most part I pulled ingredients that I love and put them together the results are these AMAZING...Salted Carmel Hot Chocolate Cookies.  Don't walk...RUN to the store to grab the ingredients I promise you won't be sorry...they are a little party for your mouth!!:)

Salted Carmel Hot Chocolate Cookies
1 stick unsalted butter (room temp)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 brown sugar
1 egg
2 tsp Pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup Flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup Carmel bits
1 1oz square semi sweet baking chocolate square, grated (you can leave this out..but why would you want to!!:)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper

3. In medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt
4. In a large bowl (or mixer) blend butter, sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla

5. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture.  Make sure not to over mix or cookies will be tough.

6. Grate Chocolate baking square and add to batter.

7. Gently fold in chocolate chips and Carmel bits

8. Scoop cookies in desired size onto baking sheet, 2 inches apart.  Sprinkle a generous pinch of salt on each cookie.

9. Bake 10-12 minutes

10. Let cool slightly on sheet pan and then transfer to wire rack.

11. Enjoy!!:)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Day we survived

The most common question I get from people since coming home from vacation is how in the world did you survive a roadtrip with 4 kids.  Well #1 I have to give the majority credit to my kids...they are rockstars...they did an amazing job on this trip.   And #2 the entire trip took alot of thought and planning on our part.  From games to travel activity bags, to individual snack packs, to fun out of the car activities...we had it all.  We purchased a road trip guide and activity box from Happy Family Movement...included where individually wrapped gifts to open along the way.  They were very simple activities but for the most part brought big smiles and belly laughs from each of us.  Pinterest also helped a ton.  I was able to download and print out a license plate game as well as other games for the kids to play.  I had them printed and laminated at office max so they could be used several times along the way.  The idea for the snack boxes came from pinterest too.  It also helped that three of our four kids can read and LOVE to do so.  Each of our kids also have a DS to play.  #3  Don't rush the roadtrip is half the fun as the destination.  We made a point to stop every few hours to get out stretch, potty, play games and sometimes explore.   We were so happy that the trip went so smoothly and can't wait for the next road trip!! :)

Bubble Gum blowing contest
Flying some airplanes

Sword out daddy...

and our last stop of our 2012 roadtrip was for ice cream...a perfect ending!!
Trip summary:
17 Days
10 States..Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi
Favorite Vacation Memory:
Grace~ Maddie's house and Disney
Isabelle~ Seeing Maddie, Mike and Niki
Samuel~ going to Epcot
Sophia~ Seeing Maddie

Favorite thing we ate on vacation:
Grace~ Pizza at Pizza Planet
Isabelle~ Niki's cinnamon and Sugar toast :)
Samuel~Pizza at Pizza Planet
Sophia~Pineapple Ice cream

Favorite Disney Ride:
Grace~ Toy Story and It's a Small World
Isabelle~ It's a Small World, Soarin, Dinosaur roller coaster, Toy Story Ride
Samuel~ The Woody ride
Sophia~Tea Cups

Favorite Disney Character we met:
Grace~ Minnie and Mickey Mouse
Isabelle~ Minnie and Mickey Mouse and Pluto
Samuel~ Goofy
Sophia~  Daisy Duck

Favorite Disney Show:
Grace~ Finding Nemo
Isabelle~ Lion King and Finding Nemo
Samuel~ Lion King
Sophia~ Bugs life

Favorite Road Trip Songs:
"You don't know your beautiful"...One Direction
"We are Young"
"Starships"Nicki Minaj

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Day 16...headed home

Saying good bye to Florida and starting the long road home.  We had an amazing vacation...we feel so blessed to have spent time with some of our favorite people, we got to experience some awesome adventures and we leave with some once in a lifetime memories!!   
 Sophia was so sad to miss her best friend, Madison....and is still asking when we can go back!!:) Thank you Kelsey family for welcoming us into your home for so long...we LOVE you and miss you so much!! 

Day 15...Back to where the Magic began...Magic Kingdom

Our last Disney day...was bittersweet.  We were so happy to be back at the Magic Kingdom but we were also so exhausted from the fun we had already had that week.  We made a list of the must do things we  hadn't gotten to the first time we were at the Magic Kingdom and then we headed out just as a nice heavy rain set in.  This really was the perfect vacation...we all enjoyed ourselves so really is the happiest place on earth...we can't wait to go back some day!!
 So where it may have been every girls dream to go to the bippity boppity boutique for a pretty tiara and up-do...this frugal momma couldn't stomach the expense of for less than $10 each we purchased the SAME tiaras and I put there hair up...they were thrilled and I saved a TON of money!!

 This was taken as we were walking out of the park...Bye Disney!! :)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Day 14...Epcot

Day 4 of parks and I have to be honest I wasn't excited about going to Epcot...I vaguely remember visiting Epcot as a kid and remember it being really boring.  Boy was I wrong we all LOVED Epcot!!  Despite the constant drizzle falling from the sky we had a blast!!
Before I get to the highlights of the day I have to give you a little back story.  As soon as we arrived at Epcot Jared headed over and got us fast passes to ride a ride called soarin' we had heard it was awesome...well our FP's weren't until 8 that night.  So we go about our day exploring and head back to soarin at the time we needed to only to be met with four kids REFUSING to ride.  I eventually talked Sophia into going and Jared sat with the triplets.  Well needless to say Sophia and I LOVED this ride and ran like maniac's to the exit when it was done to try to get the others to ride before our fast passes expired. Isabelle immediately agreed, Grace refused (and for her reaction after other rides I wasn't about to make her go) and Samuel started to refuse and I made a deal with him that he could buy the biggest lego set he wanted and he could punch me in the arm if he didn't like it...I still had to send him on the ride in tears.  After they rode I was met with nothing but smiles and giggles they LOVED it and were so bummed they couldn't ride it again.  Silly kids.
Highlights of the day:
Grace: The nemo ride and getting all the country stamps on Duffy the bear
Isabelle: The Nemo ride and Soarin'
Samuel: SOARIN' and the space ride
Sophia: Soarin and The Nemo ride

Loved all the details in the buildings within each country!!

 The only character we got to meet at Epcot...loved that she was telling the kids how to make a game out of cleaning their rooms!!:)


Jared and I even got caught by the paparazzi :)

 The fireworks over the water her AMAZING!!

Day 13...Hollywood Studios

And the rain begins...not to bad but enough to require some expensive Disney poncho's!!:)  lol Hollywood Studios was a fun park...definitely not at the top of anyone's list but still fun!!  We were disappointed that we arrived just a little to late to sign the kids up to do Jedi training...but honestly they didn't know what they missed so it wasn't to big of a deal!!  Some of the highlights of the day:
Samuel...The Toy Story ride (it was AWESOME!!), the Star wars ride, meeting Phinneus and Ferb, the Muppets show and eating dinner at Pizza Planet.
Sophia...The Muppets Show, Beauty and Beast, the Toy Story ride, meeting Phinneus and Ferb
Grace...Everything except The Star Wars Ride (she was terrified..poor girl)
Isabelle...The beauty and beast show and pretty much everything but the star wars ride.

My acting was so much fun!!  The kids really got a kick out of it too!! :)

 The rain isin't going to stop us...
 We even met

Day 12...Animal Kingdom

After heading back up to Orlando...Animal Kingdom was our first stop...and if you ask the kids this was their FAVORITE park.  Jared and I were pleasantly surprised at how awesome it was.  I really was expecting a glorified zoo...but bot was I was so much more!!  The shows really take the prize in this park...they were ALL amazing!!   The attention to detail in the entire park was so cool..but especially on the Kilimanjaro Safari...its really felt like you were on a real safari within the animals natural habitats!!  We had so much fun!! :)
Highlights of the Day for the kids...
Samuel...The crocodiles on the safari and the Lion King Show
Sophia...The spinning roller coaster (TriceraTop spin) and the Bugs life show
Grace...The elephants during the safari, the dinosaur ride and the Finding Nemo show
Isabelle...The safari, the TriceraTop Spin ride and the Finding Nemo show

The Kilimanjaro Safari...
 We left the safari with a couple extra animals in our group!:)
 Lot's more character meetings and autographs!!

The kids loved watching these cute palm leaf birds being made..
 The Lion King show....AMAZING!!
 The architecture was beyond awesome!!

A couple more favorite shots of the day...we got to see the biggest ugliest bats that we had ever seen.  The tiger scared be to death as I rounded a corner I found myself staring him in the face..ha