Saturday, December 31, 2011

Peanut Butter Fudge

Be still my beating heart. I think this was my favorite Christmas treat I made this year. Let's just say that I made a batch for cooking club at the beginning of the month and proceeded to have the rest of the pan consumed before Dec 10. Fudge is super simple and addicting. I shouldn't limit fudge to a Christmas only treat. It was much too good for a once a year appearance!

Peanut Butter Fudge by

3 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter

2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla
6 oz package semi-sweet chocolate pieces (I used chocolate chips)
7 oz. jar Marshmallow Creme

1/2 cup peanut butter

1. Combine 1 1/2 cups sugar, 6 tablespoons butter and 1/3 cup evaporated milk in a medium pot.
2. Bring to full rolling boil which is 230 degrees, stirring constantly.
3. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate pieces until melted.
4. Add 1 cup (1/2 jar) marshmallow creme and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until well blended.
5. Pour into greased 13 X 9 pan.

Repeat with remaining ingredients substituting peanut butter and spread over chocolate.

Then, cool at room temperature and cut into squares.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The missing sock.

Lucan is sneaky. If you aren't careful, he'll try and eat one of his socks. See below for proof.

Foot and sock have been presented to mouth for tasting.

Sock has been removed from foot for further taste testing.

Taste affirmation has come back as positive.

This is everyday life and what happens when mom has a week off with Lucan.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Feliz navidad!

Merry Christmas from you favorite, local shopping mall Santa!

Friday, December 23, 2011

2011 Christmas Card Letter

Top 10 for 2011

  1. We had a bouncing baby boy in June. Apparently that's a pretty big deal. His name is Lucan. He's pretty cute!

  2. Lance and I took an insurance class together and gained our life insurance designations. I also added my accident and health insurance designations too.

  3. Lance took a new job in June. June was a big month (see #1)!

  4. We actually managed to grow tomatoes this year. Garden fresh tomatoes = garden success for the us. But at the same time, we didn't get a single green pepper and our eggplant only grew 3 leaves (and no actual eggplants).

  5. After 6 years of unsuccessful attempts to purchase a replacement vehicle for Lance, we were finally able to buy a Chevy Traverse. Except somehow Lance managed to trick me into keeping the LHS and now we are a 3 car family (Lance keeps talking about Lucan as a future driver of the LHS). At 256,000 miles, the LHS is still tooling around Des Moines. If you are lucky, you might catch a glimpse of the LHS' doppelganger in downtown Des Moines.

  6. Lance, with the help of a contractor friend, finished installing the 2010 wood floors in October of 2011. Only 10 months late.

  7. Talk about baby boom in 2011– for every month of the year, at least one of our friends had a baby. Boy babies are currently leading in numbers at 9, leaving girl babies trailing with 3. 2012 predicts 2 girl babies and 1 boy baby by February!

  8. Our canning adventure this year was tomatoes and salsa. I'm not necessarily convinced that the canned tomatoes taste any better or are cheaper than store bought tomatoes. We'll see if we can tomatoes next year.

  9. Lucan fell in love with his giraffe lovey, Gerry, his index and middle fingers, and his socks. Lucan's favorite past-times include sucking on Gerry, his fingers, and his socks (sometimes all at once). His second favorite past-time is a game called "Fire Feet." This entails kicking his feet and heels as hard as he can. Lucan's third favorite past-time is rolling, but in only one direction. If rolling counts as a means of transportation, than we are now a household with a mobile child.

  10. Lance completed Calculus 1 this spring and navigated his way through Calculus 2 this fall. One look at his book reminded me why I hate math and have a communications degree. This is also why he calculates our budget and I blog and write our Christmas letter.

Peace on earth friends and family. Jesus is the reason for the season!

Keep up with us all year long at

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Me versus Lance

For my ridiculous Christmas present I said that I wanted a 10 gallon, $200 Simple Human Trash Can. Totally worth the money for me to get rid of my nasty, grubby, white plastic trash can that we currently own!

I mean, can a trash can get any more gorgeous? I think not.

Lance, on the other hand, said that he wanted to build onto our garage so he could have a place to store his tractor.

And that my friends, is why Lance and I are different, but the same.

He wants a place to store his trash and I want a place to hide it :)

Please note, we both realize that these are our ridiculous Christmas present wishes.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Lucan: 6 months and counting!

I'm just really behind in posting Lucan's monthly updates. Gads.

We had his 6 month check-up on Tuesday. It went well! Shots break my heart every time. But Lucan is so brave, he just cries for a moment and then he is okay. I wish his momma could be as brave as he is.

  • L is tipping the scales at 18 lb 12 ounces and is in the67th percentile for weight.

  • He is 27 inches long and in the 64th percentile for length

  • Lucan's head is 45.1 (cm? inches seems extreme) in circumference and in the 81st percentile for head size (yikes!)

  • I hope he stays in size 3 diapers awhile. They go up to 28 lbs, so lets hope so.

  • Two weeks ago L started rolling both ways - from belly to back and now he is also doing back to belly. But the problem is that he'll only roll over his right shoulder, so Lance and I will often have to pick him up and turn him the other way because he's ran out of room. I discovered him under the Christmas tree the other night. Lucan appeared to be secretly pleased with himself because Fire has reserved the tree as his special domain. Poor Fi Fie, mobile baby means his life is in for some changes.

  • Lucan is eating a lot more different foods: butternut squash, avocado, applesauce, and the latest: carrots and rice cereal with prune juice. But he seems to be a little bit constipated as he just cries and cries when he's pooping and his poops are more solid than they should be. So now we've also expanded his diet to include a daily dose of prune juice. Ughhh...

  • Speaking of food, to date I've made all of Lucan's baby food. It has been a relatively painless process as we already had squash that had been scooped, seeded and baked; homemade applesauce from 2010's canning adventures; and avocado jsut requires mashing. I had Tuesday off and spent some time steaming peas and green beans and then pureeing them and then freezing them into ice cube containers. I also baked a giant sweet potato and pureed it too. We will see how long this lasts. While it really wasn't difficult and is much cheaper than buying baby food, it certainly is not as convenient. But I did enjoy pulverizing and pureeing to my heart's content. It's also fun to think about veggie and fruit combos. And then I thought about pureeing everything and then sneaking the veggies into unexpected places. But that's the evil person I am.

  • Lucan hasn't been nursing as well. When he was 4 months old, he would eat as much as 7-8 ounces at his first morning feeding. This morning, for example, he had about 4.5 ounces. I'm not really sure what to make of this, but I don't like it. It's doing screwy things to my milk supply.

  • Lucan likes to stick his fingers in his mouth. Like when he's nursing. Yum, milk is good. Fingers are good. Both ... well that must be even better! Nursing doesn't work too well with fingers.

  • We've started to be more intentional about Lucan's bedtime routine. We read "Time for Bed," sing a lullaby and then pray with him. Then we lay Lucan down and turn on his sleep sheep. Sometimes Lance gets confused and calls it a Sleep Polar Bear. Really?! 1) The sheep only resembles a polar bear in the fact that it is white. 2) What kind of branding department would call it a "Sleep Polar Bear"? It certainly doesn't roll off the tongue.

  • Lucan is usually in bed by 7:30 pm. He gets crabby and just can't control his emotions after 7:30. Christmas with Lance's family should be interesting as festivities are starting at 7 pm.

  • Still no signs of teeth. I'm not looking forward to it.

  • Lucan got his first cold. It was the first time he was sick. Snotty daycare kids. Man, the cold was a doozy. We took him to the doctor twice and he was on two different antibiotics.

  • Lucan still loves bath time. Let's just say: water everywhere. Usually I'm soaked.

  • We started baby sign language after Thanksgiving. We are working on "milk," "more," "food," and "all done." Sometimes I remember to do "kitty," "mom," "dad," and "diaper change." I like to imagine that Lucan is recognizing the sign for "milk" as he get's the biggest smile and gets really excited. Lance is having some difficulties remembering the sign for "more" so finaly I told him that it was two dinosaurs talking to each other. Now it seems to be sticking.

  • One game that Lucan loves is having us wrap him up like a baby burrito in a blanket and then for him to try and throw the blanket off of his head. Lucan runs into problems when he's laying on part of the blanket and can't get it off. The only way L can get it off is for him to pull it down off of his face. But it does keep him occupied!

  • One of my favorite developments is Lucan will reflexively smile back at you. It's so rewarding.

  • Omigoodness, this child is obsessed with his feet. If he isn't wearing footies, he'll pull off his sock and suck on it. And sometimes he'll even get his foot his mouth. But often times I'll have to take his socks off because one of them will be SOAKED. Sometimes I'll walk into his room and he'll be stretching in his crib with his legs in the air. I'm sure if they weren't enclosed in a sleep sack, they'd be in his mouth.

  • Our child sleeps with his arms straight out and snores. It's actually pretty cute and at night I have to restrain myself from picking him up and hugging him. Sleeping babies can't be beat for cuteness.

Thus ends Lucan's 6 month updates. I had an older woman who was aghast that I wasn't keeping up on Lucan's baby book. But I blog! It's basically the same thing. But now I'm on the hook for actually keeping up on Lucan's development. Crap.

Friday, December 16, 2011

All that glitters, is not gold: Sparkly gift guide

If you are me, you haven't quite finished up your Christmas shopping yet. The problem being that you always come back with a gift for the person you've already bought something for (mom!) and still haven't gotten anything for that hard to shop for person (dad!).

Here are a few ideas for the person who loves a little glitz and glam. So obviously not ideas for something for my dad.

Ivory glitter Toms - $54

Toms are a pretty cool idea, for every pair of shoes you purchase, they donate a pair to a needy child. Awesome. I need me some sparkly good-doer shoes.

Minted Necklace - $25

I've had my eye on this necklace on for 3 years now. I should just buy it. I love the coral, aqua, iridescent combination.

Mercury Glass Candlesticks - $25-$42

I've been wanting to redo my mantle decorations for a little while and I've always thought that some statement candlesticks would be a great addition. Mercury glass, even if it's fake, is just cool.

Grand Band - $39

This is one classy money clip. The monogramming adds an extra special touch. And finally something that you could give to the man in your life (all the rest of the items in this guide are things on my Christmas list!)

Aquamarine & Freshwater Pearl Earrings - $27

I recently chopped 6 inches off my hair and fun, dangly earrings are a great way to show the accessory and the hair do!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

6 month pictures

The pediatrician called Lucan square. I think this was in regards to the large head size and Lucan's healthy weight. He also said that Lucan needed a haircut. I'm not sure if I like this different pediatrician.

Without further adieu, Lucan's 6 month pictures, 2 weeks past due!

"Mom, I really like my feet. Do you like my feet? I think they're cute!"

"Mom, I know that you are mad at Dr. John for saying I needed a haircut. But you said the same thing yourself 2 days ago and daddy was the one who said 'no haircuts!'"

"Do you smell poop? I smell poop. Who smells poop? Oh wait ... that's my poop. Nevermind."

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Gift Guide: The Quirky Foodie

Here are a couple of ideas for the foodie who has a sense of humor. Or for someone like me who is just a tad bit weird :) I personally think all of these ideas are really fun. But then again, I would - it's my blog!

Pizza Boss 3000: Power Saw Pizza Cutter - $15.00

The perfect gift for the husband who borrowed his friend, Josh's, power saw for 11 months.

Engagement Ring Measuring Spoons - $15.95

Needing to drop a hint to the man in your life that he's not getting the milk for free anymore? I'd say these measuring spoons send the message loud and clear.

Floral Sculpted Nesting Bowls - $33

According to Martha Stewart, presentation is half the battle. These bowls would definitely help you get to 50%. (side note: I'm not really sure that Martha Stewart said that. But for the last 12 years, I've quoted Martha as saying this. This doesn't count as defamation, right?)

Pizza "Pi-e" Cutter - $19

I'm sure pizzas will taste 3.14% better if you cut your pie with this cutter

Table Saw - Cake and Salad Knife - $6.95

The tactful way to tell someone their cake is a little on the dry side.

Shark Bite Oven Mit - $16.50

Protect your hand from oven burns. But not protected from sharks. ooohh my hand, my hand!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Gift guide: Outdoor Settings

I'm doing a little mini-series of gift ideas. Lance says I'm the toughest person to shop for. But he's wrong. Why? Because I'm the only person he has to shop for at Christmas. I take care of everyone else that we buy presents for. Silly Lance.

Here are a few quirky items for a fun outdoor setting:

Magnetic Pallet Chair - $250
I think the recycled pallets are cool. I'm guessing Lance would say that the chair is a waste of money on someone else's junk.

Cattail Bird Feeder Yard Stakes - $20
My aunt lives on a acreage and has a large picture window facing out to an area where they have placed several bird feeders. Her cats love watching the wildlife that passes by. These bird feeders would be a fun addition!

Toad House - $50
Okay, I realize that toads don't really need or want houses. But I think this is kind of fun! They are positioning it as a nice cool place for toads to come and hang out at. I really can't imagine toads buying into this.

Bullseye Suncatcher - $55
This would be really pretty hanging in a large window.

Spiky Owl Balancer Stake -$42
These owls really don't have any functional purpose. I think they are whimsical. Lance would probably think they are a waste of sheet metal.