Toddler Bed Delivery

We had a special delivery today; one that reminds me how quickly our little girl is growing up. EJ now has her own bed!

We sold her crib when she was around year old as we could count the number of times on one hand that she had slept in it. We decided to forgo the scream it out philosophy and do what seemed natural for us so we had her sleep in our bed. The result has been a child who likes going to bed, and will even tell us when she is ready.

When we saw how excited she was to find that there are beds just her size, we knew it was time to order one for her. She had fun unpacking the pieces and helping DaddyO put it together.

She has not spend a full night in her new bed yet, but she does like relaxing in it with her books and is quick to point out each of our beds. As much as I look forward to her sleeping in her own bed, it also makes how quickly she is growing up real. It seems like only yesterday that I was laying her down in her bassinet. Oh my sweet little EJ.

A Day As Planned

Today was one of those days I had envisioned would be the norm as a stay at home mom. After EJ was born I discovered how unpredictable each day can be...unpredictable but special. I do appreciate it when everything goes as planned:)

So here is my day...

EJ slept into 7:30 giving me plenty of time to take a shower and catch up on a few chores around the house. She woke up smiley and cheerful, ate a big oatmeal breakfast, and eagerly put on her new orange t-shirt dress I had made her the night before.

We met up with Hop Along Mums and Bubs at 8:30 for Rainbow Park Days at Sander's Beach Park. She happily climbed all over the playground and had fun with her friends.

At 10:30 we went to our weekly Library Storytime at Pensacola's Main Library. EJ loved singing the songs and even paid attention to the stories.

After that we headed to Ever'mans for lunch and a little grocery shopping. EJ inhaled the chicken and shrimp gumbo and was excited to pick up her favorite snack, freeze dried pees!

a yummy lunch

and snack

By the time we got home she was ready for a nap and fell asleep within a few minutes of lying down with me. Now I have a few hours to catch up on the computer and maybe even spend sine time in the garden...

I wish this was my typical day but it probably makes me all the more thankful when I am blessed with one like this!

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

DaddyO's desire to make cupcakes this week began after a stop at Oh Snap, our local cupcake bakery to pick up a few treats for friends. Oh Snap's cupcakes are good but not great, and at $2.50 a pop DaddyO told me he could do much better.

We had a bottle of Guinnes left over from St. Patty's Day, and some Bailey's from a tie cutting, so it seemed natural for DaddyO to go in an Irish direction.

He found this recipe and started baking. (the luck of the Irish is with me having a husband who is good in the kitchen:)

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

Makes 20 to 24 cupcakes

For the Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes

1 cup stout (such as Guinness)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

Ganache Filling
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 to 2 teaspoons Irish whiskey (optional)

Baileys Frosting
3 to 4 cups confections sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 to 4 tablespoons Baileys (or milk, or heavy cream, or a combination thereof)

Special equipment: 1-inch round cookie cutter or an apple corer and a piping bag (though a plastic bag with the corner snipped off will also work)

adding the guinnes

Make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 24 cupcake cups with liners. Bring 1 cup stout and 1 cup butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in large bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Divide batter among cupcake liners, filling them 2/3 to 3/4 of the way. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, rotating them once front to back if your oven bakes unevenly, about 17 minutes. Cool cupcakes on a rack completely.

adding the baileys

Make the filling: Chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then stir until smooth. (If this has not sufficiently melted the chocolate, you can return it to a double-boiler to gently melt what remains. 20 seconds in the microwave, watching carefully, will also work.) Add the butter and whiskey (if you’re using it) and stir until combined.

ganache filling

Fill the cupcakes: Let the ganache cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped (the fridge will speed this along but you must stir it every 10 minutes). Meanwhile, using your 1-inch round cookie cutter or an apple corer, cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes. You want to go most of the way down the cupcake but not cut through the bottom — aim for 2/3 of the way. A slim spoon or grapefruit knife will help you get the center out. Those are your “tasters”. Put the ganache into a piping bag with a wide tip and fill the holes in each cupcake to the top.

Make the frosting: Whip the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, for several minutes. You want to get it very light and fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar, a few tablespoons at a time.

When the frosting looks thick enough to spread, drizzle in the Baileys (or milk) and whip it until combined. If this has made the frosting too thin beat in another spoonful or two of powdered sugar.

Ice and decorate the cupcakes.

Do ahead: You can bake the cupcakes a week or two in advance and store them, well wrapped, in the freezer. You can also fill them before you freeze them. They also keep filled — or filled and frosted — in the fridge for a day. (Longer, they will start to get stale.)

The cupcakes were fabulous! From the chocolaty stout cake to the creamy ganache, every bite was a symphony of flavor and texture. Definitely worth $2.50 each but fortunately the whole recipe cost us less than $10 and we had plenty left over to share!

enjoying a taste test

Hand Shadow Diagram

Fire up the flashlight tonight and have some fun trying out these hand shadows. After a bit of practice, just think of all the stories you can tell using them!

Cheese Night

Every once in a while we have a craving for cheese. Really good cheese. Fortunately we have Four Winds, a local international store that has refrigerators full of cheese. DaddyO made an excursion there today with EJ to pick up some old favorites and try some new ones. EJ loves cheese and was in her glory taste testing at the store. I guess the owner, who is famous for trying to sell you everything in the store through taste tests, became weary of EJ's desire to try everything:)

apples and cheese

Our cheese spread included: brie, aged irish chedder, gouda with chili, gouda with kalamata olives and tomatoes, smoked butter cheese, and havarti with herbs and spices.


Had you seen me jumping around the yard yesterday, you would have thought I had found buried treasure. While we have yet to unearth anything of monetary value, I did discover that our fig tree has begun to bear fruit!

It will still be a few months till the fruit is ripe, but I have already started planning all the wonderful uses for these tasty little fruits...Grilled Sausage and Fig Pizza with Goat Cheese, Fig Crostata, and Grilled Lamb and Fig Skewers.

Change of Command

DaddyO's squadron had a change of command last week and I was finally able to attend this special ceremony. Before my "sahm" days, I had to work durtng his change of commands and be content with seeing DaddyO off in his whites and then hearing about the event second hand. This year I booked EJ in the CDC for a couple hours and got to enjoy it without any kiddo interruptions.

The ceremony took place in the Whiting Field Atrium. Flags hung everywhere and a silver biplane was suspended behind the stage. It was an impressive patriotic setting!

DaddyO stood behind the audience looking as handsome as ever in his whites with his sword at his side giving commands to the student aviators behind him.

EJ made it to the reception in time to enjoy some cake with DaddyO. She was intrigued by his medals and wanted to stay in DaddyO's arms.

One thing I enjoy about the military is all the tradition. It was wonderful being a part of this one.

My Laundry Helper

EJ is my little helper when it comes to the laundry. Since we seem to have a never ending pile of things waiting to be washed, she gets to help a lot.

First she empties the clothes in the dryer into a basket and cleans out the lint tray. It may take her five minutes to get the lint tray back in, but it is always fun to watch her try. I then hand her the clothes from the washing machine and she loads the dryer. Her next favorite part is sitting on top of the dryer and loading the washing machine with clothes as it fills with water. It is always fun to have water involved! Finally we shut the top of the washer and she gets to pull the dial to start it.

Never underestimate what your kiddos can do to help around the house. It may seem like a chore to you but to them it is playtime. Plus you will have well trained helpers as they get older!

Quilted Fabric Card

I don't make quilts (or at least haven't started yet) but I do have fun quilting cards. Why spend money on a store bought card when you can make an even more special one in less time than it takes to drive to Hallmark?

All you need is card-stock paper, scrap material, and a sewing machine.

Lay out the material in the pattern you like on the front of the card.

Sew it on your machine using a regular stitch.
Trim off the edges.

And it is ready to be mailed!

A Not So Typical Tie

I thought I should get the obligatory Father's Day tie out of the way this year and decided to make DaddyO one he could wear to one of his rare tie wearing events. I used this tie making tutorial and ended up making two with plans for a couple more.

Be warned though, the tutorial's ties are designed for short men so lengthen the pattern if your guy is tall.

DaddyO improvised well and looked dashing in it at church this morning. Now we just need to plan a few more date nights for him to wear it to!

Happy DaddyO Day!

Today we honor the most important men in my lives, our fathers. I am blessed to have one that showed me unconditional love, gave me a strong foundation, and taught me not only how to love life but also what really matters in life.

 I am also blessed to have DaddyO as a strong and loving father to my EJ.

We celebrated a wonderful Father's Day with DaddyO. It started with coffee before church, then lunch at End of the Line, a little golf, and some juicy hamburgers to finish. I am thankful to be able to celebrate another year together and always remind myself never to take it for granted. We love you DaddyO!

Sundays in the Rain

a special treat

We packed up a picnic basket and headed to Bayview for dinner in the park. A mighty thunderstorm hit on the drive and our excursion turned into dinner in the car... just as exciting for EJ but a bit nerve racking for Capri. We stopped for caramel sundays on the way home and continued our storm watching on the front porch.

sweet summer memories

Week 2 Menu

This week we chose meals out of our Holistic Moms' cookbooks. We received both cookbooks from my sister-in-law who is involved in the organization and painted/designed the covers. We always enjoy the recipes! They are mom favorites from across the country, quick and easy, and always healthy.

Here is what we will be making this week. (click on the picture for an enlarged recipe)







And then Sunday is End of The Line!

Festival of Five Flags Parade

watching from our favorite corner

One thing Pensacola knows a lot about is parades. We joke that if it is a holiday here, there is a parade to celebrate it.

There are Mardi Gras parades, Easter parades, Christmas parades, and as was the case this week, Festival of Five Flags parades. Fortunate for us the parades are just a few blocks from our house so we have been to many a parade.

even the police get in the spirit

The parades hardly differ from each other. The majority of the floats are sponsored by local krewes throwing beads.

What the locals do with the bags full of beads they collect I will never know. But the excitment of catching them is contagious. EJ and DaddyO got in on the fun and collected a neck full.

The highlight of this parade was the country station throwing beach balls. DaddyO caught one for EJ and made her night.

We will miss the parades when we move but we will always have the tin full of beads to remember them by...

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