Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween Peanut Butter Reeces Cookies

Halloween Peanut Butter Reeces Cookies - I really don't know what these are called but they are delicious and I wanted to make them for a Halloween party tonight. There really isn't a lot of desserts that are easier than this one - not to mention how delicious they are, so I decided to spice this up a bit and give it a spooky feel. First you need two miniature cupcake pans and some miniature cupcake papers. I actually found little orange pumpkin papers to use - score!

Next you need to buy a package of peanut butter cookie mix from the baking isle in the grocery store. It will cost a few bucks if that and my package needed oil, water, and eggs. Make the cookies as directed. When they are all mixed, form the cookies into little balls and set in the papers inside the pans.

Don't even bother trying to get 48, I always end up being 2 short for some reason. After they are all balled and ready to go, open a bag of Reece's Peanut Butter cups. Here is the annoying part, you have to open each single reeces being careful to remove the foil and paper. Then you stick the reeces into the middle of the cookie ball in the baking pan like so.

It isn't really hard, it just takes some time. A lot of recipes online will tell you to wait and stick the chocolate in after you are done baking the cookies, but I don't know why you would want to wait.

Bake the cookies for about 7-8 minutes, do not bake them the time indicated on the cookie mix bag, they will burn and it will stink, not that I would know :o) Anyway I only baked mine for 7 minutes and they were perfect.

The chocolate will be hot and gooey, let them cool - or if you want them to be more spooky add fun Halloween sprinkles! I made a silly centerpiece out of the foil from the reeces and balled it together, then I covered with a black napkin, tied it together with parts from the reeces bag and glued on a paper lining hat!

Oh I almost forgot to mention, there are only about 38 reeces in a bag so make sure you buy two bags if you want to make 48, or 46, cookies.

Cool and enjoy, they are easy and very delicious but probably unhealthy. They are super rich so don't eat more than like 10 at one time.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

McKee Family Ranch Pumpkin Patch

For the past three years we have visited the McKee Family Pumpkin Ranch. We usually go with friends but this year we just went as a family. In fact we have been so busy this was the only day we could go - we almost missed it because it is so darn cold outside already, but we sucked it up, at least I did, we brought jackets and ended up having a nice time.

If at any time you want to compare our 2010 visit to last year, here is my October 2009 post. It doesn't look like I had a post for 2008, oh well, just close your eyes and imagine how it went.

Back to the now, we got to the ranch about 5:00 pm. It was light out but not very, it is sure getting dark earlier.

The $20 entry fee includes access to the entire area, the mountain of hay, a hay ride, pictures, and a pumpkin. The pumpkin she is touching is the pumpkin we took home. I love it, it is so neat looking, I can't wait to design something on it - when we find time!

Summer didn't really enjoy climbing the mountain of hay, at least she didn't enjoy touching it, she wanted me to help her and hold her hand. She got hay on her pants and almost had a fit, luckily we told her it was ok - my child was never raised in the country, but look how happy she is to have made it to the top!

Normally they have a pony to ride, this year you had the option to ride the pony or the big horse (either choice was an extra $5 charge) and since we have always rode we let Summer pick. At first she wanted the pony but we sorta swayed her into choosing the big horse. She was pretty happy and excited to be up there, you could tell by her very serious looking face.

The merry-go-round is always a favorite, I am glad she doesn't get motion sickness like my brother James did when he was little, she really enjoys spinning and so do I, in the center with my camera!

The next two photos are just cute poses, she got to wear her new jacket that Papa got her from some unique store, it is a really nice jacket and very colorful, she likes the hood too.

She fed a horse a carrot, sorta, she really dropped it before it could eat it but she tried, she didn't want to get eaten and I don't blame her.

All in all it was a nice time, a little cold but not that bad. We will probably go again next year, and the year after and after and after ...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Lots of people I know make pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving but I decided a few years ago that I would make it my tradition to bake a homemade pumpkin pie for Halloween, or at least near Halloween. I think this is the 4th year I have made one and it always turns out so yummy. My favorite pie is probably pecan, but after I tasted the delicious pumpkin pie I made last night, it is definitely a close second! I follow a very simple and quick recipe, and I thought I would share it with you - because I like to share and all.

Recipe for So Easy Pumpkin Pie (found on the sticker on the bottom of my pie pumpkin bought from Walmart). You will need 1 small pumpkin, also known as a pie pumpkin. The normal carving pumpkins are too big and the meat inside is tough I guess. I cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out all the seeds and strings. Make sure you get as many of those stringy things out as you can. I then cut the halves into half again to get four pieces. I place the four pieces into a glass dish, fill with a bunch of water, about a cup, and cover. I put it in the microwave for about 15 minutes or until the pumpkin is nice and soft. If you prefer the longer way and want to use your oven the recipe says to put the 2 halves on a foil lined baking sheet, covered with foil and baked at 350 for an hour and a half. Uh I don't want to waste that much time, nor heat up my house, the microwave is so much faster!

After the pieces are all soft, scoop out the orange insides. You need to end up with about 1 1/3 cups. I usually get a little more - I just use whatever I get. Once scooped if you end up with a bunch of water in it you can drain it some. I normally scoop my insides as soon as I get it out of the microwave and they are very hot so be careful and don't burn yourself. Mash the insides with a fork until it is nice and looks like the texture of baby food. I never need to use anything but a fork to get it good and mushy, probably because I mush it while it is hot. Put your mashed pumpkin in a bowl and add the following ingredients:

1 can of sweet condensed milk (which is also 1 1/3 c)
1 egg
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 c hot water

The consistency will be really runny and that is what you want to see. Hopefully you also had your pie shells thawing, the kind I buy need to thaw for about 15 minutes. Pour the mixture into the pie shell and bake. Sometimes I end up with enough filling for two pies, depending on the size of my pie pumpkin.

Bake at 350 for about an hour (55-65 minutes). When it is finished the center will still move slightly. Cool and enjoy! If you had leftover mashed pumpkin, it will last for about 5 days in the refrigerator.

How was our pie? I think it was the best I have ever made! Summer even loved it and wanted two pieces. I figure this pie is mostly healthy, the sugar comes from the sweetened condensed milk and you can buy the lesser sugar one if you prefer. Here are a few pictures of Summer enjoying her first piece of pie of the season!

It was really good and I just may have to make another one because I have a feeling this one isn't going too last long!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Dearest Summer,

My loving daughter, do you realize how you drive me crazy, not you personally, but just having you in my life has turned me into a crazed maniac. I worry about you most of the time, I worry when you sleep at night, still, that you might stop breathing. I worry that you are cold and uncovered and you may freeze to death. I worry when you are in your room napping, because, it is possible, an airplane may crash into our house. I worry when you are running around with your friends, you are so beautiful someone might try to grab you. I worry when you are sitting next to me, you might slip and fall and crack your head on the tile. I worry obsessively about every single thing you do, and don't even get me started on the things you don't do - should you be doing them? Should you be more adventurous, should you be climbing over the couches, not that I want that, I don't, should you be eating more vegetables, I mean you eat a lot, you eat more than I do, but is it enough? Should you be allowed to eat candy, what about your precious little teeth, do we brush those long and often enough? Should we have gotten you that kitty, is he going to scratch your precious skin and leave a scar? What if you accidentally step on the dog and he bites you? Are you watching too much tv or not enough, do I have you on the computer enough or should you be typing already? Are your clothes appropriate for your age, too cute, too mature, too silly? Will you look back on all your pictures and hate me or am I taking enough pictures, am I capturing all the memories, too many? Have I been diligent about sun screen, are you in the sun too much, not enough? Should you be taking daily vitamins, are you getting enough exercise, is it too dangerous, might someone kick you. Am I pushing you into dance or do you really enjoy it, is it more for me, will it hurt your knees and toes and back? Are we spending enough time on school, should I back off and let you play more, will you be smart, do you have cancer because I heated your baby bottles, the ones that were not bpa free, in the microwave? Could I have tried to breastfeed harder, made you latch, pumped and pumped and pumped. Do I say I love you enough or do I say it too much? Is calling you beautiful all the time going to give you a complex? Should I turn your car seat backward, it is safer you know, and is your seat in tight enough? Am I good enough driver, do I pay attention, should we just avoid the roads and save ourselves the worry? Oh Summer, how I worry about every single thing - you drive me crazy but I wouldn't have it any other way, somehow the worry has become a part of who I am, I am a mom who worries constantly and tries to do the best job I can without smothering you too much. Oh and one more thing, am I reading to you enough?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Halloween Events

We have been super busy with Halloween events. On Friday night I helped watch a friends 4 kids while she manned a photo booth at an elementary school fair. For over 3 hours I held her 1 year old boy while trying to keep an eye on her other three kids, plus mine, in the midst of people and kids running around enjoying the event. It was a lot of fun, the kids all got to play a few games and win a cake or two (or three). We got home around 8:00 pm and I was in bed by 8:30. My arm is still trying to recover :o) Luckily I didn't have to spend any money at that event.

On Saturday Kris and I took Summer to the local pumpkin patch, which is really just a bunch of hay bales, some pumpkins and some costly games. I wish we lived in the country and could go see a real pumpkin patch but wishes are for ... well I don't know what but lol, anyway it was ok, we ended up spending $20 for a pack of tickets. It was ok, there wasn't any good places to take pictures, and Summer wasn't in the mood anyway I guess.

This slide was huge, like 2 stories. The sign said it was for kids 5 and up but the guy just let her go before we realized. She had no trouble climbing it and was up and down the slide before I could go around and take a picture. Unfortunately she ended up with a nasty side burn from the plastic on her rib area. It was a bummer, she had fun up until that point.

Summer enjoyed this ride, it went around and we could also spin it but when I started to spin it she asked me to stop, she said she was getting scared, which was just as well because it was really hard to turn, probably because I was heavy lol.

The only decent yet still sucky area for photos.

This was a nice slide, Summer had trouble climbing up but she ended going up twice and had fun on it, no horrible side burns.

All in all we spent $20 bucks at this place and didn't end up getting a very expensive pumpkin. Figures.

Later, after nap, I took Summer to another Halloween event in Henderson at the museum. It was for kids 12 and under and ended up being very nice. It was a bit cold so I am glad I dressed Summer a bit warmer than I normally would, it is finally starting to get cold here. They had a lot of carnival type games and regardless if you actually won or not you still got a non candy prize, which was actually a nice surprise. It cost us $3 each to get in and $7 to play all the games. The $3 entry fee included trick or treating to 10 different houses.

Summer played all but maybe 3 of the games, she really enjoyed all of them and luckily the lines were very minimal. They had a spooky maze with people wearing masks hiding in the corners, when Summer saw the first person she waved to them and they waved back so I guess she figured they were nice and wasn't scared, it was cute.

Here she is after we trick or treated around the small house area showing me all the candy she got. She was really impressed with the whole ordeal, but then again, who wouldn't enjoy getting candy?

We also went through a haunted restaurant, well it was suppose to be haunted, I guess Summer was hungry because she was willing to eat the food with the insects on them.

After we finished going through the restaurant, that was also a train car, we headed over to the food stand and ordered two horrible hot dogs, a bag of chips and some water. Neither of us ate the hot dog, and since it was late and getting cold we decided to head home.

Once home I felt so guilty about all the crappy food we had been eating that I made us a bag of veggies to share. We are a few bites together while we went through the toys and candy in her bucket.

Here is the slide burn from earlier in the day. I have no clue how in the world it happened but it sucked. She keeps saying it is getting better, but makes sure we don't touch it.

We have another event on Wednesday, the ranch we go to every year, and then a costume party on Friday and Saturday, and of course trick-or-treating on Sunday. By the end of next week we will have had all we can take, or at least I will. Not to mention enough candy to last the rest of the year! At least we are having fun, I even got my old costume out to wear on Friday so be on the lookout for pictures!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

October is lovely

I have been missing because I have been busy! I have been taking a ton of pictures, and if you didn't already know I started a blog dedicated to my photos, make sure you to check it out here. I also facebook about my adventures in my photoworld, you can check it out and like it here!

Now that I got that out of the way, what have we been doing? Well, we are still doing school in the morning. Summer is learning how to spell, how to read, how to add and subtract. I am not focusing on the alphabet as much anymore, she knows all her letters, so we are focusing more on spelling and math. I don't spend a ton of time on school preparation either, it was just taking too much out of my already busy schedule, and it is working a lot better.

Besides school we belong to the gym, Summer has embraced the whole process of being left by herself, thankfully. She really enjoys that gym playroom. Dance is still a lot of fun and we have one cheerleading class left. This past Monday Summer ended up with a 24 hour fever so we didn't do much for a few days. Luckily it was quick and we were able to get back to normal.

I am still taking lots of pictures of my sweet princess, here are a few from this past week.

October has arrived and with it the cooler weather. Finally we can go back to the park, there for a while I was beginning to wonder if it would ever cool off. I am looking forward to so many Halloween events coming up, we have two parties to go to and I still haven't found a costume yet, I better get on that one! October is going to be a very busy month, I can already tell!