Sweetness

Several weeks ago my sister made some fantastic cupcakes. Over the weekend, we needed to whip up a batch of cupcakes for my SIL’s birthday. There would be several people there and one dessert was not enough. So I decided to make my sister’s recipe. Y’all. Words cannot describe the greatness of this cupcake.

Do it.

Black Bottom Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

Cake
Box of cake mix – We use dark chocolate
Required ingredients for mix (eggs, oil, water)
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1/3 c. sugar
pinch of salt
1 c. mini chocolate chips

Make cake mix according to package directions. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 ful.l (Don’t go overboard here. I did and WOW they got big. Although if you do go overboard, they hold up nicely. So really, just do what you want.) In a small bowl beat cream cheese, egg, sugar, and salt until smooth. Stir chocolate chips in mixture. Put a dallop of cream cheese mixture in each cupcake liner on top of the chocolate batter. Bake according to cupcake box.

Icing
(will ice 24 cupcakes)
18 T. butter, softened (2 sticks plus 2 T)
Slightly less than 1 c. cocoa, sifted
3 c. powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 c. plus 1 T.  milk
Splash of vanilla

(The measurements are weird, I know. I assume it’s because the original recipe only iced 8 cupcakes so we tripled it. I’m sure you could round the numbers and it’d be fine.)

Put all ingredients in a big bowl and beat until smooth. Refrigerate while cupcakes are cooking and cooling. Pipe icing on cupcakes. Go big or go home, y’all! Don’t skimp on the icing! I also added chocolate sprinkles to the top and it went over very well.

And because that’s not enough sweetness for one post…

Sleeping in my arms. When his binkie falls out, you know it’s a GOOD sleep.

Playing with his changing mat. I need to show you a full picture of this hat, it’s amazing.

This is Jansen’s newest thing. He sucks and chews on his lower lip.

BABY BOOBS!

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February 17, 2011 at 7:12 am 11 comments

On Letting Yourself Go

I always heard about how moms let themselves go when they have kids. How they can’t seem to find the time to do things for themselves. You see it on What Not To Wear all the time. “I didn’t think about myself after I had kids. It was all about my kids. That’s why my jeans are 12 years old and my shoes have holes in the soles.”

Or maybe it isn’t clothes related at all. You’ve heard about the mom that never loses the baby weight because she drives thru McDonald’s on the way home from work every night. Frozen pizza is a much quicker option for her than a true home cooked meal.

And what’s the excuse? “I’m a mom! I work fulltime and I am also a fulltime mother. I don’t have time to cook! I can hardly keep up with laundry.” It just becomes instinctive for women to say, “I’m a mother. I don’t have time for myself.”

Please don’t hear what I’m not saying, y’all. I am NOT saying that we should be able to keep up with everything. But let me just say this: The “I don’t have time for myself” business? That is not entirely true.

I’d like to clear up any confusion. It’s not that moms don’t have time to do things for themselves, it’s that we choose other things. Yes I need to tend to my fingernails, shave my legs, write a decent blog post, and cook a well balanced meal. I need to vacuum my house and scrub my floors. I need to meal plan and cut some coupons. But, you know what? If I have a spare hour of time that isn’t spoken for, chances are I’m going to sleep or watch some television that makes me laugh.

We’ve been through my schedule before, right? Eight hours are spent at work, an additional hour and a half is spent on the commute. An hour is spent on getting ready in the morning. Three to four hours are spent pumping. Then there are bottles to wash, a baby to bathe, bills to pay, laundry to hang, etc. Sometime in there I feed myself and my husband and give my baby some love.

If we’re going to be completely honest, there is free time in there. I’m sure I could sit my baby down in his Bumbo with some toys while I load the dishwasher. But I don’t want to. I’m away from my baby all day so the moments I have with him at home are very valuable to me.

So excuse me if I don’t invite you over. It’s not personal. It’s just that my house is a disaster and I don’t want your judgement. (Even if you say you won’t judge me, you will. I judge me.) And I’m sorry if you invite me to dinner and I bring Jansen along. I emotionally cannot leave him any longer than absolutely necessary. And, unless you are also a working mother, I do not expect you to understand that, I just expect you to accept it.

Being a mom is hard. Being a working mom is harder. I know that being a stay at home mom is difficult work too, but it’s different. You will never know the pain of leaving your child in someone else’s care every single day. You will never know the frustration of knowing that you may miss your child’s first crawl, first word, first step.

And while it’s hard, it is so very worth it. I am blessed beyond measure and I will never take my life for granted. I have a beautiful baby boy. I have a husband and together we have the money to provide a home and food and life for our little family. Even if that food is purchased in the frozen food section and the house has dog hair tumbleweeds.

February 16, 2011 at 7:11 am 21 comments

Ten on Tuesday (67)

These questions are from Ashley (<- link). She said she’s tired of the cold weather and we should start thinking about summer.

1. Any vacations you are looking forward to this summer?
Yes. We are going to Chicago for a wedding and we’re going to make a vacation out of it. I’m pretty excited. I’ll be soliciting your advice here in the next week or two. Bloggers have lots of opinions about things like that.

2. What is your favorite article of summer clothing (shoes are included)?
Cotton sundresses. I love my Reefs and I love my Sperry’s, but I live in cotton dresses.

3. What is your favorite summer drink (alcoholic or non)?
That’s a tough one. I love an ice cold Bud Light on a hot day. But I also love fun, fruity drinks and raspberry mojitos. And I love a big glass of sweet tea.

4. Do you tan or burn?
Burn. Burn. Burn.

5. Any goals you are working toward this summer?
My one goal is to get into a bathing suit and be comfortable. I’ve pretty much convinced myself that I’ll be in tankinis until these stretch marks fade. I just love people too much to expose them to my purpley lines.

6. What is your favorite summertime food?
Fresh berries. After our strawberry picking adventure last year, I’m now convinced that there is NOTHING better than a strawberry straight from the vine.

7. What song most says “summer” to you?
I have no idea. Maybe some old school Pat Green. It reminds me of summertime adventures in high school. Two of my girlfriends and I went to several of his dancehall concerts, most were not in Houston so we took mini-roadtrips. Good times.

8. Any home improvement goals planned for this summer?
My whole life is a giant home improvement goal.

9. What is one thing you hate to see at the beach?
I’m listing more than one thing because I have lots of thoughts and feelings on the matter: Large people in small bathing suits, kids without sunscreen, rain clouds, a giant boardwalk going up at MY portion of the beach that I know will cause traffic and overcrowding, jellyfish or sharks, an empty cooler, and trash.

10. Did you ever go to a summer camp?
Oh yes I did! I went to weekend summer camp once or twice and then I went to a week long summer camp twice. It was fun minus the dirt, bugs, showering with shoes on, and coed dance night. The best part was The Blob. (Giant balloon like thing in the lake – you jump off a platform on it. I think they also have them in Heaven.)

Your turn!

February 15, 2011 at 7:00 am 23 comments

My Sweet Boy

This is a special Valentine’s Day for me. Why? Because I am the #1 woman in two boys’ lives. And I will be until some punk girl in pigtails and polka dot tights makes my baby boy come home from kindergarten telling me he is in love. I don’t really know how I’m going to handle that but I imagine it will involve a box of Kleenex and a bottle of wine.

For now, he’s all mine. I’ll share though.

(This is 4.5 minutes long and chances are, there are only about 6 people who will be interested in watching it in its entirety. But feel free to watch the first minute for a good pick-me-up. Baby giggles are the best medicine.)

Ten on Tuesday are posted!

February 14, 2011 at 7:14 am 19 comments

A List And Stuff

1.
I just started to write out my number one and it ended up being so long that I’m going to save it for an actual post at some point. I don’t know why I’m telling you this.

2.
I finished reading Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls for Big Mama’s book club. I’m now reading The Glass Castle, which so many of you have recommended to me over the past year or two. It’s great. If you enjoy reading, pick these two up, for sure. But just be warned: This family is full of complete freak jobs. I recommend reading them in the order that I read them (even though I think they were written opposite) because Half Broke Horses is about the grandmother’s life and The Glass Castle is about the mother’s life. So it’s in chronological order this way, and that just makes more sense to me.

3.
Okay yesterday someone shared something on Twitter that totally blew me away. It won’t make sense to some of you. Remember the television show Blossom? Yeah… Blossom is Amy Farrah Fowler on Big Bang Theory. I didn’t believe it so I looked it up on IMDB. It’s for real. Amazing. I never would have noticed.

4.
One of these days I’m going to post a video of Jansen when he gets the uncontrollable giggles. It’s probably the cutest thing you’ll ever see in your life. The problem is that EVERY time I get the video camera out, he stops. Every single time. I think I should invent a camera that is hidden in the eyeball of a stuffed animal so he won’t notice. I’ll work on it. (Not on the invention but on getting a good video of him.)

5.
Have a great weekend.

February 11, 2011 at 7:14 am 12 comments

The Little Gentleman

This picture was taken on a cell phone so it is really grainy, but it is pretty stinking cute. I feel like he should have a cigar in his hand.

February 10, 2011 at 7:23 am 6 comments

The Most Interesting Post In The History Of Ever

It is currently 10:30 at night and I’m tapping this post out with one hand while the other hand holds the pump cone of shame. On a scale from 1 to 10, I’m about 17 tired and I wish I was in bed. We had a thing at our church tonight that we felt like we should attend. Has anyone ever been part of a church that has had a pastor request a “peaceful release?” Well I’m not going to go into much discussion but let me just tell you that there are a lot of opinions and, while everyone may be entitled to their own opinion, it isn’t necessary to speak them publicly into a microphone under the disguise of a question. And also? It’s sort of shocking how unkind people can be within the church. Last week when I mentioned that my life was going through a bagillion changes, this is one of them. My church of 26 years is having some major pains right now. Prayers are greatly appreciated.

Another change that my life has been going through: I own TOMs. Did I mention that? I’ve been wanting them for quite some time and my mom bought me a gift certificate for early Valentine’s Day. The problem was that I couldn’t just pick one pair. My friend Sarah told me to look at it as if I was buying a pair of shoes for a kid in need… and I just happen to get a pair as well. So now I own the red canvas ones and the silver glitter ones. I think TOMs are like crack. I want more. I’m thinking either the slate or olive or brown ones. What do you think? My life is full of big decisions.

(Insert clever segue here.)

I love you forever if you leave some Ten on Tuesday questions in the comments. I know beggars can’t be choosers but please leave them in sets of ten… not just a question here or there. It’s too hard for my disheveled mind to compile them late on Sunday nights.

Thanks in advance. And also my husband just told me that formula was invented when people tried to mimic the vitamins and benefits of breast milk for use by body builders and other strength trainers.

February 9, 2011 at 7:15 am 13 comments

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