Thursday, January 31, 2008

Where did the time go?

So, 2 weeks have gone by and the pace at home hasn't changed much. It's 1230, like in a.m. and I am now just getting a few moments to myself! Jesse was gone part of this week. Off visiting another country (again) and that left me all the driving for the week! Not complaining, it's just the way it is.

I am truly enjoying my last year of sharing my days with one of the kids. Evelyn will start kindergarten in the fall and I am already preparing for those "lonely" days. I've started attending a monthly craft class (I'm starting small!) and am working on organizing the family photos and my craft room - so I can do something with the photos!

Trying to downsize the commitments - but I struggle with this one. I'd rather be at the school volunteering or planning the next GS meeting - the laundry and dishes will still be there when I get home! I have gotten so used to being busy (not necessarily productive, though) that I'm not sure what I will do when Evelyn goes to school...I doubt it will take me long to figure this one out! Leave me some suggestions in the comments!

Here's a little something from Evelyn:

Evelyn: I can't wait for Daddy to grow up!

Me: Why is that?

Evelyn: He'll be funner when he doesn't have to go to work!

Does that mean I'm all grown up?!



Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Picture, please!

Just taking a quick break from the "have to do today" list...

Wow! Just when I think I've found something uniquely have hundreds of others! A while back I saw this blog where this guy was taking a picture a day for the entire year. I thought, "Self...this is an interesting concept! I think that I will try it and see what happens."

(It just so happens that Donna Downey also is doing this! She talks a bit about it in her January 2008 newsletter Creative Playground.)

So, I've been taking a(t least) picture a day. So far, so good. Now, if I had only said, "Self, a picture a day and then post it for the next 365 days..." I suppose that would have been something else entirely! Then you would have expected me to actually post, right?! Well, those of you that don't know me, anyway...

Not too much going on here out of the ordinary. Dance classes for all of the girls now, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, youth groups, school...of course it is the new year, so we are halfway to being finished with preschool, second grade, fifth grade and *gasp!* junior year! Where has the time gone? It definitely hasn't slowed down.

Jess gave me a new camera for Christmas - the Nikon D40x - love, love, love - him, I mean! ;) The picture definition is wonderful, working on the quality of the pics. Unfortunately, it does take longer to upload, so that will have to wait until later (today? Friday?...maybe this weekend...)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Banana Cupcakes

Mmmm! This is my most requested recipe to date by my kids – many times by my picky son for his classroom snack! The original recipe came from a recipe book that my mother used while I was young. I believe my grandmother gave the book, the Pennsylvania Grange Cookbook, to her when my parents were newlyweds! It's one of those cookbooks that clubs and groups put together with members contributing the recipes. This compiled cookbook was first published in 1972!

It is full of old fashioned goodness before the downfall of shortening and sugar. The original recipe is sinfully delicious! Sweet, buttery, fine crumb cake with a hint of banana. I don't ever remember my mother using frosting as called for in the recipe.

It's a great recipe. Over the years I have made hundreds of cupcakes and the recipe is very flexible - I have made the cupcakes with ½ the sugar; part wheat flour; applesauce for part of the fat; added citrus flavors; used plain yogurt instead of buttermilk; used flavored yogurt; soy milk instead of the buttermilk; added crushed flax seed… It will even take up to a cup of additions such as chocolate chips, nuts, raisens, oats… double it with no problems!

Here's my modified version of the original recipe that I use most often…

½ cup sugar
½ cup butter (1 stick, room temperature)
1 tsp. vanilla (any flavored extract or oil)
2 medium eggs
2 cups of unbleached flour (or half wheat)
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 ½ tsp. baking powder
about 1 cup mashed bananas (about 2 medium)
¼ cup yogurt (without gelatin)
½ cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375°F (about 190°C) and place papers into muffin pan or grease muffin cups.
1. Sift baking soda, salt and baking powder into flour; set aside.
2. Cream the butter and sugar till smooth; add vanilla.
3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
4. Add dry ingredients and bananas and yogurt alternately, beating well after each addition. Add chocolate chips.
5. Fill muffin cups ½ full for flatter tops, ¾ for full tops.
6. Bake for about 15 minutes or until lightly golden on top.

Makes about 21 cupcakes with additions.


The original Banana Cupcakes recipe from the 1972 Pennsylvania State Grange sent in by Mrs. R. Paul Grim of the Virginville Grange No. 1832:

1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup short.
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
2 ¼ cups sifted cake flour
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 cup mashed bananas
¼ cup buttermilk

Cream shortening and vanilla; add sugar gradually, creaming till light. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift together dry ingredients and add alternately with mashed bananas and milk to creamed mixture, beating well after each addition. Fill greased or paper lined cup cake pans ½ full. Bake in moderate oven at 375° F for 20 min. or till done. Cool and frost.