Have an adventure. Eat good food till your pants are too tight. Enjoy a good belly laugh.

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Summer schedules

I am so happy that summer is here, but not because of the weather or the extra time I will get to spend with the kids.  Not even because of any pending summer vacations (sorry but I actually just got back.)  I am happy that summer is here because that means that I am done with all of the scheduling, the planning that is required to be able to keep my school age child busy while I go to work everyday during the summer.

I spend weeks researching, scheduling, making color-coded charts, figuring out pick-ups and drop offs.  I am tired just thinking of all the work.  All of this because I want my child to have a great adventure, learn new things, not burn the house down.  Is it worth the work… I don’t know.  I will have to ask my daughters therapist in twenty years.

PS: I needed to put all of my summer on a calendar sheet just meant for the kids activities (copies to my husband, my dad, mother-in-law…).  If you want a nice looking free calendar that you can download for personal use you may want to check these out.  I liked…

2014 Printable Calender. . . Happy New Year!

Organizing Calendar: the Harmonized House Project

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BBQ’d Nachos

The two things that make me happiest in my life are doing anything with my kids (yep, I’m that mom) and feeding people so much food that they feel the need to stuff themselves to the point of unbuttoning their pants.  This is why I will never complain about my husbands friends coming over every week.  I get to feed them.

This week I defiantly forced a couple buttons as I fed them bbqd pulled pork nachos.  You heard me.  BARBAQUED PULLED PORK NACHOS!

These are devine and I make pulled pork just so I can make the nachos.


Ingredient Action
1-12 oz can pinto beans
Juice of one lime
1/2T cajun seasoning
1/2t salt or to taste  Smash together to make your refried beans and set aside


2 ripe tomatoes, diced
1/4 c pickled jalapeños, diced
1/3 c cilantro, diced  Mix together to make your pico and season with salt and pepper.  Set aside.


7oz large tortila chips  Spread out on a baking tray
2c bbq pulled pork  Scatter over chips
Smashed beans (above)  Scatter over chips
Pico (above)  Scatter over chips
1/3 c sour cream  Dot little blobs all over the chips
12 oz cheddar cheese, shredded  Scatter over chips.  Throw your finished tray of chips under the broiler for 5-8 min.

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Everyone needs a grapevine trellis

p1-CuteKidsWhen I designed my garden I was keeping in mind that I wanted my kids to want to be there with me.  That is why I created a trellis for my grapevines in the shape of a standard house outline.  I built it out of PVC pipe which I spray-painted bright yellow.  It is anchored in two 2′ x 3′ beds with a stretch of about 8′ of lawn under it.

I picture my girls having picnics in the shade of the grapevines.  A blanket spread out over the soft lawn.  Stealing berries and lounging.  That makes me happy!

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Four legs of happiness

Harry Dog

I have 3 dogs, but ask anyone and they will tell you Harry is mine.  He is the best bad dog a girl could ask for.  Why is he good?  He is hops like a bunny when he runs, he follows me around the yard wagging his tale and he is always more than happy to hide the evidence if I ever spill anything.  What makes him a bad dog is the same thing that made us name him after Harry Houdini.  He has a tendency to escape.  Why is he mine?  When it is time for him to go inside or outside and my husband is trying to coax him to go the right direction he stands still as a statue.  That’s when I walk to the door and say “Come on Harry!”  Works every time.  Good boy Harry.


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Raspberries make me happy

p1-CuteKidsI love raspberries.  They are sweet and delicate.  Little bits of perfection.  When my daughter runs up to our tiny bushes I find myself magically transported to summers at my grandfathers.  He would give us buckets to go out back and fill with fresh berries and then he would run them into the kitchen and make cobblers and crisps.  Those memories make me happy.

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Another day… another happy moment brought to you by buttermilk pancakes


I know I posted about food making me happy yesterday, but it is a holiday weekend and that means I am cooking a lot.  This morning I made my oldest daughter’s favorite… pancakes.  Everyone has a favorite kind of pancakes.  Mine are light, fluffy and perfect.  This is because of the baking powder and the holiest of baking ingredients… buttermilk.  I have decided that any and all baked goods are better with buttermilk.  Feel free to try my buttermilk pancakes recipe and decide for yourself.

Ingredient Action
2c flour
2T sugar
2t baking powder
1/2t baking soda
1/2t salt
1/2t cinnamon  Wisk together in a large measuring pitcher


3 T butter, melted
1 egg  Mix egg into the butter while constantly whisking
2 c buttermilk
vanilla extract  Whisk into the egg mixture

Mix your bow of wet ingredients into your bowl of dry ingredients with a spatula. Set aside while you heat a cast iron skillet (will need butter) or non-stick pan (will not need but may want butter) for 5 minutes on med-low heat.  Don’t preheat your pan.  This 5 minutes will give your batter time to have air bubbles form in the batter and you will want them there for that light and fluffy thing.

When you are all preheated throw some butter on the pan and use your 1/4-1/3 cup measuring cup to dump equal portions of batter into your hot pan making sure to leave room to breath.  I flip my pancakes as soon as the texture of the outside edge looks a little firm.  If you can’t tell looking at the outside edge watch for bubbles to come to the surface towards the center of the pancakes.  Pull them off the pan when you think it is done (sorry but you are just going to have to get a feel for that one) and throw them on a baking sheet in a warm oven or on a covered plate.

Serve up with butter, syrup, berries… anything you want.  Oh, and slip any extras into your toaster for quick breakfast during the week.  That should make you happy.  🙂

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Tiramisu birthday cake makes me so happy!


We recently celebrated a birthday in my house and I am happy to report that it required a birthday tiramisu rather than a birthday cake.  Magic!  It may not be the most beautiful tiramisu I have ever made but I was so excited that my daughter wanted to help that I didn’t care.

This is one of my husbands favorite deserts and it actually isn’t that hard.

Ingredient Action
7 egg yolks
1/4 c sugar Mix on high in electric mixer with wisk attachment
1/4 c rum
1/4 c cooled espresso
or coffee concentrate
16oz mascarpone cheese  Mix in on medium speed until evenly combined


1/4 c rum
1 1/2 c cooled espresso
or coffee concentrate
Combine and set aside in a pie plate or shallow dish


Lots o lady fingers Dip the lady fingers in the rum/espresso mixture use them to create a cookie layer in the bottom of a trifle dish.  Cover with a layer of the mousse.  Go back and forth between the two till you are out of ingredents ending with the mousse.
Semi sweet chocolate bar Use a carrot peeler to create chocolate shavings to drip all over the top.

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Back to the blog

Ever get the feeling that you have forgotten something.  I constantly have that feeling and in general it is dead on.  My keys, Kiera’s homework, the blankie… my sanity.  I have even occasionally found myself driving into work singing along to Yo Gabba Gabba with my youngest only to realize I just passed daycare.

Anyway, the point is that I have been ignoring that feeling and just accepted that there are things forgotten, but everyone around me is happy and healthy so it will be ok.  Then I realized I forgot something big… I forgot that I was blogging.

Well S#*%T.  I ment to blog, really!

So I am setting the reset button and giving myself a challenge (probably not the best idea at the moment but thats how I roll.)  I am going to keep it simple but I am going to post.  I have a snazzy new camera so I am going to post a picture of something that makes me happy and tell you about it every day… or every other day… or twice a week.  BUT I WILL POST!


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Cold morning, warm fire and cider donuts

My recipe for a perfect one-week-till-Thanksgiving morning is a chill in the air + a crackling fire + hot lattes and cocoa for the girls + the ultimate hot cider donuts fresh out of the oven and dipped in cinnamon sugar. I know you’re drooling. Here’s what you do.


Cider donuts

Whisk 3.5 cups all-purpose flour, 4 teaspoons baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 3.5 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg.

In your mixers bowl beat 2/3 cup granulated sugar and 3 tablespoons vegetable shortening until they look like sand. Add 1 egg plus 1 yolk and 1 cup applesauce. I like using cinnamon applesauce without chunks but it is up to you. after everything is well mixed add half of your flour mixture and combined. Next add 1/4 cup buttermilk and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. I accidentally spill a little extra vanilla extract in it every time, whoops. Then add the rest of the flour mixture and mix until just barely combined. The dough will be really sticky.

Set out a piece of parchment paper and flour it lightly. Coat your hands with flour and then scrape the dough out onto the parchment. Pat down the dough until its in a 7 by 11 inch rectangle or whatever shape as long as it’s about half an inch thick. At this point I always put it on top of a cutting board for a little stability then cover with plastic wrap or more parchment paper and put in the fridge.  it needs to sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours but I always do it overnight.

The next morning heat vegetable oil in a cast iron pan till it reads 350 degrees. For me this means being patient with medium heat and then turning it down just a bit. You want to be using enough vegetable oil that your donuts will be able to just barely float, not sitting on the bottom. If they are sitting on the bottom they won’t cook evenly. While you’re oil is heating up pull the dough out of the fridge and start cutting your donuts and donut holes. I have a donut cutter but you can always make you with cookie cutters. When your oil is heated place a couple donuts in the pan and occasionally flip until they are a light brown color on both sides. Make sure to crack open the first one and taste test, as this is the only way to know how good the product is. 🙂  As you get the donuts done set them on a baking sheet lined with paper towels in a warm over.

When the donuts have all been cooked toss them in cinnamon sugar (2 cups sugar, 2 tablespoons cinnamon and 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice.) Please serve warm. They just aren’t the same once they have cooled off. In fact they are so horrible once cold that I should probably eat all the rest of these myself.

Num, num, num.