Thoughts of the future

I have been thinking this past week about the future.  Do we need to change daycares so Alex has a preschool program?  What kindergarten will he attend?  Will we stay in the public school system, or do we go the private route?  I know I have years before this, but it was on my mind.

I learned that there is testing that needs to be done before he is 4 for kindergarten readiness.  To see what he needs to improve on during that next year before he starts.  I feel like there is so much that he could learn and accomplish within that year without the testing.  Is it really necessary?  Do they stop being kids and playing all the time by 4?

Paul went to a catholic school for elementary school, then changed to public school for the remaining years.  I have always been in public schools.  We are members at the local catholic church, but attend an Assembly of God church instead.  As much as I want Alex to have a good faith-based childhood, do I fully think the catholic school is the way to go?  I then started looking at the local school he would attend for kindergarten.  First of all, how do you make that schedule work?  Do we alter our work schedules to see him on and off the bus?  What if I get stuck in traffic and don’t make it home in time for the bus?  Do we do the before and after care?  I heard there is a waiting list for that program.  Who knew there was a waiting list?!  The website stated breakfast is at 9am and lunch is at 12:30.  That is 1.5 hours later than he eats now.  My first thought is he can’t wait that long for lunch.  I had to stop myself, that is YEARS from now.

Yesterday I was reading a friend’s old blog post and realized the day will come when Alex will no longer want to hang out with mommy.  Right now he is my best friend.  We do everything together.  I even took him downstairs last night with me when I washed my face.  How does one handle that?  How do you cope with the fact that your child grows up and wants to play with the neighborhood kids instead of you?  When he wants to stay outside all day long and you have to remind him to come home for dinner.

Some days I will hug him out of the blue.  I need to soak up these moments and lock them away in the memory bank.  5 or 10 years down the road I will no longer be able to smother him in hugs.

So many thoughts running through my mind about the future and the boy he will grow up to be.  It is time to let those thoughts go and live in the present moment.  That time will come and when it does, Paul and I will learn as we go. But for now I will continue to smother my baby boy with hugs and kisses while he giggles in delight.

Make it a great day,

Jen

Running Bibs

I have been completing road races since 2006.   I remember when I first started running.  I came home one day and told Paul how excited I was that I ran 1 mile without stopping.  And now I can’t tell you how many miles I have run since.

I have done a mixture of races.  From 2 mile races all the way to 2 full marathons.  I have kept most of the bibs through the years.  I have never known what to do with them.

There are many options out there of what to do with your running numbers.  Hand them on your wall.  Get a plaque to hang them along with your medals.  Make a photo album.  The list goes on.

I decided to simply put them in a three-ring binder.  That way I can add to them as I continue running.

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It was fun looking back at all the runs I have completed.  I tried to write the date and my time on the bibs for tracking.  I also would write if I ran with someone.

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There are a few bibs that are missing.  But this way once I find them I can add them to the collection.

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Make today great,

Jen

Mint Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

I feel like cupcakes are becoming my go to for baking these days.  They are easy for me to do with Alex playing nearby.  I don’t need to concentrate 100% on them, can stop in the middle if needed, and they do not take up much time at all.

I was going to try a new chocolate cupcake recipe, but decided against it for time purposes.  It would have required melting butter on the stove, then mixing for 4-5 minutes before adding additional ingredients.

I decided against that and used the chocolate recipe that I normally use instead from Bakerella.  It is quick and easy.  Mix dry ingredients, add wet ingredients, mix, add water, mix and done.  One bowl recipe.

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I made my normal buttercream frosting but tweaked it a little to make it mint.

Mint Frosting:

1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup shortening

1/4 – 1/2 tsp mint extract

4 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup water

Mix butter, shortening and extract till smooth.  Alternate adding sugar and water, ending with sugar till blended.  Mix on medium high for an additional 2 minutes or so.

This will frost 24 cupcakes

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I am trying to find ways for us to give back to the community.  So, this morning Paul will bring a dozen cupcakes to our church staff.

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Make it a great day,

Jen

Helping others

Every so often I feel the need to give back to the community.  I feel the urge to help others in some way.

I have started to bake again, and am wanting to find somewhere to donate my extra cupcakes.  Sometimes I will send them to Paul’s work, or I will bring them to my work.  You can only do that so often.  I just threw out a dozen cupcakes.  That was after I brought some to Paul’s work.  I wish I had somewhere else to give them to.

I started looking online at local churches and charities to see if anyone will take baked goods.  There is the issue these days of baked goods vs store bought food.  With all the allergies and food safety these days a lot of places will not take baked goods.

It then shifted into homeless and family table websites.  A few statistics I ran into:

  1. On any night, more than 6000 youth are homeless and on their own
  2. 1 in 10 Minnesotans experience food insecurity on a regular basis
  3. One of the local churches has a family table 2 times a month and feeds between 170-200 people.
  4. Every $1 donated to the local food bank can provide 3 meals

It breaks my heart to think of so many people so close to home that do not have a roof over their head or don’t know if they will have a meal to eat today.

I first thought to bring cupcakes to one of the family table meals as a cupcake can always make someone smile.  But then I wondered if the sugar is a good idea if that is someone’s only meal for the day.  I may contact the Salvation Army and see what their thoughts are.  I don’t even know if they would be able to accept the home baked cupcakes.

I will continue to pray and ask for guidance in what the best way will be for me to give back.

Do you have a certain charity that you like to give to?  Or do you like to volunteer your time for a certain cause?

Make today great,

Jen

ACBC food shelf

Epiphany Church

Hope 4 Youth MN

Salvation Army

Hydrangea cupcakes

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I had such high hopes for this post.  I have been looking at these cupcakes for days, waiting to make them.  I wanted to take several pictures of the step by step process for you.  But, life had other plans.

My sister called me yesterday at 7am.  She rarely called, and has never called that early in the morning.  I knew something was wrong.  My stepdad was admitted to the hospital the night before due to an infection.  To make things worse, my mom was out-of-town.

I don’t know why, but this time really got to me.  I kept tearing up at work, I couldn’t concentrate.  At one point when I thought I was ready to talk about it I was shaking at one point.  I ended up leaving work a little early so I could run to the hospital to see him before I picked up Alex from Daycare.

He looked a little tired, but otherwise was doing good all things considered.  I was still foggy headed and my body was beaten and exhausted from the day and it was only 2:30pm in the afternoon.

Paul was at work all day, so it would be just me taking care of Alex.  I knew I had to do something to get out of the funk.

I have a couple of outlets when I get stressed, two of them involve food.  I am an eater, always have been, always will be.  And I eat when I am stressed.  We are not talking about salads and fruits, we are talking about whatever junk I can get ahold of.  After the hospital I needed to eat quick, enter Ramen noodles.  There goes all the work I did this morning with leg day.  All sodium and no protein.

I also have baked when stressed.  I had an hour, I could get a quick batch done.  It helped distract me.  I needed to make them to feel accomplished.  I needed them to turn out good.  I tried a new recipe for both cupcake and frosting.  I was very happy with the cupcake!

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It helped lift my spirit, I was less foggy.  I will admit after decorating a couple, I realized they were still warm.  I didn’t let the cupcakes cool completely after they came out of the oven.  I took them out of the pan and started piping frosting, Opps!!!  I was worried about the frosting melting, but it did alright.

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Overall, I am happy with them and was thankful they did the trick to help me mentally make it through yesterday.

Make it a great day,

Jen

Pancakes

I love breakfast.  I could eat it all day, every day.  I normally make breakfast for us on the weekends.  I don’t do hash browns as much anymore, but I still make pancakes and eggs most of the time.

I found a new recipe for pancakes and decided to doctor it a little to make them a little healthier.  I need to make up for the butter and syrup I spread on them.  Every so often I get in a mood and use peanut butter and a banana for my topping.

Lately, I have been making a few pancakes for Alex and I with blueberries in them.  Paul does not care for blueberry pancakes, so I add the frozen blueberries to a couple pancakes right after I pour the batter on the griddle.

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Pancakes:

1/2 cup white flour

1/2 cup wheat flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 Tbsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup milk

1 egg

1 Tbsp applesauce

Preheat your griddle to 325, or medium high.  Whisk dry ingredients.  Add wet ingredients and whisk till incorporated.  Pour on griddle.  Let cook till bubbles form, then flip and cook for an additional couple minutes till done.

*Can add frozen blueberries after you pour on the griddle.

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Here is a printable version.

Make it a great day,

Jen

 

Yellow Cupcakes

It has been a while since I baked.  I used to bake all the time.  It is hard to do with Alex these days.  Plus, I don’t want sweets in the house all the time.  Not good for my waistline.

Cupcakes are on the easy side of baking.  They don’t take much time to do and can be done with a toddler at your feet.

I have been searching for a while for a good yellow/white/vanilla cupcake.  They are all different flavors, but I just need one GOOD recipe.  I have one from before, but feel like that it is better for cakes.  It is heavy, and I would like a recipe for cupcakes that is a little lighter.

I have tried several recipes over the years.  I came across this recipe from I Am Baker.  It was a good recipe.  I did make the whipped chocolate buttercream to go with them.

Because of the frosting, I had to store the cupcakes in the fridge.  I am never a fan of that.  I am not patient enough to let the cupcake warm back up before eating it.

I brought out the DSLR camera and decided to take a nice picture this time.  Presentation is where it’s at.  I have been lazy lately with using my phone camera and really should start using the good camera for my pictures.  It does make a good crisp photo.

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Overall, they were good cupcakes and I am sure I will go back to this recipe in the future.

Make it a great day!

Jen