Dec 21, 2010

Favorite Christmas Recipes


I hope everyone is getting ready to have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! I just started baking a few things this evening and thought I would share a few of my favorite recipes! Please share one of your favorites with me too, I love to make new recipes BUT they have to be EASY,lol! Someone on fb just gave me this recipe a couple of weeks ago because I mentioned that Kroger already had Cadbury Creme Eggs and that I was going to be in trouble..hehe... so thank you Sharon for sending me this recipe!! I just made it tonight! I have not tasted them yet, but they look awesome! If you like Cadbury Creme Eggs (like me) then you will love this recipe!

Cadbury Creme Egg Brownies


6 Cadbury Creme Eggs
430g (~15 oz) Cadbury Bournville chocolate
45g (~1 1/2 oz) sugar
115g (~4 oz) butter
140g (~5 oz) flour4 eggs (original recipe called for large, I used medium though)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder

Method1. Pre-heat the oven to 325ºF (170ºC).

2. Grease a 9 × 13 inch pan with butter.

3. Pre-mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl (you will not need to fit anything else in here).

4. Gently melt the butter, Creme Eggs (not the real eggs) and chocolate together. This is easiest to do in a double boiler, or bain-marie.

5. Hopefully, the melted mixture will become smooth and silky. It did not for me. If this doesn’t melt correctly, but instead, after mixing, is more of a soft fondanty consistency, don’t despair, mine went like this and it was still fine after the next couple of steps.

6. Remove the chocolate/Creme Egg/butter mixture from the heat, and mix in the sugar. The original recipe said to use a whisk for this step and the next, but my mixture was too thick for that, so I used a spoon.

7. Wait until you think it’s cool enough that the eggs won’t cook (it should not be very long if you didn’t overheat the chocolate), and add the eggs one by one, mixing each in thoroughly.

8. In three batches, gently folding, mix in the flour (with the baking powder and salt from the bowl you premixed them in earlier).

9. The mixture should now be smooth and silky, quite thick, but thin enough to pour.

10. Pour the mixture into the pan you greased earlier. Pour into the middle, and it should run into the corners. You can use a spoon to flatten it out if you need to. If it’s not flat on top, or you just want to get some aggression out, lift up the pan and drop it on the table a couple of times to even out the top.

11. Place the pan in the centre of the pre-heated oven.

12. Cook for 30-40 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting a cocktail stick or chopstick into the centre of the pan. When you remove it, it should have moist crumbs all over it, but no hint of actual liquid batter. If the stick is covered in brown batter, it’s not done yet. If there are no crumbs at all, you’ve left the brownies in for too long!

13. Remove from the oven and leave in the pan for two hours on a wire rack to cool (I know, I know, but it’s worth it!).

14. Cut into squares as you serve. If you don’t want to eat it all at once (or maybe just can’t eat it all at once), leave the remainder uncut in the pan covered in cling film to seal.That’s it! You probably won’t be able to not eat it when it’s fresh, but I’d say it definitely tastes better after a day or two.

My other recipes are on a post from last year so click on the highlighted link for more of my favorite Holiday Recipe's including "Winter Chex mix" which is my ALL TIME FAVORITE.. makes a great gift to give as well!!

If anyone decides to make any of these, let me know how you like it.. you REALLY have to make the winter chex mix, I promise you will LOVE IT.. I know how everyone loves the "puppy chow mix" well this beats that hands I have you interested now?

Nov 11, 2010

An update on Ayla's Arthritis

A very long day at Ayla's Rheumatology appointment!



Wow, It has been a while since I have updated about Ayla's condition. Since starting on Enbrel injections last year, she has been doing wonderful. The plan was after being on the Enbrel and Methotrexate for one year without ANY signs or symptoms of arthritis, we would start decreasing her medicines and eventually she would be medicine free. Well, I honestly believed that would happen BUT we have learned recently that the arthritis is still affecting her little body. Over the summer she had complained of her left knee hurting every now and then and if she hits it or moves it a certain way she will complain. She does not like to walk long distances and will ask to be carried because she will say her knee or feet hurt. There is a little fluid on her knee but not enough to be a major concern. She also has just recently started complaining of neck pain, mostly when she is looking down while writing, working a puzzle, coloring, etc. I tried to ignore it as first and was in denial about it being arthritis, but now she tells me at least once a day that her neck is hurting. We had an appointment with her Rheumatologist last week and it was confirmed that she does indeed have arthritis in her neck. She also had Physical Therapy after her Dr. appointment and the PT did all kind of measurements and exercises with her neck and said that her range of motion for her neck is not where it is supposed to be. Although I knew it already, it still broke my heart to hear. I was so looking forward to taking her off of the medicines or at least decreasing them so her little body could have a break. The Dr. told us that having arthritis in the neck was very concerning to her. We are not allowed to do gymnastics etc, until her neck is showing some improvement :( The PT gave us some daily exercises to do for her neck and some for her hamstrings as well. The muscles in her legs are tight so we need to work on this and try to get her muscles stretched out. We also have a shoe lift for her to put in her right show because due to the inflammation in her left knee, that leg is longer than the right and it throws her off while walking, etc. I am ok with this, I was assured this will eventually resolve itself!



I am really heart broken over this, I know it could be worse but it still hurts when it is your child and when you have to watch them cry and plead with you to NOT give the shots every week. At times, I lie in bed at night and cry thinking of what these medicines might do to her body in the future. It breaks my heart that she may have to deal with this her WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE, she was diagnosed as a baby, it is just not fair. I wish there were some way I could take her place. So as of now the plan is to stay on the same medicines, we actually increased the dosage so she is taking the max dose for her weight. We will re-evaluate everything when we go back in February. Until then we will still have our eye appointments and routine lab work to make sure everything is okay.




I am sorry for being such a downer with this post, but some people just don't "get it". For example on Halloween, Ayla walked half way around our subdivision and then wanted her Daddy to carry her, she did not feel like walking. So as John is carrying her someone passing out the candy made a smart remark like, "isn't she old enough to walk herself", I was very proud that John did not say anything back, because he definitely wanted to. I was thinking to myself Lady if you had arthritis and it is cold outside, your body may be hurting you too but I didn't say it, just kept walking. Another JRA mom says it best on her blog, "Our Journey with Arthritis",

"Some of you may think that arthritis is no big deal. It's not cancer right? How can it possibly be a life threatening issue? Cancer kills people, arthritis does not. Can I tell you how WRONG you are? If you have a healthy child, be thankful. And while you are being thankful for your healthy child(ren) please say a prayer for the children that are not."

Anyway, I am a positive person most of the time, but we ALL have our moments! Here are a couple of pictures of me and the kids at the beginning of the appointment (remember its almost a 4 hour drive)



and here is one towards the

Even though there are some people who do not fully grasp what we go through or what "Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis" means, I know there are alot of you that are praying for my sweet Ayla, I have support from family, friends, and other JRA moms I have met, and for that, I am very thankful!

Trick or Treat ( a little late)

The kids had a great time this year, they actually "got it" for the first time and it was sooo fun to watch! Brennan was the trick or treat pro, he was the leader of the pack and was always first to say "trick or treat". He is so funny, one lady passing out candy had grey wavy hair, the first thing he said when he walked up to her was "George Washington", omg John and I could not stop laughing, it was hilarious but she had no idea what he was talking about. He knows what all the Presidents look like, lol.


And here is my Prince and Princess!




So Ayla changed her mind a few hundred times about what she wanted to be for Halloween. She wanted to be a cheerleader for the longest time because Kaleb's girlfriend is a cheerleader and she loves going to games and watching the cheerleaders. Of course I try to steer her in that direction as well since I was a cheerleader at one time (many, many years ago ) After I searched forever and finally found her a cheerleader outfit she then decided she wanted to be a princess. She wanted to be each and every one of them but finally decided on Ariel. Her Mama Sandy had bought her the gorgeous Ariel dress for her birthday so Ariel it was! She did however get to wear her Cheerleading costume at a Halloween Party on Saturday night so it all worked out!






Brennan did not care what he was, he still doesn't get that part so we decided to make him "Prince Charming" and I have to say he pulled it off very well! What a handsome Prince Charming he made!



While we were out trick or treating big brother Kaleb decided that he wanted to get in on the fun. We were in stitches laughing when we saw him walking down the street in his bathrobe and wild crazy hair. He said this was his "just got out of bed look",lol.





The kids got enough Candy to last until next Halloween, our subdivision gets around four hundred trick or treater's so it is a ton of fun. Our neighborhood is nice because there are so many young kids right now, Ayla's best friend Hilary lives only two houses down. Most of the pics are all neighborhood kids and friends! It was such a fun night, I look forward to many more in the future!


Oct 25, 2010

My baby is THREE



This past Sunday we celebrated Brennan's third birthday with friends and family. On October 18th, 2007 our family was finally complete when God blessed up with our sweet, precious, baby boy, Brennan Gage. I am so sad that my baby is now a toddler, I try not to think about it too much because it makes me sad. What a year, my first born will be graduating and going to college and my baby is now a toddler. I am just thankful that I am blessed with three amazing children whom I love more than anything in this world!




Okay back to the Birthday boy! He is a mommy's boy for sure and he loves to be loved on, lol. He is the only one out of three that will just sit on your lap and let you cuddle and love on him. He still sucks his thumb and carries his "wankie"( aka his blue blankie) everywhere. He sleeps all night and takes naps occasionally. We have not made the switch from his crib to a big boy bed but we need to do that soon. He loves food, books, music, cars, trains,computers and his Iphone! He loves the Disney movie "Cars" and knows all of the character car names. Of course he has most of them :) He also has the talent of learning a song only after hearing it a couple of times. He can belt out Amazing Grace like nobody's I will have to try to post a video of that, it is too cute! Every night before he goes to bed he asks to say his prayers and sing Amazing grace. He is really NOT into sharing these days, and his favorite word at the moment is "mine". This is a daily problem at our house because he basically wants everything his sister has even if she had it first. Hopefully this phase will pass soon! Oh I forgot to mention how smart this kid not to brag or anything but he is a little genius!!

(These pictures are soo funny, when we told Brennan to blow his candles out, he wasn't sure how to do it so he was making the "f" sound, it was hilarious!)



Brennan, you have a heart of gold, you are always concerned if you think someone is hurt or not feeling well. There are not enough words to describe my love for you. I am so excited to see your big, beautiful blue eyes every morning. You always greet me with a huge smile on your face. I am so sad that you are growing up but at the same time excited to see what the future holds for you. I KNOW that you will do great things! Please always remember that even though Mommy loves you so much, Jesus loves you even more!!



Best Friends





Here is the dance portion of the party with Ayla and her friends. They were dancing to Justin!!




Thank you to our friends and family who helped to make this day so special!

Oct 12, 2010

Today is World Arthritis Day, Show Me Your BLUE!


030_picnik 1

Arthritis is a painful disease that affects over 46 million Americans, including about 300,000 children. Can we count on you to "Do Blue"? Please remember to wear blue to raise awareness so that someday we can find a cure for this disease!

Oct 11, 2010

Brennan knows the Presidents!!

Brennan is like a sponge, he soaks up everything, lol. Seriously, I am not just saying this because he is mine, (well maybe a little) but this boy is smart!! He learned all 44 Presidents in three weeks. I am so proud of him. He is still two, almost three! Remember he knew and could recognize every letter of the Alphabet at 22 months :) He has known all of his shapes including, hexagon, pentagon, octagon etc since he was a tiny thing!! We are doing the "My baby can read" program right now and I am looking for State flash cards so I can teach him the states next! So here ya go, my little genius saying the Presidents. This is truly hilarious to watch because of how he pronounces some of them!!

Oct 6, 2010

Four and Sassy


These pictures were taken on her actual birthday (August 31st). We got up that morning and she wanted to wear her cupcake dress. I thought it was fitting especially since I took her to the bakery and let her pick something out! Daddy of course brought home a few presents for her to open as well.



I wanted to note a few things that I forgot to write about on my last post. Ayla loves to help me with household chores. She makes her bed just about everyday and she loves to help me fold and put up clothes. She has to get them just right when she folds them or she will start all over. Speaking of clothes, everything has to match including her socks and underwear. She once cried after we put her to bed because her panties did not match her night gown! She likes to get dressed up and wants me to take pictures, she will say, "take my picture like this" and she will continue to do all sorts of hilarious poses. She calls me "girl" a lot and the way she says it cracks me up. She says, "get over here girl" or "come and help me girl". She just started calling Kaleb "boy" too. Today she said, "My boy is home", I need to go see my boy" too cute! Oh and I will NOT correct her when she pronounces her favorite cereal as "yucky yarms", of course it is "lucky charms" but the way she says it is much!


She is such a blessing, I just wanted to share a few thoughts while I still had them. I have so many posts that I am working on including what my sweet precious Brennan has been up to and trust me you will be very surprised!! Ayla also had a visit to her Rheumatologist a few weeks ago so I will be updating on her JRA soon.

I have been missing blogging and all of my blogger friends, I hope to get back into the swing of things very soon.. soooo much to talk about!