Category Archives: Treats

Yesterday Tom found himself without any inspections (a rarity these days) and proposed an impromptu family day.  Now, I usually plan my days out a bit and I had planned on making a peanut butter pie (for a good reason, which you’ll read about in a moment).  I also needed to clean the house in a desperate way.  But in light of some stuff going on in the blogging world, and some things we’ve been studying in church, I realized that it was most important that I spend the day with my family.  just us.  together.  all day.

We decided to finally take the kids to see the pirate exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.  Something that C has wanted to do for quite awhile now.  So after breakfast at the Egg & I, we headed downtown.  Once there we decided to spring for a membership so that I could take the kids on a regular basis.  They have a cool “T-Rex Encounter” coming next month and I know my kids will love it.  It’s also a good resource in the event I start home-studying C.

We saw the pirate exhibit which, honestly, bored the kids a bit.  The part they liked the most was the life-size mock-up of the Whydah…the ship & pirate crew that this exhibit revolves around.  It was fascinating, but we missed a lot of the displays with the kids getting impatient and C pointing out every exit sign he saw.  Luckily we also bought tickets to the Imax 3-D show, “Under the Sea”.  That was great!  A little politically-charged with global warming rhetoric, but really fun all the same.  The kids loved the 3-D effect and we found them reaching out to touch the sea creatures.  E didn’t keep her glasses on the whole time, though.  She would pull them off when it got a little scary, and then try them on again a few minutes later.  She loved the seals and bubbles at the end though. :)  We also visited the Discovery Zone which is geared for younger kids.  Lots to do and see in there and both kids loved it.

imagine them saying "aaaargh" here...which is what they did.

E makes it pretty clear when she tires of my picture-taking

I SO want to get her going on piano lessons!

excavating a dinosaur bone

All said, it was a long but amazingly wonderful day.

On a much more serious note, this past week a food blogger named Jennifer Perillo suffered an unimaginable loss.  Her young husband Mikey died suddenly of a massive heart attack.  I do not know Jennifer personally, never even have met her.  But when you read people’s blogs a lot, you develop a kinship with them.  So much so that when a tragedy befalls someone who brings you into their life through blogging, you feel for them…you empathize with them.  And sometimes, you realize how blessed you truly are.  Jennifer wrote a blog post about the loss of her husband and the fact that he loved peanut butter cream pie.  She expressed sadness that she had not taken the time to make the pie for him recently, not knowing that he would be taken from her so soon.  And isn’t that the way we all go through life?  Thinking that we will all be here tomorrow?  Even though we are not promised even tonight?

Her post definitely puts things into perspective for me.  How I need to embrace my children even when they are tracking mud over my newly cleaned wood floors.  How I need to say thank you to a husband who works two jobs so that we can be debt-free (and not focus on whiny little me who complains of feeling like a single mom).  I need to treasure every moment, good and bad, because I could be in Jennifer’s shoes someday.  You just never know.

So, in remembrance of Mikey, Jennifer asked the blogging community to make a peanut butter pie and share it with those we love.  This is an opportunity I could not pass up.  Partly for just an excuse to make a pie, but mostly to let my family know that I love and treasure them.  It’s a small thing in the scheme of things, and I pray that I never forget to hug and love on my family…even when it’s “inconvenient”.

My loves. I am so blessed.

Here is my tribute pie…

in memory of Mikey

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Peanut Butter Cream Pie

{Adapted from Jennie’s Kitchen}

Ingredients:

  • 1 pre-made chocolate cookie crust (Jennie has recipe for home-made crust)
  • 4 ounces milk chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened @ room Temp.
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup powedered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (8 oz) pkg. Reese’s Minis

Instructions:

  1. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave until smooth. Spoon mixture into the bottom of the prepared pie crust. Top with the chopped peanuts. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. In a small bowl, beat the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Place the cream cheese and peanut butter in a deep bowl (I used my stand mixer for this part). Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in the powdered sugar. Add the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla extract. Increase speed to medium and beat until all the ingredients are combined and filling is smooth.
  4. Stir in 1/3 of the whipped cream into the filling mixture (helps lighten the batter, making it easier to fold in the remaining whipped cream). Fold in the remaining whipped cream. Pour the filling into pie crust. Refrigerate for three hours or overnight before serving.
  5. Top with additional chopped peanuts and/or Reeses Mini’s, if desired.

Enjoy!

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{by the way, I just saw an AMAZING tribute video posted online, it is so beautifully done!}

This past weekend we went camping with our church life group. There were 17 (or so) families that came out and we literally took over about 1/4 of the campground at Cutty’s resort. This was a GREAT camping experience for us for numerous reasons. We opted to rent and “try out” a pop-up tent camper since tent camping has not been hugely successful for us in the past (verdict: it was awesome. We are now in the market for a used pop-up tent camper if you hear of any good deals). The campground had so much to do, was off the beaten path, and had great views of the Rockies. We also had a wonderful time getting to know other families in our new church. It’s never easy to transition to a new church family, but I really like the people I am meeting there. Everyone is very friendly and out-going, love it!
Oh, and there was barely any rain! The “Recke Curse” is broken!!

the rockies!

A deer Tom admired...a little too much!

On Friday we drove to the Royal Gorge, not too far away from our camp. We chose not to pay the crazy-expensive entry fee (we were just there 2 years ago anyway), and took pictures from scenic overlooks.

Royal Gorge (the bridge really tells you the scale of it!)

The kiddos

I love the juxtaposition of flowers on cacti

The pop-up camper. Oh how I miss it.

Silly kids.

Tom enjoying quality time with the kids.

Unfortunately, with the lack of moisture in Colorado this year, we were unable to have any campfires. Even charcoal grills were banned. So, we all came prepared and used propane stoves for cooking. I also made some meals ahead of time so I could just heat them up with minimal prep. While I missed the gathering around a campfire (and s’mores of course) we managed quite well!

Camp food staples

White bean chicken & bacon chili hit the spot!

S'mores brownies. Who says you need a fire?

One big reason we enjoyed Cutty’s so much was the amount of activity they had for kids. There were indoor and outdoor pools, miniature golf, horseshoe pit, volleyball court, shuffleboard, a playground, and a creek running by our campsite. The bathrooms/showers were very clean too, so other than them ALL being uphill from our campsite, going the bathroom was a non-issue.

C LOVED the miniature golf!

The girls, analyzing the golf course.

...which E still cheated on.

Tom even entered a horseshoe competition, playing for the 1st time ever!

On the last day I took some pics of the kids playing by the creek. I had fun playing with the “manual” setting on my camera for these…

What a fun time. I can’t wait to get back up there and do it all again!

To celebrate C’s 7th b-day, he invited a few friends from his class to come over. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but I quickly found that 5,6,7 year-olds have very strong opinions! It is amazing how 4 of them can quickly exhaust you.  Plus, that day also brought a snow storm…making travel for his friends a little tricky.

Despite that, it was a successful party and C had a wonderful time.  I captured some moments below…

A simple pizza lunch...because kids are picky!

Playing Wii.  Argish didn’t know what to make of these obnoxious creatures…

And of course I had to experiment with a cupcake recipe.  I got the “Hot Chocolate Cupcake” twist from Kevin & Amanda and it was pretty good!  I didn’t have to worry about icing the cupcake and it saved some time…which has been of the essence these last couple of days.

Happy 7th Birthday My Sweet Boy!

I recently went to a party where someone made candied apples.  Yum, right?  I love candied apples, especially in the fall season.  BUT I just don’t like how big and messy they can be.  Not only that, but I like to have the coating with every bite of apple and end up wasting much of the apple.

So, you can only imagine how excited I was to find this recipe for (wait for it) mini candied apples!  This would be a great activity to do with the kids, or even for a Halloween party.

You will need:
4-inch lollipop sticks
Melon baller
Granny Smith apples (one apple makes about 8 mini apples)
Butterscotch, chocolate, or peanut butter chips*
Chopped nuts, nonpareils, sprinkles, shredded coconut (or whatever your heart desires!)
Small paper candy cups

   *caramel may not adhere to the apple without the peel, per a comment on the website
 
Instructions
First, cut the lollipop sticks in half at an angle (the pointy end will go into the apple pieces easier). 
With the melon baller, scoop little balls out of the apple. Each ball should have a section of apple peel. 
Push half of a lollipop stick into the peel of each ball. Pat the apple pieces dry.
Melt the chips according to the package directions. 
Dip and swirl the mini apples in the melted chips, then roll the apples in nuts, sprinkles, nonpareils, or coconut, if desired. 
Place the mini apples in paper candy cups to set.

Enjoy!

p.s. Ok, so I read the reviews and found that many had problems with the coating sliding off. Someone recommended using caramel sheets instead. At any rate, this is definitely a “trial & error” recipe!