Thursday, February 27, 2014

Snickerdoodle Candy

I am not sure if it is all the cold this weather or what but we have really been on a "snickerdoodle" kick lately. First we made snickerdoodle bread and this week we tried a snickerdoodle candy recipe. L had wanted to try snickerdoodle cookies but all of the recipes that I found called for eggs and L is allergic. And when I googled egg-free snickerdoodles I came upon a candy recipe. 

All I could think while L and I were making the truffles together was that even if the recipe was a bust the look on his face was so worth the effort. Sometimes I think B & L just like it when I try to make something they have seen their friends eat but they can't due to food issues. Even if our attempt does not work, at least we can say we tried! However, in this case it definitely worked out!

Snickerdoodle Truffles
adapted from Shugarysweets


Truffle Center:
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granualted sugar
1 1/4 cup gluten-free flour (I use Cup4Cup)*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

16 oz vanilla candy coating, divided
1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon cinnamon/sugar mixture**

In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and butter with both sugars until smooth and creamy. Mix in the flour, vanilla, salt and cinnamon until combined well. Scoop dough and roll into balls, about a tablespoons worth. (Since my sous chef is a 5 year old, our truffles were all different sizes and it didn't matter one bit!) Place your balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze for 2 hours or overnight.

Melt vanilla candy coating. Set aside 1/4 cup of melted coating for later. To the remaining melted candy coating add 1/2 teaspoon of ground sugar. Using a toothpick, dip each of the frozen truffles into the melted candy coating. Carefully placed dipped truffle back on the parchment paper. Once all truffles have been dipped, drizzle the reserved melted candy coating over all of the truffles. Immediately sprinkle the truffles with the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Allow the truffles to set in the refrigerator, about ten minutes. Enjoy!!!***

*Since I used gluten-free flour I omitted the 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar. I would include it if I were to make these truffles with all-purpose flour.

**You can make a cinnamon/sugar mixture by taking equal parts granulated sugar and cinnamon then combine. My kiddos like to sprinkle this mixture on buttered toast as a special treat.

***I have been told these truffle will keep in your fridge for a week and a month in your freezer - but I would not know since these truffle were a huge hit!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


I am going to be honest, assembling a Lego set is soothing to me. It has a beginning and an end...raising children does not. I love that a regular Lego set comes with directions. Simply follow them and you are all set. But this plan does not work for M; he would rather think outside the box. And then he would ask the box to do more!

So we signed him up for an after-school class. Lego Mindstorm really seemed like the perfect fit. If anyone could make something out of nothing it would be M!

For the last class they were able to build anything they wanted but they were warned that it might not work. 

M truly put his heart into his last Mindstorm robot. It was not just about building a cool robot, he also had to program it. There was no way I could have done any of this!

All I know is that I hope I win the lotto because M now thinks that Lego Mindstorm is it!!!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


When my good friend and former Friar informed me that she had the perfect read for me and B, I took note. You see my friend is a reading specialist and she has a huge heart for young adult books that leave the reader asking questions. So when she told me that we had to read RJ Palacio's book Wonder, we did. Who am I to question a reading specialist!?!

According to GoodreadsAugust (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He's about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie is just an ordinary kid with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances?

R. J. Palacio has written a spare, warm, uplifting story that will have readers laughing one minute and wiping away tears the next. With wonderfully realistic family interactions (flawed, but loving), lively school scenes, and short chapters, Wonder is accessible to readers of all levels.

Both my daughter and I loved this book! Wonder is quick read that will have you laughing and crying yet at the same time it is so thought provoking.  In a world where bullying is an ever present worry for students today, this book's message of "always try to be a little bit kinder than is necessary" is just what we all need to hear. No matter what your age is this is a book worth reading!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Dressing Up for a Good Cause

Once again Hubby and I had the pleasure of being guests of Hubby's parents at the Catholic Charities Ball. We look forward to this night year after year. Not only is it a night for our family to dress up and dance the night away it is a wonderful way for us to give so much to a charity that does so much for so many.

Can I let you all in on a little secret? I am not a model! And while I know a little bit about photography Hubby does not. So when we try our best for a fashion photo shoot, we get nowhere fast! (Hubby's note- As good as she looks in these pictures my photography skills are not doing her justice but at least I can make her laugh.)

Pictures aside, as always we had a great time at the Ball. Our year isn't complete without the whole family belting out the lyrics to "Don't Stop Believin'" on the dance floor!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Nerves & Excitement

Tonight is one of my favorite events of the year; The Catholic Charities Ball! It is always a wonderful night filled with family, friends and an awesome band who helps us dance the night away. And one of the best parts of the night is that all of the money raised by Catholics Charities helps those in need - no matter what their faith is. 

Normally I am all set for the CC Ball a week ahead of time. But due to all of the snow we had last week, I feel rushed! I have this sick feeling that I have forgotten something. Hopefully all will go well tonight. Wish me luck friends!!!!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Simple Mussels

Last weekend I was shopping at Wegmans and I noticed that mussles were on sale. When we lived in Marblehead, MA one of our favorite dinners to share were PEI mussles but I had never prepared them at home before. So when the nice man in the fish department told me that it would be so easy with cook, I decideed to go for it. Boy am I glad I did! 

Classic French Mussels
adapted from Hank Shaw

2 pounds live mussels
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 shallot, chopped
2 cloves garlic
3/4 cup white wine

Scrub and debeard the mussels. The "beard" is the fibrous hairy thing hanging from one side of the tasty bivalve. Pull it off with a side-to-side motion. Luckily our mussels, from Wegamans, were already debearded.

Heat the butter over medium-high heat in a large, wide-bottomed pot with a lid; I used a large saute pan. Saute the shallot until it is soft but not browned. Then add the garlic cloves.

Add the white wine and bring it to a boil. Once sauce is boiling add the mussels. If possible, keep them in one layer.

Cover the pot and let the mussels steam for 3-8 minutes. After three minutes, check the mussels; many should be open. You want them all open, but some will do this faster than others.

As soon as most of the mussels are open, turn off the heat. Cover for a minute while you prepare bowls and plates.

Spoon out plenty of mussels and broth, which should be briny enough to not need any more salt. 

Throw out any mussels that did not open!
Serve with crusty bread for dipping. Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Everything Is Awesome!

Over our extra-long weekend we took the kiddos to see the "The Lego Movie". All of my children, Hubby included, have been dying to see this movie since we saw a trailer this past summer. All of them had been counting down the days until we got to go. L woke up yesterday morning and exclaimed that it was "Lego Day". Honestly you would have thought it was Christmas!

Personally, I was not as excited as they were. I mean really, a movie about Legos!?! But I have to tell you that I was so wrong!!! "The Lego Movie" was a great family film. No matter what your age this movie will make you laugh.(Hubby's note-She is right, it really is a very funny movie no matter how old you are.) It also had a wonderful message that kids need to hear - believe in yourself. I am sure that sounds cheesy but what child does not need to hear that it is important to believe you can accomplish things, especially when others don't think you can.

And if you are easily moved to tears, like myself, you might want to bring a tissue or two!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Extra Long Weekend

This past weekend was going to be a three day weekend due to yesterday's holiday but it turned into a five day weekend due to the snow. We really did get a ton of snow on Wednesday night and then even more on Thursday night. Over 20 inches! This really has been a crazy winter!!!

We tried to make the best of our snow-vacation. Plenty of sledding the neighborhood. The kiddos even made Olympic inspired snowmen. Not really sure what they were going for here but I just smiled and nodded.

I even found some time to put together three Ikea bookcases for our family office. Don't be too impressed, it took me forever to build them and by the time I was done so was my back!

We also made some time for a family game night or two. I have fond memories of playing Sorry! as a child and I feel like my kiddos will too. I really wish we had pics from when L won the first game, just too cute.

To round out our weekend, Hubby and I have been watching an episode or two of "House of Cards" as soon as the kiddos are in bed. If it was not for the kids and all we might have pulled an all-nighter just to watch the whole season. Is anyone else as obsessed as we are?

Friday, February 14, 2014

For The Love Of Reading II

We did it again! Once again we did not gift our kiddos with a single bit of candy for Valentines Day! If you have been reading this blog you know that our gift of books makes better sense for us and all of our allergies. Books and the gift of reading are alway a perfect present!

We read "Are You Ready To Play Outside?" by Mo Willems at dinner. Willems is a genius author of children's books and if you add voices as you read for a dramatic interpretation I guarantee you will have your little Valentine's in stitches! 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

More Snowdays

We have yet another winter storm heading our way. I have decided just to laugh about the whole thing. Because really what else is there to do!?!

Stay warm my friends!!!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Snickerdoodle Bread

You all know I love to bake right? Baking to me is so easy; look up a recipe, carefully read it over, make changes if needed and then go for it. After following those steps, twice, I have a "new to me" recipe to share with you. If you love cinnamon I have feeling you are going to be happy with this one! (Hubby's note- VERY VERY VERY HAPPY!)

Snickerdoodle Bread

Batter Ingredients
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
2-1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 (10 oz) package cinnamon chips
1 tablespoon flour

Topping Ingredients
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare TWO 9-inch x 5-inch loaf pans by butter and lining with parchment paper. *This step is a must!*

In a large bowl, combine , butter and sugar; cream together for 2 minutes until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla and sour cream, mix to combine.

Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a separate bowl. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture, stirring just until combine.

Coat the cinnamon chips with 1 tablespoon flour, then stir into the batter. Evenly spoon batter between your prepared pans.

Combine sugar and cinnamon for topping. Sprinkle topping over batter before baking. Bake in preheated oven for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes before removing bread from pan.


One of the things that I love about this recipe is that you get two loafs of bread. Gift one to a friend and save one for your family. Winner-winner!

Monday, February 10, 2014


We finally had a free weekend and we decided to make the most of it. We went tubing at Whitetail! I grew up in a neighborhood that had a deep gulley that we went sledding down every winter. One might have called us crazy for sledding down the hills we did but we loved every minute of it! Sledding with my brothers is one of my favorite childhood memories. 

After paying and signing our lives away we were given tubes and sent up the hill. All of the kids love the snow-escalator! I may or may not have lost my balnce the first time I got on it. My mishap might have caused a bit of laughter from kiddos...and myself. If you can't laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at!?!

There were ten tracks to choose from and we tried to make the most of them during our two hours. For whatever reason a ton of people just got in line at the first three tracks so we stayed clear of them. No need to wait if you don't have to! 

After trying tracks 5 to 10, we realized that 8, 9 and 10 were the fastest. So of course those were our favs!

We are already planning our next trip back. Really for a family of three kids, with a child under the age of 8, this was a great intro to skiing. While our older two are so ready to try skiing, L is not. This was the perfect way to be together as a family at a ski resort without skiing.

This was just such a wonderful family day. We had a great time together and I was reminded of all the great times I had sledding with my brothers. Not going to lie, sledding makes you feel young!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Ikea Hack Completed

I finally did it! As some of you know I started thinking about this Ikea Hack in July but for a ton of reasons I was not able to get to our "local" Ikea until last month. And when I say "local", I mean it is so far away that I had to rope my poor in-laws into coming over and taking care of my kiddos after school. (Thanks again Mil and Fil!!!) Then the weather took a turn...a very cold turn. Did you know that you should not use spray paint in temperatures lower than 50 degrees? Neither did I!  I can't even begin to tell you all that I have learn because we have had to improvise as we have furnished our home. (Hubby's note- I don't know why she used "we" in that sentence, I had nothing to do with it. I can't even pick out my own clothes much less attempt to decorate a house.)

This  project has been a lot like my theory on home decor: your home should grow and change with you. I have great ideas and vision - that has never been my problem. We simply can't decorate our home from head to toe in one shopping spree. Therefore our home is always evolving. And I am more than ok with that. I have enjoyed all of changes we have made and I really love all of my DIY projects.

So I guess my biggest lesson in my Ikea Hack is that sometimes projects take time. Don't feel like a failure because you can't do all of the projects you "pin" as soon as you "pin" them. You will get them done when the time is right for you and your family.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Sous Chef

The day did not go as planned. Not to say that it was a bad day, just not the way I wanted it to go. So tonight when my little guy came in to the kitchen with an aporn on, all ready to help I was just over the moon. How could a mom not be happy when at the last minute a sous chef steps in to help out with dinner!?!

Can't tell you how blessed I feel to have children that seem to know when I need some help and step up. In any way they can!!!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Rocket Science

After M's lacrosse evaluation on Sunday Hubby took M and the kids to launch M's model rocket. We were recently at Hobby Lobby when M saw the rockets and decided he had to have one. We went back a few days later and he picked out a rocket he liked, which he paid for with his own money. 

The rocket wasn't too hard to put together but it did some effort. The launch was the same story. When we arrived at the field we realized the directions for assembling the launch stand was left at home. After figuring that out it took a little effort to ensure we had the rocket's engine installed correctly.

Finally, after the last second removal of a Gatorade bottle, it was time for the big launch. We had a few unsuccessful countdowns before M and Hubby realized you had to hold down the launch button and not just quickly hit it. Once they figured that out, success!

That rocket is no joke! Talk about fast! We were very lucky and it was a rare day with no wind so M was able to recover the rocket successfully after every launch. You can see L's excitement! 

As a mom I am not sure how I feel about eight year olds and rocket engines but I will say it was hard to say who was having more fun, M or Hubby! Apparently boys never outgrow their love of things that can cause bodily harm!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Winter S'mores

What did I get for blogging about Spring? A ice cold day filled with rain, sleet, snow and then some more freezing rain. To say that yesterday was a miserable day, weather-wise, would be an understatement! The worst part of it all was that we could not stay bundled up inside. L and I had to brave the bad weather in order to make it up to school for a PTO meeting. You should have seen the look on his face when I told him he had to get out of his pj's!

The poor boy had to sit through an hour and a half meeting. If the meeting seemed long to me, I could only image what L thought of it. Never the less, he was so well behaved! He quietly played with his army men and didn't really make a sound. So when we got home I decided to make him a little treat. Toaster oven s'mores!

Who needs a bond-fire when you have a toaster oven. Simply top one graham cracker square (you can use a gluten-free one if needed) with chocolate chips. Top the other graham cracker with a marshmallow. Then place both squares in the toaster oven and toast until the marshmallows start to turn golden brown. Carefully squish the two squares together and enjoy!

It doesn't get mush better than a warm chocolaty treat on a chilly day!

You can also find me at: Savvy Southern Style

Monday, February 3, 2014

Forget The Groundhogs

Many of you got up yesterday and waited to see what the groundhog thought about Spring's arrival. In this house we already knew that Spring is on its way. You might ask how we knew and simply put we had to register the kiddos for Spring field hockey and lacrosse already. Can you tell that this is a home that breaks it seasons down by sports!?!

In fact today M started his Spring lacrosse evaluation. While I was not able to be there, Hubby did inform me that M did a great job and has really come along in his game. And I have to say that the smile on M's face when he came home was just precious!

Is it just me or do boys, all suited up, look older than they really are? And am I crazy for thinking that Spring is just around the corner?
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