For the Record, Donut’s Birthday is Cancelled…

February 6, 2017 at 12:39 am | Posted in Birthdays, Caityisms, Family Ties, My Kid is a Donut, Sisters, Toeses and Noses | Leave a comment
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Happy Birthday my darling Donut.  Today my littlest-little-one is 10.  Where’d the time go?  I officially have no more kidlets left with single digit ages.

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I’ve been attempting to write this post for about a week or so.  I’ve had a million thoughts go through my head, but nothing seemed fitting.  I don’t know that I have the words to tell you what I want to say about you on your big Birthday.

You know already that I love you … I tell you that many times a day.  You know already that I’m proud of you and your accomplishments and you know how beautiful you are – because those things too, I tell you every day.  You’re funny, you’re smart, you’re sweet and you’re kind.  You’re a big goof-ball.  You seem to be surprised when you do something well – but I’m not.  I know what you can accomplish when you put your mind to it.

I hope you have a wonderful 10th Birthday and that all of your dreams come true.

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Love, Mama xoxo

Let the Girl’s Weekend Begin…

November 26, 2016 at 12:14 pm | Posted in All Things Doodle, Caityisms, Christmas, Daddy-O, Family Ties, Food, Movies, Recipes, Sisters, Toeses and Noses | Leave a comment
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Alex is disappearing for most of the weekend since it’s Grey Cup time again.  The girls and I have the weekend planned.  We’re going to make Chocolate  Crunchy Shortbread Cookies, have an indoor picnic complete with Pizza and “Home Alone” tonight, and tomorrow we’re going to the movies with Grandma to see “Moana“.  Should be a great weekend, me and my big-little ones 🙂

Last year I found a copy of my Mom’s Shortbread recipe around the house somewhere.  I was so happy that I finally found a copy of the most incredible Christmas Shortbread that I had been searching for, forever.  My Mom can no longer bake or cook, or for that matter, even hold a coherent conversation any longer.  She can’t tell me her recipes because she doesn’t remember them.  Somehow, after I found the recipe I misplaced it, and it made me very sad – sad to the point of tears, over a stupid recipe.

So I searched the internet and stumbled upon the ‘Robin Hood Flour’ version of “Melt in Your Mouth” Shortbread Cookie. The ingredients, from what I could remember, were similar.  Damn they were good.  I cut up pieces of Dairy Milk with Crunchy (available at Walmart in the British Food aisle) and put them in the mix.  The cookies lasted until Tuesday. Except for the chocolate, they were my Mom’s recipe.  Mom used to shape the cookies into crescent moon shapes and after they were baked, she dipped half in melted chocolate.  Mom also sometimes added finely ground almonds to the dough.

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Ingredients:

2 cups (500 ml) Unsalted Butter

1 scant cup Sugar

3 1/4 cups flour

1/2 cup Cornstarch

4 oz chopped Chocolate (if using) or more

“Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Take your butter out of the refrigerator about an hour before baking so it will be nice and soft. This will make it easier for the sugar to mix in with the butter or shortening.

Cream butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until very light in texture, about 5 minutes.

Creaming butter with sugar adds air to the batter, increasing volume to help better mix the flour into the butter mixture.

Add sugar and continue beating until sugar is completely combined, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Combine flour and cornstarch in a separate large bowl. Add to butter mixture and mix with an electric mixer on low speed until just combined.

Flour straight from the bag may be compacted. To loosen it, scoop it out of the bag with another container or spoon before pouring it into your measuring cup. This will help you get a more accurate measurement. Level it off with a knife to make sure you have just the right amount.”

Chop the Chocolate Bar into smallish pieces and mix them into the dough.

cookie and chocolatebatter 2

“Place ball of dough by heaping  tbsp (15 mL) on prepared baking sheets 2” (5 cm) apart.  Press down with a fork.

making cookiesmaking cookies 2

Place your cookies about 2” (5cm) apart to allow for spreading

Bake in preheated oven 20 to 25 minutes or until bottoms are lightly golden.  Remove cookies from baking sheet and cool on wire racks.”

baking

cookies

Keep the dough in the fridge between baking and use a second cookie sheet – let the first one cool off completely before you use it again (put it in the fridge), this will help prevent spreading.  Take the cookies out a minute or two before the time they’re done to avoid brown edges.

You can either scoop out balls of dough, round them, flatten them with a fork or roll the entire batch into two logs and slice when chilled (this method is easier for decorating).  You can pre-cut chilled logs, wrap well and freeze for 2-3 months – you can have cookies whenever you want 🙂

I rolled two logs, put them in the fridge and let them chill for an hour then cut them when ready and prepared the next tray while the first was in the oven.  The prepared tray was put into the fridge until ready to bake.  This greatly reduced the spread.

Makes about 45 cookies.

Should be a good weekend 🙂

More Cheesecake…

July 3, 2016 at 4:57 pm | Posted in All Things Doodle, Caityisms, Family Ties, Food, Recipes, Toeses and Noses | Leave a comment
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It seems like I bake a lot more than I do.  I created this blog originally to capture the crazy antics my kids were doing.  My blog evolved over time to include family recipes – so that my girls would always have them for when the are older.  Hopefully some day they’ll make some of my recipes for their kids…

Ingredients (Crust):

  • 1½ Cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
  • 1/3 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 4 Tbsp (half a stick) Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 1/8 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp Shredded Coconut

Ingredients (Cake):

  • 3 Packages (8 Ounces each) Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • ¾ Cup Sugar
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 Package less 1 cup (reserve for the Ganache topping) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (PC Decadent Brand if you can find them, otherwise Nestle Tollhouse will do)

Ingredients (Ganache Topping):

  • 3/4 Cup Whipping Cream
  • 6 Squares Baker’s Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate
  • 1 cup reserved Chocolate Chips
  • Scant 1/8 Tsp Cinnamon

Let all ingredients come to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place a cake pan filled with warm water on the bottom rack, just below the rack where you will put your cheesecake. This will create a humid environment and can prevent cracking.

IMG_1673Method (Crust):

In a separated 9” Springform pan, place a piece of non-stick foil over the bottom plate before putting the two pieces of the pan together.  Crumple any excess foil up over the edge.

Spray the entire inside of the pan with non-stick vegetable spray.

Place Graham Cracker Crumbs into the prepared pan

Melt Butter and add to Graham Cracker crumbs.

Add Cinnamon, Sugar and Coconut.

Mix by hand for best results.

This mixture should feel like damp sand and should hold a shape if you were to press it in your palm.

Press into the bottom the Springform pan using your hand or the bottom of a metal measuring cup.  There should be enough crumbs to go up the sides of the pan by about a ¼”.

Bake for 10 minutes then remove from oven.

IMG_1672Method (Cake):

In a mixing bowl, beat Cream Cheese, Sugar and Vanilla together on medium speed until combined.

Add Eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition – careful to not over beat.

By hand, gently stir in Chocolate Chips.

Pour batter into the pan and tap several times on the counter to bring any air bubbles to the surface.

 

Bake for 50 minutes, turning after the first 30 minutes.

At the end of baking, turn the oven off, but keep the Cheesecake in the oven for another 1/2 hour – don’t open the door! Don’t even peak! Just let it be…

When the 30 minutes are up, take the cake out of the oven and allow the cake to cool for an hour on the stove top or counter.

At the end of the hour, run a knife around the edge of the cake, but don’t take the ring off.

Place the cake, uncovered, in the fridge to cool for two hours.

Remove the cake and cover with either foil or plastic wrap.

Chill at least eight hours or overnight keeping the ring attached.

IMG_1677Method (Topping):

Remove the cake from the fridge but don’t take off the ring.

Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Bring just to a boil.

Remove from heat and stir in Cinnamon.

Add the baking squares and reserved chocolate chips and continue to stir slowly until incorporated (this takes a minute or two).

 

The sauce should be very thick when all of the chocolate has completely melted.

Pour over the top of the Cheesecake.

Chill at least 2 hours for best results, run a knife around the edge to loosen the cake.

When you’re ready to unmold the cake for serving, remove the Springform ring and place a piece of paper towel on the top of the cake, invert the cake in your hand and remove the bottom Springform plate.

While the cake is still upside down, place a cake plate or serving platter on the bottom of the cake and invert carefully.

To serve, use a hot, dry knife to slice each piece.

Sometimes, depending on my mood, before the ganache sets, I’ll sprinkle the top with roasted, slivered almonds.  Or mini chocolate chips.  Or toasted, chopped hazelnuts … or … fresh, ripe raspberries!

For an extra treat, serve with some fresh Whipped Cream and sliced Strawberries.  Yum Yum!

…And a Pinch to Grow an Inch!

February 6, 2016 at 7:38 am | Posted in Birthdays, Caityisms, Family Ties, My Kid is a Donut | Leave a comment
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It’s amazing how quickly time goes by.  Today is my littlest little-one’s 9th Birthday and it’s the last one of the single digits.  A lot happened this past year and she was always there with a hug and a smile for me.

You’ve become a remarkable young lady my Donut and I couldn’t be more proud of you.  I love you and hope you have a great Birthday full of monkeys, sprinkles and glitter… just not all at the same time 😉 💕

Happy Birthday, love Mama

Who Said You Could Grow Up…?

February 6, 2015 at 4:00 am | Posted in All Things George, Birthdays, Caityisms, Family Ties, My Kid is a Donut, Sisters | Leave a comment
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IMGP0785…not me!

Happy 8th Birthday, Donut 🙂 Today is the day that you can officially give up your car booster seat.  Today is the day that there will no longer be little Goat feet kicking the back of Daddy’s seat when we go for a ride somewhere.  Today is the day that Momma cancels each year so that you will stay my littlest-little one, for a bit longer anyway.

You’re growing in leaps and bounds and you’re in such a hurry to grow up so you can be a big girl like your Sister, Lexy.

Always my girl, you’ve told me time and again that you’re never moving out.

I should have much more to write about you, to you, I want to tell you how proud I am of you.  I want you to know that I think you are so beautiful and intelligent.  I want you to know how funny and kind you are.  I need you to know most of all that you are loved, without a doubt.

I hope your Birthday wishes and dreams all come true and somehow you can stay my little one for a while longer.  Happy Birthday Caity 🙂 Love Momma.

 

#GameNight Was a Blast

November 13, 2014 at 10:48 am | Posted in All Things Doodle, Caityisms, Contests, Family Ties, My Kid is a Donut, Product Testing, Sisters, Toeses and Noses | Leave a comment
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Lexy loved collecting the Monopoly Money - a capitalist at heart.

Lexy loved collecting the Monopoly Money – a capitalist at heart.

We recently received a copy of #MonopolyJunior from @Influenster free for review. I’m so glad we did because it was our first #GameNight in a while and the girls absolutely loved it.

Caity getting the game pieces ready

Caity getting the game pieces ready

After opening the box, the girls made quick work of setting the game up.  They were a great help, putting the board pieces in nice piles and helping to distribute the money and game Tokens.

Alex was the Banker and Caity, being the youngest, was the one who rolled first.  You should have heard the giggles of glee when Caity landed on a spot and was able to buy it.  That wasn’t as gigglesome though as when one of us landed on her property and had to pay her rent.  The little Slum Lord kept saying “oh yeah, more money, oh yeah…”.  She’s pretty silly 🙂

It was a good evening filled with laughter and the girls managed to get us to play a few games with them.  It was very easy for them to learn how to play.  The next day they played another few games on their own and after dinner their Dad and I joined them for a couple of matches.  Every day after school, when I pick them up from daycare, they make plans to play yet another game lol.

Caity taking a "Chance"

Caity taking a “Chance”

@Hasbro has done it again.  #MonopolyJR is sure to become a classic in our house and we will no doubt have many cherished memories of the girls.  I’m pretty sure I know what they plan on putting on their Christmas List to #Santa – more Hasbro games! Even the Cat tried to get in on the game a couple of times! 😉 

Mavvy wants the Cat token!

Mavvy wants the Cat token!

Note: I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

 

What Makes a Girly-Girl?

September 29, 2014 at 9:28 pm | Posted in All Things Doodle, Caityisms, Miscellaneous Crap, My Kid is a Donut, Toeses and Noses | Leave a comment
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Hello, my name is Kelly and I’m a nail polish addict.

I’m a firm believer in accessorizing and colour isn’t an option, it’s a requirement.

Let me back up on that last statement a bit and redefine it. I’m not talking about scarves, shoes and bracelets, although my love for designer shoes is another matter.

I’m talking about accessorizing yourself – hair, nails, skin.

I’ve always loved funky hair and nail colours. I’m not necessarily brave enough to try them on myself, but kudos to those that do. I have several different colours in my hair as we speak, but more in the “normal” spectrum. The wildest I had ever tried was a bright Auburn and black tips mixed with blonde. I loved it, but it was hard to maintain. I admit, I love Kelly Osbourne’s Lilac tresses (and her make-up line). The new on-trend Grey hair (Kelly Osbourne again) makes me giggle with glee. The latest bottle of bright, neon nail polish fills me with squee and makes me feel like a kid at Christmas – I can’t wait to try it on and experiment.

Caity, my 7-year-old, told me this weekend that she doesn’t like nail polish because she’s a Tom-boy. She looked at me like she was expecting me to tell her that I didn’t think that was acceptable. I think she was surprised that I told her that it was OK for her to be a Tom-boy and I was one too when I was her age. The few times I tried to put nail polish on her, she asked to have it removed two minutes later. She doesn’t think girls should have nail polish on their hands, yet she likes to wear headbands and bows and pretty dresses

I told Caity that I wasn’t a Girly-Girl. Then I heard my Husband snickering from the Kitchen.

I told him that Girly-Girls get their hair done and wear make-up and get their nails done at the Salon all the time. He rolled his eyes at me. I suppose it was hard to prove my case when I had just come back from getting my hair coloured the day before and had just finished applying my new Christian Dior Vernis Lacquer (“Pied du-Poule”, thank you very much) about an hour before that.

I think a true Girly-Girl is someone who wears dresses or skirts (I don’t), curls or flat-irons their hair (or at least blow dries it), wears high heels and always looks put together. That is so not me. I neither have the body, nor the budget for any of that. My idea of blow drying my hair is to drive with the windows down on my way to work. In fact, my hair was still damp when I wrote this from my shower this morning.

My oldest daughter, Lexy, on the other hand is a Fashionista in the making. She loves nail polish and clothes. She has to make sure her hair is perfect before she goes to school. She wants to have a couple of coloured extensions put in this Fall because she wants to experiment with colour, but not necessarily commit. I’m OK with that. I encourage her to be her own person.

I seem to be stuck in the middle of my two girls. A Girly-Girl wannabe.

My Little Fashionista

My Little Fashionista

That’s My Girl…

July 9, 2014 at 8:04 pm | Posted in All Things Doodle, Caityisms, Family Ties, Miscellaneous Crap, My Kid is a Donut, Sisters | 1 Comment
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I’ve said before many times that I’m proud of my daughters, I have good reason to be. Among her other wonderful qualities, Lexy is a prolific writer and I think she has real talent. On the way home today, she read to me something that she wrote in her Journal.

“My Little Sister: one of the miracle kids though she doesn’t know it. She was born sick, but now she is a healthy 7 year old. Her hair is yellow like the Sun and her eyes are like the sky on a clear day. She may have troubles with Asthma but she is one of the sweetest things ever. I see her look outside with curious eyes and her mind hungry for learning. She is a gift. I am happy to call her my Sister.”

She also wrote: “Mom’s Advice: Mom gives me wisdom every day to lead me on the journey of life; to dodge every obstacle and face every challenge. Thank you Mom.”

It’s hard to believe sometimes that she’s only ten years old. 🙂

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Conversing With a Donut

April 28, 2014 at 8:20 pm | Posted in Caityisms, Miscellaneous Crap, Movies, My Kid is a Donut | Leave a comment
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We took the girls to see “The Muppets Most Wanted” yesterday.  It was a better movie than we thought it would be and the girls were happy to finally see it.

At one pivotal plot point, where Miss Piggy is about to marry “Kermit”, Caity got all excited and turned to me, “Mama, do you see that guy with the blonde hair?”

“Yes…?”

“That’s Ross Lynch!”

“Who’s Ross Lynch?”

“The guy with the flowers…” She said, getting impatient with me.

“But who is it, Cait?”

“Mama, that’s ROSS LYNCH!”, she said as if saying it louder will make me understand.

“Caity, who’s Ross Lynch??”

Caity sighed… “The guy with the flowers…”

I could hear my 7 year old do a mental head slap as I tried to follow her line of reasoning…

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Ativan…

April 24, 2014 at 1:25 am | Posted in All Things Doodle, Caityisms, Daddy-O, Depression, Family Ties, Miscellaneous Crap, Sisters, Toeses and Noses | 1 Comment
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untitledThis post has been kicking around in my head for a while now. It may come out as a jumbled mess, or it may come out as a coherent thought, regardless, please bear with me.

I had another argument with my eldest daughter tonight, of course just as she was supposed to go to bed.  She’s entering that ‘Tween’ stage and feels that her parents are against her and obviously don’t understand (or listen to) her.  I know this, because she keeps telling me.

I have a great relationship with both of my girls.  When Lexy was born, nearly 11 years ago, I didn’t think it was possible to love someone so much that my very heart hurt just looking at her.  Four years later I had the absolutely exquisite pleasure of having her sister and again, I didn’t think it was possible to love yet another person as much as I loved Lexy.  I learned something that day that I often told my two girls – your heart and capacity to love doesn’t divide among the children you have, it multiplies by the number of children you have.  My children are my world and I would step in front of a car for them.  It’s really a no brainer.

Lexy started keeping lists of the number of times we, her parents, have disappointed her.  Mind you, we’re not talking about huge disappointments, but little things – like saying we’ll go out for ice cream on the weekend and then something comes up and we can’t.  The last argument we had, I asked her to stop making that list because it hurt me very much.  Do we not take care of you? I asked her that night.  She wasn’t doing it to be mean, it was her way of dealing with the disappointment.  We take care of our children.  They are always fed, always have clean clothes.  Their vaccinations are up to date and they get a flu shot every year.  We don’t go out for a fun day as much as they would like, but those are material things that they need to learn come second – one’s basic human needs come first.

I like to think that I have instilled in my daughters some good, basic human decency.  They know it’s wrong to tease, or make fun of another person.  They know words hurt.  They know we expect them to be kind and helpful and polite young ladies.  They know we expect them to do their homework when they come home and not wait for Sunday night.  They know it’s wrong to lie and to steal.  The few times I’ve caught my youngest in a lie (her latest was when she said she was good at school when she was actually in trouble with the teacher), I’ve told her that it makes Mummy very sad when she lies to me.  That makes her sad too, because the last thing she would ever want to do is hurt my feelings.  I know I’m her whole world.

I feel lately like I’m being pulled in several directions at once and I’m certain that if someone lets go, I’ll go flying.  As expected, my children are making demands of me (as they should).  My husband makes demands of me (as he should).  My job makes demands of me (sometimes to the detriment of my family). My parents need to make more demands of me.  I just can’t always deal with everything at once.

My parents are elderly.  My darling Dad turned 90 last November and he’s sick.  I’m not entirely certain with what though, it’s very confusing talking to my Sister who seems to be the only one who knows what’s going on.  About a month ago, she told me that my Dad had Cancer and they thought it had spread to his bones.  He had been having trouble using his legs and last year he had quite a lot of Prostate trouble, but that biopsy came out clear.  My Dad falls down a lot and his legs lock up so much that he can’t get himself off of the floor.  My Mom, who is 88, cannot lift him, nor help him up when he falls down.  They have to call my Sister when something happens as she is the closest in distance to them.  The last time my Dad fell, my Sister had to carry him to the car.

My Dad has always been my Superman.  Cliché as it is, that’s always the way I’ve felt about him.  Now it seems as though Superman has traded his cape for a walker.

Last weekend was Easter and my family and Brother went to my parents’ house and I cooked dinner for everyone.  It was delicious and my parents were so proud.  When we were leaving, I went to say goodbye to my Dad and he was lying on the couch – but not the way he normally lays.  His head was at the opposite end of the couch, he didn’t have a pillow – he was lying with his face directly on the couch.  I could tell that he was in a lot of pain, you could see it on his face.  He seemed … so… frail. I kissed his cheek and told him I loved him.  He’s so skinny now, he’s even lost his little pot belly that he had for years.

My Sister also told me that my Mom has Alzheimer’s.  I think she was speaking broadly because as far as I know, my mom hasn’t had any formal testing for this, but there is definitely something wrong.  She forgets words.  She knows what something is (i.e., a cup), but can’t get the words out, then she gets frustrated and calls herself stupid. She definitely is showing signs of Dementia.  She’s forgotten how to use her stove.  She used to bake a cake weekly so that my Dad would always have something to go with his afternoon coffee yet I had to show her three times how to turn on the oven when we were there.  As I was leaving, she told me she forgot again and wasn’t that stupid? She kept telling me over and over how delicious the ham was and she’s never had anything so wonderful.  I told her that I’ve made that for her several times.  She argued that she’d never had it before…

Thankfully they are moving from the large house and property they’ve lived in since 1989 and will be living in a much smaller apartment, closer to my Sister, where they can be cared for.

It’s been rough lately.  I’ve been going to work just to escape it all.  At least when I’m concentrating on putting a proposal together, I’m not thinking about everything else that requires my attention.

Hopefully now that this post is out of my head, I will be able to sleep.  The Thyroid medicine I’ve been taking has been driving me crazy with the Insomnia.  I’m dead tired at night, but do you think I can sleep?  I hope so tonight.

I need a beach.

Thank you for listening … 😦

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