Sunday, January 18, 2015

Oreo Cupcakes

It has been far too long since I baked anything, and even longer since I posted something fun like this. I love baking, but I always end up eating entirely too much of whatever deliciousness I created. I have tried the single-serving mug cakes and cookies that you can find on Pinterest, but they just don't cut it. Totally not worth the 3 minutes it takes to whip them up. And definitely not worth the 200 calories. So I figure --why not. I'll bake up a little something delicious, and then I'll get rid of the rest. And rather than throw them in the trash or give them to my non-existent friends, tomorrow I'm going to make Mike take them to his office. I'm not sure if his coworkers are into delicious treats, but surely there are some hungry interns lurking around there somewhere.

So, without further ado, here are the results. The Treat of the Week.

Oreo Cupcakes

For the Cupcakes
1 box chocolate cake mix
1 package Oreos

Mix up the cake batter according to the directions on the box [hey, i've got to ease my way back into baking]. Line cupcake tins with paper liners, and put an Oreo into the bottom of each liner. Take half of the remaining Oreos, crush them, and stir them into the cake batter. Fill cupcake liners and bake according to the package.

For the Frosting
8 oz cream cheese
1 stick butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 package Mini Oreos

Cream together the cream cheese and butter once both are room temperature. Add vanilla and then powdered sugar, a little at a time. Send the rest of your regular-sized Oreos through a food processor, then mix them into your frosting. Frost each cupcake, once cooled, and top with a mini Oreo.

And there you have it. An Oreo cupcake. Because, really. Oreos.

Ella {15months}

Holy cow, could I get any more behind?! Sometimes I feel like I have a lot of things on my plate, but I really don't. I just like to spend my free time with Mike and Ella and doing fun, memorable things. What suffers? The blog. Woops!


Ella's 15th month was a busy one. Mike's Grandma Dee came from Florida to visit for almost a week. We had loads of fun hanging out. She brought books and toys that made noise, and they quickly earned favorite status. Ella loved having Great Grandma Dee here, and they were both worn out by the end of the week. We were sad to see her go!

The following week, we left for the Midwest. We were able to spend nearly two weeks visiting family and friends. First we spent a couple days in Omaha with some of our dear friends. We got to meet a new baby, and we barely missed the birth of another. It was so fun visiting friends - we always pick up right where we left off.
Next we headed to Iowa, where we spent nearly a week with my family. Santa even found us there on Christmas morning!

Next we went to Kansas City, where we spent several days with Mike's family. The Chiefs were in town, and we were able to go to the game. Ella and Grandma Marie had an in-the-car tailgate of fruit and drinks, while the rest of us were outside having brats and a different kind of drinks. They were definitely the warmest of us all!

On our way home from the Midwest, we made a two-day stop in Pittsburgh. Penn State was in a hockey tournament again this year, so we stayed in town for those games. Unfortunately they didn't do so well, but we had a great time anyway.

New Year's Eve was pretty low-key. We got back from Pittsburgh on the 31st, so we spent most of the day relaxing and catching up on life. That afternoon, our friends Chris & Carrie came over for dinner and some sports-watching. We wore sweats instead of the typical NYE glam, and they still like us. It's true friendship. Ella went to bed early, but the rest of us [barely] made it to midnight. Win! [side note:  The NYE countdown shows aren't nearly as good as I remember them being. The hosts were less than impressive, and they were all over the place. Was NYE just that much better as a kid??]

Ella's latest big news is that she started daycare! Her first day was actually on the 5th, so it was a full 15 months before she went to any kind of daycare. After that many weeks and months together, it was time for both of us to branch out a little. I needed to get back to nursing [a little, anyway], and Ella needed to play with some other kids in other environments. Mike and I were pretty nervous about sending our baby girl to daycare, but it has been just perfect. The first day, as Mike was dropping her off, Ella ran to play with the little boy, Cooper, and didn't even want to give Mike a goodbye hug. It was great that first day, and has gotten even better since then. Ella naps well, eats well, and she loves playing there. She gets a good report card every day, and she has even brought home art on two occasions!

We also had one huge accomplishment this month. We're bottle-free!! At Ella's 12-month check-up, the pediatrician told us that we should aim to be done with bottles at 15 months. She's been taking fewer bottles since she starting eating real foods and drinking milk out of a sippy cup, but she was still taking one bottle in the early morning, and one at bedtime. Ella really liked both of those bottles, so we were pretty certain that we wouldn't be completely done with them by 15 months, but we still knew that was our goal. During our trip to the Midwest, we were able to stop the early morning bottle. It was a huge pain to warm a 5am bottle in someone else's home [no bottle warmer, and i can't navigate another kitchen in the dark], so we would get up early with her and forego that bottle. In just a couple days' time, she didn't even seem to miss it. And a couple days after we returned home, Ella had eaten a late evening snack. When it came to bedtime, she didn't want to drink her bottle. It was the first time that had happened, but she slept all night anyway! So we decided it was time. The following days, we gave her a bedtime snack and no bottle. She was confused the first few days, but within a week it was our new routine. Three days before the 15-month mark, we were done with bottles!

I think that pretty much sums up Ella's latest month! It's been a busy one, but definitely fun for us all.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Quick Update

Heyyy! I do realize that another month has passed and you've been waiting to hear from me. So patiently. You're on the edge of your seat, aren't you?


Ok, whatevs. Anyway... things have been busy around here. I'll get into more detail soon, but here's a quick overview.

We went to the Midwest for Christmas and visited lots of family and friends.
We spent a weekend in Pittsburgh.
Ella turned 15 months.
I started a new job.
Ella started daycare.

And that's that. We're in the midst of a very busy two weeks, but I promise I'll squeeze in some blogging time soon.

Any requests??

ok, now off to find a blanket in attempt to stay warm. thanks for sending the cold weather, midwest peeps.