Testing... 1... 2...

It's that time of year again!  State standardized testing time!  The kids school always has a big ceremony to celebrate last year's test results.  It's a great motivator for the kids and gives them all something to look forward to the following year.

This year they had to break up the days for the ceremonies.  Last year's 4th grade did so well that practically every student received an award!  My son received a Proficient in both Reading and Math and a Distinguished in Science.

My daughter received a Proficient in Reading for last year's 3rd grade testing!  She was so upset that she was crying because she thought she should have received an award for Math too, but alas she didn't do so well in that subject.  I tried to reassure her that no matter what, I am and always will be proud of her.  What really gave me tear though... was Kaia's little bestie, Shelby.

This sweet little girl stood by Kaia side while she cried, put her arm on Kaia's shoulder and told her that everything would be alright.  That she should be proud of getting her award in Reading and gave her a good squeeze.  Everyone needs a friend like that!

What IS that smell?!

Even though my son, who is 11, and my daughter, who is almost 10, are 22 months apart in age, they seem to go through the same milestones of life at nearly the same time.  The current milestone: sweat.

I have to constantly remind my son to put on his deodorant every morning.  Trust me when I tell you that I KNOW the days when he hasn't worn any.  My daughter can usually get by with just wearing some on her P.E. days, but sometimes even she can stink you out of a room with her body odor.

While not quite as embarrassing as talking to your kids about the birds and the bees, telling your kid that their sweating is now a bit of a smelly mess isn't always easy.  It's the explanation of why their bodies are now making a sweaty mess of their armpits that can be the hardest part.  At least it was for me.

Unilever has a great new program to help parents give their kids confidence and make this transition all the easier for them.  It's called ...
There are great resources with frequently asked questions (ie. what is the difference between deodorant and anti-perspirant anyway?), expert advice, and a cool product matchmaker that can help you (and your little stinker) pick out the perfect product for them!  You can even find them on Facebook, too!

I'm happy to be involved with this project brought to my attention through the One 2 One Network.

A Few Words for Wednesday

28 weeks!
Third trimester!
Just 79 days until my due date!

Link up your Wordless, Not so Wordless, or Wordful Wednesday post with Project Alicia!

Tuesday Tunes {2 Cellos}

Remember a few weeks ago when I said I really enjoyed it when artists did remakes of pop songs?  Wait until you get a listen to this duo of cello players!

Just Singin' in the Rain

Kentucky - April 23rd, 2011
This photo is the story of the weather here.  Pretty much every single day.  Spring is supposed to be all flower buds and new tree growth.  At least that's what "they" show you in pictures and in the movies.   In reality, this is Spring in Kentucky.  And Tennessee, Kansas, Missouri, southern Illinois, and southern Indiana, plus tons more places I'm sure.  You'd think the Sun would make it better, wouldn't you?  Nope.  The more sunshine we get during the day, the more storms we get during the afternoon.

You've been having better weather, right?

Cotton Tail Cupcakes

I swear I want to marry Diane.  She has some of the most simple and cute recipes EVER!  Check out these super cute rabbit cupcakes that she made.

Just make your cupcakes as usual.  Any color or flavor will work!  Melt some white chocolate and, using a toothpick or plastic bottle, make oval feet by placing the chocolate on wax paper.  While that is cooling, melt some pink candy melts.  Once the white chocolate has completely cooled, add some of the pink candy melts with a toothpick to form the pads of the feet.  Then let the feet chill.  Take a mini-marshmallow and moisten it, then roll in non-pareils.  For the grass, Diane says she used edible grass that is available at Easter time.  If you can't find any edible grass, you can melt some green candy melts and use a toothpick to make grass "lines", too!

See?!  I told you... super simple and cute!

Images and recipe from Created by Diane.

Easter Candy Bark

One thing I love about Easter?  Pastel colored EVERYTHING.  When I stumbled across this candy bark recipe, I knew that I was going to have share it with you guys!  Ooo.... ooo... and remember those Hummingbird Nests?  Remember when I said you could make them with just about anything?  Alicia made some with chow mein noodles (and a another recipe) and they look so very yummy!  Check them out right here.  See, told you that they could be made with just about anything!

On to the candy bark...

Easter Candy Bark
via Gingerbreadcake.wordpress.com
Print it here!

8 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips
8 ounces milk chocolate chips
7 ounces pink candy melts
1/2 cup Spring Oreos -cut in half (they have a yellow center)
1/4 cup Easter Candy Corn
1/4 cup Mini Cadbury Eggs – cut in half (the hard shell ones)
1/4 cup Mini Robin Eggs (malt balls/Whoppers)
1/8 cup M&Ms (You can use whatever kind you like)

Measure out the candy and cookies. Set aside

Lay out a large piece of parchment paper. You’ll use this to make the Easter Candy Bark on.

Put 8 ounces of semi sweet chocolate chips and 8 ounces of milk chocolate chips in a microwavable bowl. Melt the chocolate chips but be careful not to overheat the chocolate.

Spread the melted chocolate onto the parchment paper into an 8 by 11 rectangle. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect.

In a microwavable bowl, melt the pink candy melts. (you can use whatever color you like). Be careful not to overheat the candy melts. Drop the melted candy melts on top of the chocolate.

Using a knife, swirl it up and down. Then swirl it back and forth.

Place the candy and cookies on the melted chocolate/candy melts. Press down lightly.

Allow the Easter Candy Bark to dry for at least 3 hours. Cut into pieces and enjoy!

Just like the Hummingbird Nests, this bark can be made with virtually any type/color of candy you'd like! Shoot... changing up the color can even change the holiday you are celebrating!

Happy hunting!

Let's Get Serious

I usually try to keep everything light around here, but this story has honestly scared the shit out of me.

This woman, Kathy Coy, shown in this photo with her husband and children, looks like the typical loving wife and mother. She is from the SAME TOWN where I currently live.  She is currently being accused of brutally murdering Jamie Stice, a 21 year old, 8 month pregnant woman that she had befriended.

Image from Daily Mail article
The details of the case were revealed in court yesterday.  The victim had been tased with a stun gun.  Her hands bound with zip ties.  Her wrists slashed.  Her throat cut.  Disemboweled and her unborn child cut from her.

Coy was caught because she showed up last Wednesday at the hospital with the child (including placenta) saying that the baby was hers.  Doctors and nurses quickly realized that the child was not hers and called the authorities.  It was also revealed that she had previously asked her children if they would help her perform a crime.

Who in the world is this woman?!?  I know that we are supposed to believe she is "innocent until proven guilty", but...

I CAN NOT shake the feeling that this could easily have been me.  Or any other pregnant woman in this area for that matter.  This is a fairly rural community.  Small town America at it's finest.  Most days I don't even have my doors locked.  Now I do.  Something this horrific is simply unheard of here.  It is scary and horrible taking place anywhere, but to have it so very close to home... mind blowing.

We should all take the time to really look at who is around us, who we "friend" on Facebook, who we open our doors too.  I send all my thoughts and prayers to the family of Jamie Stice and little baby Isaiah.

More Info:
Bowling Green Woman Murdered, Unborn Child Kidnapped - WBKO.com
Woman Accused of Murder and Kidnapping Scheduled for Hearing Tomorrow - WBKO.com
Woman Murders Pregnant Friend - Dailymail.co.uk

Spring Weather is on my Last Nerve

Mmm'kay....  so this particular stoooopid Spring squall line of funktastic rain came though our area round about 11pm.  AND LASTED UNTIL ABOUT 2am.

This image isn't mine and was originally posted here.  I live to the West of Bowling Green.  Right where that beautiful red/orange color is hovering.  Between winds that were blowing around 50+ mph (gusting to 70+ mph) and the heavy rains there was no possible way of getting a good night of sleep.

Can we not just skip on through this dangerous weather and get to the good stuff?  I shouldn't complain though.  We had no tornadoes here (that have been confirmed) and very little damage.  I know, I know... April showers, May flowers and all that jazz, but would it kill Mother Nature to show up at a more reasonable hour?  Seriously.

Vegan Mac & Cheese

While I'm definitely not opposed to being a vegetarian or vegan, sometimes I MUST HAVE SOME MEAT!  Though I have tried a few vegan items lately and they've proven to be quite yummy.  When I came across this recipe I wanted to go directly to the nearest Whole Foods store (about 90 miles away....) to buy stuff to make it AND that I wanted to share it.

Vegan Mac & Cheese
via Ryan's Baking Blog
Print Recipe

8 ounces pasta, any type, gluten-free if you prefer (I used macaroni)
3 cups shredded vegan cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons vegan butter (like earth balance)
2 cups unsweetened milk product
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 cup vegan parmesan cheese
1/2 cup bread crumbs, gluten-free if you prefer

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cook pasta for only half of the time listed in the instructions or it will fall apart during baking. Drain pasta and set aside.

In a saucepan, melt butter. Add milk product and half of the cheddar and cook on low-medium heat until melted, stirring frequently. When melted, add pepper, paprika, and nutritional yeast. Pour over the macaroni and mix together.

Transfer macaroni to a greased 8 by 8 inch baking pan or casserole dish. Stir in remaining cheddar.

Top with bread crumbs and bake for 30 minutes uncovered, or until the cheese is bubbling and top is starting to brown. Remove from oven and top with the parmesan.


where I've been?

Me and Abe at the Kentucky Museum on the campus of WKU.
I've been chillin' with Honest Abe.  You know, just discussing the current state of our great country.

Ok, so really I was at WKU watching my son play with the 5th grade band at the KMEA Festival in the Van Meter Auditorium.  They did well and received a Distinguished!  Today I'm heading to the school to hand out free books via the RIF program.

So glad it's finally Friday!  Get out and enjoy the weekend people!

Wonderful Wednesday!

Christine & Cam on Cam's BIG DAY - April 13th, 2002
It's Cam and Berg's anniversary!  I thought I'd share this beautiful (yet utterly craptastic) shot of us right before she walked down the aisle to marry her hunk-a hunk-a burning love!  I really wanted to scan the shot of her in her undies with the look of a crazy person (because she had just realized what time it was), but I value my life and she would probably have dismembered me.

So HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to my most treasured, valued, and loved friend!  Have fun at Wanee!

Post It Note Tuesday

What up, y'all?!?  It's Post It Tuesday again!  Make your stickies here and join up at ONLY Parent CHRONICLES!

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This photo could sum up my entire weekend.  Sunny, beautiful, and full of life.

I'm so glad that it's finally warmed up around here.  However I guess Mother Nature decided to just completely bypass Spring and roll right on into Summer!  The temperatures have been in the high 80's (F) all weekend.  I kept repeating to myself that I would not complain.... but I complained anyway.

Baseball was the high point of the weekend.  As usual this time of year, we are at the mercy of this Spring sport.  Our daughter has already decided after just two games that she doesn't want to continue with soccer, but since there are only 4 more games, she's going to suck it up and play.  The boys had a scrimmage game on Saturday.  I thought that it was going to get rained out, but just as most Spring showers happen, this one came and went quickly and the sun returned to make it a perfect day.  Except I was too lazy to shave my legs and worn blue jeans and sweated my ass off....

Speaking of shaving and legs...  Saturday night I noticed that my hands and feet were feeling a bit swollen.  I thought it was because I was out in the sun most of the day on Saturday with the baseball team.  I kicked my feet up and made sure to drink water.  Sunday was no better though and I've even developed the pregnancy cankle.  Oh... joy...  I'm hoping that the swelling will go down enough to show that I do actually have an ankle bone somewhere.  At least by Wednesday when I go for my monthly check up and the dreaded glucose test. Another joy that I'm looking forward too.

I hope everyone had a weekend that was beautiful and full of excitement and joy as well!

Hummingbird Nests

Bird nest goodies are perfect for the upcoming Easter holiday.  This recipe comes from the Disney Family Fun website.

Hummingbird Nests
{click here to print}

1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup shredded coconut
Jelly bean eggs

Melt the chocolate chips, following the directions on the bag. When the chocolate is smooth, stir in the coconut, then drop the mixture by the heaping tablespoon onto waxed-paper-lined cookie sheets.

While the nests are still warm, use your thumbs to poke an impression into the middle of each. Cool them, then fill with jelly bean eggs. Makes about 1 dozen.

I've seen these made so many different ways. If you aren't a big fan of coconut you could always use pretzel sticks or any number of other ingredients.

Our Cat...

had her kittens yesterday!!!!!

She had four kittens, but one was already gone by the time I found them this morning.  Our daughter cried and our son helped by digging a nice little hole for me.  Then we said a little eulogy and buried the wee one.  So far she's been a good Mom.

Post It Note Tuesday

I haven't done a Post It Note Tuesday in a long time!  I'd nearly forgotten about it actually!  It's a fun way to see little snippets of insight of what's going on with your fellow bloggers.  Add yours over at ONLY Parent CHRONICLES.

Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites

Image source
I've found an awesome food blog!  It's called 17 and baking.  This week's super easy, super yummy recipe is from her blog!

Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites

1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tsp butter, room temperature
2/3 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips

In a small bowl, beat the peanut butter and butter together until smooth and creamy. Beat in the powdered sugar, light brown sugar, and vanilla extract until well mixed – you may need to add more to get the filling thick and stiff enough to hold its shape.

Roll teaspoons of the peanut butter mixture between your palms to form balls. Sandwich between two pretzels and put on a plate or cookie sheet. Freeze the pretzel sandwiches for half an hour.

Melt the chocolate chips, using the microwave (30 second intervals) or a double boiler. Dip half of each pretzel sandwich in chocolate. Return the tray to the freezer and chill until the chocolate sets. Store the Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites in the refrigerator until serving time.

You can find a printer friendly version here.

I'm a fan of white chocolate so I'll probably be using that when I make these, but imagine the possibilities of what you could dip these in!  She has so many other yummy looking recipes so make sure to stop by and visit her too!