Saturday, December 31, 2011


I've been a bad mom and haven't let Stella have Play-Doh until today. In my defense, everything went in her mouth for months and months. It would have been useless to give it to her before. She really wasn't very interested, but I'll keep trying. Our entire Play-Doh session lasted all of five minutes.

Aunt Sis came over to play today. She got in the ball pit with Stella and it obviously made her very happy. :)

Thursday, December 29, 2011


Stella has been having a great time playing with all of her new toys. She heads to her playroom first thing each morning instead of asking for a drink like most days prior to Christmas. I'm glad she is enjoying everything so much. Some of her favorites are the Elmo drum set, a stroller for her baby Stella doll, a grocery cart, and her new dishes.

She was also pretty excited that Nene decided to keep her playhouse indoors during the cold months. ( Side note: Nene lets her do most anything. Ha! ) She wanted her daddy and E to get down in the floor and play with her. She said, " 'mon, E ... 'mon, daddy. " That translates to, "Come on, E. . . Come on, daddy." :)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes

Sometimes I try a recipe that is so yummy I just have to share. This is definitely one of those recipes. I found it on Pinterest and with a few tweaks, it's quickly become a personal favorite. I do not care for Swiss meringue frosting that the original recipe called for, so I adapted a buttercream frosting I use often instead. I also adjusted the coffee and peppermint quantities. These cupcakes are perfect for Christmas!

Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup Hershey's special dark cocoa
3 tsp. instant coffee
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 cup whole milk
1 cup strong brewed coffee
1 tsp. peppermint extract
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature

For the frosting:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbs. whole milk or whipping cream
2 tsp. peppermint extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract


To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350° F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt; stir together. Combine the milk, coffee and peppermint extract in a liquid measuring cup.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugars. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Blend in the eggs one at a time. Alternately mix in the dry and liquid ingredients, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing just until incorporated.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners. Bake 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, beat 2 sticks of butter until smooth and creamy. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time blending well. Stir in milk. Add extracts and continue to blend until you reach the desired consistency. If you would like the red and white swirled frosting effect, remove about half of the frosting to a bowl. With the remaining frosting in the mixing bowl, add red gel coloring and mix until you have achieved the desired shade. Fit a pastry bag with a large tip. Fill one side of the pastry bag with the white frosting, and then fill in the other side with the red frosting (this does not need to be exact – just enough so that both colors are included.) Pipe a test streak until you see both colors coming out of the tip. Frost cupcakes as desired, refilling the pastry bag in the same manner as needed.

** If you want your frosting piled high, you will need to make 2 batches. If you will only be spreading the frosting on top, one batch should be plenty.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Petting Zoo

We went to Santa's Village last night with Nana & Papa. Stella loved all of the lights. We spent some time in the petting farm. She likes to look as long as you don't get too close. She and the camel never made friends.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Best Friends

I love this picture of my two babies!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Christmas Lights

We went to Draffenville, KY tonight with Nene and E to check out some Christmas lights. They decorate their entire park and you can drive along the trail in your car to see it all. Stella thought it was really cool and pointed and jabbered the whole time. At the end, there was a little building you could go in to see Santa. Our track record with Santa hasn't been good lately. (This was our 3rd Santa this season.) This time when we asked if she wanted to sit on his lap, she said "NO!" quickly. She did take a candy cane from him and even gave him a high five. I don't blame her for not wanting to sit on his lap. He wasn't necessarily the most authentic Santa I've ever seen. I just don't want her to be scared. It looks like we've made a little progress since her Christmas photo shoot. Here's a little proof from that session.

See, we've made a definite improvement. :)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Kindermusik Fun

My budding percussionist. . . She loved Mrs. Kathleen's marimba!

Thursday, December 1, 2011