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Easter Bunny Leftovers

Posted by casey on April 26, 2011 in In The Kitchen, Sweet Treats, Uncategorized

I have the perfect solution to some of your Easter Bunny leftovers…
(That is if you got Easter M&Ms this year)

Whenever I am faced with the decision of a cookie tray I always go one way.  Those deli cookie trays at office meetings or staff developments are loaded with sugary temptation just to stare you down and test your concentration.  That is how I see it at least. :)  Not being one to pass up a good offer, there are always the same choices.  You’ve got your sugar, a classic treat.  Then there is the peanut butter with even some peanut chunks possibly.  The tray might try to spice things up with some white chocolate macadamia nut but you know there will always be some chocolate chip/chunk of the traditional variety.  All good choices right?  I agree….until I see the M & M Cookies.  I don’t know what it is…the colors, the combination of a sugar cookie type dough with a touch of chocolate?  Whatever it is, I can’t resist.  I think it is because I never make them myself, so I decided to change that.

M&M Cookies
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cups softened butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cups light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup M&Ms (or more if you choose)

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and prepare cookie sheets with parchment paper or a silpat.

2. Combine your dry ingredients (flour, salt & baking soda) in a bowl and set to the side.

3. In a mixing bowl, cream together your butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla.  Once it is mixed and creamy and your eggs one at a time.

4. Gradually incorporate your dry ingredients.

5. Stir in your M &Ms.

6. Spread out your scoops of cookie doughon the baking sheets (I like using a small cookie scoop for a perfect 2 bite sweet treat) and bake away!

Bake at 350 Degrees for 9-10 Minutes
(Until Lightly Browned)

 
1

Bunny Time!

Posted by casey on April 23, 2011 in Family, Snapshots

 
14

Expansion Project

Posted by casey on April 19, 2011 in Caden, Family, Home

Growing up, I had the experience of moving quite a bit.  As a child you think this is the end of the world.  As an adult, you see the adventure and all the opportunities that lie with it.  Of course it always worked out, and of course I am very grateful for those moves and the friends I made in each location.  One luxury of moving is that you are able to see houses as just that, a house.  It is you, your family and how you want to decorate it and fill it that make it a home. This outlook lets me see houses as frames and ignore the cosmetic stuff.  Unfortunately this means that I see all of the projects ($$$) that could be done (usually when my poor father visits).  We can add some shelves here, put a built in there, paint this, move that, new  , how about a whole new bathroom upstairs to add on to the other guest bedroom.  Dreams. One thing we never did much of growing up was expand. The project list will always keep going so we here in the Kazmann household have decided to take on an expansion project.

Caden would like to tell you a little bit about it.

 

Tricky, tricky!
We are expanding…our family and literally myself.

 
2

It’s Real

Posted by casey on April 18, 2011 in On My Nightstand

I haven’t read a book since our last Read With Me group and I haven’t read a book quickly in well, I’m not sure how long.  However, I recently heard about ” Heaven is For Real” by Todd Burpo.  I picked it up Thursday, started it that afternoon and finished it Friday night.  A day in a half.  You see, I don’t have time to read.   Reading requires alone time and concentration which are two luxuries that I don’t often get.  As soon as I started this amazing true story I just had to finish.  The best part?  I have been smiling ever since.

The Reviews

“You will be moved by the honest, simple, childlike accounts of a little boy who has been to heaven.  It is compelling and convincing.  It’s a book you should read.  If you’re ready to go to heaven, this book will inspire you.  If you’re not ready to go to heaven, allow a little child to lead you. – Don Piper, Speaker & Author

“A beautifully written glimpse into heaven that will encourage those who doubt and thrill those who believe.” – Ron Hall, Author

Thought-Starters

“What had I learned?  I was reminded yet again that I could be real with God… “You might as well tell God what you think,” I said. “He already knows it anyway.”

“In my mind’s eye, I saw Jesus with Colton on his lap, brushing past all the seminary degrees, knocking down theological treatises stacked high as skyscrapers, and boiling down fancy words like propitiation and soteriology to something a child could understand. “I had to die on the cross so that people on earth could come see my Dad.” (what Jesus told Colton) Colton’s answer to my question was the simplest and sweetest declaration to the gospel I had ever heard.  I thought about the difference between grown-up and childlike faith.”

Heaven is For Real by Todd Burpo

This isn’t a tale, it is truth told through the eyes, heart and memory of a four year old.  Colton’s dad Todd writes the book with background and what led to his son’s trip to heaven and back but the journey itself is all Colton and all his words.  Details, images and memories that came out from Colton over a couple of years formed to something that can bring you true comfort and excitement about what is awaiting for you and what your loved ones who have passed already have with Jesus in their heart.  You will find so much joy in these 162 pages that I encourage you to go out and pick up a copy or download one right now.  Why?  Because Heaven is For Real.

 
1

Baby Woes

Posted by casey on April 17, 2011 in Caden, Caden's Chronicles

See this sweet boy?
He is getting a whole mouthful of teeth right now.
Including molars…
All at the same time.
Ouch.
He can’t eat a thing without wailing.
He won’t play with a single toy without crying.
He wants to be held.
But then he wants to be down.
No wait…held.
He wants to know why we are doing this to him.
Poor little guy.

Baby Woes.

 
1

Squishy

Posted by casey on April 10, 2011 in Caden, Snapshots

 

“I shall call him squishy and he’ll be mine.” ~ Finding Nemo

 
3

Break

Posted by casey on April 9, 2011 in For Your Funny Bone, Life as I Know It

On Friday, the stars were just not aligned for me.  Waking up on the other side of the bed wouldn’t have changed my day, and in all fairness it wasn’t even a matter of my attitude.  I didn’t wake up on the wrong side of the bed, the world did.  Colter was home sick, and Caden was home cranky.  Mom was home tired.  Unfortunately, no one was home to relieve mom and Mom was the only one home  to take care of sick and cranky.  Oh motherhood…:)

My sweet, gentle, happy and joyful child was anything but.  In fact, we are still trying to figure out what was wrong with him.  No new teeth, no illness that we saw, no tummy aches since he still ate us out of house and home….just cranky.  I think he whined, fake cried and yelled from two minutes after he woke up until bedtime.  Okay, I am sure I am exaggerating and we did get giggle moments, tickles and some smooches.  However, it felt like an all day crankypants party.  Be glad you weren’t invited.

I am not bringing this up to complain.  You won’t hear me complain about rougher days in motherhood often because even those have joy and love and appreciation.  I bring this up because the culmination of events that was allowing the feelings of a looming breakdown to wash over me ended in a priceless way.  Priceless.

A break.  I just needed a break.  Five minutes.  Five minutes without any noise.  Five minutes for my ears to not hear sports, crying, sneezing, dogs barking, toys being thrown, nose blowing and phones ringing.  Five minutes to not see the dishes continuing to pile even though I just cleaned the kitchen, a new pee puddle thanks to my territorial mutt, and the laundry that I still haven’t folded.  Five minutes to gather my thoughts, take  few deep breaths and count my blessings.  I finished feeding my hungry boy for the 30th time (I kid you not…he eats a full meal every 2 hours ) and snuck out into the backyard with a magazine.

Sneaking into the yard is a challenge since there is nothing more than playing outside that my son wants.  But I did it! I was in the clear. One article.  I just wanted to read one article by myself in the sun with no noise. 

The blinds moved and Caden had spotted me.  It had been about 45 seconds.  Creeeeaaaaakkkk.  The back door opened and sick husband poked his head out.  “Do you mind having him out here with you?”

I’m sorry what? Do I mind? Absolutely.  I’m exhausted.  I’m overwhelmed.  I have taken on a lot.  I am going through a lot.  I don’t feel well.  My head hurts.  My brain hurts. My face hurts. I want enough time to read one article by myself.  Alone time.

Too late.  Bambino has already pushed through the door and is making his way into the yard.  At least he was happy about it.  Two minutes into my dream break I was now accompanied by a wobbly toddler who wanted to play with bricks, two dogs trying to guard us from any movement in the neighborhood with barks and a husband who obviously didn’t feel up to sitting outside.  No problem, I can sit here and read my article while watching him…until I got two words in and he went to unstack the bricks. 

I sighed. I placed my magazine down knowing I would not be getting to it.  I walked across the yard and relocated my rough and tough boy. I sat down on the patio near the dogs and my toddler.  The breakdown is coming…I feel it.  “Someone smells like poop.”

I look at my foot and there it is.  The world socking it to me and laughing at my desire for a break.  Dog shit. On my foot.  You have got to be kidding me! (Plus a few choice explitives if we are going for honesty here.)

I was exhausted.  I was overwhelmed.  I have taken on a lot.  I have been going through a lot.  I didn’t feel well.  My head hurt.  My brain hurt. My face even hurt. I wanted enough time to read one article by myself.  A break.  I needed a break.

And then I stepped in dog shit.

Thank you world, for putting me in my place yet again and then giving me five minutes to myself in the form of a shower.  I may have cried in that shower, but I was alone, it was quiet and I’ll take it.

 
2

Sweetness

Posted by casey on April 7, 2011 in Caden, Caden's Chronicles

Sweetness is what my little boy is at 13 months.  (Yes…I’m almost 2 weeks late updating you as usual) Walking, chatting, pointing, discovering, giggling and it is all just so sweet! Sure he throws tantrums now and is quite opinionated at times, but don’t we all have our moments?  He has grown up so much over the past couple of months and the pace that he is learning new things is quite amazing.

The biggest change in Caden?  Busy.  He is a very busy boy.  Not that he wasn’t before, but he has kicked it up to a whole new level that involves only one nap each day, about 6 meals to keep up with his stretching legs and a lot of time outside.  A lot.  So despite the change of being even busier his desire to be outside (preferably naked) has not changed since his birth.  In fact, he has a mini meltdown every time our pups get let out and he doesn’t get to go with them into the backyard.  This was oh so fun when we had a cold front after several summer-ish days and couldn’t go out.  Plus, if you know my dogs, you also know that they like to go out every 2.5 minutes.

Here is is pre-walking crab-crawl he used especially for outside in the yard because he didn’t like his precious knees to touch the prickly grass.

As you can tell from the picture, he has also become quite the helper.  He thought he would come out and help me pick weeds which turned into him emptying the bed of any and all mulch, but at least he had a good time.  He also loves to help unload the dishwasher…onto the floor and if we let him he would really love to help the pups finish their dinner.  Mmmmm dog food!

Caden is a silly boy now who finds himself and most people quite funny.   He will laugh along with someone telling a story, and gets quite a chuckle out of various things he hears in stores, restaurants etc.  Many times I will just hear his feet pitter-pattering around the house as he chats to himself and then bursts out laughing.  I’m just glad he seems to be having fun with whatever it is he thinks is so hilarious.

Pointing:  This is a new development in that he now points at what he wants, is interested in or sees on walks constantly.  In the stroller we will pass by a new tree and he will look up and point to it.  At home, he will see his water on the counter and point to it.  In the evening I might grab a treat fror myself and he will point to it. Uh-oh.  So, this is a good and bad new thing since he doesn’t quite understand why he can’t have everything he points at.  It does make it much more fun to teach him new vocabulary though since you know he is actually looking at and focused on a specific object.

Walking:Since my last update pre-birthday, Caden has become a full time walker.  He took his first official, unassisted steps the weekend after his birthday and by 13 months has moved on from crawling.  It is pretty cute watching him waddle around carrying toys, bouncing his balls or chasing the dogs.  It hasn’t changed our household too much because he already spent most of the day pulling  up and standing which means he wasn’t reaching anything new walking that he couldn’t get to before.  Here is a little clip of him pushing one of his favorite birthday presents around with a little walking at then end.  I think he needs driving insurance.

His favorite word by far is still da-da/Daddy which is loves to use when he is tired of or mad at me.  When it gets to the time of day Colter usually comes home, just like the dogs he starts hanging out in the entryway and will call for him.  See? Sweetness.  He always walks straight to him grinning/laughing with his arms in the air to greet him.  I think it is a pretty nice way to come home.  Mama? No way.  Recently a friend told me of her friend’slittle girl who is 2 and still won’t say mama among the many words she says. Instead, she calls her mother, “Hey lady.”  I have a feeling that is what I am in for.  Other words: Uh-Oh (primarily when he throws/drops something on purpose), No-No-No-No-No (when he doesn’t like you taking him from something…accompanied with flapping arms), Hi (he has slowed down on his enthusiasm for hi and waving but it is still there), Bo-Bo (our dog), dow = down, ta = truck (I know, I know it is a sound not a word,  But, he always says “ta” and points at trucks when he sees them.  Our neighbors are getting a pool so there have been a lot of “tas” around which has prompted this.)  The newest word? Goal!  Now, if he picks up a ball he has chased he will repeat after us or say “goal”.  He can still roar like a lion and ssss like a snake, and he has discovered a new love for dancing.  Bounce…bounce…bounce…bounce to music.

Speaking of music, he wanted to play you a little tune.  Notice his frustration with the short string, and his cleaning abilities.

Our big boy is still keeping himself and us very happy, and we are enjoying this new stage in his life just like the others!  He recently got to visit his cousins in Austin and it was so nice having him be able to toddle around with them.  Summer is in our sights and this child couldn’t be happier to not be contained so much.  Here is to our healthy, happy boy!

 
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Snack Time! – Family Chex Mix

Posted by casey on April 1, 2011 in In The Kitchen, Snacks and Sides

In the past couple months, I have been cooking and cooking and cooking but I have not been posting and posting and posting.  There has been oven fried chicken, twice baked potatoes, baked chicken & spinach rissoto, chocolate kahlua cake, italian wedding soup, tomato basil soup and the list goes on.  What do I have in pictures and evidence for you? About zippo.  You can scold me now, I can take it.

One of the many treats we had at Caden’s birthday that is always a favorite for snacks, parties or road trips is our family Chex Mix.  Its simple, tasty, crisp and keeps well.  So in case you are hitting the road this weekend I thought the least I could do is share this delight with you and your family. Enjoy!

Orr Family Chex Mix
* 1 Large Disposable Tin Baking Pan
* 2 2/3 cups Crispix (I leave it at one regular sized box – not family size and call it good)
* 2 2/3 cups Rice Chex
* 1 cup salted mixed nuts (feel free to add more, and choose whatever mixture you like)
* Pretzels (goldfish pretzels, pretzel sticks, pretzel twists..it doesn’t matter)

* 1/2 cup butter
* 1 1/4 teaspoons Lawry’s seasoning salt
* 4 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire

1. Assemble your ingredients.  Remember choose the nuts that you like and the pretzels are optional.

2. Pour both chex cereals, the nuts and the pretzels into a large disposable tin baking pan.  Mix with your hands until well combined.

*  Yes it is a ridiculous amount of butter but we actually like to double the last three ingredients (butter & seasonings) which make up the sauce.  I did not provide the doubled amounts because I wanted to leave that up to you.  I think it bakes crisper and more flavorful.*

3. Melt the butter. Stir in the Worcestershire and seasoning salt into the melted butter.

4. Gradually/Slowly pour this over your cereal mixture and carefully stir to evenly coat.

Bake at 250 degrees for one hour.
STIR EVERY 15 MINUTES

(It is important to set your timer for 15 min and continue stirring rotating the chexk so that it bakes evenly and the sauce doesn’t sit in the bottom)

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