Friday, February 26, 2010

rolls and frosting and clowns, oh my.

I like to read The Pioneer Woman's blog. I think she is silly and takes good pictures and I love her food! I made her 4 cheese baked macaroni for Christmas this year and it was DELICIOUS! While reading through her blog this past weekend I found a recipe for cinnamon rolls that I couldn't pass up, so I sent my trusty assistant (Dan) to the store for a few missing ingredients and yesterday I labored over these lovely rolls......

I have to warn you though, her recipe makes 7-8 pans of cinnamon rolls so you either need to cut the recipe in half, or be prepared to share with friends and neighbors! I chose to make the entire batch and we brought 2 trays to our neighbors and Dan took 3 into work today.....we kept 2 for ourselves. What?!? They are delicious and I've been the model of restraint and only had 2 in the last 36 hours!

For whatever reason my cinnamon rolls don't seem to have as much frosting as The Pioneer Woman's do, but believe me when I tell you that it was PLENTY! I like that the frosting has maple flavor and coffee in gives these rolls a nice unexpected and tasty zing. The recipe will be at the end of this blog for anyone who might be interested!

In other non photographed news......I took Maddie to the circus on Wednesday night. It was raining and cold and after parking, walking to the entrance in the rain, and having my backpack searched I was told that my "professional" camera with a detachable lens was not allowed at the circus. So I took my soggy 3 year old and hiked back to the car so that I could stow my camera and then hike back to the entrance in the rain. Fun! I was actually really annoyed because it's not like I'm with the press or paparazzi or anything, and my camera is no where near professional......there are point and shoot cameras that have better zoom capabilities than my 28-105mm lens has. It sucks that I didn't get to capture Maddie's first circus experience because they feel threatened by my camera. So, a little note to those of you with SLR cameras who are thinking about attending the circus......leave your professional gear at home and buy a cheapy disposable! Once we got our popcorn and lemonade and got to our seat our cranky mood vastly improved and we were entertained by circus antics. Maddie loved the 2 women being shot out of the canon and the horses and zebras and she especially loved the elephants!! Oh, did I mention that we were in the second row with no one in front of us? Awesome seats! Those elephants were so close, Maddie could have gotten sneezed on. We went to the bathroom during intermission and I asked Maddie if she was having a good time.....

She said, "YES!"
I said, "What was your favorite part?"
She said, "You, Mama."

That child nearly brought me to tears with 2 little words. What a sweet, sweet girl! I had to keep that exchange in mind when she threw an ever lovin' tantrum when it was time to leave. Maddie has never been one for tantrums.....she has thrown maybe 5 ever. This tantrum was the best by far! She was crying and screaming and she wouldn't budge and threw herself on the floor when I tried to get her to leave.....she did not want for the circus to be over! One negative thing about being in the second row is that we had a lot of stairs to climb and when I say we, I mean me, because I had to literally pick her up, tuck her under my arm like a football and climb up all of those auditorium stairs. Boy, was that a lot of stairs carrying 42 pounds of toddler! Then we get outside back in the rain and she refuses to put her jacket I said fine and we started to hike to the car sans jacket. About 2 minutes in she said she was cold and put her jacket on and thus the tantrum of 2010 ended. I have to say though.....Maddie took a crappy afternoon nap and by the time the circus was over it was 9:30 which is an hour past her bedtime! I'm sure she was sad the circus was done, but that tantrum was more tired than strong will. All in all it was a great night and hopefully I'll be able to take both Maddie and Charlotte to the circus next year......maybe Daddy will stay home with baby X.

And now without further is the recipe. Have a great weekend!

Cinnamon rolls

Prep Time: 2 Hours Cook Time: 30 Minutes Difficulty: Easy Servings: 8
  • 1 quart Whole Milk
  • 1 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 2 packages Active Dry Yeast
  • 8 cups (Plus 1 Cup Extra, Separated) All-purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon (heaping) Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon (scant) Baking Soda
  • 1 Tablespoon (heaping) Salt
  • Plenty Of Melted Butter
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • Generous Sprinkling Of Cinnamon
  • _____
  • 1 bag Powdered Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Maple Flavoring
  • ½ cups Milk
  • ¼ cups Melted Butter
  • ¼ cups Brewed Coffee
  • ⅛ teaspoons Salt
Preparation Instructions

Mix the milk, vegetable oil and sugar in a pan. “Scald” the mixture (heat until just before the boiling point). Turn off heat and leave to cool 45 minutes to 1 hour. When the mixture is lukewarm to warm, but NOT hot, sprinkle in both packages of Active Dry Yeast. Let this sit for a minute. Then add 8 cups of all-purpose flour. Stir mixture together. Cover and let rise for at least an hour.

After rising for at least an hour, add 1 more cup of flour, the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir mixture together. (At this point, you could cover the dough and put it in the fridge until you need it – overnight or even a day or two, if necessary. Just keep your eye on it and if it starts to overflow out of the pan, just punch it down).

When ready to prepare rolls: Sprinkle rolling surface generously with flour. Take half the dough and form a rough rectangle. Then roll the dough thin, maintaining a general rectangular shape. Drizzle 1/2 to 1 cup melted butter over the dough. Now sprinkle 1 cup of sugar over the butter followed by a generous sprinkling of cinnamon.

Now, starting at the opposite end, begin rolling the dough in a neat line toward you. Keep the roll relatively tight as you go. Next, pinch the seam of the roll to seal it.

Spread 1 tablespoon of melted butter in a seven inch round foil cake or pie pan. Then begin cutting the rolls approximately ¾ to 1 inch thick and laying them in the buttered pans.

Repeat this process with the other half of the dough. Let the rolls rise for 20 to 30 minutes, then bake at 400 degrees (see note below) until light golden brown, about 15 to 18 minutes.

For the frosting, mix together all ingredients listed and stir well until smooth. It should be thick but pourable. Taste and adjust as needed. Generously drizzle over the warm rolls. Go crazy and don’t skimp on the frosting.

Note: My rolls don’t work for me at 400 degrees anymore. I now bake them at 375 degrees.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Random ramblings for Wednesday

I am in a blogging desert. I don't feel like writing, don't feel like taking pictures.....don't really feel like doing anything other than sleeping, eating pickles and watching videos on MTV unplugged. I completely blame the pregnancy! Does that work as a valid excuse for you?

So, yes....we are preggo! Number 3 is cooking and on it's way in October. Dan and I had originally thought that we'd wait to tell people about the baby.....but just like with the last 2, we aren't good at all at waiting so we spilled the beans. It is still early, but it's nice to be able to talk about it and complain when necessary and I figure if something bad were to happen I'd want to talk about it on my blog anyway since this is where I get my thoughts why wait?!? We are really excited although I'm nervous about how a third child will change our life, but I have 7 more months to get used to the idea and as we've learned with both Maddie and Charlotte our hearts and lives expand to make room when our family grows! I always think it's funny when people talk about being "ready" to start a family, or "ready" for another baby....I don't think there is ever a point when we're ready.....what does ready even mean? If we wait to be ready it'll never happen......we won't ever have enough money, enough room or enough time. Dan and I just leave ourselves open to what God wants to bless us with whether we feel ready or not! So far our faith hasn't let us down.

Pickles are the name of the game right now. I had Dan buy me two different kinds at the store the other day.....big ol' dill ones and baby dills. I am super into salty things right now although I had a craving for beans the other day and ate a ton of them and it didn't turn out well at all. Sometimes our cravings aren't really so good for us! lol At least I have two partners in crime with my cravings this time around, my girls can keep up with me pickle for pickle......they obviously have my genes in them! With both Charlotte and Maddie I craved cake, so maybe this need for saltiness means we have XY genes this time. Hmmmm.....

I am taking Maddie to the circus for the first time tonight! I haven't told her yet but I know that she is going to be SO excited. She talks about the circus all the time. We got pretty good tickets, second row in the VIP section near the floor, so we should have a great view of all the circus fun! I wouldn't go to the circus on my own at this point in my life (although I would go to the the rodeo) but taking my daughter to the circus breathes new life into's so fun being able to see the world through her eyes! I'm planning on bring my camera.....that's allowed right? Maybe I'll get some cool shots and it will jump start me back into shutter bug status again! Wish us luck!

Onto my MTV unplugged addiction. We don't have cable and I haven't watched MTV in over a year, but while in the Dominican Republic that was basically the only TV channel that we watched and it wasn't even US MTV. We had Great Britain and Spanish MTV.....although a good amount of the music was American......GB has some interesting reality TV shows on MTV, and not necessarily good interesting. Anyway, I caught a band called Paramore on Unplugged while in DR and fell in love with them! I have been so out of the music scene for the past few years while making and raising babies but apparently Paramore is a lot more popular outside of our country so maybe I'm not as lame as I originally thought! :o) Hayley Williams the lead singer of Paramore is phenomenal! She has a strong, smokey voice that makes me want to get up and dance.....which I've been doing frequently for the past couple days. Maddie keeps asking for more rock n' roll so we can dance! If you like punky, rocky popish music check out Paramore!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Dreams La Romana

In case anyone out there has been thinking about a reasonably priced tropical vacation I highly recommend Dreams La Romana in the Dominican Republic! It is a beautiful property, all the food, drinks and entertainment is included and they offer tons of can be as involved, or like us.....uninvolved as you'd like! For those of you who like to get out and explore there are lot's of sightseeing excursions, hiking, snorkeling, speed boats, diving, cave swimming, horse back riding, ATVing, swimming with dolphins......the list goes on and on. Dan and I were not interested in excursions partly because of the price (although if you book excursions when you book your trip it's a lot cheaper than waiting till you get to DR) and because we really just wanted to lounge around in the sun and do NOTHING! The food is tasty, the drinks are flowing, and the staff is amazing and will bend over backwards to help you. They do speak Spanish there although most of the staff minus maids and bus boys spoke enough English to get by and lot's of the staff spoke nearly perfect English......and Dan and I know enough Spanish that we made it work, but you'd be surprised what you can say with hand gestures! :o) When we were originally planning this trip we were going to return to Maui, but it seemed a little boring since we'd been there twice in 4 I branched out and started researching the Caribbean and was pleasantly surprised to find that the cost of an all inclusive resort and airfare in DR was about the same price as just the hotel accommodations in a comparable hotel in Maui......airfare, food, rental car etc. would have all been on top of that!! And the whole time we were at Dreams La Romana we kept saying how the resort was as nice as resorts in Maui! You can get a good feel for what the resort looks like by browsing all of my vacation blogs, but these are the last few pics I have of the actual property.....don't worry, there are at least 2 more vacation blogs to go! lol

This was our building #7

King size bed

Table......we never ate there

Yes, there is a TV with satellite cable, but most of the channels were in Spanish or weird. We did like the British and Spanish MTV! :o)

Entrance to the room
Closet space (room safe was in there)
Coffee maker and daily restocked mini bar

Our patio....I did a little sink laundry towards the end of our stay

Every day we had a little surprise from our maid. Towel art, curtain art, sheet art, a bouquet of flowers, rose petals all over the bathroom counter etc.


Main lobby and bar

The main lobby had TONS of seating areas

Walkway to the beach bar

Water trampoline.....Dan and I jumped around on it the first day

All of the pools and the beach have servers who take drink orders and bring them to you! Tip them.....they work really hard!!

Walkway to the main dining room/buffet

Friday, February 19, 2010


Three's company

Three's a crowd

Three strikes and you're out

Third time's a charm

Three days grace

Three blind miceThree Stooges
Los Tre Caballeros
Three's Company
The three little pigs
Three Amigos
Three little bears
Three Musketeers
3 wise men
Three Schultz kiddos

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Dominican Republic 2

Little by little I'm getting through the vacation pictures! It's fun to look back through all the pics but at the same time I'm so not in vacation mode so it's hard to stay motivated to get them all edited. I thought I'd give you a glimpse into how we spent our days in the Dominican Republic....

8:30-9:00 wake up and lounge around our room
9:30-10:00 head to the buffet to have breakfast. I ate an omelet every day....ham, cheese and onions. I learned on the first day that they make eggs very runny in DR so I learned quickly to ask for my omelet well done!
10:30 camped out on the beach ALL day drinking fruity drinks and swam in the ocean
12:30-2:00 lunch on the beach. There was a hut that grilled burgers and chicken and there were lot's of desserts.
4:30-6:30 head back to our room. I'd say that half the days we stayed all day at the beach and watched the sunset. The rest of the days we went back to our room and played cards and watched European and Spanish MTV
6:30-8:00 lounged around. Got ready for dinner. Went to the bar or the coffee shop and got drinks
7:30-8:00 dinner. There was the buffet which had SO many options and also 7 restaurants. French, Dominican, Mexican, Seafood, Grill (steaks), Asian, and Italian. We liked the Italian and the steaks at the Mexican restaurant the best. I HATED the French restaurant but I've never really eaten French food.....maybe it's better in France! :o)
8:30 pre show entertainment.....sometimes we watched this, but most nights we did not
9:30 big show. I don't think we saw one.....mostly we walked around and hung out at the lobby bar or spent time in our room
11:30-12:30 bedtime

This was pretty much our routine everyday. By the end of the day we were tired and didn't have a lot of interest in the shows, but a lot of people went to them. The resort had 5 bars, a casino and a dance club both of which I never even saw. Dan and I weren't there to party....we wanted to lounge around and relax which we accomplished. I could actually go for some lying on the beach and relaxing right about now! :o)

This is a Banana Mama
I consumed approx 150 of these while on vacation
Don't worry.....140 of them were non alcoholic.....I'm not a total lush :o)
SO yummy!


Such lovely tropical plants all over the resort

The Mexican restaurant

Kayak and catamaran rentals

One of the bartenders at the beach bar

Fern shadows

Our maid left these flowers in our room.
Tipping is not expected at this resort, but Dan and I brought a couple hundred bucks in ones and tipped everyone! These people work 16 hour days and get paid next to nothing. It was our pleasure to tip them!

Beach life.....where we spent a majority of our time

Lobby bar area

A beautiful tree in the Mexican restaurant

Can you say liquid lunch? :o) Pina Colada

We spent a couple afternoons sitting here drinking fruity drinks and people watching

Dan lounging.....I like the palm trees in his sunglasses

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Painted sky

Most days the Dominican sky was clear blue and cloudless. On this particular evening the tropical breeze brought in some lovely fluffy clouds just in time for sunset. Dan and I headed over to a rocky area of the beach and camped out to watch the painted sky. It was breath taking! I wish that sunsets were that beautiful everyday.

County McCounterson