Mini Baked Donuts – Recipe Review

We had another snowy day today…

My son once again woke up and happily declared it to be Christmas, and I had to bring him down a notch or two and patiently explain that we haven’t even quite reached Thanksgiving yet.

“But there’s snow outside,” he countered.

How can a mother argue with that?  It really is beginning to look a lot more like Christmas than my favorite autumn holiday.  (To be honest, it has been harder than normal this year to refrain from putting up our Christmas tree.  Normally we’re pretty stubborn about that and wait until after Thanksgiving, insisting on letting all the pumpkin and ‘thankfulness’ decor in our house get its fare share of the spotlight.  But with the unseasonably cold weather covering us in a blanket of white, I’m ready, my friends!  I’m ready to pull out all the white, cozy, twinkling lights!!).

“I know,” I said, agreeing with the case my almost four-year-old had presented.  “Christmas is coming, I promise!”

He crossed his arms, thought a bit, and then announced, “It’s a good day for donuts!”

I couldn’t let him down twice, could I?  (Let’s ignore the fact that donuts sounded really, really good to me as well).  But since the roads were a bit slick and this mama was enjoying a let’s-stay-in-our-jammies kind of day (which RARELY happens in this busy household), I decided to try my hand again at homemade, baked donuts.

I’ve baked them before, but I honestly wasn’t a huge fan of the last recipe I used.  So I decided to try the mini donuts recipe from the Granny Girl’s blog.  As you can see from their pic below, their donuts are basically the cutest things since cupcakes.  Seriously though.  I want to reach into my computer and sample each one.  But then again, they’re almost too pretty to eat!

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The struggle is real!

I had to give myself a mini pep-talk that this afternoon was merely for testing the recipe and that the mini donuts were for pure taste-bud enjoyment.  Therefore, my donuts were NOT going to look like the pic above.  I didn’t have pretty sprinkles, flakes of coconut, or walnuts on hand…  (And I was cooking with a four year old.  ‘Nough said).

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It is VERY important, if you’re a mom, to give yourself these peptalks sometimes.  There will be plenty of time later on for pretty…  Right now, your focus is keeping salmonella from hosting a party in your toddler’s mouth and sweeping up the flour before someone wipes out on the kitchen floor.  (Did you realize that flour sprinkled on a kitchen floor is dangerously slippery?  It is.  Trust me.  Also trust me when I say that toddlers are drawn to egg-shells the way we moms are drawn to coffee.  It’s like the salmonella is calling to them).

So yeah, the sprinkles can sit this one out.

The recipe was really easy to whip together, and was – in my opinion – a winner.  The last recipe I’d used to make baked donuts was muffin-like in texture, which was disappointing.  These have more of a cake-like consistency, which I was looking for.  I also really like the slight hint of spice that the nutmeg and cinnamon add.

The one tip I learned was this…  Don’t over-fill your donut pan!  The first batch I cooked lost their holes, because they rose so much.  So they were more like muffin tops.  🙂  But I corrected that for the second batch, and those came out perfect.  (Obviously, my kiddos didn’t care either way and gobbled them all up, donut holes or not).

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I definitely hope to re-make these sometime soon (maybe for the holidays) and put in the effort to decorate them all pretty!  How adorable would a platter of these be for Christmas?!?  But for today, I kept some plain and then tossed the rest in granulated or powdered sugar.

These were perfect for little fingers and went down fast!  Thank you, Granny Girls, for such a delish baked donut recipe.  🙂

If you want to try this out yourself, check out the copy of their recipe HERE.

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Enough (part 2)

A few weeks ago, my kids and I were having a particularly rough, grocery shopping trip.  And to be completely fair, the chaos wasn’t all on them.  I’ve been a mom long enough to know that you don’t bring hungry, tired children into a store and then expect them to sit patiently and obediently as you complete your chores.  But it was a particularly busy day, and I had decided to risk the potential craziness by shopping a little too close to nap and lunch time.

(Never again…).

Anyway, we loudly rounded a corner into the baking and spice section, and our carriage lightly tapped the carriage of an elderly gentleman in front of us.

“Oh my goodness, I am SO sorry,” I apologized from the other side of my obnoxiously long, over-flowing shopping cart.

A smile popped onto his wrinkled face, and I instantly liked him.

He took in both hysterical children, paused a moment, then slowly cupped his hands around his mouth and whistled the perfect imitation of a bird.  The mouths of both of my children dropped, and they went silent.

B-Boy gasped, “Hey, how you do that?”

The man replied, “It’s my invisible bird.  He lives in my pocket.”

“I have one too,” Brady announced, cupping his hands over his mouth and blowing as hard as he could through it.  Princess K giggled loudly, which only encouraged him further.  We had gone from angry cries to the sound of laughter and wind.

I really, really liked this adorable, elderly gentleman…  like a lot.

With the kids occupied, the man looked up at me, smiled, and pointed at the spices, saying, “Do you know how to make stuffed shells?  It’s basil that I want?”

I nodded, “Yes, I’d say that basil would be good!  Are you doing some cooking?”

He nodded.  His eyes lowered a bit as he said, “My wife always cooked stuffed shells for my birthday every year.  She’s gone, and it’s just me now.  And I just want to eat them on my birthday and feel like she’s a little closer.”

For one brief moment, time stood still; and I felt as though my breath had been  knocked out of me.  I murmured that I was so sorry.  I helped him find the basil.

He blinked his eyes a few times and apologized, “I don’t want to bother you with my talking too much.

I assured him that I wasn’t bothered at all.  I love to talk!  I proceeded to help him find some of the ingredients he would need, as we kept pace for the majority of the shopping trip.  His infectious smile won over the children, and B-Boy proceeded to call him Grandpa (obviously having enough love in his heart to adopt another grandfather into his life).

Both kids giggled, and gave him high fives, and played peek-a-boo.  I invited him to church; and we chatted a lot about the weather, upcoming holidays, and just life in general.  We had gone from insanity to embracing the beauty of the moment faster than I could comprehend, and I just knew that we had been meant to bump into each other.

Before we parted ways, I told him, “Thank you for helping me with the kids today!”

He softly said, “Thank you for taking time to talk with me.  I haven’t had anyone to talk to in awhile.”

As we walked off, B-Boy gave one final wave as he happily called out, “Bye, Grandpa!”

I looked back to see the man’s wrinkled face beaming with the largest, happiest of smiles.

To be honest, I almost cried for most of the car ride home, because my heart was so broken for him.  But God put on my heart that He had sent me – a frazzled, busy mom – and my children to that elderly gentleman to help shine a beam of joy into his life.  To help him maybe feel a bit of purpose and love again.

Had I been shopping alone, in stylish boots and calm state-of-mind, I would have walked right by that lonely soul who needed a bit of kindness.  It was the chaos – the noise of two fidgety children being pushed in a runaway carriage – that brought us together.  That actually allowed him to help me in the moment, which opened the door to us helping him.

I was reminded that while mom life has maybe changed some of the ways that I can share God’s love with others, it hasn’t destroyed it.  God is powerful enough to use us in every single stage of life (even in the busy mom stage), through the good and the bad.  We just need to be willing to be used.

God doesn’t put us on a backburner and say, “Come back when you’re put together again, and then we’ll figure something out.”  He uses us in the midst of the messy craziness and sometimes even BECAUSE of it.

Because while we moms are so often struggling to find self worth and meaning amidst the daily routine, God sees us.  Loves us.  And USES us.  Not only for the families we hold so close but for the others that cross our paths.  And while we might not be hosting large fundraisers or volunteering for prestigious positions that address crowds, we can choose to show compassion and love for the individuals that God puts in our path.

That one person we reach at a time?  They’re worth it.

Our impact doesn’t have to be loud and grandiose to matter.  And while we moms might feel trivial and small at times, to God… we are enough.

 

Enough

Sometimes, I think that grocery shopping with a couple of caffeinated monkeys would be easier than attempting to do it with my own two children. I mean, we start off all cute and collected.  We’re this beautiful, put-together family, sporting our in-love-with-life smiles and natural curls.  As we’re passing the egg nog and  holiday flavored creamers, we’re a Hallmark commercial come to life.  Shoppers pause to tell me how adorable we all are, and the kids – as if on cue – hug each other affectionately.

That first five minutes of grocery shopping in the dairy aisle is quite beautiful, actually.

Then we hit aisle fifteen.

You can track us down easily by the trail of cracker crumbs we’ve left throughout the store.  Or simply follow my three year old’s screams.

By this point, we’ve brought the crazy.  Both kids are tired of sitting (which apparently is an affliction to children under the age of four, although – if you ask me – being pushed around a supermarket for an hour while being handed snacks sounds a bit like a vacation).  They’ve eaten their fill of crackers and are now demanding something a little more substantial.  Like jelly beans or lollipops.  They’re writhing their bodies in directions that no human was meant to twist into and emitting sounds that closely resemble the call of an injured moose.

Me?  I’m just trying to calmly hold it all together, before Crazed Mom comes out to play.  And while I’m trying my hardest to look composed, people can see it in my eyes.  At this point, if I told the biker dude in front of me to drop and give me twenty, he’d bark back, “Yes, Ma’am!”

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I really, really just need to survive this shopping trip.  Then I will have six glorious days before I have to face this particular crisis again; and I can – instead – focus on the other beautiful, yet challenging, moments that fill up the life of a mother.

Just another item checked off my to-do list!

As moms, it’s SO easy to feel that the things we do are small (even though they’re everything to our family).  Because let’s face it, grocery shopping with two children under four years old may feel a bit like trying to catch a tornado with a lasso.  And cleaning up after that tornado every single day – which always seems to pull out the same mess of pom poms, playdough, cheerios, lego’s, and poop – is just as daunting…. and seemingly minuscule.  But if we aren’t doing it, then whose feeding, clothing, and cleaning up after the ones we love the most?  (Let’s face it, contrary to popular belief, there are no magical nannies that float around during the day to take care of the little – and big things – that need to get done).

Keeping your house clean while kids are still living in it is next to impossible. These 13 hilarious parenting memes will help you realize you're not alone in trying to keep up with a cleaning schedule, and keep your house organized, too.

Without my touch, the day would look something a little different.  (And my husband assures me that he’s pretty sure he wouldn’t survive).  I am blessed – yes, BLESSED – to have the opportunity to be so present in my children’s lives, even if it is really hard some days.  To clean up those pom poms, and wipe that poop, and instruct when we’re swirling through a grocery store like a tumble-weed flying through a windstorm.

But a lot of days, while we’re enveloped by being the mom to little ones,  it’s tempting to feel that as though any difference we make is confined to the walls of our homes.  That God will once again use us once we have a little less crazy and a whole lot more classy in our lives.

But a few weeks ago, during a particularly rough shopping trip, I was reminded that God can use us in the midst of the crazy.  Because of the crazy….

(to be continued…)

 

 

The Mom Look (part 1)

Now let me start with this…  I don’t want to give the impression that I’ve let myself go.  😉  I clean up pretty well on the rare occasion that I need to (or when my husband is home from work, and  I don’t have to choose between shaving my legs or applying eye-liner).  But let’s face it, I’m thicker around the middle than I used to be (two C-sections in your thirties will do that to you, apparently), more practical in my wardrobe (every article of clothing has to pass the, “Can I lift a child and squat regularly in this?” test), and I’m more focused on keeping everyone alive than I am caring about eyebrows being on fleek (or whatever it is that the makeup gurus are obsessing about these days).  

This is just the phase I’m in right now…  Yes, it’s a precious and beautiful time of life; one that I’ll look back on and sigh about how quickly it passed!  But one that is also very fast-paced and focused solely on little ones.  I have an over-active three year old and a one year old who thinks she’s queen.  As much as it’s a blessing, it’s also a bit like having a front row seat on a runaway train.  They roll out of bed, racing to start the day, and look adorable; I’m more closely resembling a crazy person who hasn’t slept in years.

Some days when we go out, I’m fairly certain that it looks as though a homeless woman has kidnapped two baby Gap models.  I usually pop a hat onto my head and lower it over my face, trying to hide as much as possible.  Or I wear a “This is mom life” T-shirt as an explanation for my frazzled look-of-the-day.

Personally,  I think that moms – in all of our exhausted and frazzled glory – should be treated like royalty.

I’m talking like, “Oh, you’re a mom?  Why don’t you go ahead of me in this long line then?  In fact, let me pay for your coffee!”

WE should be the epitome of gorgeous and sexy, not those pristine models who can’t open a can of tuna for fear they might chip a fingernail.

Right??  Am I right here?!?  

I mean, it’s not like I don’t try to stay on top of the self-care bandwagon.  But my children seem pretty determined to harm themselves quite drastically multiple times a day, so – you know – the curling iron can wait.

And when I do decide to invest in nice beauty products, it can be a little traumatic for all involved.  Can we just be honest and admit that walking into Sephora to buy makeup when you’re a mom of little children can be a humbling experience?  It’s usually something that I avoid at all costs (mostly because my budget can’t afford the cost).  But every once in awhile, I get this sudden burst of inspiration and think that maybe a mystical lotion sold there will hide the circles under my eyes, plump the furrow lines between my brows, and make me magically appear 10 pounds lighter.

Because hey, a mom can dream.

The problem is that most times, I run there; because my husband has kindly suggested I take two hours of child-free time after a particularly LONG, hard day.  And by ‘run’, I mean ‘run’.  I don’t stop to pass Go and to collect $200.  I grab my keys and rush out the door before he realizes that he has agreed to be zoo keeper of two little crazy monkeys.  Stopping to change or to look myself over in the mirror is too risky, because that is five minutes of time during which he might change his mind.

As the words, “You’ve had a long day, I think you need some time to yourself-” are leaving his lips, I am gone.  By the time has felt the first tinge of fear due to the chaos surrounding him, I am on the highway and sipping an iced coffee from Dunkies.    (He loves me and supports me so much that I highly doubt he would ever change his mind.  But again, it’s a risk I’m just not willing to take).

So there I am, walking into Sephora looking like a woman who is living out of her car.  I know this, because Sephora (unlike my home) is full of mirrors.  And to be honest, even if these mirrors didn’t exist, I’d get a pretty accurate depiction of my appearance by taking in the reaction of the employees.

😂😂 very true. I was at my gas station in rollers on Friday embarrassing my son. It was fun 😊

One time (okay, it’s been more than once) I was so desperate to leave the house that I actually left for the mall without looking myself over once.  Because I was in survival mode.  And who, in survival mode, really cares about how pretty they look?  If your house is being engulfed by flames, you’re not going to stop to fix your concealer.  And if you’ve had a nonstop, insane child-rearing day followed by an amazing husband who lets you run away for a few hours, well, same difference.  You RUN!    (… to be continued)

 

You Know You’re a Mom If…

Which ones can you relate to the most???    And what’s YOUR “You know you’re a mom if…” moment?  

1.   Your house exists in three stages – messy, messier, and oh-my-gosh-we-live-in-a-pigsty.

2.   The messy version of your house starts to feel clean, because it’s only messy.  There are two much worse levels…

3.  You have an evacuation plan in place in case an unannounced visitor pulls into your driveway during the oh-my-gosh-we-live-in-a-pigsty stage.

4.  You can lift a 25 lb toddler while carrying 50 pounds of groceries, talking on the phone, and clipping a three-year-old’s toe-nails.

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5.  You know better than to lick your hand if there is a brown smear on it.  Although it may look like chocolate; if you’re a mom, there is a very high probability that it is not an edible confection.  (A movie that shows a mom licking her hands in order to decipher whether or not a brown smear is poop or chocolate was obviously written by a man).

6.  You’re really good at picking things up with your feet, because your hands are never free.

7.  You wear leopard print, not because it makes you look fierce; but because the pattern hides milk stains, chocolate stains, poop stains, spitup stains, and ketchup stains.  Leopard print is the ultimate stain hider.  You therefore like leopard print.

8.  Nothing puts fear in your heart quite like the color ‘white’.

9.  Forget heels, polish, lip gloss, and jewelry.  Your epitome of THE perfect night is now a hot bath, bubbles, flickering candlelight, and a bowl of peanut m&m’s.

10.   If you don’t have time for the hot bath, bubbles, or flickering candlelight, then the peanut m&m’s will do.

11.  If you don’t have peanut m&m’s, you’ll totally take five minutes of being locked in the bathroom – alone – for 300 seconds of refreshing quiet.  (Turning on the fan is a must, so that you can’t hear the children screaming “MOMMY!” despite the fact that they are with their daddy).

12.  Coffee is your best friend. (Anyone who brings you coffee is basically your soulmate).

13.  You forget to buy hamburger buns while grocery shopping, so you use it as an excuse to run to your happy place:  Target.

14.  You are proud of yourself for leaving Target with only one item!   I am woman; hear me roar!  Problem is, you accidentally bought milk instead of the hamburger buns.

15.  You’ve washed the same load of laundry three times, because you keep forgetting to put it into the dryer.

16.  You have a secret stash of taboo foods (hello, chocolate) hidden behind the broccoli and another nestled beneath the frozen veggie burgers.

17.  “We don’t turn on the blender until we’ve put the cover on first!” is something you say now.

18.  You know, first-hand, just how much of a mess can be created when a blender is turned on without the cover.

19.  You run out the door so quickly that sometimes you freeze in the middle of the supermarket and look down, just to make sure you’re wearing pants.

AND…

20.  There is so much love in your heart for little humans that you think you might explode.

The Postpartum Life Party

You did it! After nine months of swollen ankles, ridiculous food aversions and cravings, excited planning, nursery decorating, uncomfortable waddling, leg cramps, sleeping with a man-sized pillow that your husband was strangely jealous of, and happily comparing your growing stomach to fruits and vegetables, you delivered a precious, healthy baby.

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Along the way, there were ups and downs.  Laughter.  Anticipation.  Tears of joy and sadness.  And tears without really any particular reason, because pregnancy hormones have absolutely no mercy.  (I literally burst into tears one afternoon just because I saw a little squirrel that looked particularly sad and hungry).

But after it’s all said and done – no matter how difficult the pregnancy journey was – you would do it all over again.  Nothing can prepare you for the love you feel when meeting your precious, squishy baby for the first time.  (Sigh, is there anything more precious than a squishy newborn)?  It was ALL worth it!

What I quickly realized, however, was that the birth of a child doesn’t necessarily mean the end of your pregnancy journey.  There is that one final chapter:  the fourth trimester that absolutely no one warns you about.  Because there is a postpartum journey as well, and it’s almost just as fun.

And by fun, I mean that it too includes all the ups.  And downs.  And laughter.  And tears.

Except this time around, you don’t get to wear cute T-shirts with whimsical sayings.  Because your Tshirt would have to say things like “Retired watermelon smuggler.” Or “I grew my tribe, and I’m still recovering.”    Or “What bump”?  Even “It took me nine months to grow this belly, and I like icecream too much to lose it any faster than that.  So don’t judge me.”

 Yeahhhh, that last one is kind of wordy.  Maybe I’ll save it for the postpartum greeting card line.

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But seriously, there are weeks of physical recovery and adjusting to changes in your body.  And then once you finally start to feel like yourself again physically, your hormones decide to throw a wild party all over again and your hair starts to fall out.  Postpartum hair loss is pretty much a kick-me-when-I’m-down situation and adds insult to injury.  But on the flip side, it does take your mind off of other great side affects of postpartum life.

Like constipation.

I was definitely not warned about post-partum constipation.  And it’s no joke (especially if you’re recovering from a C-section surgery).  Seriously, if you’re going to have a planned C-section, still take the Lamaze class; because you’ll need the focused breathing to survive your first poop.  One of my friends had actually bought me stool softener (and other survival items) as a gift before I went into the hospital; and I had laughed, thinking it was a gag gift.  After my C-section, her present was the best mommy gift in my house.

“Dear friend, thank you for the stool softener.  I think it may have saved my life.”

Before B-Boy was born, I hadn’t realized that the postpartum stage is just as much an experience as pregnancy can be; but I was more prepared for it this time during the birth of Princess K.  There is so much going on during the recovery, never mind the fact that you aren’t getting any sleep.  It can be so easy to feel overwhelmed, inadequate, unqualified, exhausted, and alone.  Even despite the joy and the beauty of bringing home a new baby, there are so many tough emotions swirling around as well.

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For me, the first two weeks after having my babies were probably the most beautiful weeks of my entire life.  I had a ton of help, and so I could focus on my newborn.  Those days of bonding, snuggling, and just resting my lips on the peach fuzz of their little heads were priceless.  My heart ran over with so much love that sometimes I just felt as though it might explode.

But as life began to fall back into normalcy (and the hormones and physical demands of recovery remained), it was pretty tough.  That first year after baby can be really hard sometimes.  You’re trying to ‘bounce back’ and to fall back into the pattern of how things once were (despite the fact that absolutely everything has changed).  Now you’re running on little sleep, following the schedule of a little human, and carrying around a diaper bag the size of Santa’s sack.

Arriving on time is a thing of the past.  Your new favorite color for clothing is that which most closely resembles spit-up.  Poop explosions haunt you in your dreams.

Everything is new, and you’re certain that – despite all the books you’ve read – you’re not qualified to care for this beautiful baby.  Google is your new best friend…  Is my baby eating too much or too little?  Is it normal for a baby to have that much gas?  Should they be sitting up by now?  And, “Google, how many hours of sleep does a mom actually need in order to live?”

As women, we so often overlook this part of the journey.  We don’t really talk about it much with each other, and the medical support completely goes away.  It’s very common for women to feel alone.  Ridiculously exhausted.  And less than human.

In reality, all we really need is support.  Someone to talk it over with.  Encouragement.  Assurance that everything we’re experiencing is normal and that it really will get better one day.  It will get easier.

One day, we’ll actually sleep through the night.  And not have leaky breasts.  And we’ll maybe even go to the store without looking like an extra from The Walking Dead.  

God created us women to be oh-so-strong.  But we’re definitely stronger together when we encourage those coming after us.  When we remind them that although the days do oftentimes feel long, the years are so fast.  And when we take the time to be the support new moms need, whether it’s folding laundry, dropping off a meal, babysitting siblings, or even dropping off a coffee.  (Can we all admit that coffee solves a multitude of hurt)?

Like pregnancy – the postpartum experience can be tough at times.  But it helps knowing that – also like pregnancy – it’s worth it.  And there will be a light at the end of the tunnel!

But until then, if you know a mom who’s currently living the postpartum life, definitely keep her in your prayers.  Tell her that she’s doing amazing.  Ask her if she needs any help around the house.  And please, just send her coffee!   🙂

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