Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Teacher Appreciation Gift - First Day of School

Every year, I like to make a little gift to give the teachers the first time we meet them.  It just so happens to be apple oriented in some way.  I remember a friend of mine making chocolate covered oreos at her daughter's birthday one time and I loved that idea so much I knew I wanted to copy it in the future, but was always unable to find the cookie molds.  The ones that I normally spot have a theme or picture on it, and I wanted plain molds.

Fortunately, on the 11th hour, I found the mold at a local bake shop in town.  I decided to make these little apple pops made from chocolate covered oreos.  Aren't they cute?

First I filled the cookie mold half way up with red melted candy melts.


Next, I placed my oreos on top.  Do not use the double-stuffed oreos as they are too high for the mold.

Next pour more candy melt on top of the oreos and scrape the top with a knife so that it is level.

Place in the refrigerator for 10 minutes and then pop them out when they harden.  I love the way they look already.  It may look a little marbly in the picture, but that's just because of the condensation.  Once they dry up, the color is perfectly uniform! 


I placed it on a skewer and added a piece of a pretzel stick on top for the stem.  Green tootsie roll was used to make the leaf.  Instructions on how to make the leaf can be found here.  I used a little bit of the candy melt to adhere the leaf. 

I wrapped the apple with a small cellophane bag I bought at Michael's and tied it with a green ribbon. I found a little note template online that said, "Roses are red, and apples are too.  I can't wait to spend the school year with you."  Total project I thought was pretty easy and it turned out pretty adorable if I say so myself.

My kiddos handed out their apple bouquets on Meet and Greet the Teacher night.  The apples were a success.  E. said they were delicious to eat as well!  He got to eat the not so perfect ones ;) 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Chicken Nuggets

What kid doesn't love chicken nuggets?  My little A. is obsessed with Chick-fil-A so I promised him some if he could give me a great swim practice.  It became a tradition so when I saw this recipe on how to make chick-fil-A tasting chicken nuggets, I knew I wanted to try it.

I modified the recipe I found here.

Copycat Chick-fil-A Nuggets
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2.5 lbs. skinless and boneless chicken breasts (about 3 chicken breasts)
  • 1¼ cup flour
  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • oil for frying

In a large bowl whisk milk and egg together.  Place chicken on counter and cut into cubed bite size pieces; trim any fat that you may see.

Put the chicken in the milk mixture and mix so that all is coated and place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. In another large bowl combine the dry ingredients listed above and stir. In cast iron pot or sauce pan pour in oil so that its at least an inch deep on med/high heat.

Remove the chicken from refrigerator and place about 8 pieces in milk mixture and then into the flour mixture.  A. and E. wanted to help out and weren't afraid to get their fingers dirty.

Make sure all the chicken is coated with the flour and then place into the hot oil.  Cook each side for at least 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Place the chicken on some paper towels to soak up any oil.  Repeat the same steps with the rest of the chicken and serve.

Add some waffle fries and you have a perfect meal!


 What's the verdict?  It was so goood.  All my kids said it was even better than Chick-fil-A and they'd be happy to have home made nuggets any day!  I was actually a bit shocked to hear that, but I'll take it.

The best part was the price.  It was only $5 to make for my entire family.  The waffle fries were another $1 so that makes $6 for a family of 6 with plenty of leftovers :).

A. offered to "help" me cook it so that he could eat it again :)

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Trip to NYC and DC

E. asked me if he could go to New York City for his birthday.  I said, "Sure, why not!"  The only caveat was that he would have to wait until school was out to go.  That is what started this family vacation.  A couple of weeks later, R. told me all the things he learned in school about the Lincoln Memorial and the White House.  He then asked me if we could go there one day so I said, "Sure, how about this summer?" 

We had plans to go to Florida for the summer, but decided to take a road trip to New York instead.  We, as a family mapped out all the major landmarks we wanted to stop and visit.  We are definitely not shy when it comes to driving long distances, but this one would definitely be the longest drive we ever made with all four kids.

My hubby and I drove 26 hours straight.  Yes, straight!  It ended up taking us 27 hours to reach NYC because we needed to get an oil change along the way.  What's a trip without an oil change right?  We did make it though.  Our hotel was a block away from Grand Central station making it so convenient to go anywhere.

We took a ferry to see New York along the water.


Can you spot the Statue of Liberty?

Here's a closer picture.

A little bit of the city.


One of the days we were in NYC, they had a fair along the street.  It was great seeing all the vendors.


A. just had to have his roasted corn.

We went up the Empire State Building.  The sites were amazing from above.

One of the kids favorite places, which they certainly put on their "to go" list was Nintendo World at Rockefeller Center.


After visiting Time Square, Battery Park, China Town, and all the other major attractions, we headed to Philadelphia to see the Liberty Bell.  We tried Philly Steak Sandwiches at Pat's.  Sad to say that we were not impressed.

We then headed towards Washington D.C.  After driving hours in the rain, it was nice to see the sun out.


We walked passed the capital on our way to dinner.


We stayed only a block from the Smithsonian Museums which was perfect.  Even though the Metro was downstairs from our hotel, we didn't even need it.


We visited nearly all the museums.  One of my favorites was the Butterfly garden at the National Museum of Natural History.  

They landed right on you and wouldn't fly away.


We saw the White House.  If I'd plan the vacation 4 months prior, we could have requested tickets to go inside.  That's what happens when you do everything last minute!


The National Monument was under construction.  There was a scaffold all around the building due to an earthquake creating some damage.


We went to the capitol while it was pouring outside.  We snapped a picture a few moments after the rain had subsided.  That's probably why there were no other person insight (except for the lady in the black dress in the back).  Everyone was hiding from the rain.


One of the favorites for our kids was the Postal Museum.  No one ever thinks to go there, but after visiting Union Station, I wanted to check it out.  It was a great Children's museum.  Since everything was interactive, the kids had a blast.


They scanned and sorted mail.


Look at all the different kinds of mail boxes around the world.


The grand finale was visiting the Lincoln Memorial.  This is what R. came to see.  


The trip ended with a big bang!  We camped out on the capital lawn to watch the fireworks.


I've seen fireworks in D.C. three times now and it never ceases to amaze me.  


The best part of the evening was NOT having to take the metro home.  We walked a block back to our hotel, ending our perfect evening.


We saw and did so many things and when I ask my kids what their favorite part of the vacation was, everyone said the fireworks!  After driving another 23 hours home, my husband and I suggested to the kids that perhaps our next family vacation could be a little closer to home :)
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