Saturday, January 30, 2016

Macaroons

I, personally, have never eaten a macaroon in my life. Nor did I really have any desire to do so.

Somehow Jaina got it in her head that she would LOVE macaroons. And she wanted one last weekend. I told her we'd buy some at the grocery store next time but instead, she was set on making some herself.

She looked up several recipes online and found one that sounded good. Now, I have no idea if this is how you are supposed to make macaroons or not. Brian, my mom, and I both thought macaroons had to have coconut in them. Yet, this recipe called for almond flour and cocoa and didn't have a hint of coconut in there. I now have learned there are 500+ recipes online for macaroons and you can flavor them how you want.

Jocelyn helped, of course.


Some recipes call for a sifting of the almond flour to get the lumps out. Ours did not. It was lumpy.


Photographic evidence as to why I don't let Jaina bake often:


Making macaroons calls for some pretty advanced baking skills. Jaina had to learn how to separate eggs. Thank god for YouTube! She used the water bottle method.


Next, she learned to beat egg whites into a meringue.  I had never seen this done, either. We were both pretty impressed that egg whites can turn into stiff white stuff. Whoever thought of doing that??

Jaina added some pink food coloring. Unfortunately, we didn't put enough to balance out the brown from the cocoa powder.


She also learned what it means to "fold" something into a batter.

And we also learned that we don't have the correct tip. Instead of a large circle tip, we had to use a scalloped one. It was really difficult getting the shapes uniform.

And here's where it got tricky... Jaina read that the next ingredient we needed to make chocolate ganache was "heavy cream", which we totally don't keep on hand. I googled "making ganache without heavy cream" and tried adding corn starch to regular milk. Total failure. We ended up using a can of icing for the middle.



Jaina was happy with the taste. I thought they weren't worth the trouble. I think we'll buy them from now on :)

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Jocelyn and the Palace Pet Party

Jocelyn turned 4 years old yesterday and we celebrated this past weekend at Pump It Up with a Palace Pet themed party. Some of our friends had a rough time trying to get out of their driveway because of the snow and ice!












Coordinating toddlers and preschoolers for a group picture is always challenging!


Then we had pizza, chips, soda, and cake in the party room.









Jaina was my designated photographer during the gift opening time. She did a great job!








We also had to celebrate again yesterday with some cupcakes and more singing :)






I think we are all birthdayed out by this point :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Snow Day!!

We got our annual snowfall here in the Upstate!

It started with a wintery mix on Thursday night. We could hear the sleet hitting the windows. It must have changed to real snowflakes sometime late that night because we woke up to a winter wonderland the next morning!

The kids were mad at me because I wouldn't let them go out in the sleet. But it finally stopped and we all bundled up.




We didn't see any snowfall the rest of the day, but it snowed again in the middle of the night on Friday.

The kids got to enjoy snow on the ground AND the sun in the sky on Saturday :)


Jocelyn loved it... for about 20 minutes. Then she got cold and needed hot chocolate :)


Jaina, my teen, had to "primp" before she would let me take her picture in the snow. Typical teen!





Jayce bravely stayed outside for an entire hour. But he was screaming that he couldn't feel his hands and feet before he came back inside! This poor boy needs some real snow boots and insulated gloves!



And maybe, just maybe, he should have put on a hat. Just sayin'.


Shaggy liked the snow but wasn't crazy about his ball getting snow on it. He kept trying to shake it off, but it wouldn't budge.





Still friends after trying to hurt each other with snowballs in the face :P


Snow melted enough to make it to Jocelyn's birthday party on Sunday (more about that, later!), but refroze that night. That meant no school for us on Monday and a 2 hour delay this morning.

Will this be the only winter weather we see this season? We'll see!