Thursday, February 26, 2009


Well, as much as we had wished to hear that a scheduled induction was somewhere on the horizon, we were told to hurry up and wait for our newest addition. The doctor predicts I wont make it to my due date, as I'm already dilated 2-3 cm and baby is low. That being said, I was in the same position with Carter, who decided he's just stay put an extra NINE days, until he was served his eviction notice. According to Tim, he'd move back in if he could. So in the absence of baby, there is little else to do but NEST! Tim smiles at me with the same look you'd give a mental patient in hopes of not setting them off - as my nesting has reached borderline obsessive. I think its perfectly sane to alphabetize my spices, organize the hand towels by color family and insist that the wooden Thomas trains go in a different bin than the metal Thomas trains. Apparently, not everyone shares my way of thinking. I am lucky that he humors me though, he's definitely sensitive to my mounting discomfort and slight insanity. Wednesday night he took us all to Gattos for dinner, which the kids loved more than normal. They got to scoop their own ice cream in the kitchen with Mr. Frank and taste cookie dough out of the bucket. Thats the stuff kids dreams are made of apparently, since Carter told us later that when he grows up he's going to be "a monster truck driver and an owner of this place."

Friday Piper, Nana, Aunt Paula and I will be shopping for Piper's First Holy Communion Dress. And what better way to cap off the evening than seeing the Jonas Bros. In 3D. Like, OMG!! (Or as Paula says, OMJ - Oh My Jonas!) I'm contemplating earplugs to combat the decibel level of hundreds of screaming pre-teen girls. God bless Nana - she suffered through New Kids on the Block with me and is coming back around for a serving of the Jonas Brothers.

This week, blogging has been taking a back seat to the Budreck Buzz, the newsletter that I still put together for my parents' company. The computer has been monopolized by that and the occasional break to allow Carter his coveted "Webkinz on the pocuter" time.

Hope everyone has a great weekend. I can't believe Sunday is March... Think Spring!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Baby update

Just a little update ... had my 36 week appointment yesterday and all looks good. This little girl is active as ever, she kicked the nurse several times as she tried to get her heartbeat, which was a strong 148. She is head down, ready for takeoff, though I'm just slightly effaced and not dilated yet. I've been having lots of contractions, but nothing consistent. I'd love for her to make an early appearance, as even the simple task of putting on my own shoes makes me out of breath. I have an appointment Tuesday with my doctor, so we'll see where we're at then. 

Who's Raising Who?

I always say that it amazes me that you need a license to drive a car, to fish, hunt, operate a forklift and a number of other things. However, anyone can be a parent. Which is kind of scary, considering there isn't a handbook for how to raise a child. I still remember when Tim and brought Piper home from the hospital on a Saturday afternoon. After carefully unstrapping her from her infant carrier, we placed her in her bassinet, sound asleep, covered her with a blanket, stepped back and looked at each other and asked, "What now?" Of course like the green parents we were we stood there and stared at her until she woke up, instead of running like hell to the nearest couch, thanking God for the silence and grabbing even 15 minutes of sleep. That knowledge came with baby number two. 
I am so enjoying being the "on-call mom" for my brother now that he has a baby of his own. I am truly flattered that he thinks I might be able to help or give some advice in his daily life with little Brody. My sister-in-law Paula and he are such amazing parents, Paula is so relaxed and just a natural mom, Rory loves that little guy so much and its so sweet to watch him get so concerned about his well-being. They are totally like we were 8 years ago. Last night, they experienced the first time parents worst nightmare, the classic "baby rolled off the bed." We experienced many versions of this - we had "baby rolled off the bed," "Daddy tripped and fell with baby," and "Daddy fell asleep and dropped baby." Oh, the sweet memories. So of course, when Rory got the call from Paula, raced out of work, got stopped by a policeman, made it home and called me panicking, I told him its like a right of passage. One Tim really wishes he could live down. Of course, Brody was fine, and now he has shown his parents that he is more mobile than they thought! Which leads me to the question - who's raising who?
I am all about teaching my kids right from wrong, manners, respect, spirituality, responsibility, social awareness, etc. However, its been more and more apparent recently that they are teaching me too. I am certainly not the person today that I was before I had children. Though my dad would tell you that I have always been a bright ray of sunshine in the morning, he's just being nice because he's my dad and I'm his only (and favorite) little girl. The truth is that I am like a grizzly bear fumbling with half open eyes, only grunting at those who dare cross me until I have ingested at least a half cup of hot black coffee. When I was pregnant with Piper, I asked the doctor about caffeine consumption, and she told me it was okay to still have my morning cup of coffee. Which was a good thing because that was really necessary in order for her to still have a father when she was born. I say everyday how extremely lucky I am to have a husband who gets me, and is smart enough to get up to make the coffee, put a hot mug on my nightstand and slowly back away, so nobody gets hurt. That being said, even my coffee wasn't enough to make me a morning person before I had kids. Now (I like to think) I'm fairly pleasant in the morning. I still need that coffee, but its not like I bite if the kids crawl into bed with me before I've had it! Trace and Finley definitely got their dad's morning disposition, God bless them! They are the early risers, happy and talkative, ready for breakfast, etc. Carter and Piper have adopted the grizzly bear take on mornings from me. They just burrow deeper into the covers, which is working out fine for Carter, but unfortunately for Piper, she has to get up for school. 
I've definitely had to learn how to multitask, be more efficient with my time, vacuum with a child on my hip, how to find the nearest public restroom, identify the difference between a spider monkey and a howler monkey (thanks to countless Diego books and DVDs,) be more flexible when plans go awry, and enjoy what is really important. I always tell Tim they might not remember exactly what happened, but they'll remember how we dealt with it. There's something about four little sets of innocent eyes on you to make you want to be a better person. So, after 8 years of parenthood, I've definitely learned to relax and go easier on myself - babies will bump their heads and I'll make mistakes. I'll always try to keep teaching my kids what is important, but I'm going to try to remember that there's usually something I can learn from them as well. Have a great weekend - TGIF!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Monster Trucks, Mahogany & Pedicures

Its been 9 and half years of wedded bliss for Tim and I, and each February 14th brings a new sort of Valentine's Day for us. I'm not a particularly huge fan on Valentine's Day as it is - it puts too much pressure on two people if they are part of a couple and makes you feel like a total loser if you don't have that someone special. 
One of my favorite parts of Valentine's Day, especially since we've had kids, has been baking cookies. This year, that presented a challenge of sorts. As some of you especially involved in our every day lives know, Carter is our wild man of the bunch. After Christmas, we made some significant changes in our diets to help tame his "inner beast." We tried to go as organic and all-natural as possible about 2 years ago, all milk and most other dairy we keep organic, and Carter drinks soymilk because we've found it helps his asthma. But, our newest changes involves cutting out ALL preservatives, artificial colors and artificial flavors as well as caffeine. This was based on a lot of research that link ADHD behaviors with all that yucky stuff they put in our foods. Honestly, it sounds harder than it actually is, thanks to chains such as Trader Joe's and Whole Foods, plus an ever-expanding natural food section at Jewel. You would be surprised though at how many seemingly innocent foods have artificial colors, especially, in them. For instance, I had Tim pick up some shredded cheese for baked potatoes one night on his way home from work. The quickest place for him to stop was Walgreens, but when we looked at the cheese, it had artificial colors in it. Seriously, the cheddar wasn't orange enough already? Thank goodness, he'd eat sour cream with a spoon if we let him, so he didn't even miss the cheese. All in all, I think its a much better way for all of us to eat, though Piper does get a little bent about the fact that she eats "Organic Cosmic Cocoas" and "Gorilla Munch" while the lucky kids get Cocoa Puffs and Kix. We'll just add this latest injustice to the list of things they'll be telling their therapists one day. Speaking of injustices, it doesn't seem right that we have to pay more for what we're leaving out of our food, but that seems to be the case. But its worth every penny to see the difference it has made in Carter's behavior. He is like a different kid. When I told him what I wanted to do as far as the additives in our food, Tim looked at me with the same expression he did when I said I wanted to try cloth diapering before Carter was born. In all fairness, he was totally right about the cloth diapers. However, even he is now singing the praises of the new diet after an unfortunate "Orange Crush incident." One bottle of pop and about 18 hours later when Carter was bouncing off the walls, he became a believer.
So, herein lies the problem with Valentine's cookies iced and sprinkled in pretty shades of red and pink. We did decide to bake them though, using the smallest heart cookie cutter, opting for conversation heart messages piped in homemade chocolate frosting and giving some of the cookies a very light-handed sprinkling. Disaster averted!!
One of my other favorite parts of Valentine's Day is hitting Target or a similar store the day before just to see the mad rush of men making their way to the card display. They're standing three and four deep, reading the measly selection of cards left, nodding their heads in intense concentration. Its almost like you can see the text bubble above their head saying, "Will she see that this says to my favorite aunt on Valentine's Day? Its got flowers and roses on it, she'll probably never notice." This makes me chuckle every year. Needless to say, I was overwhelmed with the beautiful card my husband lovingly selected from Hallmark's Mahogany line at Walgreens at midnight Friday night. I thought it read a little like a Luther Vandross song when I first read it, but it wasn't until I turned it over the next day (yes, I'm a card flipper) as I put it on my dresser that I realized. The picture on the front shows just the arms and entwined hands of a loving couple, who Tim told me made him think of us holding hands walking the beaches of Gulf Shores. I personally never remember Tim's arms looking that tan even at the end of our beach vacation. In reference to the text inside the card, I have now requested that Tim only refer to me as "sweet woman of my dreams." And who says romance is dead?
So, our Valentine's Day was rounded out by the boys and Tim attending Monster Jam at the Allstate Arena, Piper and I getting mother daughter mini pedicures at the local salon. Its funny, but I honestly can't think of another Valentine's Day that I have enjoyed so much. The kids got some much needed time with their parents doing special activities, I got a good laugh, and at the end of the day we all know how loved we are and how good we've got it. I think thats really what its all about. 

Friday, February 13, 2009

Land of Lincoln

Did you ever wonder how you ended up in Illinois? Its not like we have majestic landscapes full of mountains, desert, towering redwoods, white sand beaches, waterfalls, etc. Obviously, I know I'm here because my parents and their parents and so forth were here. But what made our ancestors generations back say, "Damn, this is a good looking place to live." Perhaps it was the lure of the harsh winters or sweltering summers. Ahh, the joys of Illinois (that actually rhymed if you said Illinois like you lived in a different part of the country!) I suppose at least now we can say we are from the home state of our fine President as well as the most corrupt governor ever.
Piper's class celebrated Lincoln's 200th birthday yesterday by dividing up the Declaration of Independence among her 25 classmates and reciting it for the parents, complete with paper plate top hats. Very impressive, I must say. We were invited to listen and then enjoy donuts and juice. Carter and Finley definitely enjoyed the donuts and juice, as was evident by Carter's semi-permanent "fruit punch mustache" he sported the rest of the day. 
I love going to the kids' school, we are very lucky that they plan so many activities to involve the parents. After all, it wont be long before they're mortified by the sight of us at their school. So, I'll take this while it lasts. Today, I get the pleasure of executing my room mom duties at Piper's Valentines party at school. I think Valentine's Day was always my favorite at school. Remember how hard you thought about which classmate got which card. God forbid you gave the icky kid the one that said Be Mine. You could never live that down. I also just wanted to say thanks to all our friends and family who contributed to Piper and Trace's "Kisses from Home" books for school. I was truly overwhelmed at the kind and funny things you all wrote, and am so excited to see the kids' reactions. We are so blessed to have such a great family and group of friends! TGIF!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Chip off the Old Block

Remember how when you were a kid, you thought your mom might actually have super powers? I remember being truly, jaw-droppingly baffled at how she was able to figure some things out. I realize now, as an adult it was because I was stupid. I had the thought process of a child, therefore when I thought I was being sneaky, I might as well have posted a flashing neon sign in the driveway letting my parents know what I had been up to. One incident comes to mind -  my mom had bought a huge bag of those little mini boxes of nerds for Valentines day, and they were housed on the top shelf of the kitchen cabinet. My brothers and I got the really fantastic idea to make "nerd soup" with them in my tea set one day. Seems logical, right? Because after all when you think of tangy coated chunks of sugar, what sounds better than mixing them up with a little water, and extra sugar of course. So this is just what we did. However, after we had made and sampled our concoction, we apparently froze up like deer in the headlights. Now, looking back I am truly confused as to why we did not just wash this sugary mess out of the tea set and go on with our day. Instead we decided that Mom would never find out if we were really smart and just hid the nerd-soup filled tea set in the toy room. A stroke of genius. Of course you see how this story ends. The same way it would end when we would decide to mix up lotion, baby powder, calamine lotion, shampoo, and anything else we could find in the bathroom cabinet inside those little Dixie cups and then throw them in the bathroom garbage before Mom wondered what the hell we were doing in there. Amazingly enough, her superpowers would kick in and we would be found out. So my reason for bringing up the aforementioned maternal super powers is this - do you think its possible that those powers allow a mother to make things come true? As in, when your mother says to you as a child, "Someday, I hope you have a daughter/son JUST LIKE YOU!" I think its a very real possibility.
Tim was the child who I'm told by my mother-in-law took the same thing in his school lunch every day for like 6 years. Sad part is, he could still tell you what that was. Meet Trace, aka Mr. Peanut Butter and Jelly. Its not just his refusal to branch out in the culinary sense, but his math brain, his love of all things sports-related, his ability to remember the most trivial facts, etc. that make me think that perhaps, there are mama super powers at work here.
Its the same story with my Piper. Wow, talk about a chip off the old block. Not only is she the spitting image of me - my dad says its like a time machine - but she has so many of the same characteristics its scary. She is the polar opposite of her brother in terms of eating. I'm constantly trying to come up with new and exciting options for school lunches, like my mom did for me. (I've stopped short of the huge hunk of granola that my mom sent me, which upon further inspection turned out to be a piece of leftover fried chicken.) We run the gamut from chicken salad to chicken noodle soup in a thermos to turkey, lettuce and mayo on wheat. She definitely keeps me on my toes. It is also apparent that she got her love of reading from me. There was never any question there though, as her father will readily admit that he made it through school having read no more books than he could count on one hand. That, and the fact that the thought of going to the library is truly frightening to him, he's one step from hyperventilating like the crazy girl on the national spelling bee if I ask him to take the kids to the library. Piper, on the other hand has to be prompted to put down her latest book and play outside (did I mention she also got my athletic abilities?) I love to watch her get so engrossed. I always appreciated the escape of a good book as a kid - I still love it as an adult.
The jury is still out on the two littlest Johnsons, though Finley's diva tendencies point more towards me and Carter's love of the Chicago Bulls reeks of Tim. But in the meantime we are getting a kick out discovering little pieces of ourselves in our children. And of course, I get a little chuckle each time I think that perhaps my own mama super powers may allow me to give my own children the pleasure of someday having a child JUST LIKE THEM!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Oh, to be a kid . . .

As I type this, every pair of kids gym shoes we own is soaking wet, our mud room lives up to its name, and my kids are experiencing something that they've almost forgot existed - physical exhaustion. All is right with the world again. You can have your massages, tai chi and yoga - I'm convinced that there's nothing more zen-inducing than a weekend of 50+ degree days in early February. I know there's still winter to be had, but somehow just having the cobwebs brushed off our brains and our bicycles makes us feel alive again!
In true Johnson fashion, we were like a circus bursting out the garage at 10 am Saturday morning. Trace was happy just to break out his bike and helmet, Piper bounced and flitted from bike to scooter to running, to sitting to "I'm bored," all within 10 minutes. Finley was excited to try out all the big wheels that her legs were just too short for last year. And Carter, like the strange, sweet, special little character that he is, when prompted to ride his bike, said, "I'm gonna ride the fastest thing there is - my feet." And he was off. If we were all so blissfully unaware of what other people thought of us, the world would be a much better place. This is definitely one kid who blazes his own trail, no matter what those around him are doing. For instance, as his siblings and the other neighborhood kids were enjoying the long-overdue opportunity to ride bikes and scooters and play basketball, Carter had discovered the one remaining hill of snow. He proceeded to pull out the snow saucer and repeatedly sled down all 24 inches of it - shouting "Whee!" each time like he was riding the Demon at Great America. When this lost its thrill, he moved onto to sailing "leaf boats" down the rushing rapids at the end of our driveway. And of course, then the wheels really started to turn in that 4-year-old boy brain, because after all, if leaves can float down the trickle of melting snow, why can't Carter? So the snow saucer was quickly repurposed as a white water raft. Carter patiently sat 4 houses down on his blue saucer, waiting for the current to bring him home. Though we laughed and shook our heads, I think I was as disappointed as he was when that melting snow didn't come through for him. He, because of the lack of action, me for a different reason. For me, it was a moment where I saw him get just a little wiser. Smart is great, sometimes wise , well not so much. Over Christmas break, we took the kids to see Bedtime Stories with Adam Sandler. I highly recommend it even if you don't have kids to take. My kids still talk about the part where it was "raining gumballs." I guess my point is that sometimes I wish as adults we had even a fraction of the boundless optimism and imagination as when we were kids. But if the world has jaded me in some ways and I've had to turn into a grown-up, I thank God every day for these four funny little people who each day let me see things through their eyes. I don't need rose-colored glasses, I'll just sneak a glimpse via my kids. Here's hoping everyone is ending this weekend with lungs full of fresh air, and a spring in their step. If we can just make it through Monday, Tuesday promises to be beautiful too.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Diaper Days

Two momentous things have happened in the Johnson household recently. Neither of which has happened for 8 years. First, I actually got all the laundry washed, dried, folded and put away.My utter hatred for laundry is rivaled only by my distaste for the music of Mariah Carey and Gloria Estefan. I am thoroughly convinced that when I go to bed at night, socks bid adios to their matches , never to be seen again and little t-shirts, windpants, leggings and sweatshirts begin a fast and furious breeding process. In a matter of days my laundry pile is akin to the overflowing garbage can of Sara Cynthia Sylvia Stout who would not take the garbage out. My wise sister-in-law Ann says the only way to stay on top of it with a big family is to do at least one or two loads a day. Let me tell you, I am a pro at throwing that load in the washer, but somehow the effort of getting it into the dryer (which is undoubtedly occupied by a load waiting to be folded) is monumental. So, usually two days later I am rewashing it to rid it of that "off" smell. So for me, the only way to do laundry is the marathon laundry day. Much to Tim's delight (and for the sake of necessary undergarments), this marathon occurred yesterday. So it is with a spring in my step that I approach the weekend, with full drawers (uh, I dont mean that how it may sound) and limitless wardrobe possibilities. Well, as limitless as they are when you have the girth of a third-world country. 
The second monumental accomplishment that has occurred in the Johnson household has been in the making for the last few weeks. Currently, for the first time since Piper arrived, we have no one in diapers!!!! Tim and I can take very little credit for Finley's recent accomplishment. She told us one day, she would wear panties from now on, no more diapers. She is also requesting "big girl cups" instead of sippy cups at the dinner table. She is definitely a strong-willed little girl, who is determined not to miss out on anything her big brothers and sister are doing. Never before have I seen a child so obsessed with panties - each new day brings a huge decision. Will it be Dora, Minnie Mouse, polka dots, flowers, Yo Gabba Gabba, or Elmo? This is not a decision to be taken lightly either - apparently your panties must match your outfit and your socks as well. I'm learning so much from my little girly girl. So we have been "high-five"ing over a slightly lower grocery bill each week with no diapers. The other day in the mail, we got a little package from Huggies that contained some coupons and one tiny little newborn diaper. Of course, being a hormone-filled woman, I got all mushy and dreamy-eyed, oohing and aahing over how tiny it was, anticipating the sweet little bundle attached to the butt that would fill that diaper. Though Tim played along, his oohs and aahs only thinly veiled an expression that clearly said - "Are you kidding, more diapers?" Its not that we dont realize this is just a brief respite from diapers and their cost, but to the breadwinner of the family, that diaper said "Na na na na na na, you only get off easy for a few more weeks." 
So, in the meantime, we are enjoying the freedom of no diaper bag - though in its place comes 52 potty stops. Not sure which is the lesser of two evils. Here's hoping everyone enjoys the heatwave this weekend - you're bound to see my children bursting out the garage door Saturday like the caged animals they must feel like at this point. After taking two nice chunks out of the drywall, Carter's F-150 will finally log some real road time this weekend! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Crafty Wednesday

For whatever reason, I had a much-appreciated surge of energy today, and what better way to harness that energy than to get crafty!! I am notorious for really great ideas, grand ambition, and no follow through. I like to think of myself as a professional starter. I'm not proud to admit that probably each room in my house is a testament to this. Poor Piper had one curtain out of four hanging for months on end. Two weeks ago, they finally met their matches. (I started to feel bad that her new baby sister was going to have a completely finished room and she still didn't have curtains.) Sorry, Pip! Thanks for hanging in there! Unfortunately, the boys still have a half-painted treasure map and palm tree in their pirate bedroom. I guess I better finish it before pirates aren't cool anymore. I could go on and on, but what purpose would that serve. When I was in the final stretch of my pregnancy with Finley, our house slowly came into tip-top shape. All I have to say is thank God for nesting instincts. 
Today, I managed to finish painting some letters for the kids bathroom upstairs, get the last coat of paint on the changing table and bookshelf I've been working on for the nursery, make a glass block nightlight for Piper's room and still had time for tons of "nuudle art" with the little kids. These nuudles have got to be the best kids craft item since Play-Dough. They are little biodegradable noodles made out of cornstarch (think cousin of the packing peanut.) You just dab the ends of them on a damp sponge and can stick them together to make anything under the sun. I picked some up at Hobby Lobby last night, you can get a huge box for about $5. So, of course by 9 am, Carter had asked about 38 times when we could play with the noodles. The best part about these things is that they make virtually no mess, the creations you can make are only limited by your imagination, and they're easy enough to use that even a two year old has fun with them. Of course, like with Play-Dough, after 40 minutes both kids had checked out on craft time and I was still building our dream house complete with flower garden and apple tree. But Finley really enjoyed her necklace and bracelet, twirling around asking Carter, "Isn't I'm pretty, Carter?" Yes indeed! Here's hoping that this streak of energy continues, Lord knows I've got plenty of starts that could use some finishing touches.  

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Cabin Fever

In the past, I've laughed as Tim describes how cooped up he feels in the winter, he's even gone so far as to say he thinks he has SAD (seasonal affective disorder) resulting from the lack of sunlight and fresh air. It is with every fiber of my very pregnant, very crabby, very uncomfortable being that I apologize to my wonderful hubby for not taking him seriously. I am so SICK of being in the house, not being able to let the kids outside to play, not being able to walk from my car to whatever building I'm trying to enter without the wind cutting to my bones! This winter really bites! Damn Puxatawny Phil for seeing his shadow (hell, I cant even see my toes these days.) So I guess that means six more weeks of winter, six more weeks of pregnancy coincidentally, too. 
So anyway, this morning Carter, Finley and I met friends at Pump It Up for free jump. (not monetarily free unfortunately, free in the unstructured sense.) It was worth every penny to be able to let them climb and slide on something other than my living room furniture for an hour and a half. They are happy and tired and ready to take naps in the next hour or so. Life is good.
On a different note, I would like to send a big hug to my mom across the miles and say that there is bound to be a special place in heaven for her for putting up with me growing up. At the risk of embarrassing my lovely oldest daughter, I will say no more than I am shocked at the depth of emotions and hormones that swirl around in the mystery that is an 8-year-old girl. School mornings are not always the most pleasant here, and I now know why my mom smiled and laughed during most of my fits. I am grateful she did, that laughter was the release that made it possible for me to still be alive and dealing with my own sweet daughter today. So thanks Mom, (and Dad, who also fondly recalls driving me to school - that was fun wasn't it Dad?)
We're off to the OB this evening to check on Baby Girl Johnson. I'll update you all later! Have a great day!

Here's Carter before his much-needed haircut:

And after:

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Super Bowl Cupcakes

Being the huge sports fan that I am, I had to find a fitting way to celebrate the most anticipated football game of the year . . . No really, I don't even know who is playing in the "Big Game," but then again I still believe in my heart that Mike Ditka is still the coach of the Bears. Tim is hanging his head in shame right now. He asks me what I am going to do when our kids really start playing sports. My answer - bake for the team! My mom (who I really wish would come back from Florida NOW!!) mentioned some red velvet cupcakes she made for a dinner with friends the other night, and of course, when you mention food to a pregnant woman it turns into an obsession. So, in the spirit of game day, and to indulge in some much needed culinary therapy, I decided to try out four new cupcake recipes. Unfortunately, there was a tragic overfilling incident and the chocolate cupcakes didn't survive, so we were down to three (gasp) varieties. Tim told me he was offended and this was completely sub-par, but I am holding my head high and bringing them to our neighborhood gathering anyway!! 
I was really excited to try a nifty little trick I read on the cupcakebakeshop blog - using those little white "nut cups" instead of mini muffin papers or mini muffin tins. The upside to the nut cups is that they're sturdy enough to just put on a cookie sheet, no tins needed. A definite bonus when you're baking a bunch, since I only have one mini muffin pan. 
The final result: YUM!! We tried out Banana Cupcakes with Caramel Honey Buttercream, Key Lime Cupcakes with Key Lime Vanilla Buttercream and Lime Sugar and Jelly Donut Cupcakes. The Banana was a huge hit with the girls. The boys preferred the Lime. There wasn't as many of the Jelly Donut ones, so they'll have to wait until the party to try those. Here's a few photos of the cupcakes and the kids enjoying them! Happy Sunday to all. 

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