Cough Syrup

My little buddy has a cough. Straight up. No phlegm, no runny nose, just a cough.

My five-month-old daughter cut her first tooth yesterday.

She slept through the night. My son did not.

I went to bed around 9:30ish, my husband around 10:30 and at 11:30 the coughing began and continued periodically for the rest of the night. In his sleepy delirium, my little buddy cried out for a “dink” (drink) and for “maaaaaamaaaaa” and “daaaaaaaddyyyyyy.” After the second round of getting out of bed, I rolled over, grabbed the iPad and looked up home remedies for cough suppressants.

I clearly remember staying with my grandparents as a little girl and my grandaddy spoon feeding me a lemon-honey mixture and feeling so much better afterwards. So of course, in my sleepy delirium I looked up what Dr. google had to say.

After browsing a few reputable sites, I found a concoction and shared the recipe with my husband, who was also in the same sleepy state as me. I will say, men don’t function well when they are sleepy, they become confused, and almost delusional. This is equally funny as it is frustrating, but that’s a whole post in itself ;).

Then I I waited.

I waited for another cough.

{cough cough}

It happened. Another cough.

As the coughing continued, I waited again.

I waited to see if my husband would offer to go concoct the coughing concoction.

He, of course, was waiting for me to do it.

So we both laid there wide awake, pretending like we were asleep, in hopes that the other would crawl out of our warm bed to go all the way downstairs and make this “syrup” for our sweet little coughing son.

I won.

Despite the fact that I had to yell down the steps to remind my dear spouse for the third time that the measurement was for teaspoons not tablespoons, I stayed in bed.

Despite the fact that my eyes were open the entire time and I was mixing the ingredients together in my head while my husband was downstairs, I stayed in bed.

Despite the fact that I should’ve gotten up, I stayed in bed.

I was tired.

I was really tired.

I was so tired that apparently the coughing continued  throughout the night and I didn’t hear it…mother of the year I tell ya!

As we got our kids ready for bed tonight, we both agreed that we would be more preventative, given our lethargy from the night before.

Once again I followed up with Dr. Google who suggested giving 2 teaspoons of honey prior to bed. This was a marvelous idea for all of us! Happy mama, happy daddy, happy buddy.

So we put the honey aka, “cough syrup medicine,” in a measuring cup and let our little buddy drink it all by himself.

Then in happened…

This is honey we are talking about here…slow and sweet.

Watching my son take his first sip I knew we were in for it. One taste of that sweet nectar on his lips brought not only a grin, but a cough.

The biggest fake cough you’ve ever heard.

Because of course when his “cough syrup medicine” was all gone…

{cough cough}

…he needed some more. 🙂

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Chocolate Cupcakes!

Since it’s February and since Friday was Valentine’s Day AND since everyone needs a chocolate cupcake recipe, I bring you…

A CHOCOLATE CUPCAKE RECIPE!

Surprise!!!!

Cupcakes have definitely been on the upturn and have become almost a fad over the past few years and with good reason. They’re sweet, cute, easier to tote than a cake and have an infinite amount of flavor possibilities.

I jumped on the cupcake-making bandwagon about three years ago and have never looked back. They are a big crowd pleaser and are super fun. I’m working on improving my piping skills, which is definitely a labor of love when you first get started. I’m still trying to figure out a way to practice piping without making a big batch of frosting; for the record, playdoh doesn’t work. 🙂

With that being said, I bring you……

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CHOCOLATE ON CHOCOLATE!

I have been trying out different chocolate cupcake recipes to find “the one” and recently stumbled upon this one. It is certainly chocolatey and moist; just what you would want in a simple chocolate cupcake. This recipe only makes 12 cupcakes, which is nice for a small crowd. I will say though, the batter could fill more than 12 cupcakes. Most cupcake recipes instruct you to fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full. This one did not specify, so of course I went against my gut and almost filled them completely. They were fine, but when baked, did hang over the edge a bit more than I would’ve like. I suspect that if I would’ve filled them 2/3 full, I could’ve gotten 15 or so. I prefer my cupcakes to have a nice peak as opposed to a flat top. Either way, these are pretty and they taste great.

It does call for buttermilk, which I never buy. You can easily make your own by adding one tablespoon of white vinegar to a liquid measuring cup. Then just fill it up with milk to the one cup mark. This particular recipe only needs 1/2 cup of buttermilk, so use 2 tsp of vinegar and then fill to the 1/2 cup mark with milk.

I have been using this frosting recipe for years. This chocolate and its vanilla counterpart are definitely my “go to” frostings. Actually, it is a whipped buttercream. Simple ingredients, rich flavor…..totally addicting. You could use this buttercream to top any cupcake or cake , or you could just eat it straight from the piping bag, I mean, whatever works. 🙂

Oh yea, this frosting calls for room temperature butter, so make sure you take your butter out of the fridge a few hours before you plan on whipping up this frosting. Just so you know, melted butter does NOT work. Please don’t go against your better judgement and attempt to nuke it in the micro unless you are absolutely positively sure you know what you are doing. Melted butter does not make the buttercream whip to the right consistency. So to not be disappointed, take good care of your butter. 🙂

Happy baking!

 
Chocolate Cupcakes
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 2 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch processed)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (see above note if you don’t have any)

Line a 12-cup cupcake/muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.

Melt the butter and chocolate together in the microwave. If your butter is cold, melt the butter/chocolate mixture for 45 secs and then stir. If it needs to be heated more, I would go in 20 second increments. You don’t want to over heat the chocolate or it will be icky.

In a medium sized bowl, using a fork, mix the cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together until combined. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla together until nice and smooth. Add the butter/chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Change the whisk attachment to a paddle and on med-low, add 1/3 of the dry ingredients then 1/2 of the buttermilk, scrapping down after each addition. Repeat this step, ending with the dry ingredients. Don’t over beat! Just beat until combined.

Divide the batter between 12 (or 15!) liners in your cupcake pan. Bake for 18 minutes on the middle rack, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cupcakes sit for a minute or two in the pan before taking them out to cool. Allow to cool on a rack completely before frosting.

*Note: Pretty please don’t over bake cupcakes or cake of any kind. Doing so will leave you with a dry cupcake and a sad face.

 
Whipped Chocolate Buttercream
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp (if you only have salted, omit the salt from this recipe. Also, don’t use melted butter. It won’t work)
  • 3½ cups powdered sugar
  • ½ cup cocoa powder (not dutch pressed)
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3-4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
Instructions
Cream butter for a few minutes in a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Turn off the mixer. Sift 3 cups powdered sugar and cocoa into the mixing bowl. Turn your mixer on the lowest speed (so the dry ingredients do not blow everywhere) until the sugar and cocoa are absorbed by the butter. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add a little more sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add additional milk 1 tablespoon at a time.  Spread Frosting on with a knife your use your favorite tip and piping bag.  If you don’t have a piping bag, you can always put the frosting in a gallon size storage bag and cut off a bottom corner to pipe.  🙂

Diving in

If you are a beach lover like me, you have probably spent some time sitting right at the edge of the water, where the sand and the ocean meet. Often times, we will sit a few feet back so we can still feel the cool, wet sand between our toes, without the water rushing between them.

But what do we do when the tide rises?

We move farther back, but close enough to still be in that comfortable spot close to the water.

Eventually the tide rises more, usually at the end of the day, and we all pack up our things and leave.

Let’s be metaphorical for a minute.

What if that water represents something in our life, something challenging, something that we have to overcome or something God is calling us to do?

Would we back away but stay close enough to still see the problem?

Would we pack our things and leave, walking away completely?

Would we dive in?

I am convinced that there are people in this world that are blessed with the gift of words. There is no doubt that the songwriters from the Australian worship band, Hillsong United have this gift. Whether their intent with their lyrics are to write songs or to write prayers, I don’t know; but what I do know is that they are powerful, motivating, challenging and often make me see things, simple things, in a different way.

We all have waves in our lives; the everyday ups and downs; gut wrenching heartache or tears of joy. Some waves are little; we can ride them to shore. Some waves are big enough to need a safety vest.

Waves are never still.

If we choose to be optimistic, knowing that God is our ever present safety vest, we can see the waves, or trials, as things, good things, that can have a positive impact on our life if we just take that leap of faith and face them head-on, diving into the ocean.

Starting a new job.
Mending a relationship.
Stepping away from a bad situation.
Telling someone, “no.”
Telling someone, “yes.”
Making a life-changing decision.
Moving on.

After reading the lyrics to the song “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail),” I can’t help but picture myself on a warm summer day, sitting in the sand while the white foamy water rises and falls against my feet. Reflecting and recalling these words would make perfect sense:

“You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown, where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand”

“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior”

Listen to the song below and read the lyrics as you listen. I hope you are encouraged by this beautiful prayer and God’s promise of grace and presence in our lives.

Song: Oceans (where feet may fail.)

Cream and Sugar Please!

I have to say, I love coffee.

I love the way it smells, I love how it keeps my hands warm on a cold afternoon and I love it’s assertively bold flavor.

Ever since we got a Keurig, my husband and I have become addicted to dark roast. This isn’t necessarily a good thing; a weaker roast reminds me of the coffee they brewed when I worked at the hospital, which essentially tastes like bitter hot water.

Yuck.

Derrick drinks his coffee black with a little honey….which to me tastes like sweetened motor oil.

I personally like cream and sugar, so when I had to cut out dairy from my diet due to my daughter’s dairy sensitivity, I began searching for a comparable substitute.

Note: lactose free creamers or lactose free anything does not necessarily mean dairy free.

I’m not a fan of soy milk, so I tried almond milk. I was completely underwhelmed. In fact, I’d just as soon go to the closest hospital and ask them to brew me a pot then put it through an IV, just so I could get the caffeine, not the flavor.

I was devastated…..what was I going to do without this daily staple?

How would I possibly survive having two young children and no caffeine?!

Then it happened. I had an idea.

With my sweats on and my unwashed and possibly unbrushed hair pulled up in a lackluster pony tail, I loaded up my kids and headed to the grocery store.

What?

I was not about to get all dressed up to go to Walmart. It would’ve taken me an extra hour to get ready, which would have interrupted nap time. No thanks…nap time is equally about the mother as it is the child. We love naps at my house. 🙂

Okay, back to my story.

Once in the store, I made a bee line towards the canned goods isle and there it was….I was so excited I wanted to bust! Which would have been fine since I had on my elastic waistband pants.

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Coconut milk.

Not coconut water.

Coconut milk.

In the can not the carton. Full fat deliciousness.

Seriously, this stuff is awesome. The coconut flavor is super mild, so if you’re not a coconut lover, you’d be fine. It is fattening, but you are not using a large amount….plus, I’d rather have a little of something that tastes good than a lot of something that tastes so-so.

Now if you would excuse me, I’m going to go enjoy my freshly brewed cup of coffee while my precious children rest quietly in their beds.

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Ruby “Tails”

Let’s be real, if you have ever been to my house you would know that our dog, Ruby, is special in oh so many ways. She’s mighty and loyal. Playful and ferocious. She loves lawn mowers and swimming pools. She loathes vacuums and cats. She has actually killed 4 oppossums in one week, two of which were full size…no lie. Sounds like your typical dog, right?

Well, our 13 lbs Jack Russell needs to be rehabilitated.

A full detox treatment program would probably work best.

You see, she has an addictive personality and for the past year, she wont stop chasing her tail. It was cute and funny at first, but now it is completely problematic. It doesn’t matter if she is in the living room or under a laundry basket, the tail chasing continues. Of course my little buddy thinks it is hilarous…needless to say, she is a terrible influence on the poor fella.

She really can’t help herself. I’m sure experts would say it is a result of boredom and in all honesty, they’re probably right. She despises Winter as it puts a dent in her lifestyle…there is no need to mow the grass; it doesn’t grow when it’s cold out and the wildlife are few and far between. Plus, she doesn’t have much of a Winter coat, so of course she thinks being outside is completely absurd.

When she really gets going with her tail, my husband always tells her that, “it’s not funny, no one is laughing anymore. ”

She stops, but that is because she is insulted…How dare we not appreciate the countless hours she has spent increasing her tail chasing skills to turbo speed?! Sigh.

Prayers for warm weather are being lifted up today. If not warm weather, can my poor dog please get a mood pill?!

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