The secret is now mine

I used to have better time to do creative things. I wrote random pieces of short story. I crocheted. I tried to sew big projects, but ended up with little projects.

Now I am trying to use making food as a creative outlet- but it’s hard to do all the things I want to do while feeding a family and cleaning up after two little boys all day long.

Last year I had given myself a challenge of finding the best local cinnamon roll. The winner of my informal taste testing was Sugarbird Desserts.

I grabbed a couple on occasion at my favorite Saturday farmers market, and got my family hooked on the cupcake- like treats right before she stopped selling them at the market. That last half-dozen I got were like gold. And yum.

So when the owner started offering classes, I was sent by the family to learn the secret of the roll.

It had been a while since I had created something other than a quick dinner or a box of brownies as comfort food, so i was eager to take the time and try something new without dirtying up my already-messy kitchen.

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I’d never worked with yeast before, but had a couple packets in my kitchen with a winter goal of learning how to make bread.

Since it is now April I obviously never achieved that goal, but smelling the fermenting yeast and hearing the conversations of the bakers around me made me realize I was going to learn a lot that night.

We went over each step, with me scribbling notes on my recipe handout and smearing butter on it. My apron was quickly covered in flour and sticky dough, but I was having fun.

The class was small enough everyone got some attention but had just enough people to make you feel you weren’t on display all of the time.

And the result, after mixing and rolling and a just a little more flour?

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Breakfast the next morning.

 

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The joy on his face is hidden because he was scarfing it down that fast.

Of course, mine are NOT the same as Heather’s, but they were amazingly delicious. She also gave an orange roll variation I am dying to make to the attendees.

Lean closer ad I’ll let you in on the secret behind the amazing rolls.

Ready?

Click on over to the Mom, Can I Have a Bite? blog and sign up for one of her classes. Because you need to learn from the master herself.

She also has private classes and pie-making class – something else I’d like to learn how to do.

And if you’re not sure yours came out right? I’d love to taste one for you.

 

Note: I paid for the class and was in no way compensated for this post. Full disclosure just in case, y’all.

Count Me In

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of the album to review. No other compensation was given. All opinions are my own.

“One more time from the top!” he said, as we held our whistles at the ready. He held a little white stick which had come with the box of holiday crackers at Christmas, each person opening their cracker to find a whistle and starting a tradition of musical torture for my family.

Conducting a mini concert with three members may not be a hard job, but for Wonder Boy he adores being the leader and the center of attention and didn’t mind Nana and I were playing completely different songs, as long as he was waving and telling us to start and stop.

It’s no wonder then that he loved The Little Rockers Band’s newest album counting in the band as “Count Me In!”  begun to entertain us on a road trip to Anaheim.

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“One, two, three, four… Mommy, I like this CD,” he told me before the first song had ended.

The Little Rockers bring a variety of familiar songs and new tunes to rock out with in the back seat of the car. For “Count Me In!” the band was inspired by everything from Motown to The Cars to my favorite, 90′s rock.

Wonder Boy loves to sing along to “Old Mick Jagger” who, as a different take than that McDonald fellow had a band. Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah! That song makes me giggle thinking of Jagger steppin’ his way around a farmyard with little groupies in tow.

My favorite song on the album is the acoustic take on Paul Simon’s “Me and Julio” and rivals the Me First and the Gimme Gimme’s take on it as songs to jam to on the freeway.

Want a taste? Check out the wildly funny music video from the album’s “Wild, Wild West”.

The band was formed in 2009 by the husband and wife team to go with their music classes, which are held in New Jersey. Check their website for more information about classes and upcoming tour dates for the band. They also do birthday parties!

LittleROckers

Count Me In! Will be available tomorrow, April 15, 2014 on Amazon.com, iTunes and LittleRockersMusic.com

Follow them on Facebook, Tweet them on Twitter and check out more videos on Youtube.

 

 

Tips for an egg-cellent egg hunt at Disneyland

Spoiler Alert: This post has two photos of locations for the Eggstravaganza hunt at Disneyland.

 

As we stood on the far side of it's a small world, the corner reserved for service dogs taking a break and a wide expanse of running room, Wonder Boy and I spied a familiar rabbit-faced egg peeking from a sea dragon topiary.


Turns out the Egg-stravaganza had just started yesterday, and we decided to play along as part of our first time attempting the parks as a three-some. (Let's say on that note I learned everything NOT to do the hard way.)

Instead of standing in lines for any ride we as a three could possibly pull off, yesterday Wonder Boy, Lil' Wonder and I instead grabbed a $5 map for each boy and spent the day winding around Disneyland looking for Easter Eggs.

But with a full park for spring break, it was a lot of work for myself and my four year old. Castmembers aren't supposed to give you hints, though they helped verify things like, yes, that shop is on Main Street.

Start early and try to keep a lookout for stuff in you area – but we did it with just going from place to place for eggs and a couple extra adventures in three hours.

At the end you don't get to pick which egg you want- part of the fun!


So, if you decide to do your own Easter egg search, here's some tips and tricks to get you going.

 

  1. Stuck? Look for other people holding their maps. They're probably standing right in front of it.
  2. Look up. There were several eggs hiding up high in trees or on signs.
  3. The locations are pretty literal.

…and some location-specific advice for the harder ones for us…

 

 

  1. The Fortuosity Shop is where they make the custom watches – and this egg likes to be able to see the action.
  2. The locker area on Main Street have some lovely flowers in boxes above it.
  3. One egg has a bird's eye view of a tea party.
  4. One egg is watching people in line to go on a trip around the world.


And one last photo for the HARDEST one for us- it took three laps around the area to finally find someone at just the right angle.

Let me know if you too go on an egg hunt!

 

Curious about critters – giveaway

Disclaimer: I received a copy of Curious Critters Volume Two to review. No other compensation was given. All opinions are my own.

We love going to the zoo to see animals every few months. Our favorite is a beautiful shady one with some great ways to see animals.
Unless it’s summer, when most of them seem to be asleep. It gets hot here in CA.

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A couple of months ago I got a copy of the second volume of Curious Critters, a growing set of books featuring animals photographed in studio settings, giving readers an eye-to-eye view of animals they would usually see up in a tree or behind a fence.

My son immediately settled into his favorite corner of our living room to pour through the pictures, asking me to come read to him. Even though he can’t read yet, I like how even just looking and asking the names is still something he is interested in.

How can you not with them staring back at you?

There’s so many cartoons and children’s books that talk about animals that feature drawings or animals in their habitats, but this one is awesome in that each animal is highlighted against a white background so you can really SEE each animal.
Makes you wonder how many animals pooped on that pristine place as they were photographed, right?

Each photo really is a thing of beauty- even if its a scary snake or insect. (Well, a two-inch worm may not be scary but this big and detailed, kind of creepy, right?)

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The captions for each animal are humorously written and drops in facts without you even knowing it. My son loves hearing the descriptions and funny introductions of the animals, and I ask him questions about them based on the pictures- are they soft? What might they eat?

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It’s a big book, so it stays home, but it’s been dragged around the house.

FYI – there’s also an accompanying audiobook for each book, with different voices for each animal for those who love to listen to stories.

I highly encourage you to check out the web site, which has more information, e-cards and other goodies, and a preview of the next in the series, Marine!

The store offers the books, audiobook downloads, card games, postcards, and some awesome-looking finger and hand animal puppets (I love the little butterfly ones!)

Do you have an animal lover in your home?

I’m giving away copies of Curious Critters Volume Two to two different readers!

Simply follow the Rafflecopter directions below to enter. Contest begins today and ends April 18th. A winner will be announced here and notified by email.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

American Blogger

This morning a trailer for a documentary showed up in my Facebook feed.

I'd seen it pinned by someone I follow just for her cute style and craft pins, though I don't pin them as much as I used to.

American Blogger is a documentary about, well, bloggers.

Which, according to the documentary trailer, are all cute, hip, younger types with Anthropologie bedspreads and beachy waves.

Just like that blogger.

I was disappointed when I saw this film. After blogging since 2009 and reading since before, I've seen a great variety of women and men create this industry, mold it and shape it and excel at it.

But the documentary seems to focus only on the “millennial”, the “Pin-teresting”, the “hip young mom” type.

A 'movement'? The world has already been changed, the blogging world was created and exploded and is evolving into a different medium than what it once was. Online diaries turned into a form of journalism, storytelling that sells.

Romanticizing blogging, which is something you should never do to business. Especially one where the definition is for so mny PR types is THAT type, the cool mom with expendable money.

I am trying to withhold judgement until I see it, but there should be SUCH a more diverse variety of PEOPLE shown. I'm hoping there are more in the documentary that I at least recognize or identify with.

I follow grandmothers and young singles.

Fathers and teachers.

Cooks, book authors and artists.

And moms, lots of moms. But I'm also a mom. A millennial mom, technically. One with a veggie garden but no teepee, handmade quilts instead of Anthropologie, but I do have some white furniture.

Do I hope that the documentary suprises me?

Yes, but if I've got it right, well, my couch is ready for round two.

 

If you were making a documentary about bloggers, which three would you be sure to include?

 

My three? Elise from BlogHer, Erin from Queen of Spain, and Kendi from Kendi Everyday.