Caramel Apples

One of my f2014-10-18 21.02.13avorite fall activities when I lived in California was a trip to Apple Hill to enjoy a caramel apple. Actually I enjoyed more than just caramel apples. I also enjoyed apple pies, apple fritters, apple cider and an occasional applesauce doughnut.

Since it’s a rather long drive to Apple Hill from Arizona, I had decided to make my own caramel apples this year. I had heard a few different tips, so I decided to search Pinterest for the perfect caramel apple. Alas I couldn’t find the perfect recipe, but I found several different recipes with a lot of good suggestions.

I couldn’t decide which one of the recipes would be best, instead I took parts from several of the recipes and came up with my own version of the best caramel apples.

Caramel Apples

Ingredients

  • 5 medium apples
  • Popsicle sticks (optional)
  • 1 bag of caramels
  • 1 Tbsp milk
  • Extras: mini chocolate chips, mini M&M’s, chopped nuts

Directions

  1. Boil water with 1 teaspoon of vinegar
  2. Insert Popsicle sticks into apples, I used a fork instead to make it easier to cut my caramel apple into wedges
  3. Dip apples into boiling water and swirl to remove waxy residue from apples
  4. Towel dry
  5. Set apples on cookie sheet in the fridge to chill
  6. Melt caramels with milk
  7. Let melted caramels stand for one minute
  8. Dip apple and let excess caramel drip off
  9. Immediately roll apple in extras, if desired
  10. Place on wax paper covered cookie sheet and let cool.

Not only did I think they were super yummy, my kiddos agreed. We may live too far away to continue our Apple Hill tradition, but I think we came up with a good caramel apple substitute.

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Halloween Monster Munch

Halloween Monster MunchI wanted to make a Halloween treat for my friends at work, and I happened to have a little bit of candy corn I wanted to use. Like 3 pounds of candy corn. It was the perfect time to make a batch  Monster Munch.

I found the recipe at Our Best Bites with the help of Pinterest. I did do a little improvising since I didn’t have peanuts. Here’s my adaption:

Ingredients:

12 Cups popped popcorn
1/2 Pound vanilla bark
1 Cup candy corn
1/2 Cup Reese’s Pieces

Directions:

  • Put the popcorn in a big bowl; and I mean big!
  • Add candy corn and Reese’s Pieces
  • Melt vanilla bark, pour over popcorn and candy
  • Mix well
  • Spread on wax paper
  • Cool
  • Break into chunks
  • Feed to your favorite monsters!

I’m happy to report everyone enjoyed it and even shared with their friends. It was pretty fun being so popular at work that day!

The best part about this sweet treat is it’s quick,easy and you still have time to whip up a batch before the ghouls come out this Halloween.

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The Change

I miss having little kids, it’s such a change. I love my teenagers; they’re not sassy or rebellious. But, I miss the “excuse” to celebrate silly little holidays, having weekly summer themes and the other fun kids activities splattered all over Pinterest. Granted, my teenagers will play along with my silliness – especially if there is food involved. But at this stage of the game they are just as content, if not more so, to hang out in their rooms with their noses in books. It’s weird feeling like an empty nester when we’re all home together.

I don’t think it’s just me though. Take a minute and compare the number of blogs focused on young kid activitiescompared to the number of with teen activities. It’s about a 1:5 ratio. I think there is a golden window for themed stay-at-home summer camps and ice chalk. That window quietly starts shutting as the kids approach junior high.

Maybe I’m also missing being a stay at home mom. I enjoy my job and I work for a great company. But it’s hard to get everything done, much less to find the time to make Groundhog Day cupcakes.Ground Hog cupcakes

All the more reason to revamp my blog. I’m in a different place than when I started my blog all those years ago. My challenge to adjust to my current life has seeped over to how my blog no longer feels like me. I’m hoping a blog makeover will help me feel more comfortable here, and maybe help me on my journey to feel more comfortable in my own skin.

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I’m Such a Girl

I’ve frequently been disgruntled about the double standard between raising boys and girls. A girl is shushed, while a boy gets away with being rowdy because that’s just how boys are. Because of this video, the hypocrisy of it all has really hit me personally.

I was shy and insecure as a child. In adulthood I’ve found a few niches in which I felt comfortable and confident, but I’ve come to realize those niches can be precarious. The recent changes in my life have all but wiped out my comfort zones. I’m sure in the long run I’ll grow into a stronger person. In the meantime, I have days where I struggle to cling onto scraps of confidence.Princess

I don’t remember being told I run or throw like a girl, but I do remember being told not to cry like a girl, or don’t be such a princess. I still have to consciously stop myself from cringing when I hear someone call their little girl a princess, even though I know they mean it as a term of endearment.

These seemingly innocent comments settled into my subconscious, taunting me when I faced a new opportunity. Somehow they morphed into, “You can’t do that, you’re not good enough.” Listening to that negative self-talk for so many years conditioned me to listen to everyone else who told me, “You can’t do that, you don’t have what it takes.” Oddly enough, the other side of that coin is inability to believe those who tried to encourage me along the way.

Just over a year and half ago, I re-entered the workforce as a part time receptionist. I was nervous when I first started, but the first time I got called on making a mistake I was terrified. My heart raced half way up my throat as I followed my manager into the office for what was the kindest reproach I had ever received. It just about unglued me; I didn’t know how to handle someone saying “This is what you did wrong, this is why it was wrong and here’s what I’d like you to do instead.”

Such a GirlI’m grateful I was finally to a point in my life that I started to question the status quo my life had fallen into. What if what I thought was my reality, really wasn’t? Maybe I deserved to be treated with love and compassion. That was the beginning of the emergence to my new outlook. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

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