Best Ever Muffins

Some years ago, when Elena was young, my friend Catherine gave me this easy recipe for making muffins that is good for when your kids want to help you cook.  Zoe is REALLY into helping/doing it herself at the moment.  Elena was playing Lego Princess Relay Race or something similar on Sunday afternoon, so I thought Zoe might enjoy helping me make these muffins after her nap.

Here is the recipe.  Note the stained paper.  That’s how you know it’s a good recipe!


Zoe’s first job was putting the muffin papers in the tray.  I counted out 12 papers and THEN gave them to her, because it’s hard enough for grown-ups to avoid doubling up papers, let alone a 2 1/2 year old, and I didn’t think we needed to use 35 papers for this endeavor.


You can tell she just woke up from her nap because her hair looks a little rough.

Next I measured out the ingredients and let her dump them into the bowl.  She helped me count out how many cups/spoons of everything we needed (astute cooks will have noted that 3 teaspoons equals 1 tablespoon, but THAT’S NOT A VERY GOOD WAY TO LEARN COUNTING).


Mixing is next.  A surprisingly small amount of flour ended up on the table this time.  Gentle mixing.

I wanted to make chocolate chip muffins, but unfortunately we had like 1/3 cup chocolate chips.  My solution involved some candy bars and a hammer.  This is why we keep a hammer in our kitchen, obviously.  We also put in some M&Ms to bulk up the chocolate content a bit more.


Taste-testing the chocolate is very important.


The muffins turned out well!  Zoe didn’t actually like them, but that didn’t seem to detract from the overall experience for her.  Elena and I ate one each.



Going to a wedding when you’re almost 40

This is the first in a series on attending a wedding when you are almost 40.  Most people go to a ton of weddings when they are in the 28-32 age range.  This year we’ve randomly been invited to several weddings.  The wedding attending experience is a bit different when you are 10 years older!

6:45AM: wake up to your 2 1/2 year old telling your husband that she’s “poopied.”  Pretend to be asleep until the diaper is changed.

7:15AM: breakfast, coffee, Wild Kratts.

8:15AM: converse by text with your friend in Cleveland.  She advises that it snowed three inches there.  Worry about the roads. Text husband and ask him to remind you about the Lake Effect.

9:45AM: run to Kohl’s to purchase wedding appropriate clothes for your husband, who hasn’t gone shopping for clothes for himself since Obama’s first term.  While you’re there, consider picking up a replacement wedding card because the cat knocked water over the first one but ultimately decide it’s “not too warped.”  Also purchase a weird cape thing that’s on sale and may or may not make you look like Joan Crawford, along with an assortment of lip glosses, thinking “this might keep them entertained.”  Take children to the liquor store to purchase wine for the friend who will be watching them tonight; yell continually at the younger one to “NOT TOUCH ANYTHING NOT EVEN THE PINK ONE.”

11AM: ballet for the older one. Speak to husband about transportation options, realize you don’t actually know where the wedding is.  Permit the younger one to select three of the lip glosses and watch her entertain herself with them for FORTY FIVE MINUTES.  Determine this is the best purchase you have ever made.


Lip gloss forever

12:15PM: take the children to a brewery for lunch.  Order a beer and the cheese plate, pretend you are British.  Children continue to apply lip gloss at will.  Ultimately stop paying attention to what or whether they are eating.


Sure, put on some more lip gloss.

1:15PM: return home, make the older one read to the younger one to get her ready for nap.  Learn that Outlander is available On Demand; consider watching it all afternoon.

1:40PM: after a Herculean 25 minutes of self-control, decide to watch the first episode of Outlander.  The older one joins you; you explain the concept of time-travel what “Scotland” is.


Don’t get too attached to Frank, Claire.

2:45PM: playing, cleaning, packing.

3:35PM: start to put on Spanx.

3:45PM: finish putting on Spanx.  Assemble the rest of your outfit.  Ask children for their opinion.  They have no opinion. The younger one applies lip gloss to your leg.  You are fine with this. Put lipstick in purse to apply after the children are gone so they don’t ask to use your lipstick to make themselves look like clowns.


I decided against the cape thing though.

4PM: husband arrives home from work. Yell at everyone to put their shoes on.  Confirm he likes his new outfit; feverishly iron it. Yell again about the shoes.

5PM: Drop the children off with a friend for a sleepover.

5:30PM: arrive at wedding, which actually occurred at 4:30.  Greet bride; fail to mention your lack of attendance at the actual wedding.  She looks gorgeous.

5:45PM: ask for white wine and feel morally superior when the bartender asks if you want chardonnay or white zinfandel.  Chat with friends.

6PM: talk to two people with whom you played sports during the period of 2004-2009 but have not seen since then.  At your table, discuss how long everyone has known each other. Feel old.


Friends since 2003!

6:30PM: toasts, dinner, cookie table, special dances.


This cookie table is on point n’at.

7:15PM: have a conversation with your friends at the table about the social etiquette of vaping at a table full of strangers.


8PM: dance with people you sort of know to the songs that are played at weddings.

8:30PM: slow dance with husband.  Realize you may be the only person at the wedding other than the bride and groom who is familiar with the Pogues’ “Love You Till The End.”  Feel morally superior.

8:45PM: during the “a little bit softer now” part of “Shout,” have an actual conversation with people squatting five inches off the floor about how everyone’s knees are going to give out. Feel proud that you were able to keep your shoes on the whole evening, but also like your knees might give out.

9:45PM: notice husband is falling asleep.  Decide to leave.

10:20PM: arrive home

10:20PM and one second: remove Spanx.

10:30PM: bedtime!


#pghGBE April Fool Guest Blogger!

Today’s post comes from Becky of lil Burghers, and is part of a special day of shenanigans from other Pittsburgh Bloggers. You can see my post over on Ya Jagoff!!!, where I talk about jagoffs.

Thoughts from another Orange Chair

Hey, there. It’s so refreshing to get a few moments and sit in my orange chair (credited to my parents’ love for auction bargains) and share my thoughts with a whole new set of people. Like Sandy, I am also a working mom who tries to take care of myself and feels like I deserve it from time to time! (wink) So, taking a few minutes away from the hustle and bustle of four kids to chat with you all is one of those ways I plan on spoiling myself this weekend.


Becky and her son Evan in their orange chair, 2014 (miss them baby cheeks!)

You see, my babies are turning one tomorrow. I know. Those of you who follow my blog are all in disbelief, right? The ‘lil Burgher twins are turning one, and basically that means I have about six years to rebrand my blog because they are not going to be little much longer (and their older siblings are going to be 11 and 13 at that point). That clock is ticking.


There’s NO WAY this was a year ago, right?

When your kids hit major milestones like this, it’s a privilege to spoil yourself, yes? Especially since I’ve “sacrificed” my body for them since July 2014 – a whole 22 months? For sure. Don’t you agree that that first birthday celebration is really for mom and dad? YOU made it!

Alright, then. If I had a magic switch and could pause time and enjoy a few things going on in Pittsburgh during this special weekend of ours’, here’s what I’d do with my amazing partner in this crazy journey of life:

  • Score tickets to the Pirates Home Opener.
  • FINALLY get breakfast at Pamela’s. Yes, I went to college in Shadyside and the glory of those sweet pancakes has yet to cross my lips.
  • Get a massage. The last one I had was when I was six months pregnant, and it had to be entirely too gentle.
  • Run the Race for Grace. Frankly, the only reason I didn’t do it was because it’s the girls’ birthday. My “comeback” 5K is going to be next weekend though! (I was on a running hiatus from September 2014 – February 2016, aka, pure torture to someone who became addicted to running.)
  • Sleep. I’m running on an average of 4-5 hours a night right now (according to my FitBit). The kids aren’t even to blame. I simply can’t shut my mind off.
  • Float at Levity. The tears I have to shed can just float away into the salty water.

Instead, I’m going to get up off this here chair and start to hang all things pink and gold in preparation for family and friends joining us tomorrow. I’ll find some tissues because there’s sure to be tears (of joy). Admittedly, I’ve got food to pick up (thank goodness for online grocery ordering – all moms deserved this recent pleasure), floors to sweep, and toys to put away. Tomorrow is going to be bittersweet, yinz.

Becky is the blogger behind – a blog about raising her four kids in the (far northern) suburbs of Pittsburgh with the help of her husband, Greg. 

Participating Bloggers:

Harvest + Bloom // Yes, Wear That! // jelly jars // Glam and Graffiti // To The Streets // In Pursuit // Pittsburgh & Pearls // Beezus Kiddo // Goodness Madness // Last Minute Panic // Steel City Intrigue // Crank Crank Revolution // Amanda Narcisi // Pittsburgh is Beautiful // From Cats to Cooking // Yum Yum PGH // Breelicious Bites // Parmesan Princess // Coffee & A Blonde // The Steel Trap // Wavy Alabaster // everybody loves you… // Eat with Emily // Don’t Forget to Eat // Sloping in the Sky // From Farm to Turntable // Secrets in the Wall // Red Pen Mama // Feedback Soup // The AP Collection // Blog Or Die PGH // Pittsburgh Happy Hour // Friendly Fitness Foodie // Small Town Dad // Josh’s World // Geeky Sweetie // Sean’s Ramblings // Lunges, Long Runs and Lattes // Try it and You May! // lil Burghers // Orange Chair Blog // Ya Jagoff // Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents // Melissa Firman

Thanks to Alex at everybody loves you… for organizing and for including me!