Caramel Apples. For whatever reason these things have intimidated the dickens out of me & so I never make them. Like ever. But sometimes I have to put on my supermom cape & when Zack asked for caramel apples, I thought, surely I’m not completely incompetent. I mean, how hard can it actually be? Now that I’m not up to my eyeballs in card designs, I think things to myself like, ‘I should have some killer after school snacks every now & then.’ ‘Surely I could bake something once a week, right?’ ‘Wouldn’t my kids be surprised with warm cookies right
after school?’ ‘Aren’t these the things childhoods are made of?’
I don’t know if they are the things childhoods are made of, but it has been so so nice to have some disposable time on my hands & oddly enough, this was how I chose to spend it.
Turns out, caramel apples aren’t hard at all, when you actually use your brain. I’m not sure how I even messed them up so many times before, but perhaps experience brings wisdom after all. I dropped Max at school, hit the grocery store for some supplies — I didn’t even use fancy caramel guys, just the candies in the wrappers, came home & got to work. I have white chocolate chips pictured above because I was thinking I was going to melt it & drizzle it over the caramel, turns out, I didn’t even use it, but I might try that next time.
First I melted my caramels. I used 8 apples & two bags of the Kraft caramel candies & it worked out about perfectly. Mind you, I dipped 3 of my apples in chocolate instead of caramel. To get started, wash all your apples, dry them & stick sucker sticks into them. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or foil & line them up. Then put them in the fridge for about 30-45 minutes to get them good & chilled. Melt your caramel according to package directions. Once you have it completely melted, pull your apples from the fridge & begin ‘dipping.’ I used a wooden spoon & just kept drizzling. The coldness of the apples will help the caramel to cool quicker, so it doesn’t just drip right off. After the apple is covered, let some of it fall off back into the pan, scraping the bottom of the apple to help facilitate.
After I had dipped two I started with some toppings. My topping of choice? Coarse sea salt. I’m an avid apple salter in general & if you’ve never salted a cut apple, please do so immediately & thank me later. While you’re at it, salt your watermelon too. You’re welcome. I also did some with caramel & mini chocolate chips — then I put the completed ones in the fridge so the would harden quicker.
By this point my caramel was getting a little too thick, so I returned it to the stove on low & melted some chocolate chips.
I dipped the last three apples in chocolate, with the same method as the caramel.
I covered the chocolate ones with the Heath toffee bits — to die for people.
After my caramel was all soft again, I used it to drizzle over the chocolate & toffee bits…I might have even added some salt to the tops too.
Then I took off my supermom cape & was even on-time to pick up Max from school. No doubt my kids were dazzled with my skills & I might end up using my ‘free’ time this way more often.
As a note, before eating them, let the sit out on the counter about 10-15 minutes, this will let them soften a bit & they will pull off the sheets better & be easier to cut. And if you need some cute tags to gift these babies, head over to I Heart Naptime, where I am guest posting today. Good luck & enjoy!
This past weekend, right after we visited the new Phoenix Temple, we decided naturally we should contrast that experience with a stop at the Arizona State Fair on the way home. It’s been awhile, like 12 years, since I’ve been to the fair. It’s in a more than shady part of town & I used to only go when I was single with my friends to catch a concert or two. Marriage & 3 kids later, we were back. And while it was definitely a contrast to the temple experience, my kids, and my husband were over-the-moon with my brilliant idea.
Sometimes I gotta prove I’m still that fun person my husband married, not the plan every little thing, dot every little i & sit on the sidelines with the baby. Oh wait, we don’t have a baby anymore. Prepare for photo overload, because while I’m still that fun person, I’m also the person willing to lug around my big camera because what could be better than excitement + fair lights? Nothing I tell you. Nothing.
Three ducks in a row…the petting zoo, was in fact, a zoo. But guys, they had baby kangaroos!!!
As well as photogenic llamas. Guys you should see the selfie we took with this thing. It was really fun until it turned it’s head right into mine & I caught a whiff of that llama breath. #yikes.
Any animal in baby form, is really cute.
I had the brilliant idea to ride the Ferris Wheel with Zack, because I’m so fun, you know. Shoot. That thing is scarier than I remember. The chairs rocked & as it came to the top & dropped down, I thought I might die. I had to pretend otherwise though so that Zack didn’t have a panic attack. Buuuut, it might be awhile before I jump on that thing again.
Two words: Daddy’s girl. The snack the rest of us SHARED, was not to her liking. All she’s got to do is bat those eyes & Daddy solves all her problems. Not gonna lie, a popcorn bag as big as you head, is pretty cute.
Zack was SURE he could take these games on…not so much.
Max on the other hand, actually was a winner…you can guess that there may have been some tears regarding the fair games. I’ll let you decide who was carried out weeping & wailing.
I’ll give you a hint…it wasn’t either of these fair game losers.
But carousals usually solve most problems…or deep fried oreos, which Scot insisted be bought. He could only convince Max to give them a try & we always marvel at the things that kid will eat: anything!
While it was a late night, filled with some tears & some sketchy people, it also included these memories: Where Max was dancing down the street, while everyone around him pointed & smiled. Where Zack & I took on some of the ‘big kid’ rides & Liv consumed more popcorn than I thought humanly possible.
Love this family of mine, so big.
This past weekend, we had the opportunity to go to yet another temple open house for the Phoenix Temple. I’ve lived here my whole life & have never been to a temple open house & in this past year, as a family we’ve been to two. You can read about our Gilbert Temple experience here
. This time, we had to take the kids out of school early to make the long drive over & we brought Max along with us this time, and I’m so very glad we did! Zack & Olivia knew just what to expect & what to do — they were so excited. We landed at the very very front of our tour & Liv was on that guide’s heels, she was not going to miss a thing! Her excitement was contagious & Max was right on her heels. She is so good to always watch out for him & help him along. My very very favorite part of the tour wasn’t the beauty of the building, but the beauty of my little family all together in that sacred building. Watching them inside, was a little piece of heaven. Liv & her tender heart, she held Max’s hand & quietly sang to him, ‘I love to see the temple…I’m going there someday, to feel the holy spirit to listen & to pray. For the temple is a holy place, a place of love & beauty. I’ll prepare myself, while I am young. This is my sacred duty.’
Sometimes I have to pinch myself that they are all mine. I’m so grateful for all that they teach me & even more grateful for the sacred covenants of the temple that allow us to be an eternal family.
If you’d like to tour this sacred temple before it is dedicated, you can! Email me & I’d love to take you.
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this blog here. I’ve thought about walking away from it since I’m not taking on graphic design clients. I’ve thought about monetizing it, which would really change the feel of it. I’ve thought it up, down & all around. For whatever reason, I can never bring myself to walk away from it. Writing has always been so very therapeutic for me, I guess I’ve just needed to think about my voice. What do I have to say? Is it helpful? Is it worthwhile? So here’s where I’m at on it.
I’m not monetizing my blog. What that means is the purpose is not to turn a buck off of it. That being said, I still want to produce content that is worthwhile & true to me, my family & my lifestyle. And guess what? That takes a lot of time & a lot of balance on my part. I think it is really important to show ‘real life.’ I like the glossy version of life & I can produce that content all. day. long. The perfectly styled party. The perfect outfit. The perfect family picture. The perfect home tour. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect.
The problem with that is, life is not meant to be perfect. In fact, it is the imperfections that make it all worthwhile. The outtakes if you will. It is in those outtakes that we learn & grow the most & I don’t want to skip over those. I also don’t want to put those expectations on myself, husband or kids. Where I’m at is good enough. I’m so content & happy with what it actually is, that why make it glossy? And so, while on occasion, you might find the perfectly styled shoot — because sometimes those are fun — I would rather portray life actually.
Because it’s pretty freakin’ awesome.
Life actually occurs on my front porch. I love my front porch. Have I told you that before? Most mornings you can find me here with Max puttering in the yard.
Life actually occurs in my gym clothes if I’m on my game…if not, my pajamas! Mid-morning on my front porch might be my favorite time of day. I have the whole day ahead of me & this is my time of quiet…or time to talk to Scot somewhat uninterrupted. We usually aren’t rushed & we usually don’t have anywhere we need to be. Mostly because we need to be right here.
Life actually is a little messy…
and includes a lot of ‘mom, look at this!’
Life actually is always better with a tree swing. What does your life actually look like? Let’s stop making it glossy & enjoy life actually. Tag your photos #lifeactually so I can see them on instagram!
Last night found me with an unexpected date night with my first born. Scot had managed to be home early from work & I so I was able to take him to his skateboarding all by myself. Typically I’m taking him, and my 5 year old & my 2 year old…which means he gets nary a glance. Each week I’m frustrated that I had to spend his skateboarding hour wrangling two others that I’m not able to actually see what he is doing & learning, so this week was a real treat…literally I was giddy to spend that hour actually watching him. I know it won’t last forever, but right now, he still wants me there. Nodding his head & waving me over, ‘c’mon mom.’ It never gets old.
The whole skateboarding thing is funny to me. He has always been very active & very coordinated, but in other activities, he hasn’t cared all that much. With this? It is, ‘Is it time to go?’ ‘Can I sign up for another hour?’ and ‘Mom, I’ll be out front skateboarding.’ It never stops & gives me tons of leverage to encourage him to get the things done around the house & at school. He loves it. It’s his thing & I love that he loves it. There is so much satisfaction in watching him come down off the ramps, unbuckle his helmet to reveal a head drenched in sweat with a sweet satisfied grin. It makes my heart so happy for him.
After his lesson, we headed to see his best buddy that moved in right by where he skates & then off to dinner, just me & him. As I sat across the table from him the passage of time hit me square in the chest. He’s not a baby, or even a toddler. He’s almost 8 years old & I wanted to bottle him up. His got a head full of good ideas & a tender heart. My favorite conversation tonight was when he asked me if I thought smoking sticks would be around forever…’like, don’t you think they’d be extinct mom?’
It was so wonderful to be able to talk with just him, uninterrupted. We covered smoking sticks, I told him they would ruin his whole life & he agreed, but wasn’t sure why. ‘It’s simple,’ I told him, ‘No cute girl wants to kiss a boy who smokes smoking sticks.’ He thought that was pretty funny…and gross! But really, it was good to see him scratch his head in wonder that they would still exist when they do your body so much harm. I had to agree & couldn’t help but continue calling them smoking sticks all night long. We decided who we wanted to win the World Series…he’s rooting for the Giants. And we discussed details about his upcoming baptism. He wants a taco bar & to wear a suit, not just a white shirt & tie.
We’ve been talking a lot about his baptism & trying to teach him about what it means & allowing him to make that choice for himself. It’s important to me that it be his decision. I love the way he thinks through things & can’t wait to see where it takes him.
As a mom, these are the pay days. The moments you wish for when you are in the thick of laundry & potty training & homework. When dinner is a mess & bedtime is a joke, all you need is this 20 minutes. Twenty minutes of quiet face-to-face time to remember why you are here. You’re the mom & only you can fill that role. No one else can influence him like I can & I’m so grateful my cards fell the way they did last night. So so grateful.