Snowman Cake Pops

PicMonkey Collage snowman

It’s almost Christmas and my oven has been busily working away turning out tons of goodies to celebrate the holidays! These super cute snowman cake pops are also super easy to make. Get your kids to help they will have fun making the cake balls. My kids say “Its like play dough you can eat”! Too Start you will need to gather up a few things.

                                           PicMonkey Collagesnmanpops2

You will need oil, shortening, cake mix of your choice but I used a holiday velvet in green and red just for fun! You will also need frosting and since we have snowmen I picked up some peppermint icing. Powdered sugar, red food coloring, milk, eggs, a bag white melting chocolates, I used Wilton brand, but you can use what you like, cake pop sticks, a wide mouth mason jar, candy snowman cake decorators, snow flake marshmallows, a cake decorators icing bag, and two 8′ round cake pans or the cake pop pan. 

snman3Now that you have your cake mix made up and ready to go lets talk cake pans.You can buy a cake pop pan or you can use a regular cake pan the suggested size of your cake mix. The specialty cake pan speeds up the process and I recommend using one from Wilton. I have never had a bad experience with their products but making the cake balls yourself gives you the added benefit of adding extra flavor to your pops and it lets you mold them too. So choose your method and proceed to step three!

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Now bake your cake according to the box directions or those found on the insert of your specialty pan. And wait or if you are like me rush to read next step to prepare for your freshly baked treats.

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Remove cake from oven and set aside to cool. If you used the cake pop pan remove them from pan and place in freezer till chilled. If you used a regular cake pan set aside let cool and then crumble it into fine cake crumbs. Normally you would then mix 1/3 of your icing into the cake crumbs but it is best to add the icing a tablespoon at a time. The idea is to just moisten them so that the crumbs will mold into a ball. You don’t want to moisten too much because it wont taste good or hold up to decorating. Shape all your crumbs into balls 1″ in diameter and line them up on a baking sheet. When you have finished making all the balls place them in freezer to chill. 

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While the cake balls are chilling get out your pop sticks, decorators icing bags, candy snowmen, candy melts, and marshmallows. Make your decorators icing using the recipe below . Cut your snow flake marshmallows in half . The stands for your cake pops are simply empty sprinkle bottles with the holes in the top for the sprinkles to shake out through. I took some wrapping paper and taped it around the bottles. To melt the chocolate place a wide mouth mason jar in a sauce pan with boiling water. Pour half the bag of candy melts into the jar and stir as it melts. Your chocolate will stay soft while you work. Set all these on the counter  and get your cake balls from the freezer.

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Take a stick and dip it 1/2 ” into melted chocolate and then put it into one of your cake balls. Now turn it completely upside down and dip into melted chocolate till the top half of the ball is covered. Gently twist and pull straight back up and turn to get excess chocolate off and form a gentle peak. Take care not to shake the cake pop. When you are satisfied with the amount of chocolate is on your pop set it into one of the holes in the top of the sprinkle shaker stand.

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. Next place your red decorators icing in the icing bag and snip a small hole in the tip of the bag. Just enough to let the icing drip out in a narrow line. Press icing all the way through to the end of the icing bag and be sure there is no air trapped in the bag or you will have a break in the flow of icing while your working and it will break the design. Now holding pop in one hand and icing in the other, hold tip of bag 1/4 inch from the pop. Starting at the peak of the hardened  candy coat gently apply pressure to the icing bag and allow the icing to form a strand that will lay in a spiral configuration on the pop. As you squeeze out the icing turn the pop to form the spiraling pattern. Turn pop on its side as you get near to the bottom side to continue wrapping your icing.

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  Next dip a candy snowman into the jar of chocolate and press it gently on the top of the cake. Let it set to cool to a hard candy coat.Now, the snowflake marshmallow that you cut in half you can put back together by placing the halves on either side of the pop stick and pressing sticky sides together. I tried pushing stick through them but it mashes them up and you can’t tell what they are anymore. Mix them up. Make some of them with snowmen and some without. Arrange them in your shakers and set out on the desert table.

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                     Hope you enjoyed this project and will come up with lots of your own great cake pop creations!

I referred a lot to Wilton Cake Design products. I do not sell their product nor am I affiliated in any way or receive payment for using or suggesting their product. These are my personal preference and have never been disappointed by their performance.

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These recipes are collection of our families favorites. Some of them have stood the test of time and I have left them as they were originally written and others are improvised from recipes I have found and changed to reflect my families tastes. Some of these are my own creations. II do indicate as to which are which so as not to steal credit. Whichever you choose to use I hope you will enjoy these as well as we have!

Thought we would share one of our favorite winter poems

Snow is falling            PicMonkey Collagesnow

Snow is falling
From the sky above
Snow is falling
Put on scarf and glove

Snow is falling
Go look outside
Snow is falling
The old landscape it hide

Snow is falling
What a beautiful sight
Snow is falling
It sparkles in the light

Snow is falling
Soft cotton wool flakes
Snow is falling
A white blanket it makes

Snow is falling
Short flowers disappear
Snow is falling
The cold is here

Snow is falling
Its time to play
Snow is falling
Lets make snowmen today :)

Micron

 

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pomegranate Syrup

These are so yummy and easy to make! I don’t have a camera right now to take pics of the finished product but as soon as I can get it back I will post a pic for you.

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To make the cheese cake preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Next you want to cream the cream  cheese  with the back of a fork. I have tried using a mixer before and the cream cheese sticks in the beaters so I just use the fork method. Add your pumpkin pie filling and mix together. Add your sugar and maple flavor and pumpkin spice and mix this all together. Now add your egg and mix the whole batch together. Pour the batter into the springform pan and place in preheated oven for 20-30 min or until the center is almost set. Carefully remove from oven and set aside to cool. Cool in fridge for two hrs and let it set. Now you can add the syrup on top of the cake and serve. 

Pumpkin Choco Muffins with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Oh, I am having too much fun in my kitchen! I wanted to make something special for kids for breakfast in the morning so I started going through my pantry. I came up with a can of pumpkin and a bottle of maple flavoring, cream cheese and chocolate chips. So after arranging these items on the counter a stroke of genius hit me! I am right now in my happy oven baking up a batch of pumpkin choco muffins with a maple cream cheese icing topped of with festive sprinkles! All I can say is my house is smelling really yummy right now!

1pumpkin muffinsSadly my camera has given out on me and my cell phone simply does not do justice to these tasty bites!

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I just realized too late that there is a typo in my text. Please pour the batter into the pan of your choice because I promise there is nothing poor about these lovelies! I hope you have as much fun making these as I did. By the way, I think that if I could have my dream kitchen it would feature a wall just like this board!

Are You a Fan?

 If you have been enjoying what you read would you consider visiting us on Facebook and liking our page? Show us how much you enjoy this blog by liking us @ http://www.facebook.com/musiccitykids and join in on the conversation. You know what they say about people who talk to themselves don’t ya? So don’t let us go on babbling to ourselves, like us and share your opinion, you know you have one and we are just dying to hear it! 

What’s Ahead on Music City Kids

 Thank you to everyone who has been following us since we first took on this project. Your support has encouraged us to continue looking for great adventures in Nashville and sharing them with you. In the coming weeks and holidays around the corner we will not be going on  excursions till we get closer to Christmas. Holidays are about spending time with family and as you have probably noticed from the title of this blog we think family time spent together is pretty important. During this time of hustle and bustle we will share instead recipes you can make together, arts and crafts to celebrate the season, Stories and more. Learn how to make festive cake pop ornaments that taste yummy too. Or perhaps you are a marshmallow type of person. That’s ok because we have some cheerful chocolate dipped marshmallow snowmen you will want to meet! Bite size Pumpkin Choco Cupcake with Maple Cream Cheese Icing and Mini Pumpkin Cheese Cakes with Pomegranate Sauce and Pecan Maple Butter Cookies For Chanukah are just some of the treats we will be dishing up. Entertain your creative side with some of our fun holiday crafts.Use them to decorate your own house or give them as gifts. We have lots to share as we celebrate some firsts in our new hometown. Won’t you join us…I know you will! See you back here soon.

Plexus Worldwide (1)                                                      Contact Me       Youtube          Visit Website

  We are fast approaching the Holidays and the new year. Before you know it, it will be time for those New Years resolutions that we always promise we are going to adhere to. I can’t think of a better one than getting ourselves fit and in good health so we can enjoy many more new years. In a way we owe it, not just to ourselves to stay healthy, but to our families too. After all, they would enjoy being able to spend many years enjoying your company. Plexus Worldwide is a fairly new company that offers natural supplements your body needs to stay in top condition and to repair itself when there is something wrong. Plexus Worldwide began as a breast health company with two unique products. A short time later they moved into natural products to help people with type 2 diabetes and blood sugar problems.In addition to these products they also produce natural pain relief and skin care and much more.

If you are serious about taking control of your health than please request more info above. If you would be interested in starting a home based business that will indeed change people’s lives then click on the contact info above and request information to get started in the right direction. Don’t delay. The time is now. Start your new years resolution today!

A Special Thank You for Our Soldiers

 I have been trying to think of a great way to thank our soldiers this year. The words thank you, though, heartfelt just was not enough for me this year. So I came upon this and wanted to pass it along. This is A Soldier’s Child Foundation. They help children who have a parent serving overseas or that may have fallen and left their families behind. They have programs where you can donate to help for birthdays or Christmas for these boys and girls. You can sponsor a child and let them know that we will never forget the sacrifice their family made for the rest of us. I can’t think of a better way to thank these men and woman than to continue to care and support the families they leave behind. Please take a moment to visit their site and share with your friends. Thank you and happy Veterans Day!

To Trick or Treat or Not

  The weather played its own trick on us this Halloween. We had planned to take the kids out for their first trick or treat in Nashville but the mayor asked that everyone postpone their activities till the day after due to tornado watches in much of the state. We did not get the tornado but the wind and the rain was not much fun. We took them to the Opry Mills mall for the festivities they had planned but it was so packed and the treats we had gone after were all gone in the first 30 minuets. But this was our first visit to Opry Mills and were not aware of the many other treats that it had to offer. Like a carousel ride and train rides or the children’s play area. Rainforest Cafe, with its friendly animals, full menu, and gift shop offer up treats for everyone.Then there is the Tennessee Aquarium where you can dine under the sea with every sort of under water creature you can think of. They also have a gift shop and extra events for you to attend. If you are looking for a one of a kind experience you will want to visit Opry Mills.

 The following night we visited the links near Belle Meed for some trick or treating fun. We buckled the kids  into the car, hid their costumes in the trunk, and set the GPS. We were off! Again Nashville surprised us. We arrived at Windsor and pulled off on the curb with a line of other cars. There were kids everywhere! The houses were all decorated and around every corner there were spooky ghosts and creepy monsters lurking about. They even had an inflatable cemetary for the kids to play in, but beware it is guarded by an evil creature that wants to keep you prisoner. We will  definitely be doing this again next year! Here are some of the pictures from our adventure. Enjoy!

What are some of your favorite fall memories?

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  The mornings have become cooler and the leaves are just beginning to change, but the days are still pretty warm. It’s hard to remember we are actually just a few weeks from Halloween festivities with Thanksgiving and Hanukkah not far behind. Fall brings so much excitement with it. I remember spending fall afternoons raking leaves with my dad. He would rake them up on a huge tarp and then drag me and my brother across the yard in the pile of leaves. I love the way the air smells, crisp and clear, and the leaves falling all around. You smell them too. They have a strange cool, earthy, sweetness to them. The whole family would jump in the car and Mom would pack sandwiches so we could go leaf peaking. That phrase always made me laugh when I was younger and I would tease with my brothers if they ever wondered if the trees knew we were “peaking” at them. They would chuckle back and we would grab another sandwich as Dad turned round another bend to reveal more spectacular colors. It was like watching Nature’s version of fire works display. Shades of Red, yellow, brown and green in brilliant display across a clear, crisp, blue, sky. Then there was picking the perfect pumpkin to carve out and trying to decide on the best ever Halloween costume. It had to out do the year before. Mom would help us with our costumes and she would paint our faces to help finish off our clever disguises. I found some old photos of some of the costumes she did with us below. Some of them are me and my brothers and some are friends. Some of the photos are old so they may not show so well, sorry. But if you would like to see more of her work let me know and I can help you with that. I loved everything about fall and I love making new memories with my boys. Do you have special memories or a family tradition you would like to share? Tell us about it.

*please do not use any of these photos without permission. These are personal artwork of their creator. Feel free to contact me for information about these @ weiscreations@gmail.com. Thank you!

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The statue of C. S. Lewis in front of the ward...
The statue of C. S. Lewis in front of the wardrobe from his book The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in East Belfast, Northern Ireland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I remember some of my favorite books from when I was a kid. Books like Wind in the Willows, Madeline, The Secret Garden, Castle in the Attic, Anne of Green Gables and later Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, anything C.S Lewis and Charles Dickens. Those were just a few. I loved going to the library to pick up my favorite books. I would get home and tuck into a corner and imagine myself in the story. I remember some of those stories I would read over and over till I could see every detail, hear every sound and smell the air around the characters. I didn’t want to miss any part of the adventure. I cheered for them, laughed at their witty remarks, and cried with them. It was the best time in the world!

Today I still love  to read and I love reading some of those stories to my kids now. We are reading Tales of Peter Rabbit and the Chronicles of Narnia. It’s so much fun because since I have known these stories all my life I act them out as we read the books together. A little noisy for some at bedtime, but it is the best time of the evening for us. I have my parents to thank for this avid love of the written word. They introduced it to us at an early age, reading every chance they could, taking us to libraries, and filling the shelves my dad had built into the walls  with all the books my mother had purchased over the years for us. We had our own library of every imaginable kind of book.you could think of. I remember my dad would try to read to us in the evening from C.S Lewis books and Robinson Crusoe. He worked all the time to support our family but no matter how tired he was he would read to us one chapter a night. My mom introduced us to all the literary giants throughout the ages and this only led to a deeper love for reading and my brothers took up writing as a pass time. My bookshelves are overflowing with books I have bought for my kids and they are always asking for more. Reading to your kids and starting at an early age is a great way to instill a passion for reading later in their life. It builds up their vocabulary, enriches their imagination and opens their minds to reach beyond the limited four walls they live in every day. They have a powerful way of influencing us and our choices. The written word truly is beautiful but it is equally as powerful. So I don’t think it wise especially with young children to read just anything we should discern between what is of value and what we could probably go with out.

 

So what were some of your favorite books or characters from your childhood? What books do you enjoy reading with your kids now? Share some of your favorites and I will pick from among them to showcase in our monthly book picks.

Is Olivia the Pig the Best Role Model for Our Kids?

   I started this blog to be a safe haven for families. No negative talk or subjects just upbeat happy discussions to bring a little peace into a world over run by negatives. But, every now and then, something from the other side pops up and needs to be addressed especially where it does concern our children. I am well aware that the subject matter here has some very politically and socially charged content in it but I am going to write from an observers and a mothers point of view. It is not my intent to start an ugly rant on this blog. I simply wish to bring to attention an issue which a few of my friends have asked me to take on. So lets begin.

  I was asked to include a children’s book list to Music City KIds. I was also asked what I thought of the Olivia the Pig books and if she was a good role model for kids. Well, in truth I had not heard of the books before they brought them to my attention. I have boys and they have certain characters they love to read about and it’s hard to get them to look at something new. Shortly after that I read a post about one of the Olivia books in which she was traveling abroad and was “very pleased” to be searched for weapons by TSA. Of course there were gasps of horror! Upon first reading this your mommy brain goes one of two ways. Oh no he didn’t! Did he really say that it is acceptable for us to submit to illegal searches by TSA? As adults we are all too aware of the issues that have come up due to the methods used by TSA in their efforts to keep us  safe and the many scandals associated with the organization itself. I had one miserable experience with them and vowed never to fly again. I don’t believe that a citizen should be chosen at random, strip searched, interrogated like a criminal, and have personal belongings and luggage dumped on a table to be rustled through by every Tom, Dick, and Harry. It is not ” normal ” for citizens to be searched at all unless it is believed that they are believed guilty of a crime. So yes, these two pages of drawings and one brief statement certainly does ring of indoctrination. It also makes me feel as if all the talks we have had with our kids about respecting personal space and stranger danger were all for naught because here is a character in a children’s book who says we should be pleased to have strangers intrude upon our personal space and search us. Our children internalize these fictional characters almost as if they are real live people and if Olivia said it is so or Olivia can do such and such then why cant I?

  On the other side of the coin one could say that he only wished to address the issue of fear that a young child would feel if about to experience a TSA search and that it is not really scary. But then there are many other ways he could have worded himself that would have explained so much better to a child that they will be ok. But here again my mommy brain kicks in and says but how many times have you told your kids that if someone tells you to do something that does not feel right don’t do it. So again I feel a sharp contradiction from what I have instilled in my children and what this character would have them to believe. Still, I said I would give the author the benefit of the doubt till I could research this subject a little further. It did not take but an hour of research to find other alarming issues brought up by this unassuming little pig. Issues that I don’t believe most parents would add to their child’s library wittingly.

  Their are subtle little hints in some of Olivia’s comments and adventures to other socially charged issues. I strongly disagree with filling a child’s book intended for girls ages three to eight with these kind of ideas. In this same book Olivia goes to Venice She makes reference to ugly people and fat people and health conditions as well as vandalizing Venice and being run out of Venice all together. Again as a mother I have to wonder why thesereferences are included in a child’s book especially one aimed at such an early age. It is during these first early years that we are trying to establish what is acceptable conduct in public. I do not know any mothers who allow their children to say someone is fat or ugly and I thought these were part of the public schools campaign of teaching tolerance. How can we stand on one foot and condemn such behavior and then stand on the other foot and read these statements from a beloved character to our children. In my observation Olivia the Pig does not teach tolerance.

  In the tv series she was quoted as saying that we do not always have to obey our parents because they are not always right.My mommy brain turns on again here. Wait, did an actual children’s book character just tell my children that it is ok to disobey? How is this a role model for our kids? In his book Olivia and the Fairy Princess, Olivia is trying to decide what she wants to be when she grows up. There is a moment when her father is trying to cheer her up and tells her she will be his princess. Olivia retorts that everyone wants to be a princess “even some boys”.Ok my mommy brain has switched back on and has to wonder why this statement is made and to what is he referring. Well when asked about this he references it to another children’s book entitled A Princess Boy. This book is a child’s book about cross dressing. Again these are hotly debated social topics that I do not believe should be in a  children’s book especially one for children this young.This is not appropriate material.No matter which way you stand on this issue I think most parents and teachers would agree, not appropriate age material. Here is a link to some questions put to the author and what he said about his work.http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/authors/interviews/article/53761-q-a-with-ian-falconer.html. Sorry for the long link short one wouldn’t work for me. He wants girls to know they don’t have to conform. But to what is he referring to? That girls should not be content with pink they should demand new colors? I get the sense that he does not want them to conform to traditionally accepted values for girls and perhaps our boys too. The author exposes himself in this Q & A session on Publishers Weekly. Olivia is a strong-willed, sassy little character who does not seem to show respect for others and craves attention so where is the good character building role model in this. She has been compared to Madeline but here is the difference. Yes Madeline was different from the other girls. She was the smallest and youngest she had red hair and she always found an adventure sometimes by not following the rules. But there were consequences and lessons learned from the adventure. What lessons are being learned from Olivia. To be the center of attention at the expense of another and that it is ok because she got what she wanted in the end. She is self-centered and intolerant. Do I think she is a good role model for our children? Decidedly not. Are the messages of these stories appropriate and hold up to classical standards of good character building children’s literature? Absolutely not. But what would you expect from a man who illustrates for the New Yorker and other similar publications and makes his home in the Village in NY. Mr Ian Falconer please keep your politics and social view points out of children’s books. That is not the realm for your discussions and it is very poor taste.

Scrapbooking for School

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My America Notebook 1st Grade

  We have had problems with our internet so could not post anything new for you but it has given us time to work on pages for our notebooks to share with you. We have started several books but here are some ideas for history to help get your own creative juices flowing. The kids are learning so much this year in history and we have had a lot of fun making our notebooks. They have learned about the flag and it’s creation, American symbols, What it means to be a free country, the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, The Bill of Rights, and our first president. Here are the pages and some study ideas for the flag.

CAM00478  We cut out our background paper to fit the cover of  our folder. Then cut out a printed field of blue with the fifty stars, and six white and seven red strips to glue down as the stripes on the flag. We didn’t use the white ones in this version because Kalob wanted to make the stripes look like the flag was waiving in the wind. It worked for us because he used a white background. To make the flag have that blowing in the air look we glued only the ends of our red stripes on the paper so that the middles are bowed out as if being blown. By the time we had made the cover of the book Kalob knew  what the colors of the flag represented, how many stars are on it and what they represent, and the number of each of the colored stripes and what they represent. How is that for simple fun fast study!CAM00493

  Moving on here are some sample pages of his studies thus far. I will add to these as we go along with some lesson plans so you can best use the pages yourself or make up your own pages that fit in with your studies. First we read of course from his text-book and then we watched this great video and got to hear all about Miss Betsy Ross and the making of our nations first flag from who else but Betsy Ross herself. You can watch it here at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jlx10Pla8Xw . If the link does not work you can search youtube under Betsy

English: Frontside of the Betsy Ross House in ...

Ross House. Another great video you may like is a virtual tour of her actual house and shop in Philadelphia today. You can watch it at http://www.historicphiladelphia.org . For this page I let him get all hands on by drawing Miss Ross and tracing a five-pointed cookie cutter with glue and sprinkling glitter over the glue. Next I had him tell me what he could remember about the key points in the story and wrote them in for him. For the thirteen stars in a circle we used the shiny sticker stars and wrote about their meaning inside the circle.

  This photo is not helping, but we used card stock to create a Pledge Allegiance page. The word tiles, though it will not show up in my pictures, breaks down each of the statements into bite size snippets that we then discussed the meaning of. After reading and discussing, I jumbled up the tiles and had him reconstruct and glue down from memory the Pledge Allegiance. He found these great Uncle Sam hat stamps in a closet and wanted to use them to decorate his page. So how did we break down the Pledge and explain them? I took it from his history text-book and it goes like this:

I pledge allegiance - I promise to stand up and be true.

to the flag of the United States of America - to my flag and my country

And to the Republic for which it stands,and to the people that this country was created for,

one nation under God, - one country blessed by God,

indivisible, - which should not be divided,

with libertywith freedom

and justiceand fairness

for all.for every person.

  Next time, and I promise not to make you wait as long, I will show you what we did for the symbols of America. We covered the Washington Memorial, the Great Seal, the American eagle, the Liberty Bell, Uncle Sam, and the Statue of Liberty.

Banana Bread

  I woke up this morning ,looked around my kitchen and decided it was a banana bread kind of morning. So I gathered up my ingredients and this is what I came out with. It’s got a little different taste than regular banana bread because I added molasses to the recipe. 

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                                                        What you will need:

1/2  cup softened butter                        1  1/3  cup mashed banana (about 3 whole bananas)

1/2  cup sugar                                       1  tbsp whole milk

1/4  cup black molasses                       1  tsp baking soda

3   eggs                                                 1/4 tsp salt

2 cups all-purpose flour

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1. In a large bowl cream the butter, molasses, and sugar, until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs.

2. Combine milk and banana in a bowl.

3. Mix flour, salt, and baking soda in a bowl.

4. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture.

5. Add banana mixture and mix till well blended

banana bread4Pour batter into a greased ( I used butter ) 8″ square baking dish. You can use a loaf pan if you want but this is what I decided to use on this particular morning. Bake it in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for about an hour or till a toothpick will come out clean when inserted. When the bread is baked set it aside till warm then remove from pan and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Slice it and sprinkle the front and back with the powdered sugar and let cool. The sugar will melt into the bread and makes the crust a little sweeter and shiny. This picture was taken before it melted so you could see better what I meant by sprinkling the front and back sides of the slices. To store your bread place in container with a cover.

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What is Your Favorite Summertime Memory

1369616869612With summer vacation behind us, what is the one single moment that you wish you could bottle up forever? For me it would have to be the look on my sons face when we told him where we were taking him for his birthday. I wasn’t sure if he was going to cry, scream, or start dancing for joy! There is never a camera around when you need it. So whats yours? Join the conversation and share those great summer memories.

The Day We went to the Nashville Zoo

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  This was our first trip to the Nashville Zoo. We really didn’t know what to expect on the other side of the wall. You could hear the sounds of animals coming toward you from over the wall and people coming in and out. The kids were too excited to stand in line but luckily the lines moved pretty quick and they didn’t have long to wait. We played a guessing game in line to see who knew the name of the animal making the sounds. Once inside we felt as if we had just stepped into the jungle. The trees were so thick and lush and the cool shade was welcomed after standing in the hot sun just a moment before. The path was a wide boardwalk with a rustic fence to keep the animals separated from the visitors who had come to snap pictures of them. Sometimes I could swear the animals were watching us.

As we wound our way through the jungle we were met by exotic cranes, majestic blue parrots, chimpanzees, alligators, and more. The jungle path opened up to an aquarium which housed several beautiful species of under water life as well as iguanas, snakes, frogs, and insects. When we had finished inside the aquarium we caught a show with a turkey vulture and his trainer. He was a bit of a show off! Just around the bend from the aquarium are several places to grab a quick snack or lunch. With lunch out-of-the-way and our bellies full, it was time to decide what part of the world to visit next. Should we go to Asia or Africa next? I wanted to go to Asia but the guys chose Africa. So we were off to Africa. We followed elephant tracks and danced to the beat of an African rhythm through the tall grass and bamboo shoots. We spotted several strange African animals and counted stripes on zebra backs. There is a petting zoo near here where you can get up close to goats, sheep, camels, and more. They will even let you brush their coats!

  From Africa we circled back around to visit the bird house. This is an enclosure where you can go in and feed all kinds of exotic birds and if your lucky, they may let you hold them. It isn’t encouraged by the keepers because the birds may bite but they were landing on us when we put our hands out to feed them.I think this and the carousel was the kids favorite part of the day. They got to pick their favorite animal from the zoo and ride it around, Kalob picked the giraffe and the baby picked the kangaroo, though I can’t recall seeing any kangaroos at the zoo. The zoo is so large it is really an all day affair, because, besides all the animals to find they also have train rides, carousel rides, A play area that is built like a jungle village that climbs higher into the sky. But be careful you don’t get lost in the maze of winding pathways! There is a soft play area for those smaller members of the family and shaded booths for Mom and Dad.

You would think this would be enough for any family to do in one day, but wait, there’s more.A historical home and farm rests on site. The house is open for guided tours and has an interesting and historically significant role to play in TN history.The zoo now sits on the 380 acres of farm land, but the kitchen garden, several animals, and the family cemetery are still present on the site. The zoo is called the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere after the house. This beautifully preserved house and property are well worth a visit and I definitely recommend taking the tour to get a better appreciation of the historical significance of both the zoo and the house. I wish I could have taken more pictures but then you wouldn’t be able to make your own discoveries. This zoo is an adventure and we can’t wait to go back. I definitely recommend this as a must see stop on any tourists bucket list.

This attraction is stroller friendly and they also have strollers available for rent. They have plenty of rest rooms throughout the zoo so its great for those little ones who may need a potty sooner than later and several rest stops for tired explorers. You can bring a picnic lunch with you. They have an event venue on site that is equiped with grills to feed your guests.This zoo has so much to offer that I am including a link to their website so you can get more specifics for your families visit. Visit them at http://www.nashvillezoo.org. The zoo is located at 3777 Nolensville Pike and you can reach them by phone at (615) 833-1534. The pictures in our gallery are interactive. Hover over them or click them to see more. Enjoy!