Mama Drinks: Two Ginger Beer Cocktails

Thursday, September 29, 2016

With fall weather finally here, I've been thinking more and more about fall cocktails. I had apple cider on the brain and really wanted to mix it with ginger beer. Guess what? I didn't have any apple cider on hand. Apple brandy? Nope. So, my mom and I brainstormed about flavors that mixed well with ginger and it turns out most berries work. And in true research form, I made two cocktails just to make sure. That's right, it's a two for one post with one main ingredient, ginger beer.

Cherry Ginger Cocktail

Here's what you need:
Cherry Liqueur, Ginger Beer (we used Crabbie's), Club Soda 

Add a shot to an ice filled glass. Or in my case, over pour a shot and have it run all over the place!

Add the ginger beer leaving a little room at the top for the club soda.

Add a splash of club soda for a little extra fizz and to cut the sweetness. Stir and enjoy!!

Creme de Cassis Ginger Cocktail 

Here's what you need:
Creme de Cassis, Ginger Beer, Club Soda (optional)

Add a shot of the Cassis to an ice filled glass.

Fill with ginger beer and stir. I opted not to add the club soda to this version.

I love the color! This was our favorite, but we had my dad test both, and he sided with the Cherry Ginger Beer Cocktail. Why you ask? Because it wasn't as sweet. Turns out the club soda really does cut the sweetness, so add a splash if you want something a little more refreshing. And he was right. Once we added a splash to the Cassis version, it really did change the taste! 

Both of these drinks were delicious! If you aren't one for ginger beer, you need to give it a shot. A shot of liquor that is! I am still going to try it with apple cider because I'm thinking it would be divine. And, I'm even thinking something on the pumpkin spice wagon as well. I mean when in fall, right?

 Hope you guys enjoy them! Till next cocktail time, cheers!



Kitchen Updates: Dressing Up My Cabinets

Monday, September 26, 2016

I have a confession to make. I'm obsessed with vintage dinnerware! And, I am the proud owner of three different sets. I also own four additional sets, all different in pattern, that aren't vintage. And, I have my own wedding china. That's a lot of dishes! But I can't help myself. When I see a really cool pattern, especially one that's Mid Century Modern, I have to have them. And recently, well over the summer, my mom and I picked up a chic set from a boutique in the West Bottoms called Goldie & Myrtle's. They've been in a box in my parents garage and I had almost forgotten about them. Almost!

While helping my mom with a neighborhood garage sale, she mentioned that I needed to take my box of dishes home. And I agreed, but I wasn't sure where I was going to put them. My storage cabinets are full of other dinnerware! Okay, that's not true. They are full of holiday decorations, platters, and other junk! But then I started thinking. My newest set only had a place setting for six, with no glassware, and that wouldn't really fill up the cabinet space. Then I remembered that several years ago, when visiting family in TN, my great aunt gave me my great grandmother's china. Used only on Christmas Eve, this sweet set of china was just sitting in the basement. Guess who brought it home! It is the prettiest design that's incredibly delicate, just like Grannie Helton, and it really complimented the more modern 60s design of the other set. And, it came with glassware! Perfect. 

Then while chatting with my mom about using both patterns, I remembered we purchased pink cocktail glasses years ago and they are a little on the vintage side. Because Grannie's pattern has a hint of pink in the design, we both agreed that pink would make the whole thing pop. So last week I got to it and updated my kitchen with the new to me dinnerware! I replaced my current black and white patterned dishes with blue and white and it brightened up the entire space! I love it! We aren't using them. Instead, I'm now using my Barn Yard pieces. They are darling!! 

Check out my updated kitchen cabinet! This is my cabinet before:

My great grandmother's sweet china!

The blue glasses and coffee mugs were Grannie's and the pink glasses are the ones we found years ago. Such a great compliment to one another.


My Mid Century Mod find!



The new updated cabinet!

I love it! The colors are perfect together and that pop of pink with the cocktail glasses is what really brings it all together. I find this to be an easy way to update your kitchen. And if you notice, I don't have cabinet doors. That's not by mistake! My original Pottery Barn dishes were too long for the doors to close, so we took them off. And, after 14 years of living here, I've never thought about putting them back on! A little worried on your end? Replace the cabinet fronts with glass. It will allow the visual presence of your dishware, but you don't have to worry about the dust collection!

How do you update your kitchen? Are you a re-painter or do you just stick with what works? I would love to hear your feedback!

Happy Monday!


Communication is Key

Friday, September 23, 2016

Communication. Is that even a thing anymore? Growing up in the 80s, and even in the early 90s, the only way to communicate with someone was by phone or email....much later in the 90s for this mama. You either sat on the phone for hours, dragging that 25 foot telephone cord around the room or you wrote someone letter. But the thing about it was, you were communicating.

Today, there are entirely too many ways to communicate. You can call them (does anyone do that anymore), leave a voicemail, send them a text, send an email, or write a Facebook message. I love the quote from He's Just Not That Into You when Drew Barrymore's character says "I had this guy leave me a voice mail at work so I called him at home and then he e-mailed me to my Blackberry and so I texted to his cell and then he e-mailed me to my home account and the whole thing just got out of control. And I miss the days when you had one phone number and one answering machine and that one answering machine has one cassette tape and that one cassette tape either had a message from a guy or it didn't. And now you just have to go around checking all these different portals just to get rejected by seven different technologies. It's exhausting." I miss those days too! Well, not the being rejected by a guy part, but the simplicity of getting a hold of someone. And, the idea that someone will actually respond.

Has anyone else noticed that no one communications anymore? I would say of the roughly 10 messages I may send a day, maybe one person responds. One! No text messages returned. No email responses. No Facebook reply, which by the way I see you read. Nothing. And, I can't for the life of my figure out why. One might say that it's generational. But I disagree. People my age, and even older, are no longer communicating. Whether it's personal or business, I can't seem to get a response. And maybe it's just me. Maybe I'm the only one the non receiving end, but I know that's not true. I just had a conversation with someone one the other day who said she's experiencing the same thing. And like me, she simply doesn't get it.

I could be very old school in my thought process, as it appears everyone uses the "I'm so busy" excuse. I'm just as busy as the next person. I'm raising a five year old, running a household, building a business, and involving myself in my child's school. If I don't have a meeting at night, I'm working on this blog. I don't have a conventional job where I work 8-5. I have a job that starts at roughly 6:30 in the morning and ends around 9:00 at night when I can finally sit down to do a little more work on something I didn't get to during daylight hours. But, I will always respond to an email. I will return a text. And I will reply to a Facebook message. It may not be within 10 minutes of receiving it, but it will be within the 24 hours of when it was sent. It's just common decency. 

So what can we do to eliminate this lack of communication? Do we just ignore that fact that people are ignoring us? Do we accept the new norm that someone may or may not return your message? Do we just walk around in life with a full voicemail box, unread emails, and just hope that the person on the other end is fine without our lack of response? Again, maybe it's just me. Maybe I need to get on the no response bandwagon and just ride it for a while. Maybe it will feel good to not carry the guilt that I didn't get around to responding. That I hope you didn't need an answer quickly because I just simply ran out of time. Or, just simply didn't want to respond. That makes me really sad.

So on this Friday, I'm going to make an effort to shake off the feeling of being ignored. And I'm going to challenge you to take a few minutes and respond to something that someone has sent you but is still sitting in your inbox, or text app, or Facebook message. It doesn't have to be anything I've sent you. Just something that someone has sent you and it's been at least three days since they sent it. The person awaiting the response will be so pleased. And, it might make you feel a little better in that you can check something off your ever growing to-do list! 

If you need a few suggestions on what you might say to some of these unanswered forms of communication, here are a few I've come up with. If someone has asked you to participate in something and you don't want to, respond back with a No. It's better than not responding at all. If you feel really strongly about not participating, say Hell No. If you're tired of getting their emails, texts, or Facebook messages, tell them to remove you from their distribution list. It's like when telemarketers call and you want to be removed from their call list. It may not be the response they were looking for, but you at least responded!

As for friends who've sent you something, be a little more tactful. Lie if you have to, but at least let them know you got their message and that you simply don't have time. They will appreciate it, I promise. And another sweet gesture would be dropping them a little something in the mail that isn't a bill! I love getting mail that isn't a bill. A little card letting them know you are thinking of them. Something so special goes a long way. Or, even go with an e-card! Remember when people used to send those? I plan to send at least five today! Can you?

Happy Friday, everyone! I hope you have a grand plans for the weekend. Hope to see you back here on Monday!


Mama Drinks: Apple Cider Cocktail

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Happy First Day of Fall! Here in Kansas City, it doesn't feel anything like fall, but next week things are changing! I'm not really ready to say goodbye to summer, but I do love this time of year. All the fall festivals are in full swing, visiting pumpkin patches where we pick our fair share of variety of pumpkins for the front stoop, and yummy fall drinks. And I'm not just talking about pumpkin spice drinks! However, I do have one of those I'll be sharing. But today, I'm talking about apple cider!

This drink was inspired by our apple picking trip several weeks ago. It's too hot for a warm apple cider, but it is warm enough for an iced drink! And that's what I'm bringing you. An iced versions of an Apple Cider Cocktail.

 Here's what you need:
Apple Jam/Jelly, Cinnamon Simple Syrup, Vodka, Club Soda

Let's talk about the cinnamon simple syrup. I made my own, but I guess you could buy some. To make it you need a cup of water, a cup of sugar, and one cinnamon stick. Allow the sugar to dissolve in the water over a low heat. The cinnamon stick will infuse at the same time in the water. Allow the mixture to cool before removing the cinnamon stick and use. You can store this in the fridge for a couple of weeks in an air tight container. Would be so good in your morning coffee for a little taste of added warmth. Or yummy in a bowl of oatmeal!

And while we're talking about the ingredients, seen below, I will now talk about the apple jam/jelly. I had a little remaining in my jar, not enough to use on toast, so I decided to use it in a cocktail. Place a tablespoon or so of jam into a bowl and add a little bit of water. Stir to combine and then heat for a few seconds at a time in the microwave. You want the jam to be thin but not soupy. You still want to see the color in the cocktail. Set aside.

Fill your glass with ice and add several teaspoons of the apple jam mixture to the bottom of the glass.

Add a shot of vodka or more to taste.

Fill the remaining glass with club soda and top with the cinnamon simple syrup. Mix well. You want to make sure you get all that apple jam mixture from the bottom of the glass. Top with a slice of dried apple or apple chip! 

Sip and enjoy!

Another great apple substitute would be apple cider beer or apple brandy!

I loved this drink and I'm ready to make it again soon. There is nothing like fall when blended with apple, cinnamon, and vodka!


KC Fun: Food Truck Festival

Monday, September 19, 2016

Happy Monday! Sorry I've been MIA lately, but this KC Mama has been crazy busy! So busy, I found myself in bed around 8:30 on most nights and not apologizing for it. But, I'm back and I'm sharing with you some fun things that have been going on around here!

We had an awesome weekend and Sunday was the ultimate Sunday Funday or Family Funday, whichever you prefer. We spent the morning just lazing around, but the afternoon found us out and about. We started at the Farmstead where we spent a couple of hours exploring and listening to McKinley has he provided us a nice guided tour. I was so afraid that he had outgrown the farmstead, but after yesterday, my fear has been put to rest. After that, it was time to head to the Food Truck Festival. 

McKinley is a huge fan of trucks. It doesn't matter what truck, he loves them all. But right now, he's obsessed with food trucks. And, he has waited patiently all summer so he can watch the Great Food Truck Race on Food Network. So when the reminder popped up on Facebook yesterday morning, Joel and I decided this was a must attend event. 

There were roughly seven different trucks offering a large variety of eats. They had Italian, pub food, an ice cream truck, a creme brulee truck (so good), and Mexican. We settled on the pub food, The Moose Truck from the Blue Moose, because they had chicken tenders. Actually, it was the only place that had kid food. Or at least kid food that our picky eater would eat. Joel had their turkey pesto panini and I had a good ole fashion cheeseburger. All of it was so good. In addition to the trucks, there was live entertainment, which McKinley rocked out to while waiting in line, tons of kids activities like bubbles, sidewalk chalk, giant Frisbees, and more. And of course, there was a playground. McKinley played so hard that he was the sweatiest little mess I've ever seen. He was in heaven.

After we finally got him off the playground, we headed to the dessert trucks. McKinley wanted ice cream, but mama went all out decadence with creme brulee. I mean, if they have a truck there, you need to indulge. It was the cutest little cup of dessert I've ever seen and incredibly delicious. If you ever see Torched Goodness-Creme Brulee out in the city, stop and get some! You will not be disappointed. 

Here are few pics from our time at the festival.


This is an annual event and we definitely plan to head back next year. Such a fun little event in the heart of South Overland Park!

Happy Monday!


Mama Needs: Coffee Maker

Friday, September 9, 2016

School is in full swing and we have a pretty good routine going. One I never really thought would take hold. However, because we are now going to bed earlier, my child has decided to make his wake up call earlier and earlier. It was originally 7:00, but over the last couple of days, he's decided 6:30 is a more appropriate time. I, however, do not!

I am usually up a little after 6:00, and I've been using that hour for a little early morning mama time. I get dressed, do a little morning primping, and then spend the time either working on the blog or reading. It's my little piece of heaven in the morning. As of late, it's not so much heaven.

And because he's getting up earlier, I'm making coffee earlier, and I've started rethinking my coffee. Well, not really my coffee, but my coffee pot. Currently, I'm using a little Mr. Coffee four cup coffee maker. It's fine. It does its job, but there are times where the lid sticks or won't shut at all. It's black, but I think I might want stainless to dress up my kitchen. And, I think I want something that does a little more.

I recently sold my cappuccino maker in a garage sale because I never used it. Not once. Making cappuccino for one isn't all that fun and it was huge for the kitchen counter. So, it hung out in my basement storage cabinet for 10 years. Not good use of space and why shouldn't I let someone else have the caffeine fun! Instead, I'm looking at a standard coffee pot (some come in 5 and 10 cup), the Coffee Ninja (so many cool things it can do), and a dual maker that makes both cups and singles. However, I'm leery of the latter because the single plastic cups aren't recyclable and I don't want to fill up landfills. Trying to be green when I can!

So here are a few that I'm considering.

Cuisinart 10 Cup /Mr Coffee 12 Cup Programmable/Ninja Coffee Bar/
Hamilton Beach Flex Brew 
I think I like the Ninja Coffee Bar because of all the bells and whistles. So many things I can make and it's not just a cup of coffee. Or, should I just go with a standard coffee pot. Do I really need all the bells and whistles?
What are you currently using? Have a brand or maker you like most? Let's chat! This mama is in need of all the caffeine she can get her hands on. And, different ways to make it.
Happy Friday!

Quick Weeknight Dessert

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Over the weekend, my parents had us over for a little BBQ. Nothing says Labor Day Weekend like a little BBQ and family time! Along with all the amazing sides, my mom served banana pudding for dessert. It was amazing! Unfortunately, there weren't enough leftover for both houses, I guess I should let them keep it for themselves, so I decided to whip a little quick weeknight banana pudding for us! 

Yes, banana pudding can be labor intensive, but not this recipe! Follow along below to make yours tonight!

Here's what you need:
Vanilla Pudding Mix (and the ingredients needed), Vanilla Wafers, Bananas, and a cute little serving dish.

Fill the bottom of your dish, I used mason jars, with one wafer at the bottom and a couple along the side for the layered look. I had to split a couple in half to make them fit.

Slice up your bananas and layer those over the wafers.

Whip up the pudding according the directions and add a few spoonfuls over the bananas and wafers. Layer all ingredients one more time.

Crumble a wafer over the top of the pudding. Isn't is so pretty!!

And that's it! You have individual banana pudding for a quick weeknight dessert! Dig in and enjoy!


Motherhood: Some Possible Unspoken Truths

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Motherhood. There are so many things associated with that one single word. You take on the role of nurturing and loving your child(ren), helping them grow in mind, body, and spirit, and guide them through life with as much hands on or hands off assistance as you like. You are there to kiss boo-boos, help mend broken hearts, and wipe away tears from either defeat or success. And all of this is done without any question. No expectations of thank yous. You do it because you're their mother.

But what about all the times your heart is broken? When you need tears wiped away? Many times as a result of something your child(ren) has done. Maybe it's a low report card. A trip to the principal's office. Watching them head off on their first date. Watching them walk down the aisle. Or, maybe it's something they did or said to you. Little things that seemed to innocent to them, but cut like a knife to you. Things that we maybe aren't supposed to talk about as mothers. Share among one another in case they too have experienced this kind of hurt and didn't have anyone to talk about it with. That's where this post comes in.

I'm a mother to an only child. A boy. And I adore him. He's five, in Kindergarten, smart, imaginative, funny, whiny at times, argumentative at times, and super sweet.....when he wants to be! Like I said, I adore him. After three years of being a "work outside the home" mama, I am now a "stay at home" mama and we spend all of our time together, when he's not in school. We work, we play, we explore, we cuddle, and we argue. Pretty much the same things all mama's do with their children. But, there are times when he makes me cry. Makes me want to scream. Hurts my feelings. All things he has no idea he's done.

He adores his dada and that's a good thing. He mimics him. Shadows him. Loves him. Dada can do no wrong. Yes, Joel will discipline him. Raise his voice to him. Scold him. As a father should. But, he plays with him. Takes adventures with him. Loves him. As a father should. And McKinley thrives on it. And, when dada is around, mama doesn't exist. That's where the hurt feelings come from on most days. As childish as it sounds, there are times where I simply feel left out. Third wheel. Unwanted. Cue the tears.

As mothers, I feel like this subject is taboo. Who actually talks about their children causing them tears? Hurting their feelings? It comes with the territory, right? It's just part of motherhood. But why can't we talk about it? Why shouldn't we talk about it? It's good to get these kinds of things off your chest, right? Or, is it that I'm simply the only mother who feels like this? That could very well be. But since I'm on the subject, I'm going to talk about it.

When the three of us our out, it's already an odd number, right? The best thing about a family of three is that all hands are being held. McKinley is always in the middle so there's a mama and a dada hand to hold. Perfection! Three people fit on the tram ride at the zoo. Three fit on the Safari ride. Three fit perfectly on the swings at the farmstead during a picnic lunch. Heaven! When we head to Worlds of Fun, like we did this past weekend, that's when there is an odd man out and that odd man out is usually me. Dada is always the first choice for any two person ride, leaving me to ride on the rides that make dada sick. Rarely am I picked first for any ride, and usually allowed to ride the second time around, only after Joel has convinced McKinley that he should let mama ride. Not the best scenario, huh? Feeling like the third wheel. Leaving me with hurt feelings. 

Maybe it's a only child thing for me. I'm used to being the center of attention. Never having to vie for my own parents individual attention. And, I don't really ever remember a time where I had to pick a parent. And maybe that's because we never really went to places that didn't allow for all three of us. Places that only allowed for two people, although my mom would never be able to ride any ride for fear of throwing up. We took trips to the beach, went camping, drove to Maine and Colorado, and flew to San Francisco. Places that required hiking, exploring, visiting friends, driving in the car, and simply hanging out. Nothing that had only two seats, could only be done in pairs, or expected me to choice who to do them with. Maybe that's something we as a family of three need to explore. Do more family style things that allow all three of us to be involved. Looks like this mama needs to do a little research!

And as you're reading this, how many mothers out there can relate to any of this? Can anyone relate? Am I alone in my thoughts? My tears? My hurt feelings? Has there ever been a time that your child did or said something that just cut to the bone? Have you ever felt like you couldn't talk about it? Felt childish talking about it? 

And I have a feeling the hurt feelings don't stop here. First, it's the choosing of one parent over the other. Then it's the not holding your hand in public, which I thrive on right now. Then it's not hugging/kissing you goodbye. Crush my soul now! And then there's the day he picks another woman over me. Just go ahead and stick a dagger in my heart! I can't with this and may just bawl at any minute. 

Let's pull this back around to my tiny, baby boy who's only five. My five year old who still asks me to take him to bed. Who still cuddles with me from time to time. Who asks me to read to him daily. Who curls his little hand in mine every time we walk anywhere together. And all of those precious things confirm that he does love me. That he might adore me too. And, that he chooses me. Just not when dada walks through the door......
electric toothbrush