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puppy love chow 092 smallYesterday my niece and I made Puppy Chow for a special Valentine’s Day treat using the “Muddy Buddies” recipe on the Rice Chex box. We never called them Muddy Buddies growing up, but looking through these photos, I can see the muddiness right before the powdered sugar comes in to absorb the moisture and soften the texture. I think the powdered sugar makes the crunchy chocolate peanut butter treat irresistible. My niece especially likes that step in the recipe, because she says it looks like a bunch of tiny snowflakes coming from the sky. The recipe is straightforward and simple (I don’t turn the mixture out on wax paper to separate, but I do put the mix in the refrigerator to set). For a finishing heart-like touch and added flavor layer, we studded the tops with white chocolate peppermint M&M’s: another sweet avalanche!

prefab gingerbread castle made fab

candy plate decorating gingerbread castle cinderella candy castle coach cinderella mice candy castle roof gumdrop snowman alienI’ll admit that I was not thrilled with the idea that my niece chose a prefab Cinderella castle kit from the store for our annual gingerbread session this year.  She loves to bake and is now old enough to see the project through from scratch.  I was looking forward to designing our own charming chalet or creative candy cottage a la Hansel and Gretel.  In the end, the gingerbread castle we put together from the kit still allowed for unique touches.  My favorite parts are the mice dancing on the roof and the alien-looking snowmen with the blue eyes (all from the brain of the sweet five-year-old).  I need to remember that these activities are, above all, about togetherness and that the outcome will inevitably be as unique and fabulous as the individuals involved.

the hunt and tackle

plastic eggs and spring blooms racing toward the orange egg watering pail with plastic eggsThe colorful plastic eggs were not hard to find this year since most of nature is still brown. The egg hunting soon turned into egg tackling, as it became a race to the bright treasures. “I recovered three from my sister’s fumble,” my nephew cheered triumphantly.