Tag Archives: camping

Knowing Your Roots: A Grandfather’s Gift

27 Jun

So, my blog is not like everyone else’s blog. Yes, I like to talk about fashion, recipes, home renovations, my puppy dogs and more. But I also like to talk about my roots, my values, my love and my heart. And this posting is very dear to my heart because it is years in the making.

When I was a little girl, I used to spend at least a weekend every month at my grandparents’ home. It would be a long drive down an old, stinky country road, followed by hours spent with my cousins playing games and climbing trees. At night, we would gather in the living room to watch “Golden Girls” and “Empty Nest” while we patiently waited for my grandpa’s famous homemade chocolate milkshakes to be ready.

My grandparents used to take us all camping quite a bit during the summer, and we all loved it. My cousin Ashley and I even competed in a dance recital at Twin Mills one year, and I’m sure my grandparents still have a video of that somewhere. I spent so many warm summer nights on my old bicycle, riding around the campground having so much fun with my sister, brother and cousins.

Enter Grandpa into the story. My grandfather is a strong, quiet man. A veteran of the Korean war, my grandfather is not the type that will talk your ear off. You’ll only hear his gentle voice when he has something important to say or if he wants to get your attention. My grandfather has always showed he loved me by with a simple gesture … an arm around my shoulder, a kiss on my forehead, a high five and a delicious homemade milkshake.

Fast forward several years later … PoppaNut and I told my grandparents that we were about to purchase a home, and they mentioned that old bicycle again. It wasn’t in the best condition and it had been painted green, but I could have it if I wanted. Me being in love with all things vintage, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on that bike.

But with any home closing, your mind is so overwhelmed with the insurance estimates, closing fees, realtor drama and more that you forget all about what you’ll fill your house with and instead, focus on the list of things you must do today to actually get the house. So the bike discussion completely flew out of my mind, and I focused on the closing.

Just two months after the closing, I received a text from my grandpa with a photo. No words, but just one picture of a vintage yellow bike that looked a whole lot like that one I had as a child. And it turns out, it was. My grandfather had completely taken apart my bike, restoring each piece and renovating it to its former glory. And in that one text, I was 10 years old again with my grandfather handing me my homemade shake. I didn’t need the words to know what he was saying. To anyone else, you would have just seen a yellow bike. But to me, that text said “I love you and I’m proud of you” in the same way my grandpa would convey his love when he made me one of those famous milkshakes.

I’m so honored that my grandfather spent time restoring my old bike. And I’m be thrilled to have it at my home as a reminder of the kind of childhood I had, the value of my Indiana upbringing and the importance of beautiful gestures my grandfather has always shown me.

MommaNut

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A Childhood Classic: S’mores Cupcakes

5 Jan

My parents and grandparents used to take me camping as a little girl. And while I never really liked roughing it, there is one reason that always kept me coming back for more: S’mores. I mean, who can resist marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate all melted together in one gooey mess. Not this sweets addict! I can’t get enough.

So, when I ran across a simple recipe for S’mores cupcakes, I couldn’t resist trying them. I must warn you though … these little bits of heaven are more addicting than a Real Housewives marathon. I couldn’t have less than two per sitting. So, bake with caution!

Ingredients for S’mores Cupcakes

1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® yellow cake mix

1-1/4 cups water

1/3 cup vegetable oil

3 eggs

1 cup graham cracker crumbs

4 bars (1.55 oz each) milk chocolate candy, finely chopped

24 baking cups

Frosting

1 jar (7 oz) marshmallow creme

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened

2 cups powdered sugar

1 to 2 teaspoons milk

1 bar (1.55 oz) milk chocolate candy, if desired

24 bear-shaped graham crackers, if desired

Directions

Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Place paper baking cup in each of 24 regular-size muffin cups. Make cake batter as directed on box; fold in graham cracker crumbs and chopped chocolate bars. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.

Bake 18 to 23 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes; remove from pans to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

In large bowl, beat marshmallow creme, butter and powdered sugar on low speed until blended. Beat in enough milk, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, to make frosting spreadable. Spread over tops of cupcakes. Divide chocolate bar into rectangles. Cut each rectangle diagonally in half and place on top of each cupcake. Top each cupcake with bear-shaped cracker. After frosting has set, store loosely covered.

And that’s life in a nutshell. Finding a simple recipe to bring back a childhood classic is simply classic in every way!

MommaNut

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