Momma Told Me: May 2013

Blog Archive

Objects of Everyday Wonder: Childhood Nostalgia

My Little Pony
Momma Told Me: Objects of childhood wonder...

There are some images, sights, and sounds from childhood that remain just as vivid as yesterday. They not only remain at the front of my memory archive, but surface uncontrollably at random to remind me of lessons and emotions otherwise forgotten. Even though I'm classified as a Millennial, my childhood feel on the cusp of electronic revolution and the end of simpler times. When Momma was but a little lass the majority of her toys were cloth and wood, today, most toys featuring these materials are marketed to a 'green consumer,' or the baby boomers that bore them. It boggles my mind to think that I now have to pay more for toys that encourage imagination and bypass batteries. And, in an attempt to recapture some of my childhood, and simpler times, I'm often found dusting off old memories in the garage and sharing meaningless (to anyone but me) tales of my childhood.
Little Tikes Little People
I was,by no means, a spoiled child. Most of my toys were hand-me-downs form my cousins, or forgotten thrift store finds from another era. Like myself today, Momma enjoyed acquiring mementos from her own childhood in an attempt to connect with me on that level. I recall once she discovered the 6 am re-broadcasts of the Lamb Chop show (black and white) playing on local cable television. For the better part of a year this was our obsession. It was Momma's logical alternative to Barney, which was in my target age range at the time- unfortunately, Lamp Chop merchandise wasn't exactly being manufactured and selling off the shelves. Momma had to make all of my Lamb chop toys (good thing this little lamb was already a sock puppet, by character!) I still have my 'sock' Lamb safe in my Toy Chest at the foot of our bed, and have no doubt the tender spot in my heart, for this childhood character, is mainly due to my Mom.
Astro Pop
When it comes to games of my childhood, I've already recounted several fist fights that broke out among friends and I over that glorious silver (plastic) Pretty, Pretty, Princess crown. It's no wonder this game has subsided in popularity since my own childhood; teaching young girls to rank and value status isn't exactly a wholesome board game lesson. Other games from my childhood? When Aladdin came out on VHS I remember watching it so many times, back to back, we had to buy a new cassette within a week. We also acquired an Aladdin board game, that reminded me of Mouse Trap, I never quite understood how to play, because it was several years ahead of me. That never stopped my friends and I from making up our own rules, though! And, believe it or not, my favorite family game was Checkers....But with a Hershey Kiss Twist. My pop and I would play with Silver and Striped Kisses (Hugs) for edible pieces that made sweet memories even sweeter.
Creepy Crawlers
Speaking of things that are edible- two confections have long incited valuable childhood memories; Bottle Caps and Astro Pops candy. Bottle Caps, the little cap shaped sweet-tart-esque soda flavored candies, usually only appeared in fun size candy bundles during Halloween. I recall I would always spend the week following the holiday desperately trying to trade my chocolates for any leftover packets of Bottle Caps. Then there were Astro Pops, which had the same twisted childhood thrill of sharpening a candy can into a shank, but pre-pointed. This three colored lollipop was shaped like a 'rocket' and had a little dollup of wax at the base of the stick. We'd pick these up 3/$1 at the craft store each week, today the resurrected 'nostalgia' brand sells for $4 each! Of course my mention of childhood wonder, and tasty treats wouldn't be complete without the Easy Bake Oven, which I, personally, never saw under my tree from Santa (despite asking 9 years running).
I did, however, receive something called a Creepy Crawlers molding oven, which is exactly the same thing, save the 'baked' creations aren't edible. This 'oven' operated on a very hot, but basic bulb light and utilized cast iron plates with squeezable 'Goop' bottles that baked into wiggly little bugs and monsters. This was Mommas way of joining my interests (crafts) into my best friends interests (he was a boy, enough said). As it turns out I loved this little creative toy, and spent the better part of two years obsessed with running home to try new colors, patterns and molds for my Creepy little Crawlers. This unique mini oven also came in handy when I later went to the State Science Fair showcasing my home-made Lava Lamp (another nostalgic childhood fave).
From time to time I open up my old Toy Chest and pull out my old stuffed animals. It's something I like to do with Jay or Sabrina around, because both are from 2 completely different childhood eras than me. Many of my plush toys are 80s staples, like the all-together haunting 'Chubbles' bear. These little interactive white bears wore hoods of varied colors and remind me of Jawas (Star Wars), which, in truth, terry me. And, since we're being honest, this wasn't really one of my favorite plush toys as a child. I spent most of the time throwing various clothing over him in hopes of avoiding the motion sensor sound and flashing eye response. And, it's because of this he holds a very special, dark, place in my childhood memories.
There are a few of these childhood mementos I keep out and around simply because they hold significant sentimental value, or are a true collector's item. My View-Master collection is something I am particularly proud of; as these little cartridges easily tore, stained, and got lost among small hands. All of my little story discs are in Mint, and complete, condition. This includes my personal favorite, Popeye Adventures, and Flinstones shorts. Of course I have the obligatory 'educational' Viewer discs, and cheesy 'vacation' style destinations discs. I only wish I had more Disney branded View-Master collections, which would add monetary value! This is one of those toys, like the Etch-A-Sketch, I think will live long through many generations, with it's simple battery free wonder.
cabbage patch doll
 Perhaps two of the most significant childhood baubles in my mind are the ones I've had longest. The above red-headed Cabbage Patch doll came home with me the day I was born, as a gift to Momma. I later inherited it when I began learning how to read; as it had come with a personalized story-book bearing my name. I have the doll, her original clothes, the book, and the audio cassette that came with it, all still in Mint condition. I wish I could say I had more of a connection to this tattooed butt baby, but this remains the only Cabbage Patch Doll I ever owned; and near 3 decades later, it still reminds me of my first memories with Momma.

Beside her, on our record hutch, is a curious contraption I have tirelessly hunted for since childhood. It's been my intention to find a more updated, but equally simplistic, unit; though the concept has eluded me. Consider it a cross between a mobile and light projector. The narrow light bulb housed within heats the air and creates a rotation for the tiny mosaic screen of shapes resting on the frame around it. The plastic dome around it, at one time, cast the tiny images on the projector screen out around my room, spinning in wonder. Unfortunately, the plastic dome has corroded and become scuffed (in wiping) from years of use, it no longer projects crisp shapes, but colored blurs. None-the-less, it still brings back content feelings of comfort and whimsy from my childhood.

What smells, sounds, and objects take you back to your childhood?

What Daughter Says: Objects may come and go, but the most magical memories never fade.

I'm A Liquid Gold Digger, And It Tastes Good! #VelveetaRecipes

Liquid Gold
***I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias®  and Kraft® #cbias #SocialFabric All images and altered screenshots are original content copyrighted to Momma Told Me Blog, 2013.
Momma Told Me: Sometimes life gets a little cheesy.

I still remember my first time. It was January 31, 1993; I was a mere 7 years old, with an undeveloped palette, and wide eyes that served as the window for my stomach. I could just peer over my grandmother's dining table to the rows of neon serving bowls, and see the contents within, without having to stand on my tippy toes. In the air, there was the scent of Grandpa's famous Peanut Satay mingling with slow marinated Tri-Tip; a  meal, in true House family fashion,I learned would not be served for hours more. The family had gathered to celebrate the birthdays of my baby cousin and grandfather, though the rowdy crowd gathered around the over-sized projection TV were likely convinced it was a Super Bowl party. I was the only child there and, aside from terrorizing the 4 cats, thoroughly bored.
Velveeta Cheese
My stomach rumbled with the fierceness of a devastating earthquake, at least, that's how it seemed in my child's mind. Why should I have to be bored any hungry?, I reasoned in my head. I'd already been plucking olives from the garnish tray for an hour, but was having too much fun with my 'sea monster' fingers to actually eat them. Occasionally an adult, beer in hand, would wander past the great table paying no heed to me. They'd stumble to the far corner and scoop a handful of, what I considered plain, chips onto a plate before proceeding to grab a plastic bowl. That's when I saw it for the first time. That's when I first learned about Liquid Gold. Some of them poured neatly, well as neatly as one can contain pure royalty, while others scooped generous rivers of this golden compound directly onto their food. Like lava, the golden mixture poured off my grandma's ladle, small nuggets of tomato, onion, and jalapeno tumbling in the slide.
I was captivated. I wanted to know what was in the Large Green bowl with the liquid gold; but my arms were much too short to reach the ladle, and Momma had expressly forbid snacking before dinner. So I waited. I waited until I was certain my sneaky heist could be pulled off. When the coast seemed clear I snuck to the far end of the table and peered mischievously up at the rim of that massive Green bowl. It smelled like heaven. Like fresh nachos and melting cheese squares, with a mysterious spice that tickled my nose. Up, onto my tippy toes, I went, straining as much as my little legs would allow. Out, I stretched my arms, hands grasping the rim of the great chalice. Open, went my mouth, as the river of golden liquid came rushing over the edge. My first taste was glorious, so much so I ended up wearing this cheesy concoction; all of it. Flip went the side of the bowl, and outside Momma drug me, to lick each and every last drop off my golden coated body!
As an adult, it turns out, I can be a bit of a food snob. Eating things without question, as a child, is a gift for the growing palette. I never needed to know how mushrooms were grown, or how sausages were made, I simply ate. Up until a few years ago, every man I'd ever dated had an obsession with this Golden mistress; Velveeta. If food is the way to a man's heart, then each and every one of my exes has a heart full of Golden arteries. If I have my druthers, I'd dine on gourmet cheese of the most sophisticated cultures and aging. You will never see me reach for a slice of 'American Cheese.' There is something about the dull orange color, and the little plastic wrappers; it's not my thing. But something magical happens when I get a hold of one of those 2lb Cheesy Loafs from my local Walmart. Rivers of cheesy lava run down baked potato crevices and spreads more velvety smooth than my first boyfriend. Yes, it's incredibly cheesy, but it's my kind of cheese.
Crunchy Nacho Chicken Casserole
It's likely your first Velveeta experience was similar to mine, and featured the liquid gold brick melted into some sort of Queso or dip. Anyone can melt Velveeta, but are you really putting that edible gold to use in a lonely bowl at the edge of your Super Bowl spread? There's an entire archive of bold and zesty recipes loyal fans have been carefully perfecting since 1908. An amateur might try the brand's Down Home Macaroni and Cheese for a Summertime Pot Luck, while someone a little more epicurean may be won over by Velveeta's Creamy Cheddar Broccoli Soup. And, if you're lucky, like me, you've likely seen the expanded range of Velveeta products in stores. Velveeta Meal Kits and flavored cheese loafs are sold on shelves nationwide; to ensure you get the right fix of velvety cheese to make your next meal a success.
Something magical happens when that liquid gold hits our dining table and smiles break out among cheers. Okay, so my dining room isn't kitchen stadium, but I feel like a hero when I make one of my family's favorite dishes; Crunchy Nacho Chicken Casserole. Not only do the kids, and the other half, get a kick out of crumbling the Nacho Cheese chips until their hands turn bright orange, but my family has the odd habit of peering over the pot of food as cubes of Velveeta slowly melt in. Of course, any time Velveeta is involved I have to keep 'extra' on hand for cooking, because my pre-sliced cubes will disappear right off my ingredients plate! Velveeta 2lb loaves are entirely shelf stable prior to opening, which I love, and can last weeks in the refrigerator (though they never have the chance). Buying refrigerated cheese can sometimes prove costly, and I'm always happy to have Velveeta on hand with it's big flavor and smooth cooking impact.
Just the other night I was preparing to cook the chicken for my famous Crunchy Nacho Chicken Casserole, when I realized I would soon be left with half a loaf of Velveeta cheese. This was unacceptable. I couldn't simply put half of the loaf back into the fridge. It would disappear in the middle of the night with no dignity at all. Then I had a light bulb, one it seems countless twisted minds before me have had before; fudge. I would find and make Velveeta Fudge. Before you begin calling the asylum on my behalf, sweet as the gesture would be, consider all of the sweet and savory gourmet flavor profiles we already enjoy today. There's salted caramel and chocolate dipped pretzels, candied bacon, and chili chocolate....It's not that far off, and I'd bet, yes I'd bet, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference. I made this yesterday and invited a napping Jay and Sabrina(10) into the kitchen to lick the spoon and mixing bowl. They not only cleaned the utensils, but praised me of the indulgent creamy, chocolate, flavor the entire way!
Velveeta Fudge
As it turns out, Velveeta fudge is additively sweet and slightly savory, like a good cheesecake. Whether it's the obviously cheesy Chicken Casserole, classic Velveeta Queso, or devilishly sneaky Velveeta Fudge, my favorite #VelveetaRecipes are the stuff memories, and happy tummies, are made of! Stop by the brand's Facebook page to share your passion for Liquid Gold and learn about new products and recipes. Also, stop by our Google+ album to get a sneak peek at some cheesy discoveries! Do you have a favorite Velveeta recipe?

 What Daughter Says: Discover how to harness Liquid Gold with flavorful #VelveetaRecipes.

Continue Reading for Special Velveeta Recipes....

Tech Roundup 2013: Gadgets Worth Watching

***This post is in no way sponsored or associated with the products and brands there in. All images are taken from press releases or general public 'stock' archives.
Momma Told Me: The marvels of today are the relics of tomorrow.

I still recall how excited I was to receive my very first Polaroid camera in 1989. It was a hand-me-down from my parent's upgrade and one of the hottest consumer technology trends in it's time. While the Polaroid (instant camera) format had been around in concept and profession since the early 60s, the SX-70 square format, instant film made capturing memories a present task. No longer were rolls of film required to snap that one perfect shot, costly one-hour expedited processing was an alternative, not the only choice, and the phrase "Shake it like a Polaroid picture" was coined. Even now, I cannot imagine the marvel on those first consumer's faces; the rush to show all the friends and neighbors their latest technological triumph. To instantaneously capture one moment, archived for history just instants later!

But today, my generation seems constantly inundated with advance after advance. It's almost as though we become desensitized to the wonder of how our world has shaped in a single lifetime. While I stopped holding my breath for a Jetsons' style hover car, somewhere around 10, there is still a very big part of me that thirsts for the next 'fix'. I am a tech gadget junkie, and an early adopter. Having said that, my finances are not limitless, and I do not jump on the Apple bandwagon. Have you noticed how some people seem to treat their tech like a Coach purse? Buying into technology should be an investment, not a show of status. After all, while a purse is simply a purse; choosing your family's next camera is a purchase that should be made for function. Weeding through the thousands of 'what's next' gimmicks, versus viable technology can be overwhelming!
I fee my addiction for the latest and greatest technology by following Kickstarter; no, this is not a plug, it is simply a fact. For those unfamiliar with this amazing, in my humble opinion, resource for product development, Kickstarter is a consumer driven start up program. Companies, inventors, and even ordinary people with simplifying concepts, present their product ideas for public assessment. They provide a 'Kickstart' goal that enables them to begin official launch or production of their product based on investor matching or overall start up costs. A time frame is then set in place to raise such money through consumer backing. This is often in exchange for a small token, gift, discount, or initial product (upon release), depending on the denomination of the donation. For example, the above Sprizzi Drink Machine just may be the next cold beverage Keurig; it offers over a hundred drink bases and processes chilled, carbonated (optional) beverages by the single serving. This puppy is already headed for production and will be hitting anxious backers counters sometime late this year with double it's pledge goal!
Another Kickstarter favorite I've been anxiously watching is the EMBRACE+ wearable technology band. This accessory bracelet not only changed color to match your mood and outfit, but can be programmed to interact with your Bluetooth enabled device (think smartphone) to alert you visually or via vibration to incoming social status updates, emails, notifications, and more. Not only can the user change the colors of the bracelet to match a limitless coordination of hues, but the patterns of color and vibration combinations can alert the wearer of dozens of unique social media and daily events. the EMBRACE+ band is entirely waterproof, for constant wear, and charges via an internal power feed and docking charger. Look for this nifty accessory on shelves this Summer, as it's already doubled it's base fundraising goal.
Shave Tech
This next product isn't a Kickstarter find, but something I caught on one of my favorite gift roundup sites (ThisIsWhyI', or such). No larger than the modern smartphone, this electric razor is USB powered for an on-the-go shave that is no longer a hassle. Simply plug your ShaveTech into your USB output device (laptop, usb AC adapter, etc) and allow it to charge for 4 hours. This will provide you with 30 minutes of strong shave time. The ShaveTech is completely safe for carry-on luggage and the perfect gift for any dad or grad with a fast-paced lifestyle. Looking sharp and well groomed is essential for success, and wives will enjoy never having to hear the 'I forgot to pack my good razor' excuse for stubble-face again!
Laser Keyboard
If men's grooming technology isn't your thing, how about this James Bond-esque Virtual Laser Keyboard? While there are a few 'value' renditions of this device out there, the original Celluon consumer version is known as the Magic Cube and will only set you back about $200 USD. Considering how much my ex-boyfriend once paid for his gaming keyboard, this isn't so steep when you factor in the space saving properties and 'tech junkie' points you'll earn. I actually happen to have a Magic Cube here in the house I've been holding onto since launch. I know, I know, I want to drag all of my household guests eagerly to show it off, but as of yet my 'desk' is my lap. The Magic Cube projects a visual laser keyboard onto any flat non-reflective surface, and tracks 'keystrokes' by mapping the movement of one's fingers. I love how compact the device itself is, and the fact that nearly any Bluetooth device with a compose function is compatible. In addition, it's pretty darn awesome to think about typing my next blog post in complete darkness!
Google Glass
You didn't think I was going to do a tech roundup without pondering the latest tech gadget fad (And for once it's not Apple!); Google Glass. I'll admit, what I know of this device consists mostly of SNL parodies and Google news clips. I try to avoid the big buzz products until they've been through appropriate beta and version releases. While the Google Glass 'wearable technology' is some of the first of it's kind made available to consumers (or so we'll see after this round of media testing), it's the closest thing to Star Trek technology I think I'll see hit shelves in my lifetime. Yes, I would love to get my hands on one to tinker- but I can imagine the intense benefits from one's experience could easily border extreme frustration during acclimation phases. Surely this technology will require ample testing before it is truly attune to consumer preferences and trials. One of the things I am most excited about the potential uses of Google Glass is the ability to instantly stream or record video and images from the user's perspective. Unfortunately, Google admits the capability and possibilities of this device are much more expansive than those of the current battery and processor.
Form 1 3D printer
Last, but not least, if none of these things tickle you, then why not make your own, literally. The Form 1 3D Printer, expected to ship early next year, has raised nearly 3 million dollars for a tech toy that has deceptively complex possibilities. This resin 3D printer offers precision creation results up to 10 times more precise in edge and curve than any previously produced consumer comparable device. Naturally, printing your own models and self created resin replicas will set you back a hefty $3k initial investment, though the potential for Etsy designers and home start ups to emerge from it's use is limitless. While I can't imagine having the capacity to truly harness this device's capabilities, the Form 1 3D will surely serve as the next must have 'geek out' device for model crafters and engineers nationwide. I'd settle for simply seeing one in action- to watch a 3D figure emerge from thin air, so to speak, is certainly futuristic!

What new technology are you anxiously awaiting?

What Daughter Says: The biggest technological developments are the ones with potential to grow through time.

Bubblegum PEEPS Marshmallow Fluff Cupcakes +Summer Giveaway

Bubblegum PEEPS cupcakes
***I was provided complimentary PEEPS Summer flavors for the purpose of this post. No further compensation was provided. Regardless, all opinions and stories are original, and all photos are copyright Momma Told Me 2013.
Momma Told Me: Of Childhood memories....

There are certain thing from childhood, toys, scents, sweets, that transition certain memories through one's lifetime. These are things that if seen, touched, or smelled, can solicit fits of giggles and foolish behavior. For me, the majority of these things, and brands, are associated with candy. Let's face it, as a child, the best holidays align themselves with seasonal specialties that only emerge once a year. And, if we're going to be honest, they may not necessarily be the most culinary creations; that is to say I won't hunt down Sweethearts (aka. conversation hearts) unless they happen to be on the shelf for Valentine's Day. These aren't things I crave outside of the festivities, but the memories tied to them make these candies all the sweeter when they come back around. And, for the sake of honesty, I'll divulge that my favorite seemingly seasonal candy are Bottle Caps (the little sweet and chalky tablets flavored like various sodas). Year after year my enthusiasm for these fun sized pouches in my Halloween bucket has convinced my father they are among one of my favorite candies. So much so he hunts them down off season and proudly gifts them to me; and it's little things like that which keep them so dear to me.
It may sound funny to say we, as humans, have emotional connections to these seasonal decorations, or even candy, but I've found it's quite normal. For Momma, one of these childhood delights included a Danish specialty my grandmother would have imported for big entertaining events. Quite literally translated in English to Floderboller (Flo-der-bowl-er), these giant marshmallow cremes were often generously dolloped on a graham cracker wafer base, then encased in the richest of dark chocolates. I always though of them as a giant, topless, smore wrapped in dark chocolate- they're a delicacy from Momma's ethnic heritage. Which is why it is so ironic that today's nostalgic treat of choice should be a mallow of sorts on it's own; PEEPS. Perhaps one of the most widely debated childhood candies, these marshmallow bunnies and chicks are most known for their yearly appearances in children's Easter baskets.
Bubblegum PEEPS
marshamllow fluff
When I mentioned to my friends and family that I would be doing a 2 part mini-series on these fluffy little treats the reactions were passionate. Many had not had a PEEPS since their own childhood, yet remained adamant in their feelings. My social media was abuzz with those who less than eloquently proclaimed their distaste, and those who passionately defended this iconic childhood staple. However, both sides seemed to be ignorant to the fact that PEEPS, the brand, is not just an Easter-time thing. If one searches back through the holiday displays throughout their time, it's likely your mind's eye will pass a few less than traditional marshmallow treats. One of my favorites are the sugar dusted ghosts and grinning pumpkins; or the strawberry PEEPS dipped in dark chocolate for Valentine's. Yes, PEEPS and Company are around all year- and reasoning stands that the original PEEPs you recall from your childhood just might be a different experience than these new characters and flavors.
For most, I've come to learn, any disinterest in PEEPS comes from the excess sweet sugar coating, or the simple fact that the individual has not had a PEEPS in so long, they cannot recall why they did or didn't like them. Until a few years ago, I fell into this category myself. Then I ran into chocolate dipped PEEPS in February, and this classic mallow suddenly became a long lost friend. While I still prefer building colorful wreaths and kabobs with the original, rainbow of PEEPS, it's the seasonal flavors that I actually enjoy eating. Let's face it, PEEPS are an international icon, known for their adorable shapes and characters; which is why the PEEPS and Co range of merchandise has done so well. But PEEPS also have a strong supporting cast in their beloved co-brands; Hot Tamales, Mike and Ike, and Peanut Chews. And just like a close-knit group of friends, PEEPS and Co brands like to support one another in theme and flavors. This Summer's big theme? Lemonade Mike and Ikes and Sweet Marshmallow PEEPS; supporting Alex's Lemonade Stand foundation to end childhood cancer.
Bubblegum filled cupcakes
Bubblegum PEEPS cupcakes
I've already covered how special the Sweet Lemonade specialty PEEPS are to me, in mission and flavor. (Honestly, whether you're a PEEPS fan or not, hunt these down and try them; they're sold in adorable 2PC packs.) But I also received a special sneak peek look at this summer's other PEEPS specialty flavor, Bubblegum. I can think of few confections better suited for such a sweet and fluffy pink flavor. Sold in 10pc packages, with 2 trays of 5, the Bubblegum PEEPS most resemble traditional Pink chicks with a retro 'Dubble Bubble' style packaging. It's clear from first crack of the package seal that these are certainly not your ordinary sugar chicks, the rich Bubblegum aroma wafts up like a fresh scoop of bubblegum ice cream. Children who've long dreamed of actually swallowing their gum (let's face it, it's an odd fantasy had as a child) will get a kick out of this Bubblegum flavored treat they can actually consume.
Inspired by the playful flavor and Bubblegum pink hue, I immediately knew I wanted to transition these seasonal PEEPS into a fun treat to light up children's parties year-round. I set out to make Blue Vanilla Cupcakes with Bubblegum Frosting, and a Bubblegum PEEPS fluff filling. As it turns out, my workstation quickly became covered in what we affectionately called 'PEEPS Magic Dust,' and the mallow creme fluff filling would have been equally enjoyed sandwiched between to cake patties in a whoopie pie fashion. But who can resist these pink and blue cupcakes with Pink PEEPS on top? I think they'd be especially adorable at a baby shower! Whatever your purpose with these devilishly cute cupcake creation, I've designed the recipe so they can be replicated with minimal fuss. My 'base' for these cupcakes was store bought this time, and the frosting was a snap with the Bubblegum Duncan Hines Frosting Creations packet. The majority of the work is in the PEEPS Bublegum fluff filling , but that can be easily accomplished with a bit of patience and constant stirring.
Bubblegum PEEPS cupcakesBubblegum PEEPS recipe
Bubblegum PEEPS Mallow Fluff
*click here for printable recipe


* 12-15 Bubblegum PEEPS
* 2 Large Egg Whites
* 1 C Granulated Sugar
*1/3 C Cold Water
* 1/4 TSP Cream of Tartar
* 1/4 TSP Salt
* 1/4TSP Vanilla Extract


1.) Whisk the egg whites, sugar, water, cream of tartar, and salt in a large heat resistant bowl. (Stainless steel or Pyrex is fine)
2.) Place the bowl over a saucepan filled with 2" of simmering water. Using a hand beater or whisk, beat the egg mixture for another 4 MINS.
3.) Tear the Bubblegum PEEPS into quarters as you add them to the hot egg mixture, continuing to stir. Introduce 3 PEEPS at a time and allow to fully melt before adding more.
4.) Once all PEEPS are introduced into the mixture continue to beat for 2-3 MINS until soft peaks begin to form. Remove from heat and add vanilla extract. Continue beating until fluff reaches desired thickness/texture.

***For my Bubblegum PEEPS I used a boxed White (vanilla) cake mix, with Blue food coloring to save time. For Bubblegum Frosting, I combined 1 tub of Duncan Hines Frosting Creations base with 1 packet Bubblegum Flavor. To 'fill' the cupcakes I waited until the cupcakes had cooled then introduced a ribbon of fluff via a plastic condiment container (sold for $1 at WalMart in the kitchen area). The 'fluff' can also be spread between two cookies or flat cakes for a whoopie pie like presentation.

What Daughter Says: Recall why PEEPS were so magical in childhood, try new Summer PEEPS flavors today.

Future First Time Home Buyer Coming Through!

***This post is in no way sponsored; it is composed of original content and thoughts, exclusive to the writer. All images contained there in are public property or stock. I am not a professional financial advisor, please do not take anything I say as such.
 Momma Told Me: Life's full of big firsts.

I have an announcement. Okay, a declaration.

We have decided to buy a home. After 10 years of renting, more than 1/3 and nearly half of my life, I have grown tired of tossing money into the wind in exchange for another month with a roof over my head. My parents made their big move from renters to home owners when I was 10, placing them in their mid-thirties, and a decade ahead of me. Like most of these life goals I set out to tackle, this is no exception; I feel constantly judged by my age. Naturally anyone who has been on this planet for a few decades knows that age is no indication of maturity or one's ability to handle responsibility. Unfortunately, when buying a home, there are some things considered that simply must come with age. (For example,it's hard to have established credit at 20.) So I have waited, patiently, and through an entire marriage, for the right time to dip my toe into the homeowner pool and gauge the water's interest.
This week we took 'the plunge.' We met with a Loan Officer, whom we'll consider the Dog the Bounty Hunter of Mortgages, and received an honest assessment of our income and credit (FICO scores). When I got married, in what seems like another lifetime now, I left the 9-5 workplace and began finding sources of income from home, in hopes of having a family. When that didn't work out I had a several year gap on my resume, and found I could make a more stable income continuing what I was doing at home, rather than try to re-enter the workplace. This was great for our bottom line, but not for income taxes. You see, I lack the 'job security' mortgage lenders require to qualify for a home loan. Thankfully Jay has his minimum years in security, and our combined income solidifies us for a decent loan.

Unfortunately, my marriage put a few dings on my credit history. 2 debts, school loans and a whopping $1,300 Time Warner collection (for un-returned cable boxes) equal a debt of about $5200 on my credit history. Both incidents are near their 3 year 'turn the other way' credit history length, and we found ourselves with 2 options for resolution. We could wait for both incidents to drop off my credit history through the next year, or haggle with collections to reach a settlement and bring my FICO up to the golden 640 within 6 months of payment. Whether I want to point fingers or not, both debts were incurred with my knowledge of the consequences, and fighting the ex-husband for his financial responsibility would likely take even longer. So I resolved to clear my outstanding debts in good faith; and the 6 month wait begins.
retro home
We're fortunate that Jay's younger age, and limited credit applications, put him in great standing with his credit score, and stable job. Once my FICO is settled we're told we'll have no problem moving onto the next stage of home ownership- loan pre-approval. Unfortunately, I still feel completely lost in all of the steps and technicalities.We are lucky that we have a little nest egg built up in savings, and our income and status will qualify us for a no-payment down first home; but the enormous weight of choosing a home is over-whelming. When the water heater breaks there will be no landlord to cry to; and moving because the neighbors are into some shady activity won't be an option. This is a 30 year commitment, less with good behavior, but let's face it, buying a home is long term. Whether we end up in a modest condo, or a humble 2 bedroom stand alone, I know the journey and result will be full of it's own new challenges.
mortgage agreement
Right now we have 6 months to seriously discuss and think about what our dream home means. Naturally, this will be a 'starter' home, something smaller and within our first-time range. Unfortunately, with the market being down right now first time buyers like us will have to fight to edge out the investors trying to make cash offers on properties in our budget. And deciding to invest in a foreclosure property could be immediately beneficial on the bottom line, but prove more risk than it's worth in repairs and upkeep. If I had my druthers we'd be moving out of Southern California to a more rural (and affordable) part of the country, like Oregon. This beach gal has had enough of fabulous, expensive, California living. I want a small little cottage in the woods with a tire swing. *sigh* But people aren't seeds to be blown with the wind, we are established plants, with roots (family). And buying our first home is stressful enough without having to re-locate states!

These are the things that keep swimming through my head. Am I making the right decisions? 6 months may seem like a lit of time, but life flies by before we know it. Do you have any tips for making these decisions and navigating the first time home buying market?

What Daughter Says: From my first steps to my first home, these firsts don't get any easier, but are just as rewarding!

3 Step Cleaning Survival Guide + PennyWise Supply Giveaway 6/9

Spring Cleaning
***I received product samples from the following vendors; Lysol, Rubbermaid, Heritage Can Liners, and Rolodex, through Penny Wise Office Products, for the purpose of this post. No further compensation was provided. All images are copyright Momma Told Me Blog 2013.
Momma Told Me: A place for everything....

Sometimes I walk into my home after a long day and a certain, well, funk, hits my nose. Then, out of the corner of my eye a dust bunny rolls by with the cat in orbit. It's times like those I realize our home is due for a good 'Spring Cleaning;' the term, of course, coined for it's rejuvenating properties (similar to Spring), though a valid task year-round. That is to say, it doesn't have to be Spring to Spring Clean! Now, Momma put my little hands to work as soon as I could understand that chemicals weren't beverages, and Momma wasn't a maid. I had my own bottle of Soft Scrub and hot pink dish gloves by 7, and an allowance tempting enough to put a smile on my face while I used them. Of course, as adults, we do not receive a stipend simply for tackling life's day to day chores. While it would be nice to see $5 in my bank account for every time I was my car, it's simply not going to happen. The will to clean must come of it's own volition; perhaps it's when the mysterious Tupperware in the fridge begins to grumble, or one's feet turn black upon exiting the shower stall (I don't judge), we all have our inspiration point.
Every day I look around our home and feel overwhelmed by all the little cleaning and organization products I plan on tackling 'someday.' It's not that we live in a pigsty, it's more that my Type A personality is constantly nagging in the back of my mind about what a 'proper' home should look like. I preach to Jay all the time about maximizing time by doing small maintenance tasks to avoid big cleanup projects. Things like bringing a handful of scrap cardboard down to the trash when heading off to work (I have a strict 'no empty hands' policy concerning trash and clutter), or wiping down the counters while waiting for a meal to microwave. But the simple truth is that there is never enough time in one's day to balance work, cleaning, a job, and family. Some things have to fall by the wayside, and it's often the 'cleaning' part, here.
As we round out the end of Spring and approach Summer I find myself overwhelmed by how quickly this year has gone by, and find myself feeling a great need to purge the 'excess' in preparation for the long Summer Vacation (and influx of kids). Thankfully, Penny Wise Office Products has some wonderful solutions to make big differences without lots of work. Known for it's sensible and style savvy selection of must have office and cleaning supplies, Penny Wise Office is owned by Kathryn Morley, who founded the company in hopes of providing a female friendly source for professional and business supply needs. While customers can order online, I always suggest requesting a FREE comprehensive color catalog to peruse and order. Rivaling our local phone book in size, the Penny Wise Office Catalog is meticulously organized by alphabetical content and offers pages of shopping selection per topic. For example, when I decided it was time to invest in a Desk Organizer, there were over 10 spinning varieties listed, and countless space saving drawer options.
Rolodex Organizer
It will come as no surprise that we have multiple 'junk drawers' in our home, with the kitchen being the biggest culprit. I keep my purse right next to the main kitchen counter, therefor, I use said counter as my desk the majority of the time. Impressively, I cleared out an entire drawer of junk, condensed from 2 down to 1, simply by investing in an affordable desktop organizer. The Rolodex (ROL1773083) Wire Mesh Spinning Desk Sorter is about 6.5" in diameter and features 8 compartments of various sizes. In the center of this rotating caddy is a hollow round compartment great for markers and tall objects, while the outside perimeter has more shallow 'shelves' great for small objects like paper clips and thumb tacks. Having all of my office essentials visible and on hand at the end of the kitchen counter is a lifesaver for me; no more foraging through layers of supplies in the junk drawer! Even better, when everything has it's own place- it's more likely they will be returned in order, rather than left lying around. This organizer rotates a complete 360 and is made from a durable mesh that is easy to clean and design friendly.
Lysol Wipes
Another of my personal cleaning guidelines is to clean in tasks that will encourage the completion of others. For example, the couch 'butler' (or, part of the sectional that houses remotes and beverages), is one of the highest traffic spots in our house. On any given day 6-10 beverages and countless hands will pass through this little section of our couch. Ensuring this area, and the highly handled electronics (remotes, gaming controllers, etc) are sanitized is a frequent job of mine. This job, in my mind, is a necessity- it must be done daily. Doing this job also encourages the cleaning of crumbs and change between the surrounding cushions, and removal of gunk gathered at the bottom of our cup-holders. With a simple easy to dispense Lysol Lemon Scented Disinfecting Wipes I can treat multiple surfaces at once for a refreshing clean that is quick drying and immediately noticeable. Our leather surfaces are constantly showing scuffs and smudges, and Lysol wipes are a lifesaver that cuts cleaning time (wipes are a ready to use product vs. paper towels and cleansers), and keeps our couch looking it's best.
Slim Jim Containers
Finally, the biggest source of cleaning stress is the need to store recyclables inside a 2 bedroom condo. No matter where you live, space is likely an issue; take away the backyard and garage space of a traditional stand-alone home, and you're left fighting HOA rules and square feet for a suitable recycling area. We go through an intense amount of bottles and cans through the course of a week, and only make it to the recycling center about once a month. Bottles, glass, and cans usually reside inside the house until they overtake their designated containers, then they get transitioned to can liners for transport to our garage. In the past we have transferred recyclables to the liners directly form the receptacles, due to a lack of proper fit. Recently I discovered Heritage brand RePrime Can Liners that feature Accufit technology specially designed to work with Rubbermaid 32 gallon containers. These unique liners mold to fit the lip of 32 gallon bins for a slip and tear free installation that is fuss free.
Slim Jim Recycling
Which brings us to Tip #3, Waste No Space. In the past we've had everything from large 50 gallon round plastic bins to tall square recycling boxes. Thanks to Rubbermaid and Penny Wise Office Products we've discovered the commercial Rubbermaid Slim Jim 23 gallon containers for general waste and recycling. Available in designated blue, for recycling, or traditional gray, these Slim Jim containers are about 3' tall, 2' deep, and 1' wide for the perfect space saving footprint to fit in any home or office nook and cranny. I had no trouble sliding the Recylcing Slim Jim between our home printer and filing cabinet, or the Gray container alongside the pantry cabinet. Not only are these containers extremely durable, yet lightweight, but they stack into one another for storage and feature thick carrying handles for transport. I love how much space we save with the slender, yet tall, profile of these Slim Jim containers.

So there you have it, 3 simple cleaning tips to help cut down day to day clutter and time spent organizing. There are thousands more space saving and cleaning solutions in the Penny Wise Office catalog, so be sure to head on over and request yours today.

What Daughter Says: Smart organization and multi-cleaning will eliminate the need for big Spring Cleaning jobs.

One Momma Told Me follower will win the products featured above; Heritage Can Liners, Rubbermaid Slim Jim Waste Containers, Lysol Disinfecting Wipes, and Rolodex Mesh Desktop Organizer.