Apple Cider Cupcakes

My sweet Momma is a Halloween baby and turns 70 today!

We celebrated big over the weekend with lots of family, food and of course yummy cupcakes!

I was looking for some inspiration for cupcakes when I happened on a recipe where you replace milk used in most cake recipes with apple cider. That sounded like the perfect seasonal recipe so I adjusted the recipe to fit what I needed, gathered together eggs, flour, vanilla, apple pie spice, etc…. ad got to baking!

I loved how the cupcakes turned out and they were so moist! Honestly using Apple cider was a fantastic call! The fact the cider was fresh from Crow Mtn Orchard nearby made it even better!

I used a basic decorators buttercream icing tinted with Wilton gel colors for decorating.

Momma loves seasonal flavors and this was a great way to utilize her favorite!

Let’s not talk about the candles… seriously y’all , sometimes you have to improvise.

Here is the full recipe you can print for Apple Cider Cupcakes

BTW…. If you aren’t a fan of icing, serve these babies up hot with butter. Yep, they make fantastic muffins, too!!

Happy Halloween Y’all!

Disney on Ice Celebrating 100 Years

Disney on Ice is here in Atlanta now through April 28, 2019 and it’s definitely a show you don’t want to miss!

It doesn’t matter if you’re an adult without kids, parents or grandparents Disney has put together a show highlighting some of their most popular characters from the traditions of Mickey Mouse to a shortened version of Elsa & Anna’s story from Frozen on ice which had the crowd (including myself) singing along.

100 Years of Disney Magic on Ice /  Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

The talent among the cast doesn’t disappoint as I heard gasps from the oldest to youngest of children (myself included), and the vibrant costumes, which help tell the character’s stories were on point, as always in the World of Disney.

Songs from your favorite Disney movies are performed as the skaters dance, swirl, twirl and dazzle on the ice in a magical evening the entire family will love!

Dsney on Ice / Oh FIddle Dee Dee

Tami and I letting our inner children out as we head into the arena for Disney on Ice: 100 Years of Magic

Grab your Mickey (or Minnie Ears) and check out Disney on Ice: 100 Years of Magic at Duluth’s Infinite Energy Arena through the weekend!

Beloved Benefit

Last night I had the privilege of attending the 1st (hopefully to become annual) Beloved Benefit; a fundraiser to help restore Atlanta’s Westside communities.

This was such a great evening that brought together around 2000 Atlantans to help bring awareness and support for nonprofit organizations like Westside Works, the Grove Park foundation, Westside Future Fund, City of Refuge and At-Promise Youth Center. Sponsored by the Chick Fil A Foundation and AMB Group, LLC (Arther Blank of Home Depot), 100% of proceeds going to these nonprofits working to revitalize historic Westside neighborhoods.

This is not meant to be a political event (y’all, politics destroys communities), but an event that unites communities to preserve, engage and save another community; one that is our neighbor.

Inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Beloved Community” mentioned in his speeches and writings, this unique evening brought together both celebrities and Atlanta neighbors to unite around the historic Westside community; a community dying in poverty.  As members of any community we should all remember that when “one person suffers, we all suffer.”

It’s up to us to make a change and help our neighbors.

The evening was hosted by comedian Steve Harvey and featured speakers included Rev. Bernice King (the daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr) and Justin E Giboney leaving us with inspired and informative messages (that brought tears) encouraging us to take action for our neighboring communities.  Jeff Foxworthy, rapper, TI and Ceelo Green, and mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms were just a few notable people who introduced each of the nonprofits.

Entertainment that reflected Atlanta and the Westside community was provided by the staff and children of the Atlanta Music Project, including a spine-tingling version of Stand By Me with Casey J and Crystal Nicole.  A group of dance students from a Westside studio also performed a fantastic interpretive dance routine for us.  The evening was capped off by a performance from Bruno Mars that had the Mercedes Benz Stadium rocking!

Check out these images from the evening and see how you can help with the Beloved Benefit effort by clicking here.  If you aren’t in Atlanta, make an effort to check out similar efforts in your own communities.  Quit thinking the government is going to save our country; let’s go out, help unite our communities and save ourselves!

Bruno Mars taking the stage

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Once Upon a Time….

In 2002 Audley & I packed up our little house in north Alabama and moved to Carrollton, Georgia; a small town just outside Atlanta. We had been married about 7 years, had four kids and just lost access to grandparents and great grandparents for help or just a little break from kids. If you’ve ever moved before, you know just how stressful that can be, but with 3 of our kids under the age of 5 and Audley working 10-hour days I was more than overwhelmed.

This was the Christmas the year before we moved if you want an idea of how young my kiddos were! Weren’t they just the cutest, though?!

The boxes weren’t getting unpacked as quickly as I needed, the house was a mess of toys and half organized rooms; I was exhausted from doing it all, and Audley was exhausted from working so much. It was a crazy time for us and it didn’t take long for stress to creep into our relationship. I was craving adult conversation, especially conversations that didn’t involve potty training, picking up after yourself, Bear in the Big Blue House, Bob the Builder, Rolie Polie Olie, Even Stevens and Lizzie McGuire.

Audley was needing to relax from long hours at work, constantly dealing with problems on the safety side of things. We desperately needed some us time, but not knowing anyone in town, and the fact we were on a tight budget, we knew that wasn’t going to happen.

Packed up boxes; a sight all too familiar to us over the years.

One Saturday, after a particularly frazzled day, I was trying to cook supper and it just wasn’t going so well. Audley had managed to leave work early so we had knocked out some of the lingering unpacking, and we were both tired. He asked if I wanted to go out to eat. I looked at him like he had lost his mind because taking the six of us out to dinner was a real luxury at that point in our lives.

Carpet picnics are still my favorite Date Night!  

But then, he did the sweetest thing; something that I’ve never forgotten.

Audley told me to feed the kids, looked at Samantha and told her that he was setting up a movie in her room for her and her two little sisters, then suggested I put Bradley on to bed. Next he told Samantha to take their drinks with them and not to come out until he gave them permission.

No arguments allowed!

 I was really wondering what in the world was going on! Audley slipped off into our bedroom for a few minutes, then told me he would be right back. I later learned he had been rolling coins.

Fifteen minutes later he strolled through the front door to an unusually quiet house with a bag from McDonalds and two sodas. He looked at the badly cleared kitchen table, and grabbed a blanket off of the couch and spread it on the floor. For a blissful hour we sat right in our living room eating our burgers and fries, just talking.

Our tradition of a carpet picnic was born.

Over the years we’ve enjoyed many a carpet picnic, even when we could’ve paid a babysitter, and since the kids have grown older. There were lean times when we had to roll coins; there were times we ordered seafood or sushi from a local hot spot and feasted like kings. Some nights we’ve managed to stay awake to snuggle and watch movies; some nights we fell asleep right on the floor.

Our carpet picnics have been some of my favorite memories in our almost 24 years.

I know Valentine’s Day is over, but the intentional time and effort we put into our marriages shouldn’t be. Parents need a break from parenting every now and then. Husbands and wives need to stay connected to each other and know what’s going on in their lives! I know you only have your kids at home for a short time, but when they get older, move off to college, get married at 20 years old, join the Marines…. it’s just you and your spouse left.

The intentional, mindful time and effort you’ve invested in each other while the kiddos were at home will determine the relationship you will have once the nest is empty.  You don’t want your marriage to be empty as well as the nest.

The relationship you have in your marriage will also play a role in the kinds of relationships your children choose to have.

Take some time for your spouse regularly. I’ve shared several inexpensive ideas all week that don’t even involve leaving the house! Check them out and make plans for you and your spouse together.

Happy Weekend y’all!!