My Top 20 Triplets Memories

Two months old.

Two months old.

Happy 20th birthday today to our three beautiful babies!

Here are the Top 20 wonderful memories I have about raising two girls and a boy, born within five minutes of each other.

The triplet stroller turned heads.

The triplet stroller turned heads.

1.  Walking up and down our street to get some fresh air.

2.  Watching all three babies nap in one crib, swaddled and warm.

3.  Reading stories together, either at bedtime or on long car trips.

Triplets plus one.

Triplets plus one.

4.  Pumpkin picking, wagon rides, and bringing home cider, doughnuts and apple butter.

Halloween.

Halloween.

5.  Halloween–dressing up, trick-or-treating, pumpkin carving, and the elementary school show.

6.  Thanksgiving along with many holidays spent with family.

7.  Countless trips to Baltimore (shout out to my MD family) and Long Island (Dad’s family).

Train ride to NYC.

Train ride to NYC.

8.  Day trips, especially taking the train to Manhattan.

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9.  Building snowmen, sledding and playing in the snow. (Hot chocolate and cookies, anyone?)

 

First day of high school.

First day of high school.

10.  First day of school.

11.  First day of camp (and first time on a big, yellow school bus to go to day camp.)

Farm-themed b-day party.

Farm-themed b-day party.

12.  Birthday parties.  (Hon, you know I love a party!)

Skiing.

Skiing.

13.  Skiing.

14.  Trip to Israel.

15.  Vacations, especially Disney World.

16. Significant religious milestones.

Bethany Beach, Delaware.

Bethany Beach, Delaware.

17.  Beach vacations and day trips to the Jersey shore.

"Baby A"

“Baby A”

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18.  Watching our determined 2 pound 9 ounce daughter grow up.

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"Baby B"

“Baby B”

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19.  Watching our feisty 4 pound 12 ounce son turn into a young man.

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"Baby C"

“Baby C”

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20.  Watching our sassy 4 pound 4 ounce daughter morph before our eyes.

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Hon, I’m raising a virtual glass of champagne in a toast to my three 20 year-olds.  Health and happiness.

Cheers!

Citrusy and Sweet Orange Muffins

Citrus Muffins

Citrus Muffins

I recently baked Orange Muffins using my new Orange Cake Recipe. They tasted good, but I wanted to increase the citrus flavor and add some sweetness. I figured a bit of lemon and a touch of chocolate would do the trick.

Here’s the Orange Cake Recipe with a few additions. The Citrusy and Sweet Orange Muffins are in the oven now. Can you smell them?

Happy baking, hon!

1. Beat butter and granulated sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs.

1. Beat butter and granulated sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs.

2. Peel, cut into chunks and seed oranges.

2. Peel, cut into chunks and seed oranges.

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3. After whirling oranges in food processor, add them to butter/sugar batter and beat until blended.

3. After whirling oranges in food processor, add them to butter/sugar batter and beat until blended.

Add 2 Tablespoons of orange juice, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon of lemon extract.

4. Add 2 Tablespoons of orange juice, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon of lemon extract.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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4. Add flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder to bowl and beat until smooth.

5. Add flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder to bowl.

6. Beat batter until smooth.

6. Beat batter until smooth.

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7. Drizzle a bit of chocolate syrup into center of muffin cups.

7. Drizzle a bit of chocolate syrup into center of muffin cups.

8. Spread chocolate syrup into a star shape with a toothpick. Add more batter on top of chocolate before baking.

8. Spread chocolate syrup into a star shape with a toothpick. Add more batter on top of chocolate before baking.

 

 

 

 

 

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9. After baking, let muffins cool slightly before glazing.

9. After baking, let muffins cool slightly before glazing.

10. Drizzle glaze over inverted, slightly cooled cake. Let glazed cake set before serving.

10. Drizzle glaze over muffins and let set.

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Enjoy!

Enjoy!

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Citrusy and Sweet Orange Muffins

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, softened (or margarine to make the muffins non-dairy)

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

3 large eggs

2 oranges (about 1 lb total), ends trimmed, then cut into chunks and seeded

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon orange juice

1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

Chocolate syrup to drizzle

2 1/2 cups flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (confectioner’s sugar)

2 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice

non-stick cooking-oil spray

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Line muffin tray with baking cups or coat tray with non-stick cooking spray.

2.  In a large bowl, use a mixer on medium speed to beat butter and granulated sugar until fluffy.  Beat in eggs.

3.  Whirl orange chunks in a food processor until mostly smooth but not pureed.

4.  Add 1 1/2 cups orange mixture to butter/ sugar batter and beat until blended.

5.  Add lemon juice, lemon extract and 1 teaspoon orange juice.

6.  Add flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder to batter and beat until smooth.

7.  Fill muffin cups half-way with batter.  Drizzle a dot of chocolate syrup in the middle of batter. Using a toothpick, spread chocolate in a star shape. Add batter on top of each half-way filled muffin cup.

8.  Bake approximately 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few crumbs clinging to it.  Cool pan on a cooling rack.  (I used the extra batter to make a small loaf. That took approx. 40 mins to bake.)

9.  In a small bowl, whisk together powdered (confectioner’s) sugar, 2 Tbls orange juice and 1 tsp lemon juice.  Drizzle over muffins and let glaze set.

Yield:  Depends on if you want all muffins or a muffin/ loaf combo. With the measurements above, I made 12 muffins and 1 small loaf, in a 7″ length x 2.5″ width x 1.8″ high oven-safe paper bakeware “baking pan.” (brand: Welcome Home, purchased at: Homegoods).

Canyoneering in Utah, Quicksand and Teamwork (Part 2)

Mt. Carmel, Utah

Mt. Carmel, right outside Zion National Park, Utah

“Is there really such a thing as quicksand?”

In my last post, Canyoneering in Utah, Harnesses, Helmets & Hooks (Part 1), Hubby, Teen Daughter and I got geared up. We hiked to the top of the canyons, listened closely as James Milligan, our Zion Outfitters guide, taught us how to rappel on vertical sandstone, and learned that friction is our friend.

Tip:  “Lower you butt until it’s in line with your feet, then ‘walk’ down the canyon.”

James informed us that the bottom of the canyons had been dry for the past four years, but it had flooded in April as well as rained the night before. We were going to have to jump into water. How deep was the water? Not sure. What was at the bottom of the water? Quicksand!

Ropes in the canyon.

Ropes in the canyon.

We rappelled down this canyon

We rappelled down this canyon

 

 

 

 

 

 

Intense hiking.

Intense hiking.

Narrow canyon walls.

Narrow canyon walls.

Hubby rappelled first, then belayed Teen Daughter, me and James. When there was just a pool of (cold) water at the canyon bottom, Hubby would let us know where is seemed shallowest. Then we’d jump in and scramble to flat ground. Teamwork was essential!

James guessed (right) that there was quicksand at the bottom of one pool. I’d doubted if quicksand really existed. Hon, quicksand is real! Hubby went down first, hoisted himself out of the goop and made it to flat ground. Whew! He held the rope below while James held it above, creating a taut line for me and Teen Daughter to grab onto and, hand-over-hand, get us out of the muck. But the muck pulled me in!

Want to know what panic feels like?  It feels like quicksand sucking you in, drawing you deeper as you try to kick your way out. Help!

I used all of my upper body strength to pull up on that taut rope.  I hollered for Hubby to grab my arm and GET ME THE HECK OUT OF THERE!

Once we were all out, the feeling was fabulous.  WE DID IT!

The setting sun made the rocks even redder.

The setting sun made the rocks even redder.

 

Huge birds' nest in the crags.

Huge birds’ nest in the crags.

 

 

 

 

 

Looking back and up.

Looking back and up.

What a day!

We weren't done yet. We crawled like Spiderman up a sandstone face to reach our car.

This pic was overexposed, but I adjusted it as much as possible.  Not on flat ground yet!

The only way back was up!

A fallen tree blocked the less steep path back to the car, so we had to change plans. “Huh?” I asked. “We’re going straight up?” Thank goodness James knew what to do. When we couldn’t find a foothold, he placed his foot sideways so we could brace against it like a step! We “Spidermanned” our way up the sandstone (which, I learned the hard way, you can’t grasp like rock because petrified sand dunes crumble when you grab them) and finally reached the car…Gritty. Dirty. Wet. Sooo happy!

When can I go again?

(Want to comment?  Click on the Word Bubble next to Title of Post.  Thanks, hon!)