Thursday, June 23, 2011

End of an Era

I know you came here today fully expecting and anticipating the post or posts all about NKOTB.  I'm such a tease aren't I?  Soon my friends, soon.  These things take time. 

Our small school has always been of the K-6=Elementary, 7&8=Junior High, and 9-12=High School.  I've always loved that about our school and one of the reasons I was so happy our kids get to go there.  Why rush them into junior high, the age of boycraziness, school dances, and organized school sponsored sports?  I liked the idea of keeping them elementary school naive and innocent that extra year.  I especially liked that since as of the '10-'11 school year we had a 5th grader in our family.  I was reveling in the fact that we had ONE MORE YEAR of elementary after 5th grade before she was thrown to the junior high joyousness.  Or so I thought...

Last August, before school started we attended the Open House.  The Open House is where the kids can bring in their supplies and meet their teachers before the school year starts.  As we chatted with Dakota's teacher, I noticed a sign up sheet on the desk at the front of the room.  I moved a little closer to get a look.  Imagine my surprise when it was the "5th Grade Graduation Snack/Supply Sign Up Sheet".  Umm, what the what?!?  I rudely interrupted the teacher as I was sure there was some mistake, I mean why would they have a 5th grade graduation when they weren't really graduating to anything but another year of elementary?  I figured this teacher was kinda new and hadn't gotten the memo that our school was a K-6 type.  After all, I've been here for 16 years and GI Joe for 33 years and it's ALWAYS BEEN THAT WAY.  To clarify, GI Joe has not been a student at that school for 33 years just in the community.  I was sure it was just an oversight on her part, so I called her out on it.
"Excuse me, I see there's a 5th grade graduation sign up sheet here.  Why is there a graduation ceremony when they aren't really graduating to junior high until after 6th grade?"
Smiling nicely and knowingly at me, "Oh didn't you hear, that changed, as of last year 6th grade is junior high."
Eyes getting a little misty, "But that can't be!  We still have TWO WHOLE YEARS OF DAKOTA BEING IN ELEMENTARY.  She can't go to junior high yet!"
And then Security came and escorted me out of the building... blah, blah, blah.  :) 

I should clarify and tell you that our school is a very small town school.  So much so that K-12 is all housed in the same building, yeah we're so URBAN like that. Graduating to junior high does not mean going to another building across town with kids you've never met, only then to go to an even bigger high school 3 years later with even more kids you don't know.  Oh no, junior high for our school means that you move "upstairs" to the junior high/high school area...with the same kids you've been going to school with since preschool and kindergarten.  But STILL!!!!

So on Friday, June 3rd, our baby, our firstborn, graduated from 5th grade and is now officially a junior higher.  Which feels really weird considering I feel like I just graduated from junior high a few months ago but that could largely attributed to my activities over the weekend which included but were not limited to..GOING TO AN NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK CONCERT AND ACTING LIKE I WAS 13 AGAIN!!!  (Oh trust me when I say that you will definitely be hearing more about that trip.)

How can this be?  I'm in serious denial. 

I mean, this picture was just taken YESTERDAY...

(Please excuse the amateurish photo of a photo, I got a fancy new printer/scanner which I did not use to scan this photo.  Why?  Because it didn't work when I clicked the button and I couldn't figure it out.  And yes, there are directions to it but who has time to read such things when there are actual BOOKS waiting to be read?  I'll just wait for GI Joe to figure it out and tell me how to do it.  In the meantime, this is what you get.  You get the point, she was a baby just yesterday and a very cute one at that.)

As you can see there's been a big mistake because she can't possibly be graduating 5th grade and going into JUNIOR HIGH! 

But the school system is convinced that she is so we sucked it up and attended her 5th grade graduation.  I vividly remember my 5th grade graduation, I wore a pink and white dress with the yoke ruffle at the waist (do you remember those awful things?) and my mall bangs were in rare form that day.  I remember we had to hold up a sign of what we wanted to be when we grew up.  Mine said Pediatrician.  Obviously, that worked out well for me.  It would've, had it not been for that darn Chemistry and Math stuff.  I don't understand why boring Chemistry and Algebra are sooooo important for a doctor...whatevs. 

Dakota's graduation was nothing like mine.  There was no Whitney Houston's "The Greatest Love of All" played (an injustice all it's own), no signs saying what they wanted to do when they grew up.  You know what they did have though?  AN HOUR AND 45 MINUTES OF recorder solos, awards for attendance, and 14 videos made by 5th graders with attempted comedic skits but were more like a remake of the Blair Witch Project, what with all the shaky, motion sickness inducing camera work, whispered voices, shrieking and all.  The two highlights of the ceremony for us were a) when Dakota walked up to get her diploma.  We were on the edge of our seats because we were sure she'd walk like a dragon or T-Rex to get it, not because she was being silly but because, umm...that's how she walks sometimes.  But our fears were relieved when she walked up there like a NORMAL girl!  A NORMAL GIRL!!!  Happiest day ever.  And she looked cute too because I had won the battle of whether or not she would wear a dress.  Even though the conversation that morning went a little something like this...
"Why do I have to wear a dress?"
"Because it's GRADUATION DAY!  You have to look nice!"
"It's dumb, it's not like we're wearing a cap and gown and we don't even get a REAL diploma..."
"You get a real diploma, it says you graduated from 5th grade and on to junior high."
"Oh yeah a lot of good that will do me.  Not like I can get into college or anything.."
"Good point, but you're still wearing the dress and going to look pretty and please don't walk like a dragon or a t-rex when you're walking up to get your fake diploma."
And b) the little boy in front of us who kept randomly applauding at nothing.  It was awesome.  Here's an example..."In 5th grade we studied the continents and...(kid randomly applauding and screaming YAY). 

We survived the ceremony and then it was time for the best part..the cookies and cake reception.  Dakota was jubilant, I think mostly about the cookies and cake, girl has a major sweet tooth, and less about the whole diploma thing but either way it was fun.  We took pictures of her with her favorite teacher and some of her friends. 

This teacher has been a school staple for 30 some years, you know back in the good ol' days when elementary was K-6.  She is loved by many, including Dakota. 

Won't it be fun to see what these girls look like in 7 years at their high school graduation?  Actually, no that won't be fun because that will mean SHE'S GRADUATING FROM HIGH SCHOOL.  I can't stand the thought.  Wander if we'll still have to tell her NOT to walk like a TRex to get her real diploma? 

And just like that, we're parents of a junior higher.  I'm not too worried about the first year of it though.  We were telling Dakota that being in junior high means DANCES!  Her response?  "Ewwwww.....I think I'll be sick that night!"  And that's what we like to hear. 
Except that I was kinda looking forward to chaperoning the dances so I could show off my fantabulous "Hangin' Tough" dance moves.  Yeah, I think junior high might not be so bad this time around, I have much better hair and Dakota has never even heard of mall bangs.  But she HAS heard of New Kids on the Block, and let's be honest, that's really the important stuff you need to know for junior high, at least it was when I was in junior high.  Now I just need to teach her the "Right Stuff" moves and it'll be smooth sailing from here. 

Here goes nothin'!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Father's Day..Delayed

I interrupt your regularly scheduled programming (aka Chicago/NKOTB recap) to bring you a little Father's Day poetry.  Yes, I realize Father's Day was 2 days ago but I'm on NKOTB time.  Bear with me. 

So here's a little original Prairie Princess Poetry to tide you over.  This was my Father's Day poem to my dad this year.  I'm basically Edgar Allan Poe...seriously.

 *A little background before we begin...I bought my dad a horn for his bike for Father's Day.  He's been big into riding his bike as of late and one of my kids' favorite thing to do with their Papa is to ride bikes so a bike horn was an obvious gift.  Or not, but it will make him laugh and frankly, the thought of my dignified Dad rolling thru his lakeside community with a horn on his bike makes me laugh too.  And if he ever uses it?  Oh help me Moses. 

I present to you the 2011 Father's Day Poem to my Dad

I bought this bike horn for you
I thought you'd like it more than an "I Love Dad" tattoo

So you can honk it proudly when out on the road
Or when your grandsons ahead of you need to be slowed

When you honk it I hope you'll think of me
And how many gray hairs I contributed to thee

I know you're not one to toot your own horn (ha ha get it.....horn, like bikehorn see how I did that?)
But you should because a great dad you've been to me since the day I was born.

You taught me how to shoot hoops
So my sons I could whoop

And how to be strong and calm when the world is against me
When I'd much rather let them see my fury

You've shown me how to work hard
But not how to play cards (that's ok I learned anyway..blackjack anyone?!?)

You've set the bar high for men in my life
And undoubtedly saved me much strife

Through you I saw what a husband should be
And also how to properly enjoy Oreo cookies

So thank you for being a wonderful dad
Although I nearly drove you mad

I hope I've made you proud
Even though sometimes I'm a little loud

I'm so thankful for a dad like you
It's time to give credit where credit is due

Happy Father's Day Dad!
I Love You!

copyrighted by Prairie Princess Poetry 2011 (P.S. I made that up but Hallmark, if I see this poem on a greeting card, we will have words.)

Don't you agree that all that's missing from his bike is a horn?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Blast from the Past...NKOTB

How was your weekend?  Oh mine was alright.  Nothing special...JUST WENT TO CHICAGO TO SEE NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK IN CONCERT (again)!!!!! 

While I gather my thoughts try to put them in logical formation to fully convey the awesomeness that was my weekend, let's take a trip down memory lane.  The year was 2008, the month November.  Annette's 30 something birthday.  NKOTB was out on their first comeback tour after 15? years away.  I schemed with her husband and convinced him that he should give her tickets to that concert for her birthday.  He did and had a very romantic weekend in Omaha planned for them that starred the NKOTB concert followed by a stay in a jungle themed hotel suite.  But then he got a terrible case of the flu 2 days before the show and guess who she asked to go with her?!?  ME!  ME! ME!  And that my friends was the start of something beautiful.  (P.S.  We did NOT use the jungle themed hotel suite.)  Read all about it here, keeping in mind that this was long before I was a "real" blogger.  I've come a long way since then...or not. 

November 12, 2008
Just preparing for the blog that is sure to follow after tomorrow night's experience. I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am. Back in the day, Spike and I were total New Kids on the Block fans, we knew the dance moves, had our favorite guy, had our rooms wallpapered with their pictures that we cut out from Tiger Beat, the works. If you were alive and a tweener or a teenager during that time then you should totally get what I'm talking about. Those who did not like New Kids are nearly unAmerican. We never got to see them in concert then, wasn't even really an option considering our fairly strict church going parents would not be caught dead taking us to a NKOTB concert, especially at our young and impressionable ages. I never thought I'd get to see them, especially 16 years later. OMGoodness. My heart has gone into irregular rhythms just thinking about it. This has got to be how the people that got to see Elvis on the revival tour or whatever it was called after he'd been on hiatus and then came back felt!

Sadly, Spike won't be going with me, definitely next time. But rest assured, I'm going with probably THE NKOTB fan of all NKOTB fans. Lucky for her she was of driving age when they were big so she actually got to go to concerts and stuff while Spike and I were probably in her bedroom on Dunham St practicing our "Step by Step" dance moves.
The moral of the story here is check back on Thursday as there are sure to be stories, unless of course Jordan and Donnie seek us out in the crowd and ask us to join them on the rest of the tour as wardrobe consultants or something. Til Thursday....

It's THURSDAY!!! And I can't even go to bed first without blogging about tonight.

Best. Night. EVER. Quit judging me I mean behind my wedding, children's births, etc. I am still in recovery mode so forgive me of punctuation/spelling errors and skipping around.
I wanted to wear a sign today that said "I'm Going to New Kids Tonight!" and thought everyone I told should share my enthusiasm. I wanted to scream it from the rooftops. Instead I disowned a few friends today. How can I be friends with someone who in all seriousness said to me "Oh New Kids, isn't that the one Nick Lachey was in?" What?!? I'm done with you if you don't know at least the first names of all 5 members. HELLO if you were alive in '89 you have absolutely no excuse. I digress, somehow I made it thru the day slightly unfocused on my work or anything besides what to wear for the NKOTB concert where I was sure we would appear on the Jumbotron. That was major people.

Finally, Annette and I met up at our planned location to depart for the concert we've waited 17 years to go to. We were giddy with excitement. We listened to New Kids old and new stuff all the way to Omaha, "rehearsing" every word. I worked on our totally rad neon pink sign that was sure to get us "face time" with New Kids. I have to say, it was a stroke of genius, it said "Roses R Red, Violets R Blue, 20 Years Later We Still LOVE (actually I drew a heart here) YOU!" How awesome is that? Sure to land us on at least the Jumbotron if not on the tour buses. We arrived exactly 1.5 hours prior to showtime. We had said we would grab a bite to eat and just hang out until showtime, but who were we kidding? Who could eat at a time like that? We went into the arena, where Security promptly confiscated our hot pink sign, some bull about it being too big. HELLO, that was the point! How is Jordan going to read it from onstage if it's a measly 8 x 10? Whatev. Note to self: Next time we roll it up and put it in the back of our coat like we're wearing a back brace. I'm not kidding. So after our brush with the law we went to the turnstyles where they scanned our tickets. Except that I am beside myself by this point because we are actually in the same building as the New Kids On the Block, so I don't realize that there's a turnstyle. Instead I take a step and step OVER the turnstyle, cuz I'm Amazon tall I guess. Only when I got my knee caught in the turnstyle did I realize I should've gone THRU instead of OVER . This sent Annette and I into an immediate fit of hysterical laughter, which brought on a stern warning by another security guard that we should probably stop drinking for the night. Joke's on you mister as we hadn't even had so much as water on the trip there, so as not to have to miss a minute of the show to use the restroom. We're always thinking. Then we found our section and looked at our tickets and that's when I fell in love with Annette's husband, Jerry. Our seats were INCREDIBLE. Ummm yeah, 3rd row to the side of the stage. PERFECT! God Bless Jerry for buying his wife such good seats for her birthday and then getting the flu so that she took me instead of him! I am very anxious to sit in my fabulous seat so I climbed over a row instead of disturbing the people at the end of the row. This would mark the third incident of the night where I was reprimanded, and the show hadn't even started yet. An elderly woman masquerading as a Security Guard, whom we affectionately nicknamed Purple Heart because of the bravery and tenacity in which she did her job, yelled at me and told me it was unsafe and that if I had a bottle of beer it had better be in a cup. (Sidenote here: Apparently NKOTB has had some incidents that involved beer bottles being thrown at them by crazy fans hence the rule) Why oh why did every Security officer there think I had been drinking? I promise Dad, I wasn't. We finally got seated, by now nearly hyperventilating due to the proximity of our seats in relation to the stage. Our surrounding New Kids fans are cool and we chat with them about Purple Heart, the awesomeness of the New Kids, and take a few pics.

Then the opening acts start. The first one, oh my goodness, was Lady Gaga. I'm sure you probably have all her albums and if so I apologize for what I'm about to say. She's INSANE! She came out in this white space suit looking dress but after a few minutes rips the skirt of of it and is prancing around in white dancing briefs that were a little too tight and showing a little too much Hu Hot if you know what I'm saying. It was nearly obscene but it made us laugh and her music had a good beat as long as you didn't look at her. But really it could've been Elmo for all we cared it just didn't matter we were minutes away from seeing NKOTB. Then opening act 2 comes on, Natasha Bedingfield. She is super fantastic and didn't show off her Hu Hot so it was PG viewing. As good as she was, we were beside ourselves when she was done cuz that meant that it was TIME.

I thought one or both of us was going to throw up at this point, we were so anxious/nervous/excited/overwhelmed, that the boys who decorated our bedroom walls years ago were about to be on stage in front of us. We had discussed what to do in the event of a mecial emergency and had promised that we would not allow anyone to remove us from the arena for any reason (heart attack, stabbing, gunshot wound, whatever) until the show was over. Glad we had that talk. Finally, the lights went down. Oh my goodness, if you think 20,000 14 year old girls can scream, you should hear 20,000 soccer moms and 20 somethings. Wow! Deafening but incredible. The buildup nearly killed me, it lasted forever. Lights started coming up, the song started playing, no New Kids. I really thought my heart was going to stop. Then they just appeared, and we both lost our minds. I don't think the first 10 pictures I took once they came up out of the stage will turn out I was shaking so bad. I don't think words will do it justice, all I can say is it was a sacred moment, and we BARELY survived it.

The show began. Neither of us could stop screaming but we fit right in cuz neither could the 20,000 soccer moms. Who knew soccer moms could be so much fun? What? I can't hear you, speak up would ya? I cannot believe I am actually watching New Kids on The Block in concert. I felt 14 again. They still had all the moves, looked better than they did back then, and sounded AMAZING. Donnie told us we were a louder crowd than NY or even Boston. I bet he tells that to all the girls but it worked in making the deafening screaming even louder. They sing and dance to hit after hit, I am in awe. I never in a million years expected them to be this good after this long. These men are in their 30's and 40's for crying out loud and I was getting worn out just watching them dance. Or maybe it was from the screaming or the crazy NKOTB dancing we were trying to recreate in our row. Justin Timberlake has nothing on my Jordan Knight when it comes to moves. Song after song, we were snapping so many pictures I think we watched more of the show through our camera display screen than anything but we were just trying to capture the magic. I promise to post them soon. At one point they went offstage to do a wardrobe change (oh yeah there were many, they are that cool), and everyone is looking for them to come back on the front stage except for my very wise experienced NKOTB fan friend, Annette who spotted a circular stage with a piano on it towards the back of the arena floor. She was right and we got the first glance cuz everyone else was looking towards the front. She's so smart. They did some of their new, very hot, stuff on that little tiny revolving stage around a piano. By this time, I feel like I've just run in the Boston marathon, my chest hurts, my lungs ache, and my legs are shaky, but I was loving life. And then just when we thought it couldn't possibly be better than that, the boys jumped down from the round stage and headed towards the front stage passing right in front of us. WE WERE 3 ROWS FROM NKOTB! I got a very closeup picture of Jordan, SCORE. Sadly, they were surrounded by Security/Crowd Management and since the show was only about half over we opted not to leap into the air at them. Maybe next time.

The show kept going, the crowd is singing along to every song, not missing a word. Annette and I are no exceptions, I mean after all this is what we rehearsed for. There are about 7 men there total, all of which ended up on the Jumbotron at one point or another. And now here's where I break the bad news to you....we did not make it on to the Jumbotron. I blame it on the guard who took our sign but we were too close to even see the Jumbotron so who cares? Right in front of us and to our left was a little square that stuck out from the stage, where one of the boys would almost always occupy. And one time when Joey was singing one of his ballads to us, yes, directly to us, we were waving and jumping like crazy women (just an act of course), he looked right at us, pointed and winked. I swear it. I looked around us to be sure and I can assure you he definitely intended that for us. Say what you will, but it's official Joey McIntyre pointed and winked at us. Life is good. It got even better when Jordan (my first love) sang "Baby, I Believe In You" to me just like he did in the Step by Step VHS tape. Don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about. You know, black pants, white shirt unbuttoned all the way blowing in the wind. If I were a smoking woman, I would've smoked half a pack after that. Then the part of the show we'd been dreading all night....the end. They disappeared once and led us to believe it was the end. But of course they couldn't end the show without singing Step by Step or Hangin' Tough so 2 encores later it really was the end. I thought we were both going to start bawling. How can they be gone again after all this time? We didn't want to leave, we just sat in our seats for a few minutes soaking in the moment, trying to recover our hearing, our voices, etc. Until we got yelled at by another Security Guard, not Purple Heart, but a different, more intimidating looking one, who told us to move it that we couldn't sit there all night. What's up with that? Could he not have just let us enjoy the moment? If he doesn't understand the significance of the experience he needs to seek other employment. Some people. We stopped on the stairway to take yet another picture and to receive yet another reprimand from aforementioned Security Guard to get moving. We took one more glance back toward the stage, sighed, and trudged up the stairs.

This is the part in the story, where ideally I would be telling you what their tour buses looked like inside and how nice and down to earth they were when we met them. Again, I blame the guard who took our sign but after some reflection Annette and I both decided we just weren't ready for that, we may not have been able to physically survive. It could've been the very thing that put us over the edge to a heart attack or a stroke. We were borderline by the end of the show, it was just too risky. After watching a very entertaining rendition of the Hangin Tough dance by some drunk ladies in the parking lot we headed off to find the buses cuz that's what we do. But let me tell you those Omaha people are smart and had a security checkpoint on the road to get to the buses. Total nonsense. We could see the buses from the interstate overpass and thought about parking on the shoulder and scaling down the bridge but we both had heels on, not proper footwear for scaling bridges.

Then it was time for the afterparty. We cranked up the New Kids tunes, rehashed every detail of the concert, and drove to a Truck Stop. Party like rock stars, that's how we do it. At the Truckstop we loaded up .. party supplies: ibuprofen, caffeine, and Rolaids. This is where I'd rather be 14 with a curfew then a sleepy 30 year old with a killer headache and heartburn and no curfew. All in all, it's now 3:35 in the morning and I've still got goosebumps from the magic that was the NKOTB show and have not come down off the high. Think I'm just going to stay in my PJ's and eat bon bons all day tomorrow to get over the post show depression, it may even require retail therapy, it's too soon to say.

Hanging Tough...who's going next time?

To be continued......

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Friday Fail

I just spent an hour writing the most riveting, awe inspiring blog post ever only to have everything but one measly sentence get randomly deleted.  So that's awesome. 
Oh and by riveting and awe inspiring, I mean an in depth look at my hatred of car shopping and my equally intense love of queso.  It was edge of your seat, thriller, stuff. 
But alas, it wasn't meant to be. And it's now way past my bedtime so instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, I give you with this. 

Happy Friday and I hope your weekend is filled with moments like this...carefree, fun, wind blowing through your hair and gravel dust in your teeth, or tooth as the case may be. 

Ahhh summertime.....

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Quacking Up

I don't know about you, but I went through a very awkward adolescent stage.  Big mall bangs, crooked teeth, tight rolled jeans, the works.  But it wasn't quite THIS bad... the name of duck!

Do you think I'm sexyquacky?

Whatchyou lookin' at Willis?

Ugly ducklings need love too. 

Looking like he just stepped out of a salon.

Do you think someday I'll be as handsome as him?
He struts around here like he knows he looks GOOOOOOD.  Show off. 
They carry him around like he's some kinda prize or something.  Pfffftt...

Oh well, at least I have a shoulder to cry on.  And way cooler hair.......

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Cupcake Catastrophes

My name is Prairie Princess and I'm a cupcakeaholic.  I cannot stop baking cupcakes and I'm not sorry.  To bake them makes me happy.

I've been on a cupcake baking spree lately.  Just practicing for that "someday" when Annette and I open our own cupcake bakery.  We already have a perfect name for it.  Wish I could tell you what that is but copyrighting is tricky like that, but trust me it's FABULOUS. 

Is it just me or do cupcakes generally make people happy?  Because just baking them makes me happy. Sure, I'll force one down once they're done even though I'm usually so full of quality control samples of frosting and batter that I'm almost sick, but seeing people heartily and blissfully enjoying one of my cupcake masterpieces?   SWEET.  

Here are a few I've tried recently and then I'll tell you about when bad things happen to good cupcakes.  It's riveting material, I tell you.  

Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes .  I thought for sure I had taken a picture of mine but can't seem to find it.  Mine ended up looking remarkably similar to the ones on the website.  These cupcakes looked and tasted like sunshine in spring.  Citrusy and refreshing.  And the frosting?  Well, let's just say I had some leftover and dipped strawberries in it for a little afternoon snack.  It's delightful. 

Margarita Cupcakes.  Based loosely on this recipe.  Instead of using real tequila I bought the non alcoholic margarita mix and used some of that in both the cake batter and the frosting.  Funny story behind these cupcakes.  I was actually going to use the tequila that it called for because I was making them for myself for Mother's Day.  I am not a fan of Mother's Day since well, my mom died and then adding in that GI Joe was supposed to work and there was a soccer game and practice.  I thought a little tequila in the cupcakes might take the edge off.  So what if I ended up dancing on the bleachers at the soccer game with frosting all over my face?  It was my party and I can eat cupcakes if I want to!  The only problem came when we were grocery shopping and I said to GI Joe, "Distract the kids because I need to buy tequila."  I knew that if we pushed the cart down the liquor aisle in search of tequila they'd be dialing up the prayer chain at church and putting us on it.  So I was left alone to peruse the liquor for tequila but couldn't find the mini bar size that I so desperately needed and I certainly didn't think having a fifth of tequila in the cupboard (next to the brandy of course) would be a good idea.  I gave up the search and when I got in the car had to shake my head dejectedly when GI Joe asked in a hushed whisper "if I'd gotten the tequila?".  The next day it was just the kids and I at my Wal Mart and I figured it was my last chance to procure a mini bottle of tequila for my cupcakes so I told them to close their eyes because we had to go down the "bad aisle" so Mommy could get something for a recipe.  I don't know if you're aware of this but telling your kids to close their eyes is basically like telling them, "KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN AND COMMENT LOUDLY ON EVERYTHING YOU SEE".  So as we were hurriedly going down the liquor aisle they were shouting things like, "MOMMY WHY DO YOU NEED BEER?!" or "MOMMY!!  YOU'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO BUY THAT STUFF!!!".  Finally, I told them to help me look for a bottle with the word "tequila" on it because I needed it for a "friend" who was making a recipe where the bad part of the tequila cooks out anyway.  So then their shouts of condemnation turned into "MOMMY, WILL THE BOTTLE THAT HAS V-O-D-K-A ON IT WORK?"  and "MOMMY I FOUND THE TEQUILA...AND IT'S A HUGE BOTTLE...IS THAT ENOUGH MOMMY?"
After all that I still couldn't find a mini bar sized bottle.  But after all that I was definitely ready to commit to the full bottle.  To make a long story longer, sadly, I did not use real tequila in my margarita cupcakes and they were great.  They actually tasted like a margarita, not that I can either confirm or deny those claims, but from what I've heard they taste just like these cupcakes.  Yum.

Then there were these cupcakes....
Peanut Butter Stuffed Hot Fudge Cupcakes aka heaven in cake form.  Here's the recipe.  It really is so easy and less overwhelming than it looks.  Oh and amazing.  I made these cupcakes 3 times in 2 weeks.  After eating these cupcakes, I had one marriage proposal and 7 declarations of undying love....seriously  These cupcakes are LIFE CHANGING.  Make them you won't be sorry. 
You know who else loved these cupcakes?  MY DOGS.  I made a special batch for my friend Dougie D, who is my partner in Reese's crime and enjoys peanut butter+chocolate maybe even more than I do, who we were meeting for wings one night.  We had some time to kill after the cupcakes were done and frosted before it was time to head into town for our wing date. GI Joe, the kids, and I went on a little adventure into the woods to look for mushrooms.  About 20 minutes into our excursion, it hit me that I couldn't remember putting the cupcake carrier full of these babies out of reach of Moose and Bubba. We hurried home and sure enough when I walked into the kitchen I found my cupcake carrier on the floor, with the lid still on, covered in teeth marks.  The good news is that they didn't actually get to the cupcakes, the bad news was they dragged the cupcake carrier all over the kitchen trying to get it open so the once beautiful, picturesque cupcakes made especially for Dougie, were one big mess of chocolate cake and peanut butter frosting.  Doug had so been looking forward to these cupcakes that I absolutely could not let him down so I got to work spooning the cake/frosting mess into the cupcake liners that had held the once whole cupcakes. I didn't win any awards for presentation but we dug into those cupcakes with spoons after we ate our wings that night and Dougie was one happy camper.  Turns out he's really not concerned with the cupcake appearance anyway.  Weird. 

I've also made these...Strawberry Cupcakes with Swiss Meringue Strawberry Frosting.  Doesn't that sound fancy?   They were fancy and delicious.  In the future, I may just whip up a batch of this frosting and serve it as Strawberry Mousse for dessert because WOW.  Bonus points for pinkness.

And these....Cookies and Cream Cupcakes.  Have you EVER?!?  Oreos + Cupcakes + frosting that tastes like the middle of said Oreo=truluv4eva. 

I think these might be my favorite so far, thanks in large part to the frosting.  And now my mouth is watering. 

How 'bout you?  Hungry yet?
How about now? 

 THESE.....Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes.  Read that again and I'll wait a minute while you let the awesomeness sink in.  The cupcake part of this reminded me of a chocolate chip muffin which was nice and unassuming until you got to the middle and got a bite of real cookie dough!  REAL COOKIE DOUGH!!!  Like the kind DQ puts in their Blizzards. Miraculous!  And then there's the frosting.  The frosting tastes like the beginning stages of cookie dough, you know before you put the flour in and it gets all thick and pasty?  No matter how much I beat the frosting it still had a little bit of the graininess from the sugars combined with the butter.  At first it bothered me, but then I realized that just made it that much more authentic cookie dough like and went ahead and ate my weight in cookie dough frosting. Hey, we all have our crosses to bear.

That's what I've been up to, my own little Cupcake Wars.  However, instead of competing against other cupcake makers, my cupcakes are competing with my scale and I think it goes without saying who's currently in the lead.  But like the sign in my kitchen says....