Butter Tarts. I dare you to just eat 1!

For some families it’s chocolate cake, or chili, or lasagna, for us, butter tarts are the main attraction for the holidays.  Butter tarts are especially my dad’s absolute favourite treat.  This weekend, my parents came by for a little visit.  So I thought I’d invite the kids to make a mess in the kitchen and give my dad’s favourite a try.  I found this recipe, and it worked out fabulously.  In the end, it really ended up being easy enough for my 3 year old to do most of the baking!

You’ll need:

  • pie pastry (16 tarts, your own or tenderflake – I used tenderflake)
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup soft butter
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    1. Preheat oven to 400F.  In a small bowl, place raisins and cover with hot tap water; let stand on the counter for 30 minutes.
    2. In a large bowl, using a wooden spoon, mix together the soft butter, brown sugar, salt and corn syrup; stir well until sugar is dissolved and butter is creamed.  (Caleb and I just used the paddle attachment on the good old Kitchen aid)IMG_5338
    3. Add egg and vanilla and mix well.
    4. Drain raisins
    5. Retrieve tart shells and divide raisins equally into all shells; then divide butter mixture into all tarts
    6. Bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes; filling will be lightly browned but still bubbling.  (We cooked them for 17 minutes, and they turned out a bit more consistent than we were looking for, we like them running down your chin.  Next time, we will cook them for 15 minutes on the dot.
    7. Let cooked butter tarts cool in pans for 10 minutes after removing from oven; then remove and place on racks until completely cool.IMG_5379                                                                      ….and miracle of miracles.  I was able to stick to just having 1 tart!!  But I’m getting awfully close to my first post partum weight loss goal… and no butter tart can get in the way!!

If you give my mouse his cookie…


He will ask for Books! Books! Books! We love books! ….and cookies. And if you can combine them, around here, that’s a winner.  We’ve been reading If you give a mouse a cookie, and my little guy just loves it.  He now references the book in his every day play, “if you give me a peanut butter sandwich, I might ask for some jam… and if you give me some jam.  I might ask for some chocolate”.  (because in his mind, everything leads to chocolate).  If you aren’t familiar with the book, a mouse asks for milk, which leads to asking for a cookie, which leads to a mirror, which leads to a haircut, and on and on.

I know I’ve already mentioned our love for Sonlight’s preschool program. But I must say it one more time. How many programs include baking and eating cookies as part of the curriculum??  Cookies are not the only benefit we’ve been seeing.  Even though Caleb can’t read yet, you’ll often find him snuggling in a corner with a book and his little sister has been copying him.  She carries around books she likes, and will ask us to read at every opportunity.

Elise has also recently decided she doesn’t want to miss out on story time, and instead of wandering off to play with other toys, she’ll get up on the couch to hear the stories.  We’ve started reading her some of the simpler stories from the beginning of Caleb’s curriculum, like Goodnight moon, which she almost knows by heart.


Halloween… uncancelled

Not so fast with the concerned looks!  I didn’t quite give up all my principles.

Little boy did have a terrible day last week.  Yep, so bad it prompted me to cancel trick or treating.  But I really didn’t want to have to follow through.  I just love dressing up the munchkins and the opportunity to get to know our neighbours.

Providentially, we had a play date with a local super mom.  She had some fabulous ideas on how a 3 year old could earn back his Halloween.  So, we came up with the bucket system.  Caleb could earn 1 button for every good behaviour, such as saying please, thank you, I love you, or sharing, or playing quietly.  But he would lose 2 for any bad behaviour.  As a bonus, he got 2 buttons for either making someone laugh or singing a song.  When he got to 15 buttons, he could trade it in for a treat and a check mark.  He needed to get at least 1 check mark for each day until Halloween.  The treats were things like a bike ride, a jelly bean, or a story.

This idea just knocked my socks off.  Focusing this little boy on positive behaviours and tangible rewards has really really helped him to understand what we want him to do and the consequences of not doing that.

discovering PB and J

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This little thing can out eat big brother on most meals… but since she’s quite allergic to dairy, we’ve held out a little longer on peanut butter.  This week though, I’ve decided it’s time to give organic natural peanut butter a try.  She loved it!!  As you can see.  After a couple bites, she flung open her sandwich and started licking the good stuff on the inside.  So most of it got on her face and her bottom…. how did she get it on her bottom?  Her favourite trick is standing up on her high chair and sitting on her plate…. I wonder if she’d still sit on her sandwich if I used crunchy peanut butter instead.

Halloween is canceled

Now I’ve really done it.  Today was a challenging one.  One of the kids, rhymes with “bay-leb”, was in a mood.  To put it very nicely.  There was a lot of hitting, spitting, a glass smashed against the wall and a huge plastic lid thrown at me.  I went through our generic time-outs,  with no success, took away his bike, took away his favourite movie…. no improvement…  then in my frustration I did the dreaded threat that you don’t want to carry out “if you get out of that timeout one more time, you will NOT be going out for Halloween”…  as it was coming out of my mouth I was already trying to think of how I’d get out of this one.  Of course he got out of his time out again…. and now of course Mom has wrecked  trick or treating for this year.

To prevent any further misbehaviour for the rest of the afternoon, little man was not allowed to wander any further than mom’s reach.  Or he had to hold my hand.  It actually worked out well, he enjoyed having time with mom, I got to keep a close eye on him, and let him know instantly if he was getting too close to “the line” (you know the one).

The boy is great…. but occasionally can be grating.  (har dee har har)

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