Thursday, May 27, 2010

Confessions of a Chocoholic

Hi, My name is Rachelle and I am a chocoholic. I love chocolate, but not just any chocolate---I am a bit of a “chocolate snob”. Hershey’s kisses are not at all tempting, but put me near an open bag of Dove Promises, and I am a goner. I come from a long line of chocoholics, so I guess it is not surprising that I am inflicted with the condition. My mom is a chocoholic, my grandma is a chocoholic, and several of my siblings are chocoholics. When I am choosing dessert at a restaurant, I don’t even give a second glance to things with words like “fruit” or “cobbler”. For me, it is not even worth it unless there is the word “chocolate” followed by something like “overload”, “indulgence” or “obsession”.

When I was in college I actually won an award for a speech I wrote about chocolate. It made a great conversation piece on my resume! No one was happier than me when the health industry announced that the antioxidants in dark chocolate were actually good for you. Then I had an excuse to eat chocolate every day---after all it was for “medicinal purposes”.

My favorite kind of cookies are----you guessed it---chocolate chip cookies (or chocolate, chocolate chip cookies). So, recently, I set out to determine which brand of chocolate chips were the best. Fortunately, I teach a night class in statistics at the community college, and my students were more than willing to be my guinea pigs. My first experiment compared Target Generic milk chocolate chips, Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips, and Hershey’s milk chocolate chips. Because Hershey’s chocolate in general (ie Hershey’s Kisses, Hershey bars, etc.) do not live up to my standards, I was sure that Ghiradelli would win and Hershey’s would be sent home in shame, but I was wrong! I had each subject sample each type of chocolate chip with the order determined at random. Each sample was rated on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being super yucky and 10 being “died and gone to heaven” delicious. Between samples, the subjects cleansed their palette with a glass of water. Samples were labeled only A, B or C so that subjects would not be biased by the brand name. Here is a graph of the results:

As you can see on the graph, Hershey’s outscored the other two. Subjects found no difference between Ghirardelli and Target Generic.

The next semester, I took the milk chocolate chip taste test one step further. This time I compared Hershey’s milk chocolate chips, the winner from the first test, to Nestle milk chocolate chips. Once again, Hershey’s was the clear winner!

Next semester I will have to see if Hershey’s can maintain the number one spot when comparing semi-sweet chocolate chips! In the meantime, I will be buying Hershey’s for all my cookies!

Rarely does a day go by when I don’t eat some form of chocolate. Lately, my favorite breakfast includes oatmeal with a packet of diet hot cocoa and a small spoonful of peanut butter mixed in. Of course, if I ate chocolate as much as I wanted to, I would be as large as the Good Year Blimp, so I usually try to limit myself to one low-cal chocolate treat per day (breakfast doesn’t count). Some of my favorites are a Healthy Choice Fudge Bar (100 cal), Chocolate Indulgence Jello Mousse Temptations (60 cal), Deep Chocolate Vitatop (100 cal) and Skinny Cow Choclolate Fudge Ice Cream Cone (150 cal).

If it is a special occasion or I am feeling super indulgent, some of my favorite restaurant desserts include TGI Friday’s Brownie Obsession (minus the nuts---in my opinion, nuts only take up space where chocolate should be), Cheesecake Factory Tuxedo Crème Cheesecake or 30th Anniversary Cake Cheesecake, and Carrabbas Sogno di Cioccolata (Chocolate Dream).

One of my favorite homemade chocolate desserts is aptly named “Death by Chocolate”. It has become a Christmas Eve tradition. Here is the recipe:

Death By Chocolate
2 Pkg. Chocolate Mousse made according to directions (I like the Double Chocolate Mousse Mix by Dr. Oetker)
1 brownie mix (9x13 pan size) made according to directions
1 Bag of Crushed of Heath Toffee
8 oz. Cool Whip

Crumble half of brownie into trifle bowl. Add ½ of mousse. Next Layer ½ Cool Whip. Sprinkle with ½ toffee.

Repeat and refrigerate.

Death by Chocolate

Of course it was almost inevitable that some of my children would also become chocoholics. From early on, we could tell that Rustin would struggle with chocoholism.

Rustin and Kyndall on their 2nd birthday--one cupcake was not enough for him!

Riley and Kaiya both have a love for chocolate, though their palettes aren't as developed as mine and they have a difficult time distinguishing the "good stuff" from the "bad stuff". :)

Riley (who loves chocolate so much that he made his cub scout pinewood car to look like a Hershey's Chocolate Bar)


Though Rustin has clearly shown a preference for chocolate, the rest of the quints haven't given much of an opinion on the subject. Perhaps it is because they haven't had a lot of opportunities to eat chocolate--I don't often give them treats, and when I do, I stick with something less messy!






All this writing about chocolate is making me hungry....I think I am going to go have some--after all, those antioxidants are really good for you, right?


Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Final Episode of the Quintathelon!

This is it! The episode we've all been waiting for---the final event of the Quintathelon! Who will take home the gold medal and the title of the World's Best Quintathelte? Watch and find out!

If you missed parts 1 and 2 of the Quintathelon, you can see them HERE.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Quint Adventures and Other Recent Pics

During the last month, we have been trying to take the quints on an "adventure" at least once a week. The weather has been pretty nice and I feel like we have to take advantage of it while it lasts---the hot Texas summer is on its way! Previously I posted about our adventures to the Austin Nature Center and the Arboretum. Here are some pictures of recent adventures.

A couple of weeks ago we had a biking adventure with a friend from church. We all met in the church parking lot (which was empty) and let the kids race around on their trikes.



Rustin (who always manages to ditch his shoes at the first opportunity)

Kyndall is obsessed with picking flowers lately (or grass in the absence of flowers)


Once the quints discovered the piles of leaves, the bikes were abandoned!

Ryder, Kaydence, Rustin, Kassidy and Kyndall wait to go into McDonald's. They have such a great time on the playplace. Now that they are old enough to sit (or stand as the case may be) in a booth instead of needing a high chair, taking them out to eat has been soooo much easier!

Too Cool! Kassidy, Rustin, Ryder, Kyndall and Kaydence

Adventure to The Red Barn to look at plants, flowers and butterflies

Going to the grocery store with multiple 2-year-olds is always an adventure! The Quints loved seeing themselves on the sign at the front and on the magazines throughout the store.

Never one to be outdone, Kaiya decided to create her own adventure. After seeing me go to a book club with my friends, she decided she wanted to host her own book club. She chose the book "Good Morning, Gorillas" (a Magic Treehouse Book) and invited several of her friends to read the book and come to the discussion. I helped her make a list of discussion questions and we made "gorilla food" for refreshments---the book said that gorillas eat leaves, twigs, flowers, and berries, so we had pretzel sticks (twigs), blackberries, and edible flowers.

Gorilla Food: cupcakes baked in flower pots with cookie flowers and spinach leaves

Kaiya's Book Club

These don't really qualify as adventures, but the pictures were cute so I decided to throw them in anyway :-) We had the missionaries from our church over for dinner on a few different occasions and I made them take pictures with the kids.

Elder Craig and Elder Peterson with Ryder, Kaiya, Kassidy, Riley, Kaydence, Kyndall and Rustin

Clockwise starting bottom center: Kaiya, Riley, Ryder, Kassidy, Kaydence, Elder Peterson, Elder Craig, Kyndall and Rustin.

Jayson's birthday was this past Sunday. He turned 36! I remember when I used to think that was old :-)

Kaydence, Riley, Ryder, Jayson, Kassidy, Rustin, Kyndall and Kaiya


Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Tribute to Mothers that Inspire Me

Throughout my life, and especially during the last three years, I have been inspired by the examples of many women. In honor of Mother's Day, I would like to pay tribute to just a few of the women who have touched my life.

First and foremost is my mother (aka "Mimi"). My mom has always been my #1 fan. She has been a huge support to me throughout my life, and especially these past three years. She is a great mother and a wonderful example to me, and I only hope that I can be the kind of mother to my children that she has been to me.

Next is my mother-in-law, Sylvia. She is the epitome of a fun grandma. She tells great stories and is always coming up with creative games to play or activities to do with her grandkids. We share a love of cooking and she has taught me a lot!

My list of inspiring women would not be complete without Virginia (aka "GG"). She is one of the most amazing women I know. Although I hardly knew her when the babies were born, she has become a dear friend and we consider her part of our family. She continues to help out nearly every weekday morning and other times as well. It is because of her that I get a shower every day, I get my errands run, and most importantly, that I keep my sanity! She is truly an angel.

My Grandma Rappleye has always been an inspiration to me. I am the oldest of her 53 grandchildren and because of that we have always had a special relationship. She is such a kind and generous person. She is constantly serving others, and always has a smile on her face.

Now that I have one red-head, I think my Grandma Curtis deserves a medal for raising THREE red-heads! (Everything they say about red-heads is true :-) )Something else that amazes me about my Grandma Curtis is that she never forgets a birthday or anniversary. With 5 children, 21 grandchildren and lots of great-grandchildren, that is not an easy task!

Another inspiring woman in my life is Cassaundra. She is one of those people who is constantly giving of herself, her time and her talents. It is partly because of her that Jayson and I have been able to maintain a strong relationship, despite all the chaos these past three years---she watches the kids every few weeks so that Jayson and I can get a much-needed date night!

My good friend, Natalie, has also been an inspiration to me. She has a strong testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ and I have been impressed by the way she has been able to instill strong moral values in her children. She has also been great at helping me to step outside my comfort zone every once in a while and let the kids do things like play in the dirt!

Barbara has been a devoted friend from the very beginning. She continues to help on a regular basis and is always willing to come over whenever I need her. She and Virginia watch the babies for several hours one day a week so that I can run errands. I am so grateful to them for giving me a weekly "day off". Barbara has a great sense of humor and always makes me smile when she is around.

Tammy is one of those people for which the glass is always "half full" instead of "half empty". No matter what challenges she is facing in her life, she always has such a positive outlook. Early on, she developed a special relationship with Ryder. Every Sunday she takes Ryder during chuch and she often comes to get Ryder to take him on little outings and give him some individual attention. It is wonderful to have people who truly love your children!

Being a mother is the hardest thing I ever done, but it is also the most rewarding. I am so grateful for all of these women and many more who inspire me every day and help me to be a better mother!

Happy Mother's Day!!!


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My HEB Texas Life Cover

This month our family is on the cover of HEB's store magazine! It just came out today. If you are in Texas, you can pick up a copy at your local HEB store (they are free). In addition to the cover, there is another picture and short article on page 5. I scanned it in and posted it below, but if you want to see a better copy, you can check it out on HEB's website HERE. (click on the May issue)


STOMP was Awesome!!

Kaiya, Jayson and Riley wait for the show to start

Last night Jayson, Riley, Kaiya and I went to the opening night of STOMP here in Austin. We loved it! What a great show! The performers were amazing! When it was over, we all had a hard time deciding what our favorite part was, because there were so many good numbers. It was a great show for kids---entertaining and FUNNY. I sat by Kaiya and she was giggling the whole way through.

If you are in the Austin area and are interested in going to the show, it runs through Sunday, May 9th. Showtimes are at 8 pm Tues - Fri, 5 pm and 9 pm Saturday and 3 pm and 7 pm Sunday. Right now, Wilkinson Quints Blog readers can still save $10 off the ticket price by using the code word "BEAT". To get your tickets, click HERE, or call (866) 9PRO-TIX. Or for more information click HERE.


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Feeding the Ducks

Last week our big adventure was going to feed the ducks at the Arboretum. The weather here has been so fantastic that I feel like we have to take advantage of it while we can---I know it won't last long! The ducks were a little snooty---I think they are a bit over-fed at this pond, but the birds and little turtles were happy to eat what the ducks didn't want and the quints thought it was great!

I brought my camera, but when I went to start taking pictures, I realized that I left the battery at home charging. After we had been there a while, I figured out I could still take some pictures with my phone. I don't have a fancy iPhone or anything like that, so I didn't know how great the pictures would be, but I was actually surprised by how well they turned out.

GG, Kaydence, Kassidy, Kyndall, Rustin and Ryder hurry over to see if they can persuade the ducks to try some of their bread.

Here they come! I was more than a little nervous having all of them so close to the edge. I must have said "Back up!" at least 100 times while we were there :-)

Kassidy, Rustin, Kaydence, and Ryder. When we ran out of bread to feed the ducks, we headed up the trail to play on the cow statues and have a picnic lunch.

Another cow statue: Rustin, Ryder, Kaydence, Kassidy and Kyndall

At lunch, Ryder and Rustin made off with the bag of crackers, then hid under the table so they could eat them all.

The picnic area had some water fountains that the kids loved.

Rustin, Kassidy, Ryder, Kyndall and Kaydence