Friday, June 29, 2012

Pinterest Summer Recipe Challenge - Olive Garden {copycat} Lemon Cream Cake

If you are a Pinterest addict like I am, you'll know that sometimes you pin ideas that you, for all intents and purposes, plan to try at some point. My recipe board, Nyam, is full of those. I decided that this summer, I'm actually going to make use of this board and try these recipes out. My goal is 1-2 recipes per week, and I'm calling it my Pinterest Summer Recipe Challenge. You can find more of my challengers here.

For my birthday this year we went out to the Olive Garden and I had a slice of this delicious lemon cream cake.. I love it because it was light in all the right ways. Light was the cake, light was the lemon flavor, light was the cream. So when I saw this on Pinterest, of course I had to pledge to try it out!
Challenger: Olive Garden {copycat} Lemon Cream Cake
You will need:
Batter:
1 3/4 cups cake flour*
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
6 egg yolks
3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon zest
6 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 slice of lemon for garnish

Powdered sugar for dusting
Filling:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 1/2 cups lemon pie filling

*Note: when baking cakes, I always recommend cake flour. It is much finer and makes for a fluffier, lighter cake.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
You will need 2 greased 10" cake pans

You will do:
1. In your main bowl, combine cake flour, baking powder, salt, 1/2 cup of sugar. In a glass, combine the oil, yolks, water, zest. Then add the yolk mix to the flour mix, blend until smooth.
2. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites, cream of tartar until peaks form (I'm no good at this, but the peaks are important so be patient!). Slowly add the 3/4c sugar, making sure your peaks stay constant. Beat until the peaks are stiff.
3. Gently fold in 1/3 of the whites mixture to the batter, then carefully add the rest until mixed. Do not overmix. It will still be fluffy and somewhat airy/bubbly
 4. Pour batter into greased 2 10" cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes** or until a tester toothpick comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let it completely cool. When cooled, use a rubber spatula and loosen the cake from the pan. Cut it laterally into two layers.
**I used the convection setting on my oven so that I could bake the pans at the same time. Timing will vary if you are using the normal bake setting. If you're not using convect, do only one cake pan at a time.
5. While the cake is baking / cooling, beat the whipped cream until you get stiff peaks. Slowly add lemon pie filling. Chill until the cake is cooled.
6. One the cake is cooled, layer the cream inbetween the two cake layers. Dust the top layer with powdered sugar, decorate with lemon slices.
Yes, my cake decorating skills could use some work..
My review...
This was a good cake, but it doens't shine a light to the Olive Garden version. Unfortunately, this is the only copy cat recipe online. But, with that being said - there wasn't any cake left at the end of the night. :)


Babymoon: A Cruise in Europe

Welcome to the June edition of Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival: Vacation and Travel.

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival hosted by The Positive Parenting Connection and Authentic Parenting. This month our participants are sharing ideas, inspiration and information on travel and vacations! Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

***


My husband and I are big fans of air miles. We've accumulated and used them periodically throughout our marriage- starting with having the air fare be completely free for our honeymoon to the Dominican Republic, and most recently our first class trip to Europe for our babymoon!

The idea of a babymoon has been around for quite some time, however some people use it as a time before the baby arrives for the parents to have some quiet time together as a couple, or others use it as bonding time with the baby once it has arrived.

We had been saving our air miles for several years- with the intent of planning a spectacular trip to Australia as a hurrah for finishing our house renovation and preparation for starting a family. Well, baby came before the renovation was done and we knew that if we wanted to take that special vacation, now was the time! Unfortunately Australia was out because the seasons didn't match up to when we'd like to go. Next thought? Why not cruise in Europe? We'd travel comfortably, in style and room/board was included for almost our entire trip.

So we planned our trip for during my second trimester, when food tasted good again and it was still ok to fly and cruise. With our Alaska Air Miles, we booked two first class tickets from Seattle to Barcelona, where a few days later we would disembark on the Norwegian Epic for 7 days along the coast of Italy- stopping to see Florence, Rome, Naples and Palma de Majorca. We also got very lucky and upgraded staterooms were on sale- so we got our room with a balcony too!! Yes, this was the trip of a lifetime!
Our route - source

The day of our departure was the first time I wore maternity clothes, but I still wasn't showing too much just yet. It was the "my, that's an unfortunate place for some extra pudge!" kind of feeling. I opted out of each X-ray/scanner at security because I just don't like to take risks, even if they say it's perfectly ok.  The pat down wasn't bad or overly invasive.
So very excited for our trip!

Everything that they say about first class is true too - they treat you like kings! We flew Air France on the way over, and KLM back. Although both airlines were great, Air France was our favorite. The food was actually tasty- duck for an appetiser, cheeses, fruits, any juice or drink you'd like, steak for dinner.. and yes, real cutlery and dinner ware. Nothing plastic at all!

One big thing this pregnant girl really appreciated were the seats...fully reclining and basically turned into a bed. I know, anyone would love that for any length of flight but especially for someone who is growing another little someone, getting to vary your position made a really big difference for me.  Another perk of first class was at each layover we had access to the first class lounge, where there was hors d'ouvres served, comfortable chairs and in some airports you have access to showers (Heathrow in London has massages!).

Once we arrived to Barcelona, we spent a day and a half getting over the jet lag and doing a little bit of sightseeing. I did very little research on what to see and do in Barcelona, so I feel like we probably could have done more with our time.  But we knew that we'd be seeing a whole lot more on the cruise so we kept that part of the trip very low key.

The ship was impressive.  It is Norwegian's largest ship, and always dwarfed the other ships in the ports we visited. Although massive, that captain was able to turn it on {almost} a dime. He parallel parked that thing better than I can parallel park my Volvo.  With a buffet and over a dozen restaurants on board, we had a wide array of cuisine to choose from for the entire week.  This worked out perfectly for me because I was able to satisfy almost any craving I had, at any time of day.  There were enough shows that we could choose a different one each night, including Blue Man Group, and we also won $150 in Bingo ;)

Out of all of the ports visited, our favorite was Naples. We didn't actually visit the city of Naples, instead we took a tour that brought us to the archaeological site of Pompeii and then a drive down the famed Amalfi coast to have some late lunch in Sorrento. Southern Italy is the Italy that Americans are accustomed to, because in the early 1900's that was where most of the Italian immigrants who came through Ellis Island came from.  It's the "Olive Garden" stereotypical Italian image.
Cruising was an  excellent option for us during my pregnancy.  It was a great balance between seeing several cities but not having to worry about how we're getting there or where our next meal was going to come from.  With "at sea" days peppered in, we got to rest and relax in between ports so I didn't get over tired.  We had a vast array of port excursions to choose from that could match whatever energy level I was feeling at that time.  Last but not least, getting to spend those 10 days with my hubby were amazing.. We celebrated our achievements as a married couple, as renovators, and as soon to be parents.  We played with reckless abandon, ate like kings and soaked up culture.  When we returned, we had our ultrasound that revealed we were having a little girl.. the perfect way to end a vacation of a lifetime!

Follow along with me in the future as I share a little more about our family, peppered with some yummy recipes and tidbits of knowledge that I learn along the way. And let me know that you stopped by, so I can say hello :)

***
APBC - Positive Parenting Connection and Authentic ParentingVisit The Positive Parenting Connection and Authentic Parenting to find out how you can participate in the next Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
  • Traveling with a Sick Child — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares her tips and tricks for traveling with a sick child based on firsthand experience.
  • Educational Travel | Pennsylvania, New Mexico &; LouisianaThat Mama Gretchen relives three childhood trips while outlining a plan for future homeschooling adventures.
  • Babymoon: A Cruise in Europe — Bianca from The Pierogie Mama writes about the babymoon that she and her husband took to Europe, via a week long cruise through the Western Mediterranean..
  • Travelling with our little oneStoneageparent describes what travelling means to her family, exploring the link between attachment parenting and travelling
  • I Just Can't Do It — aNonyMous at Radical Ramblings describes the nightmare it is trying to travel with her daughter, and how for the moment day-trips to local areas will have to suffice.
  • Carnival: Travel and VacationMacgyvermama rounds out her "Travel Light with Babies and Kids" series with some juicy tips on how to travel light and stress free with your moving and grooving Toddler!
  • Traveling: Adventure, Nature, Family — Brenna at Almost All The Truth shares her hopes and fears for her Great Summer Camping Road Trip with her three small children.
  • Frustration Free Flying with Kids — Based on her extensive experience flying with her family, Laura at Authentic Parenting shares tips on how to make the trip fun for you and your children.
  • 12 Awesome Toys To Bring Along When Traveling With Children - Ariadne over at Positive Parenting Connection is sharing about toys her children love and playful ways to use them that make travel with children more fun and less stressful for the whole family.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Changing it up: A reprieve from our LAT relationship

As many of you know, Adam and I haven't quite been "living together" in the traditional sense since October 31st - when I was 21 weeks pregnant.
He accepted a new position as a design engineer that would eventually relocate us almost 4 hours away from our home. Our *almost* completed renovation. In short, this decision was made for the long term benefits - the number one reason being that he would now have work benefits. Other reasons included this being a position that he was more interested in and we'd be placed roughly in between both of our families. You can read more about our annoucement here.
In the interim, because I was pregnant, we decided that I would stay back, finish working at my current job, and he would work up north. We'd finish our renovation and sell the house. As the due date got closer, we'd stay at my parents' house and I'd deliver in my hometown and once the house sold we'd get our own place closer to Adam's new work. Meanwhile, Adam would divide his time between staying with us (and absorbing a horrendous daily commute) and staying closer to work with friends and family.

Well, for those of you keeping track, Penny is now almost 4 months old and we've been more or less living apart for about 8 months.
Then, a couple weeks ago we were presented with a wonderful opportunity by Adam's cousin to stay at her apartment while she takes an internship out of state for 6 weeks. This shortens Adam's commute to about 30 minutes and we get to see each other like a normal couple every night! Hallelujah!  We made the move on Monday and I've spent the last few days organizing. The apartment building is really nice, with a beautiful courtyard and a cafe that serves wine, beer, sandwiches and gelato. We are so looking forward to this break, back to 'real life,' as I call it.

Believe it or not, the "married but living apart," or "living apart together / LAT" situation is not uncommon for couples these days. Most of the time it's for financial/career choices, such as they both have high powered careers in different cities, or they can't get jobs in the same commuting radius. Sometimes it's because they go to different colleges. Sometimes their lifestyles are so different that they'd just rather not share a home, but are in a committed relationship. I learned out this idea in my Sociology of Marriage and Family course in college, and never once thought that I'd be a part of this small, yet growing, demographic. In a really interesting study by the National Institute of Health (and yes, this is a real study, not just the reuter's boiled down version of it), young people are more likely than older people to be in LAT relationships, most often living with other adults such as their parents.  They are also more likely to have a college education than their cohabitating (married or not) cohorts.  For others, it's simply a lifestyle choice.  In a lifestyle article, an older couple interviewed preferred it because they were able to keep their independant lives, routines and finances. They likened it to being "on a first date" after a few days apart. For younger couples, they are more likely to live together in the future, which suggests that this is just a step in the process, rather than a lifestyle choice.

If a sociologist were to knock on our door today and ask me why we are choosing not to live together, first off I'd jump for joy that I'm being included in a sociological study (my degree is in Soc), and for reals my answer would be our choice can be categorized as due to work/financial reasons. We want to sell our home before picking up another mortgage or lease. Living apart, but still together, allowed Penelope and I to have a stable environment where I was supported during the end of my pregnancy, post partum and acclimation to becoming a new mama.  Adam toughed it out and divided his time between staying with family (closer to his new job) or commuting the sometimes 2-4 hour drive back to where Penny and I were. Although this has been a blow to our social life together, we've been able to maintain financial stability during this transition and in so many ways our relationship has grown stronger.  I don't recommend it for fun, but I can say that with hard work from both partners it's possible to come out happier in the end.

What are your thoughts? To be clear, I'm talking about couples who are in
long-term relationships where they see a future; versus trial-separations or friends with benefits.
How does it affect family when mom and dad don't live together (not a divorce or separation issue)?
Are you still considered a couple if you share different households (beyond the dating relationship)?
Have you ever been in a period where you are in a LAT relationship? How did it affect you?


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Pinterest Summer Recipe Challenge - Lime Cilantro Fish Tacos

If you are a Pinterest addict like I am, you'll know that sometimes you pin ideas that you, for all intents and purposes, plan to try at some point. My recipe board, Nyam, is full of those. I decided that this summer, I'm actually going to make use of this board and try these recipes out. My goal is 1-2 recipes per week, and I'm calling it my Pinterest Summer Recipe Challenge. You can find more of my challengers here.
 
Mmmm these make me yearn for summer! We're in the middle of our weird "Juneuary" season here in the PNW and I'm dreaming of warm weather and to me, nothing speaks more of warm weather than the combination of cilantro and lime (oh, and a beer too!).
For Father's Day weekend we spent the weekend down south in our home that's on the market and relaxed. The last 3 weeks have been so hectic, especially for Adam. He was away on business in Ohio for one week, last week he spent mostly up north staying with family, and this week he has been bouncing back and forth between his work's division and tech center offices, which are an hour and a half apart (and division is an hour and a half away from my parents' house, where Penelope and I stay). So, the poor guy definitely deserved a weekend of quiet and relaxation.

So this week's Pinterest Recipe Challenger is..


You will need:
Corn tortillas
2 T butter
1/2 tilapia fillet per taco
Dressing:
½ cup nonfat plain yogurt
¼ cup light mayo
1 or 2 limes
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1-2 chipotle pepper (in adobo sauce) **
½ tsp adobo sauce
pinch of salt
1 bag of coleslaw mix
1 cup matchstick (thinly sliced) carrots
fresh cilantro
avocado - save for last
** I found this in a can at Walmart in the Latino section.
You will do:
1. De-seed the peppers and cut into small pieces. If you are like me, 1 pepper is plenty. I'd say on a scale of 1-5 stars, 1 pepper would be 2-3 stars. I wouldn't dare try 2 peppers, but it's all about your own tolerance ;)
2. In a food processor or blender, mix the pepper, cilantro and adobo sauce. Add salt, rest of wet ingredients and the juice from half a lime.
3. Add 2-3 cups of slaw mix to the sauce.
4. Melt the 2 T of butter in a pan and pan-fry the tilapia until cooked all the way through, and crispy on the outsides.
6. Warm up the tortillas, add one piece of fish (squeeze some lime on if you wish), and pile on the slaw. Add sliced avodaco and you are all done! Serve with a margarita or your favorite cerveza and pretend you are on the Mexican Riviera.

I'd like to add a shout-out to my special little helper, who was so good and patient while Mama cooked away :)



Apple Cider Vinegar Uses

Recently I've become attuned to the wonders of Apple Cider Vinegar.  In the late 1950's Folk Medicine: A Vermont Doctor's Guide to Good Health by D. C. Jarvis included health remedies of ACV, which included being able to cure diabetes, cancer and other major health concerns with just adding a little bit to your daily regimen. Although I'm not sure if it is that powerful, it definitely is useful for many daily ailments.
Source

-Use it to clear up a rash on baby's bottom.  At my midwife's suggestion, when Penelope had the beginings of a diaper rash, we mixed 1part ACV to 2 parts water and added it to her wipe solution. You can use this on store bought wipes or cloth wipes. It took only a day or so to clear it up. I also sometimes add a tiny bit of it to her bath (less than 1:5), but be very careful to keep the water out of baby's eyes as it will sting.

-In a two step process, clear up itchiness and sores on our elder dog's skin. Romeo has been tearing off his fur and biting at his skin terribly for the last month or so, normally it means he has dry skin or fleas.  But after giving him a bath with medicated soothing soap and an all-natural flea solution, poor bubba was not getting any better. For the last 4 days I've been wiping a 1:2 solution of ACV on his sore spots and he's definitely not itching as bad anymore. Now I'm adding in a paste of oatmeal and honey.  The reason why I didn't go straight with the oatmeal is because if he has a fungal infection on his skin, using oatmeal first would only fuel the fungus (as there are sugars in the oatmeal, and honey of course). So killing the fungus and keeping the area disinfected is key before adding any sugars.  Adding a little bit to their water is also supposedly a great flea repellant, but I haven't tried that yet.

-A foot soak for softening what I call (and suffer from) "flip flop feet." A summer of wearing flip flops and sandals exposes your feet to becoming rough, calloused and dry. Although pedicures are simply a must for relaxation, I don't see myself spending too much time in the salon this summer with an infant in tow. So, again with the magic 1:2 ratio, soak your feet in warm water and ACV (add essential oils if you wish!) and watch as your feet soften and feel rejuvinated. Use a pumice stone to slough off the dead skin.

-Many swear by a ACV tonic, which returns the body's ph levels to normal.  This can help clear up BO, bad breath, acne, and bring your digestive system in line. I will be trying this out this week to see if I can feel any of the benefits. Add 1-2 tablespoons to a glass of water and drink 3 times a day. One thing to note is that ACV is corosive and may wear away the enamel on your teeth, so always be sure to 1) dilute it 2) drink the glass at one time, don't space it out 3) rinse your mouth or brush your teeth shortly afterwards.

-Using it as a general cleaning product: I'm not sure if ACV is any different than regular vinegar in this regard, but you can use it to clean pet stains, add it to the dishwasher, clothes washer (for softener), remove soap scum.. the possibilities are endless!

Although D.C. Jarvis' book has sold millions of copies in the last 60 years, there are many who don't buy the supposed magical effects of the solution. I personally would say that ACV does have it's benefits - but it's not the "cure all" that it has been marketed as. In small doses, spread apart for different uses, it can be a powerful tool for more natural care of yourself and your home.

*please note: I am not a health professional, nor do I pretend to be! If you have any concerns, please check with your doctor first. I only provide this information as a springboard for further research or interest.

Do you use apple cider vinegar for personal care or around the home?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Guest post at A Little Bit of All of it: Your PPST (Post Partum Support Team)

A Little Bit of All of It Preparing for Birth Series


Today you'll find my guest post on A Little Bit of All of It, where Julia is hosting a 10 week series on Preparing for Birth. This week is centered around postpartum care.

You've completed the task of bringing baby to this side of the cervix, but now what? Most of us spent the majority of our efforts learning about how to take care of a newborn, not a post partum mama. Read on to hear my post partum story, how my PPST's supported me, and some of the products that made me more comfortable.

A Birth - Day Celebration with our family

Julia's 10 week series on preparing for birth is a great resource, even if you aren't currently preparing for the arrival of a little one!
Week 1 (April 30- May 6) Birth Stories
Week 2 (May 7 – May 13) Childbirth Education
Week 3 (May 14 – May 20) Choosing a Care Provider
Week 4 (May 21 – May 27) Birth Support
Week 5 (May 28 – June 3) Breastfeeding (you can find my guest post here)
Week 6 (June 4 – June 10) Birth Plans
Week 7 (June 11 – June 17) New Baby Care
Week 8 (June 18 – June 24) Postpartum Care
Week 9 (June 25 – July 1) Other Birth Resources
Week 10 (July 2 – July 8 ) Advice for the New Mom

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Cloth Diapering Experience v2

This week marked a bittersweet end for me.... I packed away Penny's first cloth diapers. My little miss is movin' on up!
Washed and saved for baby #2..whenever that happens!

For the last few weeks we have been transitioning into Sunbaby pocket diapers. They are the same idea as BumGenius All In Ones (where they can be sized up as baby grows) except they are a tiny bit smaller when comparing both in their smallest settings. I was given a pack of 12 as a shower gift and so far have liked them a lot. They are economical and well made (and the couple problems that I've had with them have been taken care of quickly). The Sunbabys have unique prints and are constantly updating their inventory.

We continued to do our gdiaper with preemie prefold as an insert routine at the same time, but this weekend we were getting leaks with almost each change, which signaled to me that it's time to move on up. The preemie sized prefolds can still be used as insures in her bigger diapers, but for now they aren't really needed. So we are now adding the small sized fitted BumGenius diapers and my friend who is all done diapering her boys graciously passed her stash on to us as well, which includes fitted Fuzzibunz and others.

The one downfall of the All In One style diapers is that you suffer from the very fluffy butt. The fitted diapers (small, med, large, etc) are a trimmer cut, but in many ways are a little impractical because then you have to buy each size, rather than just once. Luckily we have a mix so depending on the outfit we can choose between styles.
We have a big enough stash now that I can go close to a week and a half, maybe even 2 weeks, between washes! However, it's not a good idea to let dirty diapers sit in the pail for that long so I'm probably just going to divide the stash in half and give each portion a break every other week.  The more often you wash your pocket diapers (with the PUL/plasticy liner), the more it will break down. The goal is to have as many of these diapers last us through all of our children, so I'm in it for the long haul!

Happy Father's Day!

Happy first Father's Day to my darling hustband!

Today is your day, sweetheart - I hope you have a good one.

Love,
Bianca and Penelope

Monday, June 11, 2012

Pinterest Summer Recipe Challenge - Buttermilk Blueberry Coffee Cake

If you are a Pinterest addict like I am, you'll know that sometimes you pin ideas that you, for all intents and purposes, plan to try at some point. My recipe board, Nyam, is full of those. I decided that this summer, I'm actually going to make use of this board and try these recipes out. My goal is 1-2 recipes per week, and I'm calling it my Pinterest Summer Recipe Challenge. You can find more of my challengers here.


Meet the first challenger - Buttermilk Blueberry Cobbler
This recipe has been bounced off Pinterest many times and for very good reason - this is some damn good cobbler. I've tried it with both blueberries and varied with one time with cinnamon and sugar. This recipe serves as a good foundation for many different variations on cobbler.
My problem with many of the things I bake, I get overly excited and the goodie is gone before I can take any pictures. This is one of those occasions. If I get around to baking this again this summer (which I can guarantee I will!), I will repost some pictures.

You will need:
½ cup butter, softened
the zest from 1 lemon (if you don't like the combination of blueberries and lemon, as I don't, fear not - it is not enough to call it a "lemon-blueberry cobbler")
7/8 cup* + 1 tablespoon sugar**
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 cups fresh blueberries
½ cup buttermilk
* 7/8 cup = 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons
** This 1 tablespoon is for sprinkling on top

What to do:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Cream the butter, lemon zest and 7/8 cup of sugar until whipped. It's important that the butter isn't too cold or melted as it will either chunk up or separate.
3. Add the egg and vanilla
4. In a separate bowl, gently mix the blueberries with 1/4c of flour, and in another bowl combine the rest of the dry ingredients.
5. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and buttermilk into the butter mixture.
6. Gently fold in the blueberries.
7. Grease a 9x9 inch baking dish. Spread batter into the dish, and sprinkle with the 2 tablespoons of sugar.
8. Bake for about 35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

This cake is delicious any time of day. It's great with a cup of coffee, by itself or with a scoop of ice cream.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Week 13

This week Penny has started to hold her head up a lot higher and for longer periods of time during tummy time.  She's rolled over several times, we're just working on consistency and stamina.

video
She's also super aware and tracking all the different hanging toys.

I always thought it was cliche when parents would say this, but it's so amazing to watch the world through her eyes. Things we take for granted, something as simple as holding on to objects, is so new to her. I am so honored to get to watch and encourage her as she accomplishes all these feats!

This weekend we went up to visit with Adam's family and had a family dinner on Saturday.  The grandparents and Aunt Jenne hadn't seen her since she was about a month - month and a half old, Uncle Frank got to meet her for the first time. We also have 2 nephews, Frankie who just turned one and Jack who will be one in a couple months, and it's been so fun getting to see what is in store for us. One thing to note is that these nephews are very much BOYS so I'm hoping Penelope will not be raising nearly as much hell as these two guys are ;)


With oldest cousin Pammy, who will be 5 years old in July.

It was also our dear friends' daughter's first birthay party today. Little Mia had a tea party themed birthday and it was so sweet! Her mama brought out great-grandma's fine porcelain tea cups and made cucumber sandwiches (crustless, of course!), meatloaf cupcakes (cute idea), tea cookies and more.   
At Mia's party


A darling tea service! The Queen herself would be proud!
Also, here's a fun little gem - I inadvertently packed the same shirt Penelope had worn the last time we visited up here, so I took the opportunity and snapped a picture in the same corner of the couch :) At 6 weeks, I had precariously propped Penny (can I fit in anymore p's?) and took the picture just as she was sliding over. At 13 weeks, she's very happily leaning back and clutching her hands together at her chest and bringing them to her mouth (a new skill this week). So cute to see the difference in 7 weeks! Unfortunately, in 7 weeks that shirt will not be fitting her again.. but maybe I'll find something similar?

Things I hate that other people love

I saw this over at Delirious Rhapsody. If you want to play along write yours in my comments section, or post the link to your blog post! You can list as many or as few as you'd like.

1. Dr Seuss. I never liked the rhyming or the drawings. I do distinctly remember that One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish was the first book that I was able to read entirely on my own without practice, and in my little young mind I was dissapointed that it had to be a Dr. Seuss book..

2. Maple flavor. I don't like maple syrup or maple bars. However, in a pinch I've substituted maple syrup for brown sugar when I don't have any in the house and it has come out just fine.

3. Ground beef and hot dogs.  how un-American of me! Something about ground beef just repells me. I think it's just the overall disgust of most fast foods that has ruined ground beef for me, in addition to generally how unhealthy it is. Adam and I substitute ground turkey in any recipe that calls for ground beef (turkey tacos are amazing!).  Most people would also agree that hot dogs are one of those foods that taste good but you know that there's something sketchy about the meat. If I do have a hot dog, it's usually a legit Polish sausage (I'm not talking about the fake Costco kind, which is just a longer hot dog, I'm talking about one that comes from a butcher) or one of Aidell's chicken sausages.

4. Reality TV.  no reasoning needed.

5. Holiday scented candles, specifically "spice," "Christmas tree," and cinnamon.  Each of these things in real life are great, but the fake manufactured scent (even Yankee Candle's, which they normally do a decent job at recreating scents, is horrid)

6. That guy from Lord of the Rings... Viggo Mortensen. Not as attractive as they market him as, and I haven't seen a movie yet that I like him in.

7. French fries. Probably another food ruined by McDonald's. Waffle fries are a different story.

8. Coach purses Yep, I'm a hypocrite because I happen to have a Coach bag that I do in fact love. However, the quality of these bags is terrible! The leather wears too quickly (hah, mainly because not all of the leather parts are real leather!) and the interior tears at the slightest effort. They are trendy, yes, but the quality does not account for the price tag!!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

3rd month collage

I love picmonkey! I'll be posting a collage each month of the pictures that I take with my phone (which are not as good quality as I'd like, but it's what's on hand 99% of the time anyways).

3 months!

Penny,You are a whole 3 months old! I can't believe how time is flying by. It's amazing to look at pictures from your first few days and realize how far you've come!

-You now weigh approx 10 lbs
-You are so aware of the world around you. You like to be faced out almost all the time and are very content in hanging out on my hip while I get things done (with one hand, of course).
-You like to clutch burp rags and can push them towards your mouth. I've seen you pop the binky out a couple times and push it back in with your wrist.

-you smile and flirt with anything that has (or appears to) have eyes. Even the lamp next to our bed.

-your chattiest time of day is in the morning between waking up and your first nap (between 730ish-10ish).
-because babies usually mean more laundry, you've become quite accustomed (and very happy ) to laying in a laundry basket while I switch loads etc.

-you officially fit in 3 month clothes. There aren't very many NB sized things I can fit you in anymore..its about time!
-you like to lay on your mat and bat at toys and look at the lights. We are working on extra tummy time but you are good at rolling from your tummy to back - we just need you to get consistent about it!

-you splash in the bathtub with your legs! The bath is your favorite time of day, and the start of the nightnight routine.

We love you so much, little P, and can't wait to see what next month has in store.

Love,
Mama

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