Saturday, June 29, 2013

A Summer Moment

I took Molly to the wading pool at Greenlake yesterday. She had the most wonderful time and slept like a rock last night. I cherish these summer moments. They are so brief here in Seattle.
Friday, June 28, 2013

Cooking with a Little Cookie Monster


A Facebook (and foodie friend) recently mentioned that she loved cooking with her 20-month-old son and that he had recently made his first item all by himself (she did measure out all the ingredients and closely supervised him). I love cooking and I really want to help foster that love in Molly.


After her nap yesterday, I decided that it was the perfect day to teach her how to bake. It was a rainy day and there was no way we were going to head to the park for our usual afternoon jaunt. I set up all the ingredients to make the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies. I originally posted this recipe back in 2009 and they are still my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe.When Molly woke up, I told her that we were going to bake! She clapped her hands in excitement and ran toward the kitchen. I got her up on her learning tower and showed her the ingredients. She started immediately eating the chocolate chips! Pro-tip here, hide the chocolate chips until the end so that you have some left for your cookies.


I showed her how to pour the ingredients into the mixer and we started baking. She loved putting her hand on top of the KitchenAid Mixer and watching it go. There were a few bumps in the process such as when she poured most of the salt onto the counter but I was able to sweep that back into the bowl without a problem. Overall, Molly was so proud of herself and we had so much fun!


Once everything was mixed, I scooped out the dough onto the cookie sheets while Molly licked the beater attachment. I remember that was my favorite part of baking as a kid and I had to let Molly do the same. She LOVED it and wouldn't give it back to me when all the dough had been licked off. I created a cookie dough monster who wanted to eat all the cookie dough.


The cookies as usual come out just right and were delicious. Sadly, Molly didn't have any of the finished product. She was too full from eating the dough and stealing chocolate chips.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Here is the recipe again. It's so good that I encourage everyone to make some cookies this weekend! 

makes 34-36 3″ cookies

2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup demerara sugar
1 3/4 cups packed, dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup + 1 tbsp bread flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt (not table salt!), plus either fleur de sel for sprinkling over top
18 oz. 70% bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, and beat well after each addition.

2. Add the vanilla extract, the flours, the baking soda, baking powder, and salt. On low speed, beat the mixture until the dry ingredients are well-incorporated, about 1 minute. Stir in the chopped chocolate.

3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or a Silpat. Scoop a heaping tablespoon of dough and roll it until it forms a sphere between your palms. Place the dough on the baking sheet (8 cookies per sheet), giving them room to spread. Dust the tops of each ball of dough with a little demerara sugar, and a tiny bit of fleur de sel or vanilla salt.

4. Bake in a 350 degree oven on the middle rack for 12-13 minutes. (Do not bake these on the bottom rack in the oven–the high proportion of brown sugar will cause the bottoms to darken too much.) At this time, the cookies should have taken on a golden brown color all around the edge, but still look very soft in the center–like hot cookie dough. Remove the tray from the oven, and allow the cookies to cool directly on the tray for 10 minutes before eating.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

8 in 2013 - Smitten Holiday Advent Garland Mittens


I've been diligently working along on my Smitten Holiday Advent Garland Mittens and I am almost halfway done. I have 11 completed mittens and one on the needles. I am. however, questioning my original plan for the color combinations.


Originally I planned to knit four mittens in each of the following color combinations -Red, Green, White, Red/White Stripe, Green/White Stripe, Red/Green Stripe to end up with 24 mittens. But now I'm wondering if I should knit six in Red, Green, White and two each in Red/White Stripe, Green/White Stripe, Red/Green Stripe.


I posed this question to a knitting friend who gave me even more ideas! She suggested six of each stripe combination and four of each of the solids. Then in true creative fashion, her husband told me to mock-up the design which only led me to more ideas.


In the end, I've decided to pose the question to my readers in a simple blog poll. Please vote and let your friends know! I need to make a decision and I need your help.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

19 months with Molly Pop

You are growing so fast! Just this morning, I said to your Dad that you would soon be 19 months and then I realized that you WERE ALREADY 19 MONTHS OLD!


You are getting so big. I swear you grew overnight this past week. You are a tall kid. You've been really advancing in your language too. You have started saying a few sentences, once in awhile but you are really interested in sign language lately. You bring me your baby sign language book every night and we practice the signs from the book. It's fun watching you do them.

Enjoying Life #fmsphotoaday After enjoying some fro-yo, we took Molly to the water park.  She was thrilled!

Now that Summer is here, you are have been able to fully participate in your favorite activity, playing in the water! We're taking swim lessons twice a week throughout the Summer and I know that will be your favorite activity. I also love being in the water so I'm quite pleased that you enjoy one of my favorite activities. 

 Bubbles #vscocam

We celebrated Father's Day with my Dad and you had fun entertaining everyone with your crazy antics. Your Grandma and Great-Grandma also paid you a visit from Oregon. You wow'd them with your somersaults and burrito eating.


You are also enamored with holding your little friend's hands. It might just be the cutest thing that I've ever seen.



We've had some cookie dates, lots of zoo time and so many walks around Greenlake. You love getting out and seeing people.


Something Funny #fmsphotoaday Molly has some new sunglasses and they are hilarious!

We've also been hiking a lot and you are a great hiking buddy. You prefer to hike yourself but you've also accepted that sometimes you have to ride in the hiking backpack. I got one off the local Mom's list and it has been awesome. It allows you to sit up high and see everything and well to reach the salmon berries too.

Hiking Toddler

Oh Molly Pop! We love having you in our lives. You are such a wonderful bright spot and your giggles are the best thing to listen to. Here's to another great month!
Monday, June 24, 2013

Toddler Eating On-The-Go!

Molly and I like to get out and explore. We visit the zoo, we go to the park, we have play dates at friend's houses. A lot of times these adventures mean that we are away from the house for lunch. I like to pack food for us as I don't like to spend a lot of money eating out everyday and to be honest, the items on most kid's menus are not to my liking. I mean how many chicken fingers, mac-n-cheese and fries lunches should one kid have in a week. I also like that I have food ready to go when Molly is hungry. There is no looking for a place to eat or waiting for food to be ready. We can be munching on lunch within minutes.

Of course, packing a toddler's lunch means that I have a honed a small collection of containers that I think are perfect for packing and eating lunch on the go.


I pack a lot of snacks in our Innobaby Smart Storage System. It's got a little handle which makes carrying super easy. Each of the tiers comes apart and can be used separately or together. The great thing about this item is that I was able to use it when Molly was still on formula but now I use it for snacks. I pack cheerios, grapes, cheese, blueberries, etc in it.


Molly likes to take her milk on the road so we put that in our Thermos Foogo Leak-proof straw cup. It keeps her milk nice and cold. It also doesn't leak as much as other cups we've used.


I also love the green sprouts sproutware snack cups for bigger food items. They hold about 4 oz of food and are perfect for pasta, peas, beans and other treats. We used these a lot when Molly first started on purees. I would put the frozen cube of food into them the night before and then she would eat the defrosted cube for meals the next day. Now we use them for leftovers and lunches.


For snacks on the go, we rely on our Munchkin Snack Catcher which is awesome for cut-up fruit, crackers, dried fruit and cheerios.

I usually put all of the lunch food into my old Medela pump cooler with a reusable ice pack. It's the perfect size for a toddler lunch and even leaves some room for my food. There are some super cute lunch bags out there though and when Molly heads off to preschool, I'll be packing her lunch in those.
Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sunday Favorites

My favorites this week make me want to have a Summer adventure with fun friends, tasty food and delightful pets!

1. hello, gorgeous., 2. Neon Museum, 3. First Outdoor Dinner, 4. Ginger ice cream with a rhubarb swirl recipe now on my blog. #thermomix #realfood #iscream #recipecommunity #thermomixaus, 5. Signa, 6. On the way back to Seattle, 7. Blue, 8. Rain don't bring us down, 9. New bar tape!, 10. A hot, but good 3-miler in the sun. And negative splits! (10:35,10:29,10:28) 5 days to go! #marathontraining #running, 11. Back to practicing with liege waffles made at home., 12. Lunch break. #roadtrip, 13. A Thing That Is Great When You Are Moving Is the Benjamin Moore Color Preview Fan, 14. Kaffeine, 15. My little mini hexagon project is getting larger. Somehow I've underestimated just how many of these half inch pieces I'm going to need for an sort of a large scale project., 16. The old schoolhouse in San Simeon, and Hearst Castle waaaaaaay in the background on top of a mountain., 17. Duh, how could we not? #heaven #ibelongtothesea #dontgochasinwaterfalls, 18. Ten. Sniff., 19. It says #bliss #potluckpowwow @jennydemarco @cusicphoto, 20. 165. Creativity is intelligence is having fun.  - Albert Einstein -, 21. Back in England, where it is currently cold and raining... Consoling myself with naps and coffee and photos of our holiday in the sun - oh yeah, #youbetterbelieveivegotlatergrams ☺, 22. week one hundred & eleven, 23. 2 miles down, 6 more to go. Last long run before my marathon next Saturday! #marathontraining #8miles #running, 24. 9043005191_5cf99ce776_b, 25. Adiós, España! Thanks for the sun, surf, swimming, cycling, cervezas and sunsets... And all that glorious Vitamin D... ☺❤
Saturday, June 22, 2013

FitBit Update

Earlier this year, I wrote about my new love affair with my fitbit. I thought it was time for an update. I'm still in love with it and I've been slowly adding friends which makes my competitive heart beat faster.

They've recently updated the dashboard so I can quickly check to see where I am compared to my friends who are all tendentious about getting their 10,000 steps in!

I've also started using the FitBit food log to log what I'm eating. I'm not counting calories but rather using it to make sure that I'm not eating too many carbs. Oh I love my carbs but my body does not enjoy them. 

I also like the boost my FitBit gives me throughout the day. Sometimes I end up walking places because I know it will increase my step count and I like that! 
Friday, June 21, 2013

A Failure in Baking - Angel food Cake

Molly woke up at 5 am this morning and after drowsily drinking my coffee, I decided that today would be the day to use up the 8 egg whites I had leftover from the trifle I made for Father's Day. The true lesson learned here is that one should not bake when they are sleep deprived and one can not get away with using less cream of tartar than the recipe calls for. It's kinda the secret ingredient in the mix.


I made the cake and tasted the batter which was like licking a spoon of pure sugar. It was good. Then I baked the cake and well, it didn't rise. You see, I only had 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar and the recipe calls for 1 1/2 teaspoons of it. And you can't skimp! Baking is a science. I know this but I thought I could somehow circumvent it at 6 a.m. But I couldn't.


My friend tasted the cake and agreed, something was off. Her mom tried it and knew right away that I had tried to circumvent science. We had a nice chat about it and I admitted that I knew better. But why did I forge ahead? Because I was tired!


I'm still going to share the recipe with you today. It's from my absolute favorite cookbook which is out of print. It's the McCall's cookbook from 1962 and it is my good-to-cookbook. It has everything. And this angel food cake recipe (as long as you follow the recipe) is divine. Just don't try to get smarter than it. You're not. Well, at least I'm not.

McCall's Angel Food Cake
Serves 20

1 3/4 cups egg whites (12-14), warmed to room temp
1 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1. Preheat oven to 375F
2. Sift flour with 3/4 cup sugar. Sift three times.
3. Beat egg whites with salt and cream of tartar until soft peaks form.
4. Gradually beat in remaining sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue beating until stiff peaks form.
5. With wire whisky, gently fold in vanilla and almond extract.
6. Sift flour mixture, one fourth at a time over egg whites. Gently fold into whites about 15 times.
7. With a rubber scraper, gently push batter into an un-greased 10-inch tube pan. With a knife, cut through the batter twice then spread batter until it is smooth on top.
8. Bake on lower oven rack, 35-40 minutes.
9. Invert pan over neck of bottle and let cool completely - about 2 hours.
10. Serve plan or frost as desired.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Pinterest Thursday - A Father's Day BBQ

About a month ago, Scott and I decided to host a Father's Day BBQ at our house. Scott got to work on the backyard and I started pinning recipes. I made a board for the Father's Day BBQ and found some delicious recipes.

Our menu included:

Fruit Kebabs
Veggie Kebabs
Honey Lime Chicken Kebabs
BBQ Corn with Mexican Spicy Butter
Cucumber and Tomato Salad
Blueberry Triffle

Everything was super easy and so tasty! I do have to say that the Blueberry Triffle made enough to feed an army. We had so much left over that I ended up tossing most of it.


Look at how huge it was!


One really nice thing about this menu is that I was able to make most of it the night before. All we needed to do on Father's Day was fire up the grill and cook everything!





My family left stuffed and happy! Best of all, we all had a ton of fun and there wasn't a huge mess to clean up. Pinterest is awesome for planning party menus and well I even use it to plan most of our weekly menus. What's your favorite Pinterest use?
Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Father's Day Present

We don't buy presents for each other on Father's Day but that doesn't mean that a homemade gift isn't appreciated.


I like to get creative with Scott's gifts from Molly. She's not yet of an age where she can contribute a lot but that doesn't mean that she doesn't get involved.

I found this fun download on eighteen25 and knew a book about Dad was just the gift we were looking for. I printed out the pages and got to work. I handed Molly some crayons and after doing my part, gave her the pages to draw on. They needed a special Molly touch.




Then I sent off a bunch of photos to Walgreens for printing. Their app is so simple and easy to use and the best part is that printing photos is cheap!



Scott loved his book on Father's Day. Molly sat with him and showed him all the pages. They talked about the photos of the two of them and the adventures they had in the past year. It was super cute to watch.

I found the photo album at JoAnn's and decided to leave a few pages blank. I told Scott that he and Molly can fill them in with more photos this summer.
Monday, June 17, 2013

8 in 2013 - Pixel People - Star Wars - Enemies Finished!

In January, I talked about my 8 in 2013 goals and over the weekend, I finished another one! I finished the Wee Little Stitches Star Wars Enemies cross stitch.


I've been differing on this project and on Saturday night, I decided to just finish it. Now I need to decide what to do with it. I don't see Scott enjoying a framed cross stitch project in his office so I'm thinking about making it into a pillow for the guest room/craft room. He uses the room for exercising and could enjoy the pillow there.


This was a fun and could have been a quick project. Wee Little Stitches has a ton of these kind of cross stitch projects. I'm trying to resist purchasing them all!


My 8 in 2013 goals (and their status)
  • 2 cross stitch patterns (Woodland Sampler (I'm behind on this but plan to catch up this week) and Wee Little Stitches Star Wars people)
  • 2 quilts (One for Molly and finish up my Pinwheel Quilt) - I am nowhere near finishing these projects but once my craft room is back together, I hope to be able to get working on them.
  • 2 knitted projects (a Year in Temperatures scarf  and my Smitten Advent Calendar) - I'm also behind on my scarf but that would be easy to catch up on. I haven't knit on mittens in awhile so I think I need to figure out a weekly goal for myself so I can get this done. I mean there are only 24 mittens to do and I think I have 6 of them already done.
  • 2 photography challenges (Fat Mum Slim's January Challenge  and something else that I need to decide on) I've decided on my new photography challenge and expect to be starting and announcing it in a few weeks.
Saturday, June 15, 2013

(Grand) Father's Day

This year will be my Dad's second Father's Day as a Grandpa and this year he is celebrating it with TWO granddaughters. I don't think he could have even dreamed of this three years ago. When I told him I was pregnant with Molly, he informed me that he had decided just that week that he was ready to be a Grandfather. I was happy to make him one and then this year my brother had his first child which made my Dad an even grander Grandfather.

New - I met my new niece tonight along with my parents. My Dad is recovering from a cold which is why he's wearing a mask. My niece's parents are not crazy germaphobes. This little girl is a cutie! #fmsphotoaday

He's a really good Grandpa too. Every Tuesday when my Dad comes to pick up my Mom, Molly greets him at the door. She gets super excited and if he doesn't spend at least 5 minutes with her, then she gets upset. She loves her weekly Grandpa time.

Grandma, Grandpa and Thing 1

In April, we left her with my parents for the weekend and they had a grand time. I think my Dad might have had the best time because he quickly booked a few more weekends with her.

Morning Newspaper Reading

I knew my Dad was going to be a great Grandpa. He's been a really fantastic father! He knows everything (seriously, I'm not sure how but the man knows all sorts of crazy facts), he's helpful and most importantly he is caring. Happy (Grand)Father's Day, Dad! I hope your grandaughters really spoil you tomorrow!

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