Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Pain Au Chocolat

This post is mainly for my sister Sarah, who has recently moved to the French Riveria. Inspired by her mouth-watering descriptions of the delicious French pastries available fresh and cheap daily, I determined to test out my French baking abilities with my favorite pastry, the chocolate crossiant. With my family as the willing guinea pigs and Christmas morning breakfast hanging on the brink of my success or failure (ok not really) I set to work with my trusty Williams Sonoma cookbook and squeaky old rolling pin.

The mission: Pain Au Chocolat

Step 1: Activate yeast with warm water and wait until frothy. Simple enough

Step 4: After mixing all remaining ingredients, roll out the dough into a precise 9 X 13" rectangle

Step 5: "Laminating the dough" Here I had to check and double check that the recipe was calling for an ENTIRE pound of butter, and mind you this is for 12 crossiants. This step is where I almost lost my mind. Laminating dough is the process of spreading the butter throughout the pastry through mashing, folding, flipping, refrigerating, and waiting. This step alone took a total of 5 hours because there are 4 lamination periods with a 40 min. refrigeration time necessary between each set. This is where the faint of heart might give up, but I was determined to accomplish this mission. I mean, my family, and the fate of Christmas was couting on me. (What? too dramatic?)

Step 28: Ahh, finally the chocolate! Using a food processor chop chocolate into small pieces. Roll out dough (again) into another precisely sized rectangle of which I don't remember and cut into 12 squares. Place chocolate in center of each square and roll into cylindrical shapes. Brush with beaten egg yoke and place in piping hot oven for 18 minutes and........

Voila! We couldn't have felt any more French on Christmas morning as we bit into our gooey, warm, flaky, chocolaty croissants. Sweet success tasted oh so good. However, next time I get a craving for this culinary delight, remind me that its quicker to hop on a flight to France and purchase one from the Boulangerie down the street from my sister! Bon Appetite.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

It's the most wonderful time of the year

Christmas this year was long anticipated and, as usual, flew by in a blur. Although Eli still didn't quite understand the concept of getting gifts, he enjoyed ripping off wrapping paper and running around like a maniac with all his cousins. It is wonderful to have both of our families in town and be able to spend quality time with each of them around the holidays. It's been a whirlwind week of continuous activity and only stopping home long enough to unload the car and change clothes, but I loved every second of it. Here are a few of my favorite moments...

Cuddle Time with Papa Kevin
Opening gifts at home Christmas morningCallie and Eli in their special Christmas outfits
These two are so sweet together
Rub-a-dub-dub 3 babes in the tub
Rub-a-dub-dub 4 babes in the tub

Annual matching PJ picture (we miss you Lily and Zach)

Eli looks so grown up in this picture I could just cry

And now back to making my new years resolutions.....

Friday, December 18, 2009

It's a Girl!!

Sugar and spice
and everything nice
that's what little girls are made of

Sunshine and rainbows
and ribbons for hair bows
that's what little girls are made of

Tea parties, laces
and baby doll faces
that's what little girls are made of
-Author unknown

Meet our sweet baby girl

All snuggled up and cozy

Getting a little sleepy from all the attention

Perfect chubby cheeks

"For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well..."
Psalm 139

Thank you Lord for this healthy, beautiful girl. We stand
completely humbled by such a
perfect gift

Monday, December 14, 2009

Puppy Love

It was love at first nuzzle for this little boy and his four-legged friend. (well I guess it took Buckeye a few months to adjust...)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Spam Shmam

Today as I was cleaning out my email inbox I made the sad discovery that many of your kind and funny comments had been filtered into my spam box where I never saw them. My apologies to my faithful readers for seemingly ignoring your thoughts. They have all been published now and I will be sure to keep an eye on that darn spam box. I have no idea why most go to my regular inbox while a few get sent into spam. So weird. But anways thanks for all the love!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Dinner Etiquette 101

We have a rule regarding Eli and mealtime. If he deliberately throws his sippy on the ground then we don't pick it up. If he throws his fork on the ground, no matter how much he may whine and "uh-oh", and point to it, we don't pick it up. The same goes with food items. Once the first bite hits the floor he gets a warning. Any future drops result in the tray being removed, hands cleaned and the end of mealtime. It's a work in progress but he is starting to learn that we mean business when we say "don't drop that."

Well tonight Eli was enjoying some spaghetti and decided to pitch his fork in the first 2 minutes. He started fussing and pointing and saying "pease, pease pease" but I ignored him. After about 1 minute he gave up and decided forks were for the birds. He face-planted into his spaghetti and devoured every last bite, even licking the plate clean of extra sauce. I have to give him credit for problem solving.
And don't you just wish you could lose your inhibitions every once in a while and enjoy your food this much? This is how I would eat my Cheetos in a perfect world...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Wooa Nelly

Warning for parents: Car door corners are sharp and will cause gashes in tender skin. Use caution when loading children into car seats. Luckily, Eli knows he is plenty cool enough to make this band-aid look oh so good.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Pregnancy then and now

Well I've officially reached the 20 week mark in my pregnancy, which means I am halfway through this journey. This is where I step back, thank God (again), and give a huge sigh of relief. The 20 week mark is momentous to me in many ways, of which I wont bother to bore you with all the emotional details. It's amazing to me how different this pregnancy is from my one with Eli simply because, well, of Eli. Here are my top 10 pregnancy then vs. pregnancy now observations...

1. Then, in the weeks of the first trimester when I felt so very sick, I could vomit in a discrete and dignified manner, privately.

Now, in the weeks of the first trimester when I felt so very sick, my then 16 month old would stand over me and not only laugh but also attempt to imitate my retching and thus make himself laugh harder. Dignity, gone.

2. Then, I had the luxury of laying in bed for an extra hour in the morning after snacking on crackers until my stomach felt more settled.

Now, 7am is wake-up time and toddler's don't have a snooze button.

3. Then, if you were to ask me how far along I was I could tell you in hours, as in I'm 15 weeks, 2 days and 3 hours.

Now, I actually have to keep a written reminder in my planner of the weeks passage and I usually answer people in terms of 25% through, halfway through, etc.

4. Then, I invested in the expensive stretch mark creams "guaranteed" to prevent any evidence that you were ever pregnant at all.

Now, I slather those lovely scars in Jergens and just pray that no new atrocities will form this time around.

5. Then, I spent hours watching live birthing videos on Youtube and trying to prepare myself for my big moment by apparently scaring myself to death.

Now, been there, seen that.

6. Then, every day at 4pm was my "me" time where I would pop a bag of popcorn, make a big ole' mug of hot chocolate and kick up my feet for an hour while I watched Oprah, perhaps dozing in and out of consciousness.

Now, I can get 24 minutes of "me" time thanks to free Barney on Demand, if I'm lucky. Popcorn must be shared with a ferociously hungry boy repeating the phrase "moe pease" while clambering for a place on my lap. Relaxing? Not so much.

7. Then, I spent days writing and perfecting my birth plan and then proudly presented it to my OB explaining how I wanted things to go.

Now, I laugh in the face of birth plans. My plan is end up at the hospital and go home with a baby. Preferably mine.

8. Then, I hoped my belly would grow really fast so everyone would know I was pregnant and I could wear all the cute maternity fashions.

Now, I'm pretty much always sucking in and just counting down the days until my tummy tuck.

9. Then, I thought one baby would be a cinch. All it takes is organization, preparation, and proper planning. I planned on having 4-5 kids back to back.

Now, Eli struggles to understand my organizational needs. I am amazed at the utter destruction one child can cause to a clean house. I still want 4-5 kids, maybe.

10. Then, I was pretty sure I would like being a mom. I was pretty sure I had everything figured out already and could conquer parenting like I conquer home improvement projects.

Now, it's all the more exciting knowing the miraculous gift that birth and babies and parenting is. I certainly have realized that I have nothing figured out except that you cannot conquer parenting. You survive each day and pray that God empowers you to be a better mom tomorrow than you were yesterday.