Growing Out On A Limb


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All boys

I love when hubby comes back from a morning with the boys with smiles all around and lots of pics on the camera.

This past weekend he loaded them in the car for a couple of hours  so mommy could get some odds and ends done around the house.  No doubt I would have rather been with them, having fun, but sometimes a mama’s gotta do what a momma’s gotta do.  Plus I think it’s really nice for just the boys to get out sometimes.  Relationship building and all that stuff.

On this day they went on the Shikatehawk trail.  It’s one we all do fairly often but the pictures and the hike are never boring when these two are around.

Hubby, was this one posed?  They’re holding hands like they like each other!  (I kid… they actually play well together a lot of the time).

 

 

Check out the mid-air rock that is right over Emery’s head in this pic… action shot!

 

Love those chubby cheeks.  

 

 

 


 

Then the boy’s club headed to the park.  Yay – splash pad!

Oliver likes the swings.  I’m trying to teach him how to pump his legs (without belaboring the point because that gets you nowhere with Oliver) but he’ll get it when he gets it.  Actually he still gets in the baby swing sometimes but I think that’s because he loves the under-ducks.  

Is this not THE most awesome pic you have seen of a kid on a swing?  It just drips of happiness and joy and excitement.

And another.  

Emery has so much more patience for the swings than Oliver did at this age (only now is he spending any amount of time on the swings).  Maybe it’s because they seem to put him to sleep really quickly!  

Love my boys.  Love that they love being outside.  And love my hubby for loving to take the boys out on his own now and then to give me a little time (and that he likes to take pictures along the way!)


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Fresh Peach Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Frosting

For Ali’s baby shower, I wanted something other than the plain chocolate, vanilla, or red velvet.  And I wanted something seasonal so my first thought went to peaches.  It turns out there aren’t a whole lot of cupcake recipes out there with fresh peaches but I didn’t need to look further than the first one google took me to … this one from smittenkitchen.com.

I wish I had got a picture of one of these cupcakes broken open.  The peaches were cute quite small but big enough that every bite had a chunk of fresh peach in it.  Yumm.  And they were so moist.  Definitely a keeper.

I went with this brown sugar cream cheese frosting though, one I have used before, because the one at smitten kitchen is thinner and I worried about how it would stand up to presentation.  I’ll try it another time.  The only thing I changed about the frosting recipe was to use less almond extract… I remembered it being a really strong flavor the first time so just cut it back a bit.

 

CUPCAKE INGREDIENTS

3 cups flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

pinch nutmeg

3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temp.

3/4 cup white sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

3 large peaches, chopped quite finely (the original recipe says to peel them but I don’t think I did)

 

CUPCAKE DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350.  Line muffin cups with cupcake liners.

Sift together the dry ingredients.

Cream the butter and sugars together.  Beat until fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl between each addition.  Add vanilla. Gently mix in the buttermilk.  Stir in the dry ingredients.  Fold in the peach chunks.

Divide the batter among the cupcake liners.  I think I got 27 cupcakes out of this recipe.  Bake for 18 to 22 mins.  Cool for a few minutes, then turn onto a wire rack.

 

BROWN SUGAR CREAM CHEESE FROSTING INGREDIENTS

1 pkg cream cheese, softened

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

2 Tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract

1 Tbsp honey

 

BROWN SUGAR CREAM CHEESE FROSTING DIRECTIONS

Melt butter and allow to cool.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients but the honey.  Beat until mixture starts to stiffen.  Stop mixer and add honey.

Continue to beat until light and fluffy.  Do not over mix or it will collapse.

Spread immediate.  Store in refrigerator.


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Summer is …

… the pool!

Boy, do I ever miss the days of last summer – on maternity leave and spending three or four afternoons a week at the local pool.  Yeah, we had it real good.  We still grab that opportunity every chance we get but on the weekends, of course.

Oliver is not very interested in learning to swim yet but he has a blast jumping in and out of the kiddy pool, throwing the ball around, and splashing with other kids.  He still isn’t very keen on getting his face and hair in the water but I see him watching the older kids do it and can tell he’s working up the courage.

Emery has less fear of the water than Oliver, which I suppose is natural.  He watches Oliver pretty closely and figures he should be able to do all the same things, which means mommy has to watch him very closely – if he topples over he can’t get up on his own.  I feel like he should be wearing something float-y but I’ve never quite figured out what and I really don’t mind watching him at this point.  

 

Hubby makes being a dad look like such terribly hard work.  🙂

But being a mommy while at the pool is pretty fun too.  

Help!  I’m being attacked by two extremely adorable sharks!

 


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Play dough cupcakes and eye patching

A few days ago we made a fresh batch of play dough because Oliver had been asking for it.  I had given them a few kitchen items to play with… a bowl, a little rolling pin, cookie cutters, etc.

I was milling around, doing housework or something, while he and Emery played.  Then Oliver says to me, “Look, mommy!  I made a cupcake for you!”.  He had filled the little bowl full of one color, then topped it with a couple of other colors.  No question he has seen me make cupcakes on several occasions but I was still impressed with his creative little mind!

Notice in that picture that he is wearing his eye patch.  About a month ago we had a follow-up appointment with the specialist in Saint John.  Things are improving with the eye that turns in so his glasses are helping but she was worried that it wasn’t happening quickly enough and recommended that he patch 2 hours a day.   I almost cried as I thought, “How in hell am I going to get him to wear that?!”.  He is so particular and stubborn with things like that.

So we researched it.  Then Brian went away for work for a week.  And then we went on vacation and decided not to even think about it until we got back.  The first time he wore it we pretended to be pirates on our boat (the couch), with big waves splashing in. Arrr!  That lasted only 10 or 15 minutes but at least he tried it and saw that it wouldn’t hurt.  The next couple of times were also short… when he said he wanted it off, we asked him to keep it on, but if he put up a fuss at all, we didn’t fight it.

Then we started with the freezies – our bribe incentive.  He puts the patch on in the morning around breakfast time, has a freezie, and doesn’t mention it again until it’s time to take it off.  It is less of a struggle every day – like anything, he’s getting used to it.

We try to keep him in close-up activities while he’s wearing it, like puzzles or play dough or coloring, because that’s when the eye will work the hardest.  But he complains that he can’t see when he is patched and without his glasses, which tells me his eye still has a long way to go. Hopefully he’s not destined for surgery but if it comes to that, we’ll deal with that too.

So it turned out okay, despite my worries.  I guess it comes down to knowing your child and responding to their cues and finding the one thing that works for them.  If you ask me, a freezie a day is a small price to pay if the patching helps!

 


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Blueberry Dutch Pancakes

This recipe came from my Living magazine, also found here.  It’s copied below because I am in no position to be modifying Martha’s recipes!  Nor would I want to in this case.

I love how it puffs up while it bakes – this would be a really impressive-looking dish to take to a brunch. And the best part is that it tastes as good as it looks.  No, the best part is how versatile it is … think of all the different fruit you could use in this!  Oliver didn’t like it as much as the rest of us, I think because it tastes ‘eggier’ than a regular pancake.  But he’s also not that into trying new things these days so I won’t give up on it and will try it again.

INGREDIENTS

4 large eggs

1 cup whole milk

1 cup flour

1/4 cup white sugar

1/2 tsp fresh lemon zest

1/4 tsp salt

2 Tbsp butter

1 cup blueberries

Confectioners’ sugar, for sprinkling (optional)

 

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Blend together eggs, milk, flour, sugar, lemon zest, and salt in a blender.

Heat cast-iron skillet over high heat (I used one 12″ pan but the original recipe split the batter between four smaller ones).  Melt butter.  Pour in the batter.  Scatter the berries over top of the batter.

Bake until puffed and cooked through and the tops are set, about 20 minutes for the 12″ pan.

Top with more berries, sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.

Serve immediately.


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A baby shower for kinder…

This past weekend Mom and I held a baby shower for a special lady… my sister and her soon-to-be-here baby Kinder!

We had a really good crowd, full of close friends and family there to wish Ali and her baby well.  We’re all anxious to meet the newest addition to our family and to see Ali step into motherhood.  I know, without a doubt, that she will be such a great mom.


There she is:  the lady of the hour.

Proud Nana, party planner, and great hostess.  She planned a few fun games of baby gift bingo, how big is the belly, and the clothespin game where you can’t say the word ‘baby’.  Everyone had a great time!

Ali got a lot of great gifts, including homemade quilts from both of our grandmothers.  They are such beautiful keepsakes and a testament to the talent in both of those ladies.  Also notice the fan sitting a foot and a half from Ali’s face.  It was that hot!  

And then there was food!  I didn’t get a shot of the whole food table but mom had a really tasty spread of various munchies and dips.  I had one little plate and didn’t seem able to stop, but I was fine committing to supper even though it was only 3:30 pm!

And there were cupcakes.  Peach cupcakes with brown sugar cream cheese frosting.  Yum!  I’m going to do a blog post with the recipe because those peach cupcakes are not something I want to forget!

The cupcake toppers were made out of scrapbook paper cutouts and brads that I found at the dollar store, glued together and to toothpicks.  Even the cupcake wrappers were from the dollar store.  I really wanted to do something fancy with fondant but I find myself lacking the time (wonder why!) but I think they ended up looking elegant this way too.

All in all it was a wonderful shower to celebrate something wonderful with wonderful friends and family.  I was so happy to be there and will be so happy to meet baby kinder!


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Wilderness Camping at Martin’s Head

Last Friday, after a last-minute invite (and subsequent last-minute packing), Oliver and hubby went camping to Martin’s Head, NB for a couple of nights with some buddies and their kids.

I have never been there but Brian had so knew what to expect – wilderness camping.  Brian told me you need a 4×4 to get there (although our car is in the pics… hmmm) and you pitch your tent on the beach.  No power, no running water.

Beautiful spot, right?

Here’s a shot of the tents.  I think there were two more once everyone showed up.  

 

Apparently when the tide went out, it went out a really long way.  Great for beach combing!  

 

Breakfast on a driftwood table.  Does it get more rustic than that?  

They took a kayak and had a couple of nice paddles.

 

Oliver really liked the beach.  It was a rocky beach compared to Old Orchard Beach, but Oliver didn’t seem to mind.  

 

Oliver’s breakfast on the second morning.  Brian says he forgot they were in there and Oliver had eaten a breakfast’s worth by the time he realized why he was so quiet!  He also told me a story of a moment when he realized Oliver had been quiet for a few minutes, so he went to see what he was up to.  He found him at the car, where he had put sand and rocks and was moving them around on the hood.  Brian said, “Oliver, what are you doing?!”, shocked and appalled.  Oliver grabbed him by the cheeks and said, “Daddy, I’m washing the car”, as if it was the most normal and obvious thing ever.

They were both pretty tired when they got home (normal sleep schedules did NOT apply on this weekend) but they both had fun!