Tuesday, April 5, 2016

French Yogurt Cake from Bringing Up Bebe

Pulled from Orangette (can't get to her site anymore, so reposting here)

This type of cake is an old classic in France, so simple kids can make it. It is also very forgiving, so even Olivia can help and over/under fill and still will taste great. Traditionally, the ingredients are measured in a yogurt jar, a small glass cylinder that holds about 125 ml. Because most American yogurts don't come in such smart packaging, you'll want to know that 1 jar equals about 1/2 cup.

For the cake:
1 jar plain yogurt
2 jars granulated sugar
3 large eggs
3 jars unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 jar canola oil

For the glaze:
Juice from 2 lemons
1/2 jar powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, sugar, and eggs, stirring until well blended. Add the flour, baking powder, and zest, mixing to just combine. Add the oil and stir to incorporate. Pour and scrape the batter into a greased 9-inch round cake pan.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the cake feels springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Do not overbake.

Cool cake on a rack for about 20 minutes; then turn it out of the pan to cool completely.

When the cake is thoroughly cooled, combine the lemon juice and powdered sugar in a small bowl and spoon it gently over the cake. The glaze will be thin and will soak in like a syrup.


Monday, January 19, 2015

Grand Resolutions

So remember that post I wrote last week about how I was finally adjusting to my new normal, that I was being happier and not wasting my time missing out on the moments...

What was I thinking?

Maybe it was the lack of sleep (Isaac has a cold and was up coughing/trying to find medicine in the middle of the night), maybe it was because I forgot to have breakfast, maybe it was not taking my Vitamin D (I keep it at the office), but my first scheduled work from home day was hard! Olivia got up early, and was so clingy! I couldn't get her distracted by anything she normally likes (books, trains, tupperware) but she just wanted to be sitting in my lap and looking at pictures/videos of herself . She wasn't even distracted by her favorite Youtube show (Pocoyo). She was fussy but wouldn't take a nap until 10:30 (late for her), and my silly vitamin-d-deprived, hungry, sleepy brain didn't even realize that she slept for 4 hours! All I could think of while she napped was how much work I could get done before she woke up hungry and ready for more attention.

So when Isaac finally got back from his work meeting, I was spent. I finished off my work, shut off my computer, let Isaac make dinner (which he was planning on doing anyway), put Olivia to bed right on time, watched a couple of shows on Netflix, then went to bed early.

I'm learning that sometimes, even grand resolutions fail, and it is just not a good idea to skip breakfast :)

Thursday, January 15, 2015

My New Normal

Lots of things have changed since I last posted. November was a crazy month, especially the week of Thanksgiving.

  • Monday I started a new job
  • Tuesday we bought a house
  • Wednesday was Isaac's birthday
  • Thursday was Thanksgiving
  • Friday was Black Friday (mostly spent at Home Depot)
  • Saturday was moving day and UGA/GT football game (which we won!)
It was a great week with lots of great exciting changes, I was thrilled and so glad to be starting new chapters of my life.

Then reality set in. I tend to get really excited about changes, but after they happen I have a hard time adapting. I have grand ideas of what it will be like once something happens, and when it doesn't quite live up to my expectations I get disappointed. 

Our new "closet" after the shelf
The new house was bigger with so much potential, yes, but we were sleeping with our mattress on the floor, our couch (my favorite spot in the house) was still at the old house for staging, I had trouble finding things while cooking (I knew we brought sugar over, but I couldn't find it!), everything was still in boxes, our bedroom has no doors to hide the closet clutter, our lack of driveway meant that the floors were always dirty, and I kept missing things about the old house. I had 6 years at that house to make it just how we liked it, and now we were leaving it. We were leaving the kitchen we had redone ourselves, the book page wall for Olivia's room, the Master bedroom with awesome built ins, the great mudroom Isaac had built, my wall of jars in the kitchen.

The new job was awesome, but I was still in my training period which meant I was going into work everyday, I wasn't getting home until 6:30/7 at night, I had to get myself and Olivia ready and out the door in the mornings, I was working with Macs (I haven't used a Mac in years), and I was adapting to a new process of coding. I was leaving all the people I had worked with for 5 years, the nice part-time work where I only had to come in once a week, the place where I was the expert at what I did.

I felt like I was in limbo. I was waiting for our first house to sell so we could finish moving into our new house. I was waiting for my work from home schedule so I could start planning better for each week and have days when I wasn't rushing out the door and rushing home to get Olivia fed. I was waiting for things to get unpacked before I started trying to really settle in. My to-do list kept getting longer as I had less time each day to finish things. 

It turned into a huge cycle. As more things built up, the more I just wanted time to relax and enjoy the little time I had to myself, but I felt guilty and overwhelmed so I didn't ever really relax. I would watch TV instead of unpacking, then feel guilty about not unpacking and try to do it while Olivia was awake, then get frustrated with her when she wanted attention, only to feel guilty about not giving her attention and take a break to spend time with her, which would again lead me to not getting things done.

I was complaining all the time. Complaining about the house, the job, Isaac, Olivia, the weather, the holidays (so much running around!), the traffic, about Isaac turning on the bathroom light at night, everything. I would complain when I got help, when I didn't get help, all the time!

I could tell it was wearing on Isaac and Olivia. Isaac was doing his best to do things for me (like setting up the laundry room downstairs, adding shelving to our master closet, starting dinner while I got Olivia, picking up Olivia so I could come straight home) but for every great thing he did, I'd find something he didn't do right (stuff was in my way to get to the Laundry room, dinner wasn't completely ready when I got home, he went home to work on the house instead of picking up Olivia, he was working in his shop instead of entertaining Olivia). Olivia was unhappy to see me when I cam to pick her up and would fuss for most of the car ride home. I would snap "No!" at her after she asked for the 100th time for "fffood" on the way home instead of telling her she had to wait til we got home and trying to distract her. 

I'm not exactly sure when I decided I needed to be the one to change rather than waiting for everything around me to change, but this week has been much better. I read a blog yesterday about a woman who decided to "Look for flowers instead of weeds". And that is what I've been trying to do. 

  • I've been enjoying the afternoon commute to sing and talk with Olivia, even if she asks for food 100 times.
  • I've been trying to enjoy the little things, like having our couch moved to the new house.
  • I've been trying to act more grateful towards those who have helped me, because I couldn't have done this by myself.
  • I've taken time to play with Olivia after work, because I love watching her play and laugh and I don't want to miss out more than I already am.
  • I'm trying to stop feeling guilty about all the things I haven't done, and just try to accomplish one thing on my to-do list, even if it means that 5 more things get added afterward.

I'm not giving up complaining all together or being frustrated by things. I know it is good to get things out sometimes and that I will be frustrated by things, but I can't let that take over my life. Because otherwise I'll miss out on this:

And I just don't have enough time in my day to miss the wonderful little moments :)

Monday, May 5, 2014

Finishing my Walking Challenge!!

So remember this post in October where I said I was doing the Walktober Challenge and wanted to get 10,000 steps per day for a month. Well I'm here to say, it didn't happen. I could blame it on Olivia, but really it was me. It got cold, I went back to work, I got lazy and comfortable, and it just didn't happen. So every month I've been trying again to do it. And failing...

Until April!! When I completed 300,000 steps in 30 days!!! I got off to a good start the first week of the month, and stuck with it! I'm so happy I did and now I will finally get that piece of furniture that Isaac said he would build me if I did it! I want it to go in the corner of our bedroom for socks storage and somewhere to catch barely worn clothes.

Any ideas for what my next challenge should be?

And video of Olivia trying to steal Isaac's food (please excuse Bob's Burgers in the background)

Friday, May 2, 2014

Book Page Wall Done!!

On Monday Olivia will be 9 months old! I can't believe time has gone so fast, but I'm glad to have finally finished this project that I had in my mind for so long! Thank you everyone for giving Olivia so many books and for giving pages to go on the wall and suggestions. It made it so personalized and it was so nice to include part of so many people in this wall :)

When I was first deciding on decorating Olivia's room, I didn't want it to be too girly in case we have a boy at some point and they have to share a room, and I wanted it to be something Olivia could grow into. I love books, Isaac loves books, so we thought maybe a book room could be gender neutral. And I saw this blog where they used book pages as wallpaper, and thought that would be fun!

Before Olivia was born, my mom and dad came over and helped me paint her room and add a layer wallpaper so we could more easily remove this if we ever decide to. We used this paintable wallpaper and this wallpaper paste and only got as far as putting the wallpaper up...

So, my mom came over at 10 and I had warned her ahead of time that we would be working on this instead of walking. So put a portacrib in our bedroom, put Olivia down for a nap, and got started! I managed to print all but 3 of the pages before my ink ran out completely. 

After much thought, I decided to scan and print the pages only in black, on very white paper rather than the manilla I had originally thought to use. I was afraid that manilla would look dingy quickly and we might not be able to space out colored images easily on the wall. I had 327 pages that I printed as 5x7 so it took 164 sheets of paper for this wall (I had thought I needed about 300 pages, so I added extra and I'm glad I did!)

We had a pretty even mix of pages with just words, and pages with images on them, so we sorted them into piles (images horizontal, images vertical, full page words, less than full pages words) so we could get an relatively even mix. We started in the middle so we could make it not uniform and my mom and I went different directions so we could get more done.
We started by cutting the pages to the size we wanted then rolling the wallpaper paste directly onto the wall, then putting the page on the wall. I was afraid that if we did it on the paper, it might get too wet and rip. Even doing it that way, the paper did get pretty wet and we had to be careful about smoothing it as we went. We used a dough scraper to make sure it was even and smooth out the edges and tried not to use our finger because they got covered with ink and smudged. My mom did much better than I did, I got kinda lazy as the day wore on and over pasted and then used my fingers, so you can tell what side I did and what side she did if you come look...

At this point, Olivia woke up and we took a break to have lunch. 

I should have videod it, but at one point we put Olivia in her crib to keep her from grabbing everything that she shouldn't (wallpaper jug, any scrap of paper that fell on the floor, a paint roller, the stools, etc. How does she know exactly what doesn't normally belong in her room? The Duplos she normally loves to play with were forgotten) and she thought that my mom was playing peekaboo with her anytime she turned around and was giggling up a storm! Olivia did pretty good considering all the excitement and not being paid attention to for a while, especially because she has gotten more clingly in the past couple of days.

Then at a little before 6pm (almost 8 hours!), we finally finished! Here is the final product before moving everything back into place and final touch ups. I'm so happy with the mix of words and images, it really looks amazing! And we had only 2 pages leftover! I really cut it close....

My mom couldn't believe that we got it all done in one day, but I'm so glad we did!

And all cleaned up right before we put Olivia to bed for the night. It really wasn't too much of a mess to clean up, just the rollers and paper scraps and putting everything back where it belonged.

So Olivia's book nursery is almost done! I still have the hook rug to complete, but I think it is pretty much decorated now. Hopefully this is something she can grow into, because it was a lot of work!

Thank you so much Mommy for all your help. It turned out better than I could have imagined!

And video of Olivia doing her new favorite trick...

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

I've got worms!!

And I'm so excited!!! Isaac says I shouldn't phrase it like that, but it caught your attention!

So my friend Kyla has been using worms for composting for a good while now. And because she is moving to San Diego (I'm not jealous) because she is getting married and her fiance said that she could build a larger home for worms when she gets there, she said I could have her already established homemade worm composting system! I was so excited! I've always want to compost better (I just hate waste) and my attempts have been poor to say the least. I have a trash can outside that I was going to compost in, but I never remembered to roll it or take the compost out.

So Kyla brought over the system this weekend with her amazing cheat sheet on how to take care of the worms! Isaac just rolled his eyes at my excitement and I told him thank you for letting me have it. He said we hadn't really discussed it (oops) but was glad I was so happy. Here are her rules:

⅓ food
⅔ Dry Stuff
Almost Anything Organic: crushed eggshells, coffee grinds, peels, etc.
Newspaper, dryer lint, leaves, cardboard
Meat, Dairy, Citrus, Poop
Bleached white paper, shiny paper

When you add food, put it under the top layer of dry stuff.

Ideal moisture is the same as a squeezed out kitchen sponge. Just add more dry stuff if it is too wet.

Worms get unhappy if:
  • it’s too wet, cause they think they’ll drown (add dry stuff)
  • ridiculous amount of food in container (just hold off on adding food and they’ll catch up)
  • left in sunlight or temps outside 50⁰-90⁰ F
Harvest Time: Take top layer of newspaper from “home” tub and add to empty tub. Put tub on top and only add food to it. They’ll move as there’s nothing left in the old tub.

These are red wiggler worms, the only kind that can live happily in a shallow container.

Kyla recommended me keeping it in my basement, so I'm going to put it our pantry area downstairs! It smells like dirt, not like rotted food so the reason for keeping it downstairs is for the temperature. I spent Saturday morning feeding the worms leftovers from spaghetti night (bread crusts, Olivia's sweet potatoes, onion top) and some dryer lint, but gonna start a food container so I don't overwhelm them! Yay! Happy Rebecca! Thank you so much Kyla!

And ubiquitous picture of Olivia!
Eating dirt at Stone Mountain playground

Friday, April 25, 2014

Nerdy Baby Moment of the Week (April 25)

This nerdy outfit is thanks to my amazingly artistic sister-in-law who free handed this awesome onesie for Olivia! And since my little girl will not keep still long enough to snap a full photo, the onesie says:

Time and Relative Deprivation in Sleep (TARDIS)

I put the bow in Olivia's hair because I shouldn't let it, but it bothers me when people think she is a boy. I mean although her outfit is mostly blue, she has pink flowers and butterflies on her pants, but someone will miss that. The other day I was in Kroger and Olivia was in a white and pink onesie, and two people asked how old he was. One of them then proceeded to ask if I was expecting another too...no, just leftovers from this one, Thanks!
Olivia reading her "Pat the Bunny" book from Kelly!

Right side up any everything...

And this is what pictures of Olivia look like lately, especially if snapped from my phone which never manages to take quick enough photos before Olivia has moved on from the doing the adorable thing I'm trying to capture...

Come back next Friday for another installment of me trying to brainwash my child into being nerdy!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

We could go bigger...

So I may be slightly behind on printing my wedding pictures, considering that we got married almost 4 years ago. I promised my mom and mother-in-law to make them wedding Albums, but that never happened...

So with blank living room walls and Kyla's suggestion to do a big frame rather than lots of little frames, and not being able to decide what pictures I wanted up (how could I choose? Rebekah and Kevin take amazing photos), I decided to try a mosaic photo. And I am so pleased with how it turned out!!I used Easy Moza and it was amazing and easy (like it says)! Then I got the photo printed at Sams Club in a 20x30! Did you know they did that?

Here is how I did it:

Full Mosaic

Zoomed in area of mosaic

Take an old photo/frame and a ruler and a pencil
and the new poster!
Take the old photo and frame apart and flip the old photo
Measure and center the new poster in the old one
Realize that the border not being the same all the way around is really going
 to bother you and go downstairs and get more tools to make it even...

Return with double sided tape, an Xacto knife, clippers and a cutting board
Cut everything down by 2 inches

Put the new photo back in the frame now that it is evenly centered
 and Windex the plastic/glass because it is covered with dust and all your fingerprints
Snip the 2" off the black frame
Realize that you should have cut 1" off each side of the backer board
 because now the hanger is no longer in the middle of the board (oops)

Also, realize that you can't hang the photo yet because you did this project
 while your 8 month old was sleeping because she would have tried to put
every scrap in her mouth and probably have tried to eat the Xacto knife...
Finally hang the photo and realize that I could have "gone bigger" and that I need to fill in all that blank space... another project for another day :)
And I'll leave you with the awesome commercial that I got the title of this blog post from
 for a company that no longer exists...

Monday, April 21, 2014

The State of the Union (or just our living room floor)

I like keeping a pretty clean house. I really can't stand clutter on surfaces (especially my kitchen counters and my dining room tables) and I like to keep the Living room clean because that is the room I spend most of my time in at the moment. But now that Olivia is mobile, it is nearly impossible to keep the living room clean. 

See below:

And this is not just a couple days worth of clutter, this is one morning (from 6:30 to 8am). Olivia managed to pull out her entire container of toys and drink coasters, got fussy so I put some Cherrios on the floor for her to eat (is that bad? I was trying to get some eggs made for us and when I feed her off the floor, I can see her better than in her high chair), and then got distracted from the Cherrios and decided to play with the laundry.

The thing is, I don't even know why I keep putting them back! Maybe because I think that she probably enjoys pulling everything out as much as playing with just 1 thing, maybe because I'm trying to encourage her to crawl more, maybe just because I'm insane (doing something over and over and expecting a different result). Either way, it is currently tidied up until Olivia wakes up from her nap and the whole cycle starts again.

Really I'm enjoying her exploring and don't mind when she gets into things that won't kill her (not like outlets, power cords, hot ovens, why do they like things that are most likely to hurt them? Do they instinctively know?) Now I just need to teach her that putting things back is just as fun as pulling it all out :)

Having fun playing with Laundry

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Key to Happiness

This post is not about the key to my happiness, but truly the "keys" that make Olivia happy. See what I did there :) I know it is lame, I need more adult social interaction in my life...

So Olivia loves my keys. Whenever I have them in my hand and am trying to buckle her up in the car, she grabs my keys. It is actually helpful to have her hold them while I'm trying to get everything in the car, but when I take them away from her to start the car or unlock the front door (you know the thing you need keys for) she is furious! It might be because we just went on a shopping trip and she is tired, it might be that she doesn't like sitting by herself in the back of the car without toys that she will eventually drop, but she usually is very mad when I take them. She also tends to drop my keys while at the grocery store and as much as I love Kroger, I do eventually want to make it home.

So I was considering buying some toy keys like my friend Vickie has ($14.99 on Amazon)
but I'm cheap so I figured I could make a set of my own for Olivia.

So I went to my local friendly Ace Hardware and got a couple of blank keys without pokey edges and a stretchy band with a whistle (because Olivia might eventually figure out how to use it and doesn't make enough noise as is...) and got some of my own key chain accessories and made Olivia her own. Apparently I'm not the first person who has done this because the guy helping me with the keys asked me what happened to the other set I made for my daughter. And they only cost $7! And here is how they turned out:
Lego Darth Vader, a little light, a couple old
rewards cards, 4 keys, a whistle and a stretchy band
To those who haven't been to an Ace Hardware in a while, I have to say I love going into them. Everyone at the one nearest my house is so nice and helpful and have lots of random things you might need (mine currently has a decorative candle section, I'm not sure why) and always know what you mean when you are looking for something ("you know those things to keep your baby from sticking their fingers in the outlets"). (Ace Hardware is not paying me to say this or has any idea that I'm saying this, I just love their stores)

So that is the current "key" to Olivia's happiness during car trips and grocery errands. Come back soon for more horrible-pun-filled projects!!