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Hungry for some birthday fun?

22 Jan

For E’s first birthday party, we did a very hungry caterpillar party! One of my talented sister’s, Caroline, designed the invitations and we took it from there….

It was a great party! We had a wonderful turnout, despite illness and weather/travel woes sweeping across the Midwest. Ethan really enoyed himself, though snuffed the cake for the third time! Thanks to many ideas from pinterest, the decor was a big hit! We are so happy with how everything turned out and had a great time! We served most of the foods from the book: one apple, two pears, three plums, four strawebrries, five oranges, swiss cheese, one slice of salami, one cupcake, and one slice chocolate {chip cookie} cake (made by Libby), a green leafy salad (made by Mimi B), along with some added additions: stuffed shells (made by Caroline),cheese sticks from House of Cakes, and Pizza bread from House of Cakes. No one went home hungry!

What a great time! Thank you for all who came out to celebrate our little guy’s big first birthday!

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One

17 Jan

One couple, with one love,
Brought into one crazy world,
One perfect child, one year ago.
With one beautiful, curious face,
One ever beating heart,
And one overwhelmingly sweet kiss,
He stole our hearts,
In one second.
With one toothless smile,
One set of sparkling green-ish, brown-ish, and blue-ish eyes,
And one contagious giggle,
One can never get enough (can we wake him up now?).
With one, independent hand
And the other one in ours,
He slowly learns about our big world,
One curiosity at a time.
Witnessing every development,
One after another, makes for one blessed family.
He is one beautiful child.

Our light, our love and our life turned ONE today and it has been ONE glorious day!

(as adapted from Sarah at Coffee and Cabernet)

PwC Children’s Holiday Party 2011

22 Dec

Today, Debbie brought Ethan downtown for my company’s children’s holiday party. He really enjoyed it!

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He charmed everyone and was on his best behavior. He was even recruited for PwC Class of 2031! He made a new friend, Sean, who he can’t wait to have a play date with!

Afterwards he went to Roosevelt’s Holiday Sing. He loved to bop along with the music!!!

Banana Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Frosting

19 Oct

What do you do when you have bananas that have turned brown? Make a banana dessert! I am planning on making Ethan’s first birthday cake, and my favorite cake in the world is Three Tarts Bakery Banana Cake, so I can only assume Ethan will love it too (we already share the same negative sentiment about cheese).

I tried out a new recipe this week that I found on Yahoo Answers to be modeled after Sprinkles Banana Cupcakes (My fav cupcake, which my mother-in-law and sister-in-law brought to me right after I gave birth to Ethan) and made some tweaks and the end result was yum!

Cupcakes:
2 bananas, mashed {next time I may use 3}
1 stick butter
1 C sugar
2 eggs
2 C flour, sifted
1 t baking soda
1/2 C plain yogurt {The recipes I found online called for sour cream, but I used the whole milk plain yogurt we had on hand to feed E}
1 t vanilla

Creambutter and sugar. Add eggs and keep mixing. Add yogurt, flour, and baking soda; mix. Add vanilla and bananas; mix. Bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

{Yields 24 mini cupcakes, 1 large cupcake}

Frosting {Recipe from a prepacked Sprinkles cupcake mix box}

1 1/2 stk unsalted butter, firm but not cold
large pinch of salt
2 1/2 c confectioners’ sugar, sifted {I never sift}
1/4 tsp vanilla
3 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled to room temperature {Have also used a dark chocolate bar in a pinch}

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter and salt of medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low, gradually add the confectioners sugar and beat until incorporated. Add the vanilla and beat until smooth and creamy. stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the chocolate and beat on medium speed until incorporated, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Do not over mix or the frosting will incorporate too much air; it should be creamy and dense, like ice cream. Add milk, 1 T at a time if frosting does not have spreadable consistency.

The result is pure delicious-ness! I think the pinch of salt makes all the difference in the frosting. I usually use sea salt and have had a lot of compliments on them!

Homemade Soft Pretzels

10 Oct Finished Product

After some egging on by Alex, I took the opportunity on Sunday to make these delicious soft pretzels. They are very similar to my “go to” recipe,  but what stood out the most is that I let these rise for almost three hours and as Ellie suggested — they taste light, airy, and heavenly! I made the dough while Ethan went down for his afternoon nap, then while the dough was rising, I took a nap myself, cleaned the kitchen and then took a family afternoon trip to the park. I got back to the dough about three hours later and the result was dance in my mouth amazing. My new favorite for sure. I had a few slight modifications — I used 1 1/2 cups of warm water for the dough, and I baked them on pizza stones rather than a baking sheet to get the crispy bottom! Definitely worth making!

See the photos below:

Finished Product

Finished Product

Ingredients

Bubbling Yeast

Dough ready to be made into pretzels

Slight Modification: I always bake my pretzel-related items on a pizza stone for a crisp bottom!

Rising up!

We (well…Mom) did it!

21 Aug

Well, it has been one hundred and eighty days of exclusively pumping breastmilk for E (215 days of pumping/trying to breastfeed)…and I am happy to announce Mom can wean as she has more than enough to make it through E’s first year of life! And now some thoughts from Mom:

After trying anxiously for E’s first five weeks of life to breastfeed naturally (numerous visits from multiple lactation consultants, videos sent to lactation consultants, lots and lots of tears), I (with the support of Ben) decided to exclusviely pump breastmilk for E. It hasn’t been easy, or fun, or really enjoyable at all, but I have finally met my goal of having 3,750 ounces of breastmilk for E. With 149 days til E’s first birthday, I will make it and have some to spare if E keeps up his current intake of milk (with our pediatrician noted his intake may go down with the introduction of additional solids, etc.).

I will hopefully be weaned from the pump by Friday and can’t wait to be able to spend additional time with E, Ben & eddy. I calculate that I have spent about a 360 +  hours (15 days) pumping breastmilk for E and while I mentioned above it has never been fun, I feel great that I was able to do this for E. To all my friends, family and even co-workers who unfortunately know way more about pumping then they probably ever wanted needed to know about pumping, thank you for all your support and encouragement.

Thanks also, to Medela, who swiftly sent me a new Medela Sympthony + when my battery went on the fritz.

Special shout out to my Mom, Dad and Ben who helped me ship my stash from Florida to Marco (not an easy accomplishment, and Fed Ex, I hope you are enjoying your $$$), have moved my stash from our house to Mom and Dad’s and back again with all the crazy power outages the Chicagoland area has had this summer, and especially for the emotional support that I have received — I would not have been able to do this without your support.

Thanks to E for being the best baby ever, and making every drop I pumped worth it (I forgive you for spilling a bottle of the liquid gold at the Traverse City airport while they were testing it for explosives). And while I know you are fascinated with the pump and love pulling on the cords, I think we can both agree life will be a bit better with the pump stashed safely in the closet. 

And especially to Ben who has had to deal with my daily love/hate hate/hate relationship with pumping. I love you more that you will ever know.

As for the milk — cold thoughts for our separate deep freeze freezer — keep on chugging buddy!

It’s a Boy!

18 Jan

Yesterday my brother arrived!

Ethan Leonard Lewis! He came on January 17, 2011 at 7:38AM. He weighed 7 lbs 10 ounces and measured 20 1/2 inches. He is healthy as can be and just perfect (and not as big as the doctors were anticipating)!

Grandpa Lewis and Cousin Sophie took me to Bow Wow Lounge to play so my brother can spend some time with Mom and Dad. Today was a big day at the hospital, my brother was circumcised but he made it through like a champ! I’m pouring over photographs so send me any good ones you have. I think my brother is almost as photogenic as I am, though I’ve never had a professional photo shoot. Below are links to the amateur photos as well as a photo journal where I will post a photo each day for the first year of my brother. If you visit my brother please give him a hug and a kiss from me, apparently I’m not old enough to visit him in the hospital.

Baby Lewis Today

Photo Album

Ethan Leonard Lewis

And now to sniff my butt!