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Weekend

25 Jun

We had a great weekend! On Friday, I had to work so Aunt Kristin took Ethan to the pool!

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On Saturday, Ethan woke up early so we walked to Starbucks. Then we headed to breakfast at LePeep and then the Park Ridge Farmers’ Market. We ran into Auntie Caroline, Lila and Mimi!

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The we decided to beat the heat and went to the pool!

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After the pool, Ethan and I both took long naps. When we woke up we went to Chipotle. Ethan loved his quesadilla! Then we went to Homer’s ice cream and to visit Auntie Neener in Lake Forest! She and Uncle Mark have a great house with a very large backyard that Ethan loved exploring.

Sunday was another early morning walk to Starbucks, followed by breakfast with Mimi and Pop Pop at Ina’s! We then set up the pools in our backyard. Ethan especially loved pouring water from one pool to the next. In the afternoon I played in the Father/Daughter golf outing with my Dad, and Caroline and Libby. We missed Tina!

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We shot 2 over par as a team and had fun!
I hope everyone else had a great weekend as well…and hope everyone has a great week! Cheers!

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!

Making a Masterpiece

12 Dec

We discovered on Thanksgiving that Ethan LOVES finger painting. This time around, we were a bit more prepared and contained him to his high chair! We have a few additional gifts to make, but here are some photo highlights.

At the end, we headed straight to the bath for some major clean up! Ethan can’t wait to give his gifts on Christmas!

Our Weekend

7 Nov

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swimming lessons with Dana!

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new products at trader Joe’s

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baking

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more baking

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cousins fun!

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kitchen helper

Pumpkin Patch

22 Oct

Today we went to Goebbert’s Farm in South Barrington with the Schaab family. We were happy they let us crash on their tradition and had a lot of fun looking at the different pumpkins and other fall goodies. We know E will enjoy it even more next year when he can run around and play like cousin Lila can!

Wagon fun with Cousin Lila

Mom's Favorite Pumpkin

Cousin Lila picks a pumpkin!

Cute Pumpkin

Family Shot!

Decisions, Decisions...

Sharing!

We could not have asked for a better day, not too cold, sun out in full force, and naps on the ride over and on the ride home. E was taking a good nap, so I even got to run into Target, while Ben stayed in the car with a napping E, before we met our friends, Jessica and Matt for a yummy lunch at Three Tarts Bakery. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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!