Monday, October 24, 2011

Heaven in a baking cup.

I follow a lot of food blogs.

A lot a lot.

Which is funny, since I don't like to cook. But maybe not that funny, since I love to eat.

Pinterest has made my food blog followin' ways a lot easier, that's for sure. While I usually have a general sense of where I found stuff online, it helps me keep the recipes I can't not make in one handy little place.

Here's what my "Yum" board looks like on Pinterest:


I've only made a few of the recipes I've collected so far, but last week I decided to give this one a try: Double chocolate pumpkin cake with pumpkin spice buttercream.

What the what?

I know. You can't not make that, can you?

So I made it. And let me tell you...I licked the crap out of that mixing bowl. Raw eggs and all. I kept saying "I shouldn't be doing this..." as I globbed another spoonful out of the bottom and into my mouth. I probably had an entire cupcake's worth of batter left once I'd filled two muffin pans, but instead of topping them off I chose a path filled with gluttony and irresponsibility.'s still kicking and I haven't come down with salmonella yet, so I'm guessing things are fine.

Here, my friends, is the must-have recipe of the week. You're welcome.

Double Chocolate Pumpkin Cake with Pumpkin Spice Buttercream
Courtesy of: Picky Palate
Serves: 24 (or 25, depending on how you use that last cupcake's worth)
Prep and cook time: 45 minutes

1 box devils food cake mix
1 small box instant chocolate pudding
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
1/2 cup buttermilk or milk
4 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
15 ounce can pumpkin (reserve 2 tablespoons)
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons reserved pumpkin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 to 5 cups powdered sugar
2 to 4 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two muffin tins with paper cups. Place cake mix, pudding mix, oil, buttermilk, eggs, sour cream and can of pumpkin, and chocolate chips in a bowl or stand mixer, and mix until well combined, about 1 to 2 minutes. Divide batter evenly into cups. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through.

While cakes are baking prepare the buttercream. Place butter, reserved 2 tablespoons pumpkin and cinnamon into stand or electric mixer. Mix on high until well combined. Slowly add the powdered sugar until thick and creamy. Slowly add the milk until buttercream is a nice consistency. Frost over cooled cakes, slice and serve.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Flip flops and fleece.

October in Minnesota.

One weekend it's 80 degrees and sunny, so your family heads out for a walk in shorts and flip flops:

The next it's 50 degrees and windy, and your trip to the apple orchard requires layers of fleece (and the magical warming powers of fresh kettle corn, of course):

But, regardless of temperature, the leaves must be raked:

The cookies must be decorated:

And every single second of this gorgeous season must be savored.

Because, you guessed it, there are snow flurries in the forecast for tomorrow.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Greetings from the supply closet.

This week marked the start of my third trimester. I thought it only fitting I take a self portrait in the closet at work. I think I have a good thing going, don't you?

Who am I kidding, this photo/lighting/angle/background could not be less flattering. But my husband is rarely home at a time when I'm wearing more than a pair of leggings and a tank top, and believe me – no one wants to see that look on me. Probably not even him.

I can't believe I'm 28 weeks pregnant. Despite the overwhelming evidence, a large portion of which I've been shoving into panel pants for the last four months. Other telltale signs include my perfected pregnant waddle, my inability to stay up past 9pm or sleep more than 20 minutes without loudly repositioning myself and my body pillow, and my insatiable hunger for foods covered in chocolate and dipped in sugar.

Wish me luck with tomorrow's glucose screen, huh?

Friday, October 7, 2011


Calvin talks now. Constantly. I'm not sure when he went from saying a few words to providing detailed explanations of everything he experiences, but it was quick. And I really wish I'd captured more of what he said in that sweet transitional time, because it was so precious.

Luckily it's still precious...and funny. So here are a few of our favorite Calvinisms of late:

Us: "Is your name Calvin John Buster?"
Cal: "I'm not a buster! I'm Calvin John Breyer!"
I think this question truly annoys him, though Nate and I find his reaction hilarious.

"Who bought this for me? You bought this for me? Geinchu, Mama, geinchu!"
Geinchu = thank you. One of the only things he pronounces incorrectly.

Anytime he's naked: "I'm a nude dude!"
Anytime we're naked: "You're a nude dude!" (Laughs and points.)

"Stinky skunk. STINKY SKUNK!"
He loves this phrase and says it over and over with Nate while giggling violently.

"I tooted. Excuuuuse me!" (While laughing hysterically.)
Yep. He's a boy.

"I can come snuggle in Mama's bed?"
He loves to watch cartoons in my bed on Saturday mornings when Nate's working.

"I'm just going to _________."
This is always said in a very reassuring voice, like whatever it is, it's fine and there's no room for argument. He loves the word "just."

"I'll be right back, okay? I'll be right back."
This almost always follows an "I'm just going to" statement.

"I play golf witchu, Daddy? You play a football game wit me?"
Insert any activity. He loves to play "witus" right now.

"What road is this?"
A daily question during our commute, which he usually answers himself: "52!"
Or in Nate's experience: "62!" (It's 52.)

"It's a beauuuutiful day! The sun is up..."
Often said while gesturing grandly toward the sky.

"It's sooooo pretty."
Nature, pictures, people. He loves to identify beauty.

"Hello? How are you? Good. Bye."
The exact conversation he has on my old cell phone at least 10 times a day.

When he's mad at me.

When he's mad at Nate.

When he's mad at both of us.

When he's mad at both of us and Grandma isn't available.

"I want fruit snacks in a bowl. Fruit snacks in a bowl, please!"
Every. Single. Day. And always in a bowl. Why, we do not know.

"Sure, sure! Yes, sure!"
An enthusiastic response to all questions having to do with toys or food.

"You bring me a special treat?"
I created a monster the first time I promised him one of those.

"Sorry for hitting you."
We hear this too often. At least he apologizes.

"My daddy's working at the big building. He's a good daddy. I miss him soooooo much." Often heard on nights when Nate's working at the hospital.

"Goodnight Mattie, I love you!"
Sweetly called out on his way up the stairs to bed.

"I just want to rock and sing more songs witchu, Mama. Just rock me, please."
Anytime I put him to bed before he's ready.

"You sleep well, Mama."
In response to my "sleep well, sweetheart."

"I love you, too."
The words every parent waits patiently to hear.

I LOVE this age.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Special things.

Calvin's all about the word special right now. Once I offered to bring him a special treat if he would behave himself while I was gone, and ever since then the word has been like magic.

Two special things of note this week:

1. Potty training. OH BOY. I am so not ready for this, but Calvin's teachers insisted he was ready, so Monday we sent him to school in underwear. He had three accidents (pee only), but his teachers said he did really well. And yesterday he only had one accident all day! Until he got home, that is. Then he had two, immediately after I asked him if he needed to go potty. For some reason he is NOT interested in going potty at home. Nate encouraged me to pick up a special potty treat for him, so now we have a container of M&Ms in our bathroom. It took Calvin approximately two seconds to drop his drawers and pee on the toilet after we offered him a "special treat" for going potty this morning. Although we said "If you go potty you can have an M&M" and he said "No, I can have two M&Ms!" Already a bargainer. Smart cookie.

He looks so cute in his big boy undies, doesn't he?

2. Anne of Green Gables. I caved and bought the full set of Penguin Classics from Anthropologie for baby girl's room. Calvin saw them last night and immediately said "I want that one, the pink one!" As I handed him the copy of Anne of Green Gables, I said "This is one of Mama's very favorite books." He nodded and said "This is my favorite book, too." He carefully carried it around for a while, and then I left to run some errands while Nate's mom and dad gave him a bath and put him to bed. When I came home Mary told me that Calvin had refused to sit in the chair with her to read before bed. Instead he insisted she sit in the chair and read his books to him (pages turned out so he could see the pictures) while he stood at the ottoman and flipped through his "special book." And then he asked to sleep with it.

When I checked on him before bed, I found this:

Oh my heart.

This morning I found him standing at the end of his crib, book laid flat on top, flipping through pages. He said "I'm reading Anne of Green Tables!" and then asked me what it's about and if I would read some of it to him. He sat there wide-eyed and smiling as I read the first paragraph:

Mrs. Rachel Lynde lived just where the Avonlea main road dipped down into a little hollow, fringed with alders and ladies' eardrops and traversed by a brook that had its source away back in the woods of the old Cuthbert place; it was reputed to be an intricate, headlong brook in its earlier course through those woods, with dark secrets of pool and cascade; but by the time it reached Lynde's Hollow it was a quiet, well-conducted little stream, for not even a brook could run past Mrs. Rachel Lynde's door without due regard for decency and decorum; it probably was conscious that Mrs. Rachel was sitting at her window, keeping a sharp eye on everything that passed, from brooks and children up, and that if she noticed anything odd or out of place she would never rest until she had ferreted out the whys and wherefores thereof.

And I was worried I'd never have a daughter to share my love of classic children's literature.
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