Monday, February 28, 2011


The last day of February started and ended on a bittersweet note. It actually began yesterday with Sagey’s first pajama change which led into a more desperate pajama and crib linen change this morning when I heard him crying. I was sitting in my study ready to start knitting up a new hat for my new Spring Collection when, as I walked into the bedroom, I noticed Sagey holding his elephant pillow over the crib in order to avoid it getting dirty from the mess below. Into the tub he went and off went the crib linens into the washer.
At breakfast, the children were not too interested in eating. Soon after, they all fell asleep for a short while…Sagey on the floor in my study,

Seena on the couch with the early afternoon sun shining on her,

and Saffi in the oddest place of all…the stairs.

Later in the day we sat down to have a little snack. I went to the sink to get the plates for the girls when all of a sudden the wine glass that was on top of the plates, slipped out of my hand and landed below - broken. Then when I went to grab a salad plate from the cupboard for the diced avocado, the plate fell from my hand and crashed on the granite countertop. If that was not enough, when I finally sat down to have a bite to eat myself, the avocado somehow mysteriously flew off my fork and landed on my clean skirt I just put on hours before.
I should have guessed that the girls were still not feeling so great when they left the chocolate chips from the trail mix on their plate and went to sleep again, this time in the bedroom. They all piled into my bed and slept some more.

Dinner was uneventful as once again nobody was really interested in eating. I made vegetable soup that had somehow been forgotten on the stove during the day. When I returned, most of the water was gone. I quickly added some more and took out the veggies and added Acini de Pepe pasta. Sagey wanted nothing to do with the soup, Saffi ate like a bird, and Seena left the table to go back to bed – with a fever.

Fast forward to bathtime, putting on new pajamas on Sagey, and putting him on my bed with Saffi sleeping next to him. I retreated to my study to start my next project for the Spring Collection. Sagey started crying but then he was fussy so I gave it no further thought as I believed he didn’t like to be crowded by his sister sleeping at his side. A few minutes later, all was quiet and I went to check on all three. More mess awaited me, but thankfully I put a large waterproof pad on the bed before I placed Sagey on the bed. So, I had to wake up Saffi to wash her hair which didn’t really please her at all. Then I quickly washed Sagey’s elephant pillow (which needs to go into the machine after the current load finishes) before I stripped down Sagey and gave him yet another bath today. Another pajama change and another waterproof pad on the bed. Oh, I almost forgot that one of the kitchen lights went out as I walked into the kitchen this evening to fill up Sagey’s bottle. What a day!

The highlight of my day was receiving a phone call from my husband. He’s been on an extended business trip since early Wednesday morning and will not be returning home until close to midnight this coming Friday. The second part of his trip takes him to Calgary. He arrived around 3am this morning and sent me an email at that time letting me know that he arrived safely. I wasn’t expecting to hear from him all week long due to the exorbitant roaming fees, but he called late this afternoon. I told him about my day so far and he told me how he almost died from having to walk back to his hotel in -25 degree weather. I still think that I had a worse day than him and cannot wait until he returns.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Cupcakes and half birthdays

Her first year at preschool and her first school birthday party. All Summer babies get to celebrate their half birthdays since they would otherwise miss out. Being an August baby myself, I know how left out one can feel during the Summer when nobody is around for your birthday party.

For this event, I made Devil's Food cupcakes with Fluffy Vanilla Buttercream Frosting - from scratch and working into the wee hours of the morning. Oh, the things we do for our children!

 I must mention that I am not a fan of cupcakes or frostings. I grew up in a Croatian home with Croatian traditions and desserts - cupcakes not being one of them. So I searched for a new chocolate cupcake recipe other that the one from Cook's Illustrated that I made for her third birthday.

I really should have stuck with the recipe from Cook's Illustrated as they are the best resource I've found for baking and cooking. They thoroughly test all of their recipes many, many times and have the best explanations as to why they chose one method or ingredient over another.

Which brings me to the recipe from Martha Stewart that I ended up baking instead. Mix cocoa powder with hot water in one bowl, the flour mixture in another bowl, the butter and sugar in a large saucepan which is then transferred to yet another bowl (of a stand mixer)...I have yet to clean up all of those bowls and kitchen counters! 

I'm a perfectionist, so I tend to find something wrong with everything - even when there's nothing to find. My biggest issue with this recipe is the use of coarse salt. Who uses coarse salt in cupcakes? Even though I used exactly the amount specified, the cupcakes tasted rather salty to me. I'm sure the ton of sugar in the buttercream frosting manages to mask some of the saltiness. I think I'll stick with Cook's Illustrated in the future.

Despite the saltiness, I think the toppers were really adorable...lions, giraffes, elephants, and zebras. Oh, and colorful sprinkles by request from the "birthday" girl herself.

In addition, I put together a few European treat bags for her classmates: Hanuta, Haribo mini gummy bears, Kinder Schoko-Bons, and a Duplo bar. I hope they liked getting something different!

I also put one of those treat bags in my husband's suitcase this morning as he left for California. I'm sure he'll love finding all of his German favorites while he unpacks his suitcase later tonight!

Hope you had fun today my little half-birthday girl!