My Love of Baking

I love baking. I love to bake cookies, cakes, cupcakes, breads, rolls, and many more. Since having David I hadn’t been baking or cooking much until the beginning of July. Since beginning of July I have been consistently cooking dinner and started enjoying baking during his afternoon naps.

It could have been awaken due to my favorite magazine, The Food Network. I like a lot of the shows on the Food Network but I am an avid fan of their magazine. I like having recipes on hand which they provide a lot. And let me tell you that their images do entice you to make their recipes. So for the July issue they had a section on red, white, and blue desserts.

I didn’t bake it for Fourth of July because at the celebration we attended I was bringing the fruit which I did make festive as well but sorry I didn’t get a picture of it. I made a fruit flag out of bananas, strawberries and blueberries put on kabob sticks and lined up. Again, a Pinterest idea that I completed. I am a big fan of not only pinning but actually trying out what I pin on my Pinterest page.

But I did decided to make one of the Food Network Magazine desserts. It was a six layer red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting. WP_20150717_004I was surprised that the recipe had you bake six thin round cakes for layering instead of cutting a thicker cake in two.  That way of baking the layers made it more consistent but I would recommend having more then two round cake pans for the process. It took me a full three hours due to three rounds of baking the cake and then letting them cool. My baking probably wouldn’t win any perfection awards but it did might win on flavor.

My husband and I only ate just about half of the cake before I sent it to his work to be enjoyed by coworkers. Two people on one cake is not a great ratio. But I got my baking need out of the way for that week. Since then I have baked sugar cookies (see Pink Take Over) and banana bread. Sadly to say I probably won’t be baking too much until the holidays as it is a little too much sugar for just two people.

Are you a baker or cook?

 

Heat Waves

So we have lived in the Pacific Northwest for over three years now. The summers are usually gorgeous and comparable to Arizona winters which means a lot of outdoor time, windows open, soft breezes, and beautiful. Due to the nature of the normal summers up here most homes do not have central air conditioning. Over the past two summers we have purchased oscillating fans to stay cool and last summer we bought a window fan to help bring cool air in at night and pull the hot air out during the day.

Well welcome to the summer of 2015! We have had almost a month long heat wave with two weekend long ones since. And I am sitting typing this as we head into that second weekend long heat wave. Heat waves in the Pacific Northwest include temperatures above 90 degrees and heat advisories.

My first summer here we had a couple days of heat advisories but that only meant 85 degree weather. I remember going out for the first time in shorts thinking it is finally summer weather but being greeted with comments from the natives like isn’t it too hot. It was hard adjusting my mind set from Arizona that first summer. But this summer I am actually missing my Arizona home because every house has central air conditioning.WP_20130616_001 - Copy If we just had central air conditioning I would say the Pacific Northwest summers were perfect.

Our heat waves have meant doing everything possible to keep our house at a reasonable temperature which has been impossible. On the hottest day of the year so far our living room (which has four skylights) hit 99 degrees according to our baby monitor and the other side of the house was 93. We have no shade from trees on our house so it is a hot box. That day my husband, son, and dogs holed up in our room where we had our portable air conditioning unit running and it still felt warm. My husband made a quick decision back in mid June to buy the portable air conditioning unit when we saw the way our house heated up and the rising temperatures.

The hardest part I believe of the heat waves this summer has been having a five month old baby boy. Trying to keep him sleeping well and comfortable has been hard. You can’t really tell a baby to deal with the heat when sleeping like you do an adult. We had a rough night on Tuesday evening because I didn’t realize how warm it was in David’s nursery and dressed him in light footed pajamas. After two hours of him waking up 3-4 times I switched him to a long sleeved onesie and he slept wonderfully the rest of the night.

Also, have you tried nursing a baby while it is almost 90 degrees in your home. It is a sticky mess between the two bodies. I am very glad that David is a 5 month old baby who is very proficient at eating and gets the job down in 10 minutes. And that he isn’t his 4 week old self that took 45 minute to an hour to eat. But even with quick feeds it gets sweaty.

The heat waves also means bringing David into our room, or more accurately our closet. We have learned the art of making our closet into a mini nursery. We put his pack and play in the closet and then pull his rocking chair in so I can nurse in the middle of the night with ease. Last thing we add to the closet is his ipad with the ocean playing and his diffuser. Even with the mini closet David still wakes up more often due to the closer proximity to us and the dogs.  I have a feeling we will WP_20150630_002be doing this again tonight for the rest of the weekend as last I checked today his nursery is already up to 83 degrees and will mostly continue to increase.

So we keep coming up with ways to beat our heat wave here since installing central air conditioning isn’t possible. Starting to wish we had a pool in our backyard too but that is a tad too expensive. So we hole up in our room, we deal with sweaty bodies, and we eat out a lot at nights since at least restaurants have central air conditioning.

What are some creative ways you use to beat a heat wave??

 

Pink Take Over

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This past weekend I got the honor of being able to host a friend’s baby shower in my home. We were celebrating her coming little girl which meant that my house turned pink! I was very excited as I am surrounded by boys (my son, my husband and my two dogs). I had wanted a girl before I found out that I was having David now, of course, I wouldn’t trade David for a girl but it was fun to have my house decorated pink for a few hours.

I wasn’t the only host of the shower but there was four of us working together. If you are ever hosting a shower I would recommend sharing the duty with friends. It made the setup and take down easy and combining of our minds made the event perfect. I opened my home, helped with games, and provided some snacks and drinks. Another friend coordinated the RSVPs and invitations, helped with games and brought delicious pink cupcakes. And lastly, the decorations were provided by two college friends of the mom-to-be. They did an excellent job as they made a beautiful wreath, a baby sign, and poms to put all around. They also picked up beautiful flowers from the farmers market down the street.

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A few of the snack items I provided are Strawberry Lemonade and Mini Fruit Pizzas.  I love trying new recipes and making things from scratch so for the Strawberry Lemonade combined a few different recipes I found online to make my own. I used a whole pint of strawberries that a pureed in the blender, I made two cups of a simple syrup and squeezed juice from 12 lemons. Then with the help of my husband’s taste bud I mixed it together until it was the right balance of strawberry and lemonade. Then right before I set it out for the party I added slices of strawberries to it. It was a perfect color for the shower and was all gone by the end of the celebration.

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The other snack I provided, mini fruit pizzas, was an idea I had found on Pinterest and thought this was a perfect opportunity to try it out. I love my family’s recipe of fruit pizza even though we usually just use store bought Pillsbury sugar dough for the crust. So I combined my family cream cheese frosting recipe with the from scratch sugar cookie recipe from the Pin and it turned out perfect. For the fruit topping I cut up strawberries, kiwis, oranges and then added whole raspberries and blueberries. Again it was a hit as there was only one sugar cookie left over.

DSC_0991The shower was beautiful and fun. We played three games: the tray game, pin the diaper on the balloon blindfolded, and a word search. Then the mom-to-be opened her gifts and we ended with giving her an encouragement board with words, quotes, devotions that the guests and hosts had provided. I hope the mom-to-be felt the love from all her guests. I look forward to meeting her coming baby girl in the coming months.

 

Laundry

Today I didn’t do any laundry and I loved it. What a little thing as a mom to enjoy but for me it was glorious. I am must do laundry Monday, Wednesday and Friday because I have chosen to cloth diaper my son and that means regular laundry.

What is funny is that I love my cloth diapers but just get tired because I  am usually doing my husband and my laundry on Tuesday and Thursday so it is a full week process. Also, last weekend I thought I would have a full weekend off of laundry and to no avail as my dog, Samson, decided to throw up on my bed which meant everything from the down comforter to the mattress cover had to be washed right away.

Just a little thought on my weekly chores. My mom actually suggested to use disposables for a week to give myself a break from all the laundry. It is good advice that I might take up on if I get too exhausted. I do love my mom’s advice.

My Dilemna

I am blessed.

That is blessed with a baby boy that has naturally been a good sleeper. He is adaptable to any sleep environment and since two weeks old has been the child who only wakes to eat and goes right back down at night.

Now with that being said in the past two weeks he has started sleeping through the night (8 plus hours) occasionally. Wonderful! This means I have been getting up once a night to feed him because he still sleeps between 11-12 hours a night and on the other nights it is only two times (it has been this way since 6 weeks old). I am really happy that he is naturally starting to sleep longer stretches but last night we hit a dilemna with my sleep versus my comfort.

If you have ever been the mom that exclusively breastfeeds your baby with no pumping then you know that when your child starts to stretch out their sleep you get the joy of the painful, leaky engorged mess that comes with that. So even though my son is sleeping longer I don’t get more sleep because before he even awakes I am awaken by my own body.

So last night David went down without much fuss at 7:30pm and I was excited because it meant more relaxation time with my husband. Now I was looking forward to David sleeping until 3am at the earliest but lately it has been as late as 5am. My hope that it will become his normal schedule so my body get use to him sleeping that long so I don’t have the pain and the mess. I went to bed around 10pm and at 11:35pm I get startled awake from a beautiful sleep to my son crying. I lay there trying to decide if he can put himself back to sleep or if he needs assistance but hopefully no feeding. I finally decide after 5 minutes to head in to give him his ducky wubbanub and he fell instantly back asleep.

BUT just as I was falling back asleep he started crying again at midnight. So I walked down the hall to get my husband because in my mind David shouldn’t need to eat, he can last until at the earliest 3am and after all I really want my supplies to get to use to the long stretches so the pain and leaking goes away. My wonderful husband goes in to calm my son down but after 15 minutes my son is still awake and fussing. So I give in and go feed him. My son goes to sleep after his full night time feed. He only wakes up once more to eat before morning.

So the dilemna as stated above is in the future do I continue to “try” hold out if he awakens early in the night or just give in. I have to decide if I want to give up an hour of sleep so that I can attempt to let my supply get use to long stretches at night. Or do I keep my sleep and deal with the painful, leaky engorgement on the nights that my son gives me long stretches. I haven’t really decided what I will do next time but I do know for sure that I will hit this dilemna again.

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Hello world!

So after a few months of deciding whether I wanted to blog or not I have decided to begin. Welcome to My Merry Home!

I will be covering my place in this world, my home which includes past, present and dreams. I will be journaling my journey as a mother which began 5 months ago, I will present how I make the house I am living in my home, my marriage, my faith, and my struggles.

I hope you enjoy hearing about me and my life. And if not I hope someday my children and myself can look back and remember many memories.

~ Meredith