Pucker Up 3

Swell & Good

Sunday, May 27, 2012

My Polished Patriotic Party Cake...

was a smash! (A friend gave me the title for today's post!) I got this idea from i am baker's blog. Amanda came up with this simple Rose Cake and has now made it even better! For those that have thought about cake decorating...this is the first cake you should ever make or at the very least decorate the outside of the cake using Amanda's rose technique. This is where I started with cake decorating and it was super easy to make. Even when I decided to recreate the vertical layers i am baker did on the original rose cake. Here is a picture of my first Rose Cake. I had made this cake for the first baby shower cake I ever made.

Rose design in butter cream icing
Vertical Pink and Chocolate Stripes.
This weekend we celebrated Memorial Day early by having friends over for a cookout. I of course had to make a cake for the occasion. Lately I haven't had a reason to bake!!! *Note to self...start working my way through the Cake Boss' cookbook again and send in with Travis to work!!!

Amanda at i am baker, came up with a patriotic twist to her rose cake. I just had to try it this weekend! So after checking out how she made her's, I got to work! Because I wanted a white cake base, I decided to go with boxed mixes as I haven't found a white cake recipe I like yet! I picked up 3 boxes of vanilla cake mix. Using 9" round pans I made one red, white, and blue layer. To have proper height for each layer I ended up having to use an entire box of mix for each layer.

Also remember when coloring that gel coloring works best. A tip for the red layer: be sure to start with a pink base then add 'NO TASTE red'. This will give you a good red color but not having it tasting nasty! I did add a little of 'red red' and 'Christmas red' to mine, but not much! For the blue I used 'sky blue' and a fair amount of it. I think it would have looked better with royal blue, but I didn't have any! Another note about icing colors...when working with darker colors such as red and blue, if possible make the icing the day before and color it. Darker icing will enhance in color over night. I unfortunately ran out of time the night before and therefore had to settle with what I got day of. It still looked fabulous though!

Now...drum roll please.......

TA DA....

I started with these....
To make this...
and decorate it like this!

One of my favorite views!

and finally how the inside of the cake looks!

This cake was fun to make and tasted awesome. In fact...I was told it was one of my best yet! I think it was the vanilla cake mix that did the trick! This is a fun way to celebrate the holidays!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Mommy Talk Tuesday (Letter to Your Child)

Dear RC,

I'm not the best with writing, but here goes. When you were born you surprised Mommy and Daddy by coming into this world almost 3 weeks early. That didn't matter. You were and are still strong willed. The moment the doctors laid you on the table in the operating room (Mommy had to have a c-section), you tried to crawl away and do your own thing! You still are that way today. You are very independent, but then there are times that you just don't want to let go of Mommy. You love balls, your Little People play sets, and pushing your truck...or anything really!
Mommy and Daddy welcomed you to our world
One month old. Aunt Jenny took this picture.
When you first began to talk you said "Dada." We were in Germany at the time and just welcoming Daddy back from his business trip. Other words that followed were "Baba" for bottle, "Mom Mom" (which I was so happy to hear you say, but then turned out that was your way to ask for food! Occasionally though you do get out just a plain old Mom which is for me!), "Go go go," "baby," and two days ago "ball!' I love listening to you "talk" to the cat. Every time you see him you start jabbering in a high pitched squeal as you are trying to mimic when the cat meow's.
You love sharing apples with Daddy!
You LOVE the baked beans at Jeb's Diner.
You love to move around, but you have yet to really walk. You will occasionally take a couple of steps, but you are still uneasy on your feet when you let go. You can crawl like a speed demon though! When you escape the blockade from the living room, you can disappear to another room in seconds!
Happy 1 Year Birthday RC! You loved the icing Mommy made for your cake...the cake not so much; however the second cake Mommy made while we were in Missouri, you devoured that one!
You loved the Medieval Times show we went to in D.C. You were 13 months here and waved your flag, jumped, and made noise all night long for the Black & White Knight!
You love to explore things. You watch EVERYTHING to see how it works! You are one smart little man and you are barely over a year old! Mommy can't wait to see you grow into smart, handsome, kind, outgoing man...but please, don't grow too fast! It already seems like if I blink, you will be off to college and leaving us! Stay my baby boy for a while longer.

Mommy loves you RC!
Out for a hike at the local park!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

What would you do?

I'm a SAHM of an almost 14 month old. Our days are filled with play time, snacks, mealtime, diaper changes, chasing down the escapee, play groups, grocery shopping, and if I am lucky...household chores! It seems my hubby thinks I should be able to clean the whole apartment and have it perfect everyday. For all those other SAHM's are you able to get everything clean and perfect? Does your hubby ever get mad that things are messy or dishes aren't done every day? Is it just me that can't find the time to keep up with a 14 month old and do all the chores? How do you deal with times that your hubby watches the kids and he leaves toys, books, a food covered tray and other dishes, etc. out but gets on to you for the same thing? I'm trying to figure out how to even respond to my hubby's issues he brought up today when he doesn't bother to clean up when he is on childcare duty for just a couple of hours! So suggestions?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mommy Talk Tuesday (Breastfeeding)

This week's mommy talk Tuesday was on breastfeeding. The questions were: 
Did/do you breastfeed? If you do/did what was your biggest challenge during breastfeeding? What was/is your favorite part of breastfeeding? Do you think it's ok to nurse in public, covered or not? Do/did you ever nurse in public? Do you have any tips for moms struggling with breastfeeding or expectant moms who plan to breastfeed?

Before RC was born, Travis and I had discussed breastfeeding and decided that I would give it a go since I would be staying home with RC. Since I knew nothing about it other than it was healthy for baby and cheaper, I attended a class offered by one of the local hospitals. The day came that RC was born. I had an emergency c-section and wasn't able to hold him for over 2 hours. We tried nursing at that point and that's when we began to struggle.
I got help from the lactation consultants in the hospital, but to be honest, they weren't any help at all. They would come in and shove RC's face into my breast until he would finally get latched on. They were like "see there you go, that's how you do it." took 4+ hands and someone slamming his face into me. How is that supposed to work?

We were released and still struggling. The first morning home, I broke down because I was still not able to feed my son who hadn't really eaten anything in almost 5 days. I called a lactation consultant and she suggested pumping and feeding by bottle if he was still having problems until I could get him latched on. She wanted to see us, but we just couldn't afford $160 per hour! So we continued to try nursing, then following up with a bottle of expressed milk. I will never forget my son's face when he had that first bottle of expressed milk. He just opened his eyes huge and had a look of "this is what I was supposed to be getting?"

Our first pediatrician appointment is when things really changed. I stated that we were still struggling and the doctor brought in one of the female doctors that is great at teaching lactation. Within seconds she had RC latching and me getting to latch by myself, no shoving his face on. The problem we were having? The lactation consults in the hospital showed me how to hold my breast wrong which was causing RC to not be able to latch properly.

After that is was pretty smooth sailing. We nursed in public with a cover when needed. I'm not one to show much skin normally let alone my breast in public! And then RC started teething. *sigh* RC struggled to nurse while teething as we followed up with a bottle of formula to tide him over. I only had a manual pump and didn't think to pump when he had a bad feeding. So after going strong for 4.5 to 5 months, we realized there was a problem. The other problem with the massive biting and pulling he was doing.

RC was the same weight at 5.5 months as 4 months, but had gained 3 inches. He was gross to touch. I felt like I would break him when I picked him up. We called the doctor and after discussing things we determined I had lost the bulk of my milk supply and RC wasn't getting enough. In the interim we supplemented while deciding what to do. Finally we made the decision to just switch to formula. This decision was made due to the cost of a lactation consultant...we just didn't have the funds to go to one and then find out my milk supply wasn't salvageable or the RC didn't stop biting and pulling. He literally would make me scream when he did that!

To be honest, I found nursing to be more of a hassle on occasion. Mostly on days that he would nurse all day just to nurse. While I love my son, I'm not one to want to spend days such as that. For me, I could have bonded with RC just as well by starting off with a bottle. I think if we wouldn't have struggled so much in the beginning. Travis' relationship really changed too when we made the switch. He would complain that RC didn't like him, but when he only would see him for a few hours and not be feeding him etc. Once he got to help out, RC really developed that bond that was missing. When it comes to having more kids, it is hard to say if I will breastfeed or just choose to formula feed from the start.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Family Fun Night

RC and I tagged along with Travis for his business trip to DC and Penn State. Last year I tried to get Travis to go to the Medieval Times show. He didn't want to spend the money. For this trip he broke down and went. It was actually his idea! I booked our tickets online and even got us a free upgrade to a "royalty" member.

On Wednesday we sat in lots of traffic but finally made it to the show. We checked in and found out we had FRONT row seats!!! We had to wait around a bit before the show. We checked out our family photo with the princess; which Travis ACTUALLY bought! He NEVER spends money on photos like that. I bought a key chain with the crest for the knight we would be rooting for. It was then time to go sit down!

We got our seats and, of course, we're asked if we wanted to spend more money and get a fabric flag with or knight's crest. We bought one for RC's souvenir and he LOVED it. He waved and waved and jumped and jumped all night long!

Dinner was great...a bowl of soup, huge garlic bread, half a chicken, rib, potato wedges and a dessert! Needless to say we were all full at the end of the night! RC had a bit of garlic bread, but didn't like anything else, so it was leftover grilled cheese for him! He also was great sitting on my back so mommy and daddy could eat dinner...we needed all our hands to eat with.

The entertainment was great! Knights participated in various games. After each game, they tossed flowers to people in their crowd cheering for them. RC got one tossed to him. If there hadn't been a little girl a little older than him next to us, he probably would have gotten the final gift. They also participated in jousting and sword fighting.

Our knight was the Black and White Knight! Unfortunately when it got to the jousting part of the night, he went down in battle first, but he gave it his best! Here are some more pictures from the night.

The Black and White Knight

RC had an absolute blast! I figured he would fall asleep but he clapped and waved his flag ALL NIGHT!
This horse danced around and did a lot of fancy footwork
Sword fighting after jousting

Daddy and RC with the Black and White Knight
Me with the Black and White Knight

Daddy and RC with the bird trainer and hawk

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Five Miles of Babywearing

Today we went for a hike on the Noland Trail. Little did I know Travis was wanting to do all FIVE MILES! I was thinking maybe half that especially since I was the one back carrying RC. I must say without our Beco Butterfly II, today would have been impossible. RC was so comfortable he just chilled on my back checking out all the trees and turtles. At one point he even snuggled in to take a nap on my back! Hopefully soon my side pocket will come so I can add a diaper, etc. onto the waist belt of the pack.

While I wasn't planning on 5 miles, I am happy we did it. It was nice to spend time as a family and at the same time get some good exercise (with an additional 20 pounds on my back!). Here are some pictures from today's adventure!

The giant snapping turtle. Took us a while to find him.

Turtle Family

The end marker. I can't believe I went all 5 miles with RC on my back!

Me and RC