Sunday, May 31, 2009


Some of my (current) favorite things about Gisèle:

- The way she excitedly calls out "A B C D!" every time she sees letters.

- The way she wakes up in the morning by herself and starts singing the Alphabet Song or Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.

- The way she make a loud "mwah!" noise every time she gives a kiss.

- The way she always asks "Daddy?" if I pick up the phone when he's not home, or "Nana?" when I pick up the phone when both Jamie and I are home.

- The way she always asks to look at pictures of babies on the computer when she sees me sitting at the laptop. "Babies? Meee? (please)"

- The way she nods happily and proudly whenever we finally understand something she's been trying to tell us.

- How excited she gets when she gets to eat something off of my plate or drink from my cup.

- How she still likes cuddling with me, even at the mature and independent age of 21-months.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


**UPDATE** It's a boy!!

There are so many things to look forward to this summer!

We should find out this morning if we're having a boy or another girl! And the baby will start kicking harder and harder as time goes by. I can't wait until Gisèle gets to feel the movement! Agreeing on the baby's name might be difficult, but I'm still looking forward to it. That, and deciding how we'd like to decorate the nursery.

We have a grill! I feel like we have so many more possibilities when it comes to meals this summer. And it heats up a lot faster than my old ovens! I'm already drooling thinking of the stuffed tomatoes, grilled veggies, chicken, burgers, steaks, brats... and fruit! I'm excited to grill some peaches to serve over vanilla ice cream. yum!

Gisèle has a kiddie pool now, and she's a complete water baby. I'm looking forward to lounging on a chair in the shade while she splashes around and pours water over her head.

One of our favorite shows (So You Think You Can Dance) is back on, which means that we'll have good tv to watch at least twice a week while we wait for Chuck, The Office, and The Amazing Race to return.

Our anniversary is in less than a week! Jamie and I have been together about 11 1/2 years, and on June 1st we'll celebrate 7 awesome years of marriage. I can't imagine my life without him!

We have bookshelves now! That means that all of my books are unpacked! And there's room to grow. :)

Jamie bought me Photoshop Elements for Mother's Day, and I'll get to spend some time learning how to use it!

It's easy to feel bogged down in everyday life, but when I stop to think of all the little things that will be making me smile over the coming weeks, it adds up to so much more than I deserve. God is good!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Big Girl!

If you're not interested in my lovely daughter's bathroom habits, you'll want to skip this post. :)

For the second time in a week, Gisèle went "poo-poo in the big girl potty!" We're not potty training yet - we're just taking advantage of the times when she tells us she needs to go. And twice now, she's gone on the big potty! We've made a big deal over her both times, and she enjoys that. One of these days, we'll really start potty training, but for now, we'll just be proud about these small steps. :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Something That Makes Me Happy

Trying new recipes! I got to try a few new ones while Mom, Dad, Andrea, & Maddie were visiting: Stuffed Tomatoes, Risotto, Pithivier, Mexican Casserole... My favorite of those was Stuffed Tomatoes. I saw a recipe online and changed it up a bit, and the tomatoes were awesome. Both hot off the grill, and as cold leftovers. Definitely something I'll make again and again.

Thanks for the grill, Mom & Dad! We've already used it twice, and it's opened up a whole new cooking world to me. :)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Peanut Butter Cookies

These are the best peanut butter cookies ever! The recipe calls for 1/2 cup peanut butter chips and 1/2 cup chocolate chips, but I didn't have that on hand. I used what I had, which worked out to about 1/4 cup peanut butter chips, 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, and 1/2 cup large bittersweet chocolate chips. Also, I used creamy peanut butter, but you could use chunky if that's what you prefer. The finished cookies have a great texture, and I had 3 of them for breakfast. :)

Peanut Butter Cookies

1 1/4 c flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c butter, softened
1 c peanut butter
3/4 c sugar + extra for rolling
1/2 c brown sugar
1 egg, room temp.
1 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c peanut butter chips
1/2 c chocolate chips

-Preheat oven to 350.
-In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and set aside.
-Using your mixer, beat the butter and peanut butter together until fluffy. Add the sugars and beat until smooth. Add the egg and mix well. Add the milk and vanilla and mix well.
Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix thoroughly. Stir in the chips.
-Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls into sugar and roll to coat.
-Place the balls on an ungreased cookie sheet, and use a fork to gently press a criss-cross pattern into the top of each.
-Bake for 10-12 minutes; do not overbake. Cool on the cookie sheet for a minute before removing to a wire rack to cool.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Family visit

Mom and Dad arrived Wednesday night, and Gisèle couldn't be happier. She recognized them immediately, even though she hadn't seen them in person in months, and she's been basically ignoring me and Jamie ever since! She can't get enough of playing with them, and luckily, they can't get enough of her.

Andrea and Maddie arrived last night (surprise, Mom!), and Gisèle has been fascinated with the baby. She loves babies, but doesn't get to interact with them much, so this has been heaven for her. She's been very helpful, bringing Maddie toys, patting her, covering her nicely with a blanket, and letting everyone know every single time "baby" makes a noise. I don't know how she managed to sleep last night with all the excitement of our visitors being here!

There has been lots of playing in the kiddie pool, taking walks, pushing the bubble lawn mower, reading books, tickling... in short, lots of fun.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Mind of Her Own

Things were a little bit easier when Gisèle didn't express her opinions.

It used to be that we pulled out a carton of yogurt and some pureed prunes for breakfast (with her milk, of course), and she ate them up with a smile. Lately, though, she's been letting us know what she does - and doesn't - want to eat. This morning, we asked if she'd like some yogurt - "no." Some prunes? "no." A (granola) bar? "no." So we made her some toast. She had a lick of jam, made a face, and handed the plate back to us. She seemed content enough to just drink her milk, before finally asking for her toast back and eating about half of it. Jamie ended up getting out of the house with her about 15 minutes later than normal. (sigh) At least she's polite and pleasant when telling us "no." She's very matter-of-fact about it. :)

Monday, May 18, 2009


Gisèle counted yesterday! She's been saying her numbers for a while ("one, two, five!"), but this was the first time she counted with no prompting from Jamie or me. We were sitting at the table participating in one of her favorite pastimes - looking at pictures of babies on the computer. One page came up that was actually two pictures of the same baby, side by side. With no prompting from me, she stunned me by saying "one... two babies!" My mouth dropped open and I looked over at Jamie to be sure I hadn't imagined my 20 month old counting before we both praised her. A few pages later, there was a set of three pictures side by side. This time I asked - "Gisèle, how many babies do you see?" and she answered "one....two... free!" Much rejoicing, and yes - a few happy tears - ensued.

I know I'm (extremely) biased, but my baby girl is a genius. :)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Ham & Cheese Muffins

Unfortunately, I have no pictures to go with this post. These muffins were good, though, and a nice break from normal breakfast foods. Easy to put together, too, which makes them even better! I think next time I make them, I'll replace the ham & green onions with bacon & jalapenos. yum!

Ham & Cheese Muffins
makes 1 dozen

1 cup cottage cheese
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup ham, chopped
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
2 green onions, sliced

-Preheat the oven to 400 and spray 1 muffin tin.
-Mix the cottage cheese, eggs, flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
-Stir in the ham, cheddar cheese, and green onions.
-Fill the muffin tin, and bake at 400 for 25-30 minutes, until they are golden brown on top and pass the toothpick test.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Fish Face

Gisèle does a fish face. Every time she sees a fish or the word "fish" is mentioned, she makes the fish face and waits for me to do it back before she dissolves in giggles. One of her bedtime books consists of page after page of telling various animals that it's "time for bed," or "time to sleep." We'll read the book, and after each animal she'll make their noise; after the fish, she does the fish face. The last page is saying good night to a baby, and she'll say "night night!" and lay her head down. So much personality packed into such a cute a little package!

She recently has started saying "I love you!" This morning, Jamie asked her to say "Mama, I love you!" before he took her out to the car to head to school. She said it, and then repeated I love you!" over and over again all the way out. That'll keep me going all day. :)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Peaches & Cream Muffins

These were great! Very different from other muffins I've had. They don't get very dark, so take them out of the oven when they start to pull away from the sides of the tins a bit. These are best when they're served warm, since the filling gets a little gooey inside.

Peaches & Cream Muffins
makes 2 dozen

2 cups canned peaches (save the syrup)
4 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
3/4 cup oil
2 cups milk

8 oz cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp peach syrup (reserved from can)
1 tsp almond extract

topping: cinnamon sugar

-Preheat the oven to 350 and lightly spray 2 muffin tins.
-Dice the peaches to the size of peas and set aside.
-In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
-In a separate bowl, combine eggs and oil, then whisk in the milk.
-Combine egg and flour mixtures, then fold in diced peaches.
-Beat filling ingredients together and set aside.
-Fill greased tins half full of batter, Drop about 1 tsp filling on top of batter in each cup, Top with another 1-2 Tbsp batter.
-Sprinkle each muffin cup with cinnamon sugar.
-Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.

Scents & Memories

Have you ever come across a smell that makes you stop what you're doing just so you can take a moment to enjoy it? Almond extract does it for me. Anytime I smell almond extract, I think of Mémé & my mom. I think of baking - the simple Danish pastry made with almond extract in the icing, and especially the Wreath that is tradition to make for Christmas breakfast. Fresh basil is another one that remind me of my mom, and it's one of my favorite smells. Fresh and almost cinnamon-y. I love to tear or chop fresh basil because the smell will stay on my hands for a while. The spicy smell of fresh parsley - reminds me of picking carrots on Mémé and Pépé's farm since it smells so much like those carrot tops did.

I wonder what scents will spark Gisèle's memories as she gets older? What scents will she associate with me?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day

Gisèle dancing in the Easter dress & hat Nana made

We had a fun morning! We arrived at church early to get our Mother's Day photo taken. Gisèle was grumpy when we had her sitting between us on the bench, but smiled as soon as we let her stand. Should be a cute photo! Since we still had time to kill before checking her into her classroom, Jamie and I followed her around the church lobby & hallways while she said "Hi!" and gave high-fives to everyone within 15 feet. She had a great time at church, as always, and conked out on the way home. She woke up long enough to eat some lunch, and then was put down in her crib, where she proceeded to talk and sing ("Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star is a current favorite) for about an hour before falling asleep. When she wakes up, we're going to head to a nearby restaurant for a late afternoon "brunch" for Mother's Day. Besides brunch, I got a wonderful card today from Jamie & Gisèle, flowers earlier in the week, and a gift - Photoshop Elements! It's going to take a while to learn how to use it, but I'm excited!

Another fun thing happened yesterday - Jamie got to feel Baby #2 move! I've felt a bit of movement, but nothing strong enough to be felt from outside. Yesterday morning, though, I woke up and felt quite a few pretty strong kicks. Jamie came over and put his hand on my tummy and waited... and waited... and waited... until he felt it! It makes the pregnancy a bit more real for both of us, I think. Now we REALLY need to work on picking out a name. The big ultrasound is May 28th, so we may hold off until then so we'll know which gender to focus on.

I tried a new recipe this afternoon - Peaches & Cream Muffins. Yummy! I'll post the recipe within the next couple of days.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Brown Sugar Raisin Bread

I love this bread. I've been craving it lately, so I think I'll make it when Mom & Dad come to visit in a couple of weeks.

Brown Sugar Raisin Bread

1 Tbsp active dry yeast
3 Tbsp sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water (105-115 degrees)
1 cup warm milk (105-115 degrees)
3 Tbsp butter, melted
1 Tbsp salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
6 to 6 1/4 cups bread flour (more as needed)
1 1/2 cups raisins

2/3 cup brown sugar mixed with
4 1/2 tsp cinnamon

In a bowl, sprinkle the yeast and a pinch of the sugar over 1/2 cup of the water and stir to dissolve. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the remaining 3/4 cup water, the milk, butter, remaining sugar, salt, egg, and 2 cups of the flour. Beat on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the yeast mixture and 1/2 cup of the flour and beat another minute. Add the raisins, then beat in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Switch from the paddle attachment to the dough hook. Knead on medium-low speed, adding 1 Tbsp additional flour at a time if the dough sticks, until smooth and elastic, about 4 minutes. Transfer the dough to a greased deep bowl and turn to coat it. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Lightly grease 2 9x5 loaf pans.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter. Divide in half, and pat each half into an 8x12 rectangle. Lightly sprinkle each rectangle with half the filling, leaving a 1-inch border on all sides. Beginning at a narrow end, tightly roll each rectangle up into a compact log. Pinch the ends and the long seam to seal in the filling. Place each log, seam side down, in a prepared pan. Coevr loosely with plastic wrap and let rise until dough is about 1-inch about the rim of each pan, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350. Bake until the loaves are golden brown and pull away from the sides of the pan, 35-40 minutes. Turn loaves out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Cowboy Hat

Rough Day

It's been a rough day at work, so instead of thinking about that, I'll think about how cute Gisèle looks in her cowboy hat. :) I'll try to remember to post a couple of pictures of her in her hat tonight since I don't have them here at work with me.

I'm going to get a chance to try two new recipes this week! The admins at work take turns bringing breakfast on Fridays, and I volunteered to do it this week. I'm going to make the Orange Marmalade Rolls I listed on the sidebar, and I'm going to make up some ham and cheese muffins so that I'm not just bringing sweet things. I'll let you know how they turn out!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Lazy Sunday

Today is a lazy Sunday.

At church this morning, Gisèle couldn't be in her "Runners" classroom since we made the mistake of telling the volunteers that she might have a runny nose. Doesn't matter if it's allergies or not - if there's even a slight possibility that a child might *look* sick, they can't be in the classroom right now. There are some parents that would panic and think it's swine flu. (sigh) I understand, but boy is it hard when it feels like your daughter is being rejected for something! We took her into "Big church" with us, where she proceeded to be exceedingly well-behaved and had a great time. Her nose didn't run once.

Jamie is out back doing yardwork while Gisèle is taking her nap. I just woke up from my own nap, and am going to finally make the angel food cake I've been craving for so long. If you ever want to try something different with angel food cake, try this - take two thin-ish slices of the cake and butter one side of each. On the second side of one slice, spread a thin layer of cream cheese. On the second side of the second slice, add a thin layer of jam. Sandwich them together, buttered sides out, and heat it in a skillet until the buttered sides have caramelized and the inside is a bit melty. Yummy! Use fat free cream cheese and you have a very low-fat dessert that doesn't taste at all lowfat. Time to bake!

Saturday, May 2, 2009


She's supposed to be napping right now. Instead, I occasionally hear a cute little sing-song voice issuing from the monitor saying "Baby C D..." She'll sing along pretty well now to the ABC's (her favorite part is "L M N O P," or, as she says it "Em-i-ly P.") She has started putting some words together, ("My daddy,") and the words she knows are becoming a lot clearer. Just in the past couple of days, "wawa" has changed to "water." It's amazing watching her learn!

One of her favorite things right now is to dress up by putting on other people's shoes (guests, be warned!) and wearing hats. She keeps her cowboy hat handy, and will sometimes come around the corner from her playroom wearing the hat and my flip-flops, three books piled in her arms. Sometimes it's hard for me to remember that she's not even 2!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Baking and Mamma Mia - First Post

This is one of those days when I feel like doing just about anything besides being at work. This lunch break is nice, but certainly doesn't do it for me. What I REALLY want to be doing is having a marathon baking session while watching the movie Mamma Mia. Of course, with my energy at the level it's been at lately, I'd get some kind of dough mixed together and then have to take a break before actually putting anything in the oven. And then I'd get so comfortable on the couch on my break that I wouldn't be able to bring myself to get back up to make anything else. But doesn't that sound like a great end to an afternoon? Relaxing on the couch while munching on fresh-baked... somethings, and watching a movie? (sigh) Back to work I go.

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