Monthly Archives: January 2012

Handy Pandy

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HANDY PANDY

Handy, Pandy, Jack-a-dandy,

Loved plum cake & sugar candy;

He bought some a grocer’s shop,

And out he came, hop, hop, hop.

Moother Goose Rhymes

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National Chocolate Cake Day

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I am sad to say that yesterday was National Chocolate Cake Day and I missed it.  However, I will be extending the celebration today, as I’m sure many others will as well.  Here is a copy of a recipe for the most indulgent and delicious chocolate cake ever!  It is from one of my favourite cookbooks “Eat, Shrink & Be Merry” by Janet & Greta Podleski!   They are laugh out loud funny with their zany antics and witty puns. These two Canadian sisters created have a TV show on the Food Network and have a series of cookbooks.  While they promote healthy eating, low fat, sugar and sodium, this cake recipe was added in for those who wish to indulge.

DIED AND GONE TO HEAVEN CHOCOLATE LAYER CAKE

CAKE

3 Cups of granulated Sugar                                                 2 1/2 Cups all-purpose flour

1 Cup unsweetened cocoa powder                                      2 Tsp baking soda

1 Tsp baking powder                                                             1 Tsp salt

3 Large Eggs                                                                           1 1/2 Cups buttermilk

1 Cup strong brewed coffee, cooled                                    3/4 Cup vegetable oil

1 Tsp vanilla                                                                             4 Oz (113 g) unsweetened chocolate squares, melted and cooled slightly

FROSTING

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar                                                  1/3 Cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 Cup whipping (35%) cream                                                6 Oz (170 g) semi-sweet chocolate squares

2 Tsp vanilla                                                                             1 pkg (8 oz/250 g) light cream cheese, softened

1 Cup butter, softened

DIRECTIONS

1) Preheat over to 350 F.  Lightly grease bottom and sides of 3 9-inch round cake pans.  Cut circles of wax paper or parchment paper to fit bottom of pans and place in pans.  Lightly grease paper.  Set pans aside.

2) Combine sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.  Set aside.

3) In another bowl, beat eggs on high speed of electric mixer for about 3 minutes, until they have thickened slightly and are lemon in colour.  Add buttermilk, coffee, oil, vanilla, and melted chocolate.  Mix on low speed until well blended.

4) Gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix on medium speed until batter is smooth.  Divide batter evenly among pans.  Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in centre of cakes comes out clean.  Cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Remove cakes from pans, peel off paper, and cool completely before frosting.

5) To make frosting, whisk together suar, cocoa, and whipping cream in a medium saucepan.  Cook slowly over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture comes to a gentle boil.  Cook 1 minute.  Remove from heat and stir in chocolate until melted.  Stir in vanilla.  Let cool to room temperature.

6) In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter on high speed of electric mixer until smooth.  Add cooled chocolate mixture and beat on medium speed until well blended.  Refrigerate frosting until desired spreading consistency is reached, about 1 hour.  Important! Don’t let it get to firm, or you won’t be able to spread it.

7) To frost cake, place one cake layer on a pretty plate.   Spread 1 cup of frosting over top.  Repeat with second layer.  Place final layer on top.  Ice top and sides of cake with remaining frosting.  Decorate cake with chocolate curls and/or chocolate covered strawberries, if desired.  Cover and refrigerate.  Let cake stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.

To find out more about this cookbook please press here.  You can follow Janet & Greta on Twitter at @gretapodleski & @janetpodleski .  They also have a great blog.

Books for Potty Training for Girls

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It’s one of those milestones that all children and their parents go through; potty training.  I have to say when I began to potty train my daughter, I had no idea where to start.  I read online of other parents suggestions.  Some were to learn the potty dance, others argued against and for the use of training underwear.  Others suggested taking their children to buy their own underwear and potty’s, stools and toilet inserts.  One mother actually said that she put plastic down all over her house and let her child run around naked and pee and poop all over until it made the child  uncomfortable.  I was not about to try that method.

I took my daughter to pick out her own underwear.  She picked out her own potty, stool and toilet insert.  None of these methods worked.  She wore the potty as a helmet, she would soil every pair of underwear, she used to stool for everything except helping her sit on the toilet and the toilet insert, she would wail hysterically.  She just wasn’t ready.  I spoke with my doctor and he gave me this piece of advice; “Potty training is like a fine wine, it takes time.”  I waited and waited.  I looked for the “signs”.   I knew I needed to involve my daughter in this process so I decided I would go to a local bookstore a buy a few books for children about potty training.  I wanted to buy “Everybody Poops” but it was sold out of all Toronto stores.  Did everyone have babies in 2008?  I found these two;

“A Potty for Me!” by Karen Katz is a great interactive book for kids.  It’s pages are thick which make the pages easy to turn and there are some interactive flaps that my daughter loves flipping.  The letters are large and the pages are colourful.

A Potty for Me by Karen Katz

“The Potty Book for Girls!” by Alyssa Satin Capucilli is a great potty book for girls specifically.  The little girl in the book named Hannah is super adorable and my daughter loved having this book being read to her.

 

The Potty Book For Girls by Alyssa Satin Capucilli

 

After about a year of trying, my daughter is finally using the potty, with the aid of Pull Up’s on long trips and at bed.  I am glad she’s finally coming around.  For a while there, I thought she would be wearing diapers well into University!

A Great Place to have a Child’s Birthday Party

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November 11th marked my daughter’s 3rd birthday, 11/11/11, and it was 3-11’sand she was turning 3, so it was a birthday we HAD to celebrate.  My hubby wanted a small family birthday but I wanted a big celebration and after much negotiating, I won.  It was also the first time that we would be inviting the other children from her daycare.  I wanted to look for an indoor playground that would fit the amount of people we were looking to invite as well as be fun for the kids and have seating for the parents.  We had taken her to Chuck-E-Cheese for her first birthday and I didn’t like that we had to share the entire place with a dozen other families.  I also wanted it for a good price.  After researching different places and locations, I remembered a place that I used to take my daughter while I was Maternity Leave.

Amazon Indoor Playground was a 10 minute drive from my home and had a 60 person capacity.    We ordered the Big Monkey Party Package which gave us private use of the playground for 2 hours, a party host helped set up and they supplied plates, cups, napkins & forks, as well as coffee for the adults.  A birthday balloon was given to the birthday child and they also used decorations in the same colours you were looking for.  With a group of 20 children, this only cost $299.00 plus taxes.

Deli Sliders

Now when it came to ordering food, I had one child that was allergic to dairy.  Now with Pizza out of the question, what was I going to feed 20 hungry, picky children.  I ended up ordering from a local Toronto catering company called Pumpernickel’s Deli & Catering.  We ordered a small platter of baby burgers for the kids and deli sliders for the adults.  They were a hit!  Some of the parents were actually substituting their deli sliders for their kids baby burgers.

Baby Burgers

Overall it was a fantastic party.  Some parents said their children kept telling them they now had to throw their children’s party there.  I didn’t have to worry about cleaning up, the kids could play while the adults chatted among themselves.  I had no dishes to do and the kids loved the bouncy castle!  Check out Pumpernickel’s Blog or their Twitter @Pumpernickels1 .

 

 

Today a Miracle Happened!

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As the title states, today, a miracle happened.  I went to the grocery store with my daughter and she didn’t have a meltdown.  You read that correctly, there was no meltdown.  The heavens parted, the birds sang, and I didn’t need a Tylenol when I got home.  I did my preemptive speech that I give before each outing.

“Now Princess, what are the rules before we go out?”

“No biting, no hitting, no pinching, no slapping, no yelling, no crying and listen to Mommy,” my three year old lists off.

“That’s right,” I say, nodding my head.  “Are you already?”

We are getting ready to go.  I have inhaled and exhaled deeply 5 times.  I have centred my chi, I have repeated the mantra “It’s only a trip to the grocery store” in my head over and over again.  My daughter is in her weather appropriate attire, our cloth grocery bags at the ready.  It’s time.  We pull out the grocery cart, the doors part and my hubby gives me the reassuring pat on the back.  We make our rounds at the fruit stands, then the vegetables and then the bread section.  So far so good.  She is holding the lettuce and potatoes in the cart.  She is content.  It isn’t until we round the meat aisle when she becomes a little restless.  Ok, quick thinking, what to do, what to do?

“Honey, do you want to help Daddy push the cart?”

“Yes.  I help ok Daddy.”  Meltdown averted.

We get through the meat, and onto the eggs and milk we go.  She decides she wants plain Organic Greek yogurt and puts it in the cart. I put it back on the shelf and her expression on her face says it all.  Oh no.

“We’ll get you big girl yogurt ok.”

The expression fades, and this is what she squeaks; “Ok Mom.”

Now its the quick up and down of the other aisles, decadent in their sugars and treats, the brightly coloured boxes, the mascots and symbols of every parents contempt.  I am envisioning the temper tantrum, the cries and pleas for Lucky Charms, the stares from the other patrons.  But to my surprise, she is content in helping put things in the cart and pushing it.  She does take a small time out however to stand upon a stool and sing “I’m a Little Teapot.”  I smile and so do the other people walking by.  I am relishing in the fact that so far everything has gone relatively smoothly.  But we haven’t checked out yet, I don’t want to jinx myself.  And then I see it.  The #1 cash with its iridescent glow, we are almost done!

My little helper begins to carelessly toss food onto the conveyor belt, squishing the bread, bruising the bananas, and tearing the bags.  I stop her and she begins to pout.

“You have to be careful or it will break.”

She turns to her Dad and restates this to him.  We have finally packed up the bags, the bill is settled and I am gleeful.  I have managed an entire trip with no big fuss.  But my Princess is not done yet.

“I have to go pee pee Mommy.”

OH NO!!!  The battle of potty training and being away from home has just begun.  I begin to sweat.  I am now rushing.  We don’t have time.  Oh crap!

“Just hold it ok, we’re almost home,” I plead, the entire time that an accident could be imminent.

For some reason, we made it home and had no accident.  We had no temper tantrum.  No fit of tears and cries.  No “You’re not my friend Mommy.”  It was a good trip to the grocery store.  It was a miracle.  I am still pinching myself to make sure this is not a dream.

Latest Book Review

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Hi everyone!  I am an avid reader and have decided to write some book reviews.  My latest is on Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones.  Check out my Book Review tab for the full review.  Here is an excerpt;

“Don’t worry Susie; he has a nice life.  He’s trapped in a perfect world.”  Too bad it wasn’t a perfect book.  The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold is about 14 year old Susie Salmon who was murdered by her neighbour, a quiet but odd man, Mr. Harvey.  She soon finds herself in Heaven, a place that has all that you wanted on Earth and more, but she cannot help but let go.  She watches her family and friends, grow up and fall apart, grasping onto her memory, albeit too painful for some.  She also watches her murderer continue to go about his day, still thriving off the adrenaline of her death.

Feel free to suggest any good books and I’ll do my best to write a review on here!  Hope you enjoy!

Quotes About Daughters

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QUOTES ABOUT DAUGHTERS

A daughter is a day brightener and a heart warmer. — Author Unknown

A daughter is a mother’s gender partner, her closest ally in the family confederacy, an extension of her self. — Author Unknown

A daughter is a miracle that never ceases to be miraculous…full of beauty and forever beautiful…loving and caring and truly amazing. — Deanna Beisser

A daughter is a treasure – and a cause of sleeplessness. — Ben Sirach

A daughter is one of the most beautiful gifts this world has to give. — Laurel Atherton

Pregnant with my Princess

A daughter is the happy memories of the past, the joyful moments of the present, and the hope and promise of the future. — Author Unknown

A daughter may outgrow your lap, but she will never outgrow your heart. — Author Unknown

A mother’s treasure is her daughter.  — Catherine Pulsifer

Daughter are angles sent from above to fill our heart with unending love. — J. Lee

If you can give your son or daughter only one gift, let it be enthusiasm. — Bruce Barton

It's Cuddle Time

Mothers and daughters are closest, when daughters become mothers. — Author Unknown

Never grow a wishbone, daughter, where you backbone ought to be. — Clementine Paddleford

Oh my son’s my son till he gets him a wife, but my daughter’s my daughter all her life. — Dinah Maria Mulock Craik

Our daughters are the most precious of our treasures, the dearest possessions of our homes and the objects of our most watchful love. — Margaret E. Sangster

What I wanted most for my daughter was that she be able to soar confidently in her own sky, whatever that may be. — Helen Claes

Tractor Ride