Category Archives: Emma

Emma

Stella’s first photos

Stella's first photos

Sisters – so cute!

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This is why I don’t take Emma to see Santa

Lots of Emma’s friends are turning three, which means we’ve gone to some great birthday parties. One of Emma’s friends had an all girl princess party – even Cinderella was invited!! A real live princess!

After the parents got out all of our giggles one dad pointed out you might see a group of grown men acting similarly if Brett Favre had shown up.

While most of the little girls sat as close as possible to Cinderella and starred in amazement our skeptical Emma stayed back and eyed her with concern.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

She trusted her a bit when she was giving out stamps complete with fairy dust. Ok, so I may have shoved her into the circle and yanked out her hand for a stamp.
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She ran over to Matthew and made sure he saw what she was seeing, “that’s Cinderella, dad”.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAlas, she returned to her skeptical ways when sitting on Cinderella’s lap for a photo opp.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI am sure I am to blame for some (or all) of her skepticism. I haven’t exposed her to a lot of the princess stuff. I figure the fairy princess marketing machine will get to her at some point. Of course we have dress ups and wands and crowns, and she’s even been heard shouting, “I am a princess!”, but we’re a little behind as far knowing who is who in the world of princesses. Last summer she would ask for Cinderella, which meant she wanted a slice of mozzarella cheese. I am certain princesses eat cheese.

A quilt for Emma

An embarrassingly long time ago I picked out a pattern, bought fabric and even did a little cutting for a quilt for Emma. A few weeks before we went on vacation my little nesting instinct kicked in and I actually finished all of my cutting and started sewing the squares.

Crossing my fingers the progress continues…

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Three years, three cupcakes

Emma turned three in the middle of February. We took a family trip to the Denver Zoo to celebrate. Matthew and Emma share an equal love for the elephants.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt appears a giraffe may have confused Matthew’s hair with a pile of hay.

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We met the cousins for a little birthday lunch afterward and Emma enjoyed birthday cupcake number one.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA few days later we went on vacation and when we came back we invited 10 three year olds descend upon our house for some birthday fun. Emma insisted on wearing her “fancy” dress for the party. Here she is patiently waiting for birthday cupcake number two.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFinally, Emma talked for months about inviting her cousins to her birthday party. They are all older than her and just seeing pictures of them leaves her starstruck. I couldn’t figure out a good activity that incorporated the three year olds and the older kids, so of course we decided to have another party and a third birthday cupcake.

Happy birthday Emma!!

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Museum Mondays

A teacher friend of mine clued me in a long time ago that schools don’t generally take field trips on Mondays. Knowing this, Emma and I try to make Monday museum trips as often as we can. It’s especially great for younger kids – they don’t have to compete with the older bigger kids for hands-on activities.

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My dad would be so proud

There’s a good chance Emma will show the same dandelion picking and cartwheel turning prowess I had in the outfield during t-ball games.

Right now we are practicing hitting off a piece of PVC I hammered in the ground.

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Valentine Garland

The other day I was cruising through my blog reader and came across this post from Made by Rae for Valentine garland. I think is super cute so I made some for myself.

After preschool, Emma and I stopped by our local, awesome, newly moved fabric store – Fancy Tiger – and picked up ten $1 felt squares. Emma ran around the basement while I cut out hearts and while she was napping I literally whipped this up. I showed it to Emma ¬†after her nap and she said “beautiful”. Seriously. She just melts her wanna-be crafty mommy’s heart.

Emma loves Maya

Before we had Emma everyone asked us what we thought Maya would think of her. Both Matthew and I were certain
as soon as Maya realized how important Emma was to us things would be just fine.

Maya is great with Emma and even a little protective when we are out on walks.

I sometimes wonder if Emma considers Maya just another human in our family. She asks about her the minute I retrieve her from a nap and I even caught her sharing a Popsicle with Maya. Seriously – holding it out for Maya to take a lick.

I snapped this pic of Emma snuggling Maya while I prepared lunch. Emma loves Maya.

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Noon run with the girls’ team

One perk of being a stay at home mama is being able to do things at odd hours during the day while others sit at their desk and stare at a spreadsheet. Ha!

I did not get up for my normal Tuesday morning run due to a night of poor sleep so Emma, Maya and I went out for a little five miler around lunch-time. It was awesome.

Here’s a pic of the girls’ team post run. No, Emma is not chomping on a dog bone. I gave her a teething biscuit when we were in the home stretch. That pretty much guaranteed the only squeals we heard from the stroller were those of delight.

Test kitchen: cup cakes

This all started when I suggested to Matthew I make cup cakes for Emma’s first birthday. He looked at me in his skeptical way and said, “they better not be dry, if they are dry we are buying them from a bakery.”

I took this as a personal challenge as well as a personal attack on my baking prowess and started researching cup cake recipes on tastespotting. I chose a recipe a blogger posted from the Joy of Baking cookbook.

Attempt #1: I followed the recipe to a “t”. The cupcakes ran over and kind of dented in the middle. My friend Katie said they looked a little prepubescent. They were tasty, but were difficult to get out of the pan and would not have worked for decorating.

Prior to my second attempt, I took to the interwebs to research baking conversions for altitude. Baking in Denver can be a bit challenging; water evaporates faster, the air is dryer, yadda, yadda, yadda. I found a great altitude adjuster resource from the University of Wyoming.

Attempt #2: I followed the University of Wyoming’s advice for those living at 5000 ft. I reduced the baking powder by 1/4 tsp., I reduced the sugar by two tablespoons, added an egg white for more liquid, and used the convect bake setting on my oven. I was totally crossing my fingers, convinced this was the right combination. The cupcakes domed (hit puberty as Katie would say) and did not run over, but they were a little too browned when I took them out.

Attempt #3: I followed my second attempt, but only baked the cup cakes for 13 and a half minutes – viola! Domed moist cup cakes!

The regular and altitude adjusted recipes are below.

White Cupcakes – standard recipe
Makes 12 cupcakes
Recipe from Joy of Baking

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups (175 grams) sifted cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar, divided
2 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (120 ml) milk
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and lightly butter or line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. In a mixing bowl sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until soft (about 1-2 minutes). Add 3/4 cup (150 grams) of the sugar and beat until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.Beat in the vanilla extract. Then,with the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour.
In a clean bowl of your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, (or with a hand mixer) beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup (50 grams) of sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. With a rubber spatula gently fold a little of the whites into the batter to lighten it, and then fold in the remaining whites until combined. Do not over mix the batter or it will deflate.
Evenly fill the 12 muffin cups with the batter and bake for about 13 1/2 minutes or until nicely browned and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

Butter Frosting
Recipe from Joy of Baking

Ingredients:
2 cups (230 grams) confectioners sugar (icing or powdered sugar), sifted
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2-3tablespoons milk or light cream

Directions:

In an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream the butter until smooth and well blended. Add the vanilla extract.
With the mixer on low speed, gradually beat in the sugar. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the milk and beat on high speed until frosting is light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Tint the frosting with desired food color.

White Cupcakes – adjusted for life at 5000 ft.
Makes 12 cupcakes
Recipe from Joy of Baking
Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups sifted cake flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon granulated white sugar, divided
2 egg yolks, 3 egg whites
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and lightly butter or line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. Use convection oven if you have it. In a mixing bowl sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until soft (about 1-2 minutes). Add 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon (150 grams) of the sugar and beat until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat in the vanilla extract. Then,with the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour.
In a clean bowl of your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, (or with a hand mixer) beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup (50 grams) of sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. With a rubber spatula gently fold a little of the whites into the batter to lighten it, and then fold in the remaining whites until combined. Do not over mix the batter or it will deflate.
Evenly fill the 12 muffin cups with the batter and bake for about 18-20 minutes or until nicely browned and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely.