Sunday, August 29, 2010

Brioche and Sticky Buns

My baking partner is currently busy with her newly expanded family, but I decided to not let that slow me down on the baking front while we are on hiatus from our baking project.  I have been making cinnamon rolls and caramel rolls for a few years now using the sweet bread recipe from my mother-in-law.  It's a good recipe, but lately I have been wanting to branch out and try a new one.  There are so many recipes for sweet dough out there and I figure why just settle on the only one that I have ever made.

For Christmas or my birthday one year, I received the book Baking: From my Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan.  I had requested the book after reading a lot of positive reviews.  It's a huge book that has many, many wonderful recipes.  But since I have owned it, I have barely made anything out of it.  I don't know if I was intimidated or what?  I decided to make her recipe for Pecan Honey Sticky Buns.

What I discovered is that in order to make these, you need to make the brioche recipe in her book and use half of it.  I thought - no problem!  I'll make the dough on Friday night.  It needed to sit overnight, and then I would bake the sticky buns the next morning.  However, the dough for the brioche requires a lot of rising and punching down and I was ready to start the dough at 8 pm.  Yeah - with a little baby that still gets up in the middle of the night, I decided I would have to postpone the recipe for a day.  I just couldn't stay up until 11 or 12 making the dough. 

I started the dough yesterday evening.  The recipe calls for 3 sticks of butter!  My word!  I was a little impatient to start, so I don't think the eggs were fully at room temperature (they had only been out for about 40 minutes).  I am not sure if that would impact the dough or not.  It took a long time to mixer with my stand mixer - I thought I was going to wear out the motor!  It's a very wet dough.  Then it needed to rise until it doubled.  Mine took longer than 60 minutes, which surprised me given how warm it was yesterday.  After that you stick in the fridge and punch down every 30 minutes until it stops rising - about 2 hours. 

This morning I got up at 6 with Eddie.  In between playing with him, I got the rest of the stuff ready to complete the sticky buns.  When he went down for his first nap, I actually rolled out and assembled the rolls.  Then they had to rise for another hour and 45 minutes or so.  One of the things that I don't love about this book is the fact that while some of her instructions are very clear and precise, other parts are just matter of fact and vague.  I was to dissolve brown sugar in butter and honey for the glaze.  But the recipe didn't give an approximate amount of time that it would take to do this.  And I wasn't sure what the consistency would be or if it should be at a boil.  I did my best and moved on to rolling out the dough. 

Since I only used half of the dough for the buns, I decided that I would make a loaf of the brioche and then freeze it.  The rest of the recipe was super simple for the bread.  I am going to use it to make French Toast one of these weekends.

The sticky buns were finally ready to eat 10:45 this morning!  Uncas and I were starving!  They were pretty good.  Really good, but with all the time and work to make the dough, I can't really see making these on a regular basis.  At the same time, I won't say that I will never make them again - Uncas said that these sticky buns were better than he has ever had from any bakery. One of the things that I'll have to remember for next time is that you can make part of the recipe it ahead of time and freeze. 

With this recipe down, I plan on moving forward to try other recipes for a sweet dough.  Next weekend I plan on trying to make some homemade apple turnovers from this cookbook.

The finished products:

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Home Sweet Home

The boys and I arrived back home safe and sound on Thursday.  The trip back was pretty uneventful.  Eddie was stuck in the sun for most of the drive, so I rigged up a blanket to protect him from that.  We also stopped at a nice park in Winona and I pushed Eddie in the swing (which he loves!).  I think we all really enjoyed staying with Grandma and Grandpa for almost a week, but we were all extremely happy when Daddy walked in the door on Thursday.

I took quite a few pictures on our trip and between my camera, my mom's and my dad's, we have a ton of pictures!  Here are just a few:

Eddie in Grandma's stroller

Riding the train in Fennimore

Kissing cousin Saffy

Getting kissed by Snoopy while being held by Uncle Derek

Eddie with Great Grandma R.

Eddie with Great Aunt Margit

Eddie with his second cousins Doug, Kevin (holding Eddie) an d Brad (Eddie grabbing his nose)

Bath time at Grandma's!

Hanging out at the Fennimore pool

Naked Baby Time on the deck

Celebrating Grandma's birthday with homemade carrot cake

Swinging at the park with Grandma

Hanging out in the bean bag chair

Watching Grandpa eat a chocolate scone

Eating Grandpa's shoelaces!

Grandpa teaching Eddie how to fish

Grandma saying good-bye to Eddie on Thursday morning 
Saying Hi to Daddy after being gone for almost a week!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Vacation Continues

Today is mine and Eddie's last day with Grandma and Grandpa before we head back north.  So far we have been having a great time!  Monday we hung around the house in the morning while Grandma went to work.  When she got home, we head to the community pool.  Eddie wasn't too sure about things, but I think he didn't hate it.  When we got home, since it was so warm, we let him roll around the deck (on a towel) naked.  I think he had the most fun doing that.  Friends of my parents came over for dinner that night so they could meet Eddie. 

Yesterday was my mom's birthday!  Eddie and I stopped and visited Great Grandma R again and then headed to my mom's work for lunch.  She was able to show Eddie off to all her co-workers.  One of her co-workers had a baby boy 7 days before Eddie was born.  She brought him over and it was fun to see the two boys together.  Eddie kept trying to touch him, especially his face!  Of course no one had a camera!

Our afternoon was pretty low-key, but we did take Eddie to the park so he could swing.  He loves doing that, and of course Sammy had a good time going for a walk and running around the park.  Last night we enjoyed a steak dinner and carrot cake - yum!

Today is another low-key day.  My dad and I already took Eddie to the local bakery.  We stocked up on lots of goodies.  We came home, and promptly put Eddie down for a nap so we could eat breakfast!  It's hard to believe that today is already Wednesday.  We are having such a great time.  We are starting to miss Uncas a lot, so we are looking forward to heading home tomorrow morning.

One last update - on Sunday night/early Monday morning, I received the call that I have been waiting for - my best friend Lisa had her baby!  She and her husband are proud parents to another little baby boy!!  His name is Ezra Paul and he was 8 lb. 15 oz.  He is a beautiful baby and I can't wait to hold him in October when I go visit.  Congratulations to Lisa, Brian and big brother Caiden!!!!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Busy, Busy!

4 Generations
 It's been a busy couple of days visiting lots of family.  Eddie has been doing great despite the fact that he hadn't been able to take very long naps. 

Saturday we started out by taking a ride on the little train in my parent's town.  It's a little tiny train for children (and their parents).  We were the only people on it when we stopped by.  I think Eddie will enjoy it more next summer, but I am glad we took him.

Saturday we also went and saw Uncle Derek and Aunt Jeanna's new house.  Eddie played with Saffron and took a nap in the new baby's room.  Sammy also enjoyed the trip because he got to play with Tina and Snoopy.

Sunday we headed over to visit Uncas's Aunt Debbie.  She has a beautiful house close to my parents.  Sammy really enjoyed running around out in the country while we visited with Debbie.  And from there we went straight to Great Grandma's where Aunt Margit, Uncle Dale, and cousins Brad, Doug and Kevin were also visiting too!  So much family in one day.  Eddie enjoyed playing with everyone - in particular reaching for cousin Brad's nose!

All the visiting did start catching up with little Eddie.  When we got home, he slept for a couple of hours.  We woke him up, played with him, fed him, gave him a bath and then Grandma put him back to bed.  He basically slept through the night, but this morning by 5:15 am, he was ready to go!

Today is a hang around the house day.  Grandma's working a half day, so we are just going to relax this morning.  Later some friends are coming over for dinner and to meet Eddie (of course).  We are also hoping to visit the pool this afternoon. 

I haven't downloaded my pictures yet, but here are a few from my mom's camera so far.
Riding the little train in Fennimore

Eddie and Saffron checking each other out

Eddie playing with Uncle Derek

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Over the River and Through the Woods

We made it safely to Grandma and Grandpa's house yesterday.  I was a little worried about driving by myself with the baby and the dog, but overall, it went pretty smoothly.  We stopped a few times, but for the most part, both boys were great.

We made it just in the nick of time.  Apparently I had been just ahead of the storm and right after I finished bringing in the last load from the car, it started raining.  And it rained!  And fortunately I didn't park in my parent's driveway because huge branches one of their trees came down - right where my car would have been!

We have a busy weekend planned - a trip to Uncle Derek and Aunt Jeanna's new house today.  Tomorrow we are visiting Great Aunt Debbie and then we'll see Great Grandma and hopefully Great Aunt Margit and Great Uncle Dale too!  So much family!!!!

I am happy to report that Eddie slept fabulously last night.  He went to bed at 6 pm.  All I had to do was lay him down and there wasn't a peep out of him until 3:30.  He ate quickly and went right back to sleep 20 minutes later.  And then he slept until 6:15 am.  Sammy joined Grandma and Grandpa for part of night, so I enjoyed sprawling out in the guest bed!  We sure miss Daddy, but he is having fun with his own dad.  They are probably out fishing right now!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

4 Years

4 years ago was the best day of my life.  I married my best friend.  The picture above is still one of my favorites from the day taken by my friend Lisa.  I don't remember if that big smile is because it was my wedding day or it was finally time to eat cake :-)

It's been a great 4 years and it's amazing everything that we have accomplished in such a short time.  We bought a house, fixed up the house, got a puppy, and now we have a baby!  And really - that list is everything we accomplished in just the last two years.  Our first two years we were married, we rented a duplex and it was just the two of us.  I love our life and family now, but those first couple of years were so much fun and we were really able to just focus on ourselves and our marriage.

Tonight we are lucky enough to have a sitter, so we can go out.  We are going to the Twins game with some friends of ours.  It should be a fun time!

Happy Anniversary Uncas - I love you!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wii Have a What?!

You wouldn't know it based on our usage over the past 6 months or longer, but we have a Wii gaming system.  I probably haven't played with it for almost a year.  Maybe not quite that long, but I don't remember playing it much while I was pregnant.  Uncas used to play football a lot on it before a certain someone showed up.  And then suddenly out of the blue last night after we had eaten dinner, I said to Uncas "Let's play some Wii!"

And we did!

First we played a few games of bowling (I won the first one and my very first ball I got a strike!!  Uncas proceeded to win the second and third games).  Then we decided to make a Mii* for Eddie (picture a short, fat, bald character smiling).  And then Uncas decided he wanted to play tennis with Eddie.  After watching a few games, I decided that I would play tennis with him - we like to play couples against the computer.  I picked the Sammy Mii as my player (don't make fun of us - we made a Mii for our dog - so?!) 

We had a lot of fun, although I was so tired - and that was playing tennis sitting down (the dog was cuddling with me - I couldn't get up!)  It reminded me of how much fun it was to play with the Wii.  I hope we do it again soon!

* for those of you who don't know, a Mii is a character that you create and use to play games on the Wii. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

5 Months

Of course after yesterday's post, it's kind of funny that I am posting Eddie's 5 month post - oh well!  For some reason, this month has seemed long to me.  Not in a bad way, but it just seems like it has been a long month.  Here are some highlights:
  • Eddie is a rolling machine!  He rolls from back to belly and belly to back - constantly.  He can (and has) rolled right off the blanket/rug and doesn't seem phased by the hardwood floor at all!  He rolls to get close to me, he rolls to get toys, and he rolls when he is frustrated.
  • He has discovered that being on his tummy isn't such a back thing.  In fact, he tends to play lot on his tummy, then rolls around to get somewhere or something and settles back on his tummy.
  • He has figured out how to raise himself up with his arms while on his tummy and he can get on his knees, but not at the same time.  I imagine once he figures out that, he'll be off and crawling!
  • He is able to reach out and grab objects so well now.  He can also pull down on the toys that hang from the handle in his car seat.  
  • He is still amused by Sammy and enjoys watching him.  He'll often smile and laugh when looking at Sammy.
  • His eyes are still changing color, but not as rapidly.  I think they will probably be the light brown like Uncas's, but someone yesterday said that they thought they might be green (like mine!)
  • Diapers . . . this could be a whole separate post.  Up until 2 weeks ago we had pretty much exclusively been putting him in cloth.  We switched up to the next size and problems ensued.  The diapers are really big and I don't think he likes that he can't move around as much while wearing them.  But the bigger issue is diaper rash.  We have struggled with this a little bit - even with cloth diapers, but it's been just awful lately - and worse when he wears the cloth ones.  I can't figure out what else to do (when it comes to washing them), so we have had him in disposables.  I will say, in some ways it's a lot easier, but in other ways I do miss the cloth.  When we return from our trip next week, we'll give the cloth another shot.  I am wondering if the diaper rash is connected to him teething.
  • Oh the joys of teething.  Unfortunately Eddie isn't one of those babies that isn't bothered by it.  In fact, it's been a huge pain for the past couple of weeks.  I really hope a tooth pops through soon!
  • Food - Eddie has tried sweet potato and banana.  Today we are going to see how he likes avocado.  So far he hasn't rejected anything we have fed him.  We only do one solid a day and he is really starting to like it.  Although, I also thinks he likes being up high in the high chair.  I roll him into the kitchen with me while I am getting his food ready.
  • Eddie is nearly sitting up on his own.  I think within the next week or two, he will master this.  Right now he can do it for a few seconds.  He's getting good and catching himself when he is starting to tip over.  Of course other times he just likes diving down and ending up on his belly!
Today on our walk, we went to a park and he went on a swing for the first time.  He loved it!  I left my camera at home, so we'll have to go back again soon!  All in all, it's been a great month.  He really is a happy baby, who is very vocal about what he likes and doesn't like.  For the most part he is sleeping pretty well.  We still get for a feeding at night around 2, and he has been waking up around 4:30.  Usually we can get him back to sleep until 5:30, but hopefully we can get him sleeping until 6 at some point here.  He sleeps great during his naps during the day and he typically falls asleep on his own in his crib after just a few minutes.

5 month pictures:

Monday, August 16, 2010

Whose Adventures?

In the past week or so I have been doing a lot of thinking about this blog.  I feel like I am losing my identity with it, which is kind of funny.  In my life I think that both Uncas and I have done a good job of balancing being parents to Eddie and still having time to ourselves (both together and separately).  But on this blog, I feel the title these days should be Adventures of Eddie.  There doesn't seem to be much balance;  I just seem to write about Eddie updates.

I suppose that Eddie is really the more interesting topic these days, and I shouldn't assume that people really care about what I am doing day-to-day.  But I did enjoy writing about our life - sort of like a journal.  I like looking back and seeing what we did 1, 2, 3, 4 or even 5 years ago.  Yes, I really have been blogging for that long, which proves my point - I wanted to do a post about blogging for 5 years and that anniversary came and went in July!

I am trying to figure out how to get back to blogging about the whole family and not just Eddie.  I really don't necessarily want to turn this into his blog.  One idea I had was to actually stop blogging all together.  But I am not sure that I really want to do that.  I think part of the big issue is finding the time to blog and I think I somehow feel that I need to have pictures (of Eddie) in every post.

One solution that I did just think of a few minutes ago is to try blogging again every day.  I think that would force me to write about something else besides Eddie.  While he changes and grows quickly - it's not like he is adding a new skill every single day!  And my baking blog is on a hiatus for a while, so I would like to take this time to do some baking on my own and then I can post about it here.

If I do decide to blog daily, I probably won't start until September 1 (and by then, I might forget about this entirely).  Until then, I am going to do some serious thinking about whether or not I really want to keep this blog going . . .

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Too Young?

Today Eddie took a field trip to the voting poll.  It's never too young to learn about the democratic process!  I wish we could have gone with Uncas, but Eddie was napping, so we made our own trip to the polls.  Then Eddie insisted that we go shopping to show off his sticker . . . which worked, because we ran into our neighbor who nearly forgot about voting today!  What a good little citizen we are raising!!!!

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Today Uncas and I were able to get away for a few hours while our friends came over and watched Eddie.  They brought their darling daughter Ashley who is 3 days younger than Eddie.  When we left Eddie was sleeping.  I was hoping they would have a good afternoon and it sounds like it was.  Eddie took some good naps for them and the kids had fun playing together.
Check out Ashley's cute skirt!

Giving her a kiss!

What happy babies!

Checking out Ashley
Uncas and I went to a bookstore, did a little shopping and saw the movie Inception.  The movie was good - it definitely made you think.  We really enjoyed our time together, but I was happy to see Eddie when we got home.

This weekend Eddie also tried sweet potatoes for the first time.  I don't think he quite knew what to make of them.  He ate them, but he had the funniest looks on his face.  I am sure it was because the flavor was unlike anything else he has had before. 
What is this stuff?!

I am not sure how I feel about this orange stuff.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Play Date

On Monday Eddie's older friend Eliza came over to play.  Eddie ended up sleeping for most of the time, but fortunately when you are 4 and 1/2 months old, it's not considered rude to sleep when your friends are over.  Actually, it was fun because I got a chance to play with Eliza and she really enjoyed playing with all of Eddie's toy, which were like new to her!

Now Eliza is 4 months older than Eddie, so she can do all sorts of fun things like clap and wave and crawl!  Crawling is her latest skill and that is one that I would rather she not teach Eddie just yet.  Unfortunately for me, I think Eddie will be right on her heels literally in just a few short weeks!

Click here to see a cute video of Eliza waving.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

First Night Away

I survived my first overnight away from Eddie this weekend.  No tears were shed and quite honestly, while I missed him, I also very much enjoyed myself!

A dear college friend was having his "bachelor" party this past Saturday night with all his awesome female friends in Madison.  He specifically chose that location in the hopes the a couple of us could make it.  I immediately knew that I wanted to go and hang out with some people that I hadn't seen in years!  I was even fortunate enough to carpool with one of my friends.

Saturday morning I left Eddie in Daddy's capable hands.  I drove to Menomonie, WI to meet with up with my friend Jacqueline.  We then drove together to Madison (we might have stopped at the outlet mall at the Dells to shop for an hour).  We met up with Kevin (the groom-to-be) at the hotel and one by one, the rest of the group arrived.  We went out to a fabulous Mexican restaurant for dinner, followed up by some Cold Stone Creamery for dessert.  Then we headed back to the hotel for more conversation and lots of laughs.  Morning came way too soon, and Jacqueline and I were back on the road by 8:30.  I made it back home around 1 pm.

I don't have any pictures from my fun weekend because I left the camera at home for Daddy to document the fun that he and Eddie had.  Here are some pictures that they took!

Apparently in that last picture - Eddie moved from the top right spot of the blanket, to where he ended up in like 30 seconds.  No, he's not crawling, he just wiggles and rolls!!!!

I really enjoyed my break this weekend.  I missed my boys (all three of them), but the time away was nice.  Eddie was napping when I got and I was so excited when he woke up!  I couldn't wait to hug and kiss him!!