Monday, February 16, 2015

Sugar, all the flour, and some pink elephants.

I spent about 5 hours on Friday night baking all the things. It started with a plan for dark chocolate cake. I'm not sure I've ever had dark chocolate cake, but dark is the only kind of chocolate JP and I like and I thought it would make for a nice Valentine's present. So I turned to the google and read all the reviews and found a recipe that looked easy enough. Then, after much deliberation, I decided on a classic vanilla buttercream to frost it. Then, in between making the cake batter and the buttercream, I decided I should make cinnamon rolls for our Valentine's breakfast with the kiddos.

before the school parties on Friday

As always, I carefully set out all my ingredients and worked through the steps. Towards the end, post-kneading and pre-first-rise, I noted that the dough seemed a little denser and heavier than usual. And when I went to clean up I found the egg- an egg I thought was just a shell but was in fact a whole egg that I'd forgotten to add to the dough back at step 2 of many. So I cleaned the mixing bowl yet AGAIN and started over with batch #2. I used every single bit of flour we had in the house- to the point of turning over my giant hocking jar and shaking out every last speck and I was still maybe a little short. I left both batches to rise, curious to see how the absence of egg affected the dough, and yes--science experiment spoiler alert--it affected the rising of the dough.

no egg

one egg

So we went with the puffy dough and I rolled it out and covered it in butter and cinnamon and sugar and rolled it up and sliced it and crammed all the circles into my baking pans.

action shot!

And at 10:42 p.m., we had two pans of cinnamon rolls post-2nd-rise and pre-bake/pre-icing and I hadn't sat down in 5.5 hours.

Between dough rises I had also iced and "decorated" my dark chocolate cake. Then I ate a piece because I was starving and washing dishes and kneading bread dough feels like it burns more calories than barre.

My piece was smaller than pictured; JP got to it before I found my camera. He said it was "ridiculous" and I must admit, it was pretty darn good.

I set the table for the kiddos to find on Valentine's morning as I always do. This year's version involved some Target placemats I picked up last year, paper plates with hearts, real champagne classes for faux mimosas, and a little treat for each kid. We keep it simple, but I remember coming downstairs to a fancy breakfast set up each morning in my childhood and it's such a happy tradition. My dad would always leave my sister and I a flower in a little vase (he left for work before we woke up), candy for my brother, and cards for all three of us, and then my mom served breakfast on our "nice" dishes with wine glasses for orange juice. We loved it.

This year since V-Day was on a Saturday, I slept in a bit while JP was at practice and Cora was entertained by her big sibs. I dragged myself out of bed to get started on breakfast and found a surprise for JP and me in the middle of the table! The kids had gotten up and added the cards they made at school and a few of their most thematic stuffed animals (on loan only). It was very sweet.

L's card for us

And they even added a little bear to Cora's place since she didn't have a card. I got to make a real breakfast of pink pancakes, eggs, turkey sausage, fresh fruit, and the cinnamon rolls and Cora was an enthusiastic sous chef and eater of pancakes (and wearer of sparkly hearts).

I got to go to hot yoga and then we spent a romantic evening at the local YMCA for Landon's 6 p.m. basketball game. His team lost by less than 20 points which is a victory this season and we picked up our favorite pick-up pizza on the way home and paired it with milk in champagne glasses for the kids and disproportionately expensive champagne for the adults. And cake. Lots of cake. It was actually pretty perfect.

Yesterday involved a friend's son's first birthday and Cora was a party ANIMAL and we ended up a subject of discussion because we allowed her to wander freely around the fenced grounds of our friend's backyard, filled with people we know who are also looking after young children, for many minutes, at times more than 10 yards away from us. She was having a marvelous time running around with strangers and we didn't see any reason to interrupt.

But we ended up with a concerned grandma marching over and following the poor, maniacally smiling, lost baby around, grabbing Cora's hand and trying to walk her back our way, even after I waved in her direction and attempted to convey while waving my champagne glass that, "don't worry, we got this," and then she frowned at me and continued trying to herd Cora back towards us and then followed when Cora determinedly walked the other way (all still within our line of site). Later, JP heard someone else talking about her/us inside. Helicopter parenting, we're not doing it right.

judgment in yellow shoes

In other highlights, Cora climbed in a cozy coupe and honked the horn and Landon broke off from his friends and ran over to push her around in it. Someone asked how we got him to do things like that and we were like, we can take no credit, that's just him; our goal is just not to mess it up. I looked over again and found him pushing Claire too, which was a perfect LagLiv children moment, though we did make her get off the roof after snapping the pic (priorities).

It was all really fun and I got to put everyone in new clothes (except JP; he likes to wear the same shirt until it falls apart or "goes missing"), including a new elephant shirt I just picked up at Ross for $7.99 (and my magic jeans!). Because what's more festive than a hot pink elephant?

I got three compliments on it, two from women with diamonds and designer clothes that definitely all cost more than my car. Both of our cars. Everyone loves an elephant.

Today is President's Day and a federal holiday, but not a school one, so I'm celebrating with blogging, barre and yoga in the same day, daytime HGTV viewing, and getting L & C to swim practice on time at 4:45 (this never happens, but luckily, I know the coach). And then after all that I get to enjoy a super fancy birthday/Valentine's date night with JP tonight at our favorite restaurant! A most excellent day it is going to be!


  1. What? Not a school holiday? I'm so jealous of your free day!

    1. I know! It was amazing. Our kids got two Fridays ago off for "Rodeo Day" (not even kidding; it's a thing here), so they had to go on President's Day instead. Fort Worth has very clear priorities! (Not that I'm complaining- it worked out great for me!).

  2. We had Family Day yesterday up here in Ontario and the extra day to the weekend was glorious.

    Claire looks like she's grown A LOT in that picture, my goodness!

    Corabear's outfit is just too pretty for words. :)


    1. That was the first thing I thought when I saw that Valentine's picture- Claire looks so much older all of a sudden! And thank you- I just adore that dress! It was part of my massive Old Navy spring sale purchase to update all the kids' wardrobes. It wasn't necessary, but I can never resist blue and yellow together :).

  3. Hi - Would love an update on your kitchen now that you've lived with it for a couple months. (Really I'd just like to see those cubbies in use -- so, so jealous!)

    1. I was just thinking of doing that! Sort of a "here's what our favorite stuff is now that we've lived in it" sort of thing. (The cubbies are totally on that list!). I'll start working on it :).