Sunday, August 21, 2016

Beating Atlantis Resort at its own game. (1 of 2)

Family Vacation time!

Thankfully I'd read a TON on what to expect before arriving in Atlantis here in the Bahamas, but even with all the preparation i still managed to forget a thing or two. 

First ill begin by saying, yes. its expensive. Its almost impossible to get by without spending money, much more than you usually would on every day items. So i did my best to prevent wasting money by bringing as much stuff as possible in extra luggage. 

We also asked the cab driver to stop at a grocery store on the way from the airport, he was used to the request and made a quick pit stop where we bought a few gallons of water and some bread/oatmeal before continuing on.

To give you an idea of what to expect at the resort, sun block is 30.00, bottled water is 3.25 and up, a game of roulette is 15.00 minimum bet, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is 10.00, 6.00 for a box of altoids, a small snow cone is 4.00 by the beach. Dinner for 2 adults and one child at Virgils BBQ came out to a little over 100 dollars one night and 113.00 another night. Thats with 2 entrees and a few sides. Plus one large bottle of water to share. Carmines was similar, about 100 dollars for one entree, one large appetizer and one large bottle of water to share. In short, if youre planning on having dinner on site you arent going to escape without paying 100+ dollars so its good to cut corners when and where you can.

Quiznos makes egg and cheese bagels/wraps for about 4.50 each theyre big and totally decent making them a nice quick option if you want to eat something on the go and keep on with your day. Starbucks also has its usual menu, wraps, sandwiches, etc. its roughly the same price as in the USA, the only extras are the taxes and fees.

They accept american money everywhere on paradise island that ive gone so far, but you really dont need money at any point while you're here your room card doubles as a credit card which they use to charge everything to your room. But if you venture onto the beach outside the resort youll need cash, on the beach sell small trinkets, sarongs, braids for $7 (thats per braid, not per person) drinks, typical island beach merchants. As for electricity they all take american plugs so you wont need a converter, you might want to bring a power strip though as there arent enough plugs for our digital family.

The first excursion we did was sea squirts, it was only 31.00 and worth every penny. it lasted about an hour and they introduced them to the fish, a baby shark, a baby sea turtle, a sting ray and a sea cucumber in the pet hospital. Then they gave them little t-shirts and brought them out to the lagoons where they were given chum to feed to the stingrays and to another larger shark and a bunch of over zealous fish. 

The second excursion we did was the seal encounter 

It was pretty pricey at 183.00 per person so i decided to sit this one out and let my mother take her, i was pleasantly surprised that i was allowed to follow them throughout the encounter and snap pics the entire time. It started off by going behind the scenes and seeing where the labs are and where the marine biologists work on site, then we moved on to the actual site. The seal and sea lions were a bit much for a 4 year old. She was a bit overwhelmed at first but eventually began to loosen up near the end. They were very wel trained and seemed very happy with their environment and trainers. Even with the apprehension it was still very worth the money spent. The whole interaction lasted about 1.5 hours, pretty much a perfect amount of time i would say as it was stiflingly hot, from what i heard the water was a bit cold but it was perfect for keeping the participants (and the seal) comfortable. 

my checklist for MUST HAVES for Atlantis are as follows:

-A beach bag to carry sunblock and snacks in, i forgot mine and bought a branded one for $25
-Sun block (lots of it)
-snacks (lots of them)
-pool toys like floaties, etc.
-A few plastic spoons/knives
-creamer (the creamer in the room is terrible)
-straps for sunglasses (some rides require them)
-water shoes if you don't want to wear the communal ones for certain excursions
-sun hats for little ones
-MOSQUITO SPRAY even though i haven't seen many of them, Zika is rare but it is here.
-Hand sanitizer
-extra swimsuit

Some things i wish id known before i got here:

-Reservations for excursions cannot be cancelled, they can however be rescheduled. 
-Food reservations seem to be a bit overrated, not sure if its the time of year or the time of day we eat but we see plenty of open tables when we go to restaurants to eat. We ate at virgils at 615 twice and at carmines at 845 once. I would def attempt to make them but if you cant get a reservation i would still go and see how the wait is. 
-The pools close at 5 pm during the week. I was at the pool until 6pm last night (sat) so apparently theyre open later weekends.
-There is an all unclusive option, i didnt notice this on the website until after we had arrived. I dont know if it was only a promotion or if its always available, but if id seen it prior to purchasing our rooms i would definitely gone with that option. 

Food plan

I opted not to get the food plan, we decided to wing it and figure it out as we went along. I still think this is the best option for us as we dont need a full breakfast every morning and full lunch, the only thing we need (as a traditional sit down) is a full dinner. Tonight we plan to eat off resort and for lunch we are rarely ready to eat. we typically pick stuff up beach side, stop at a place like the pizza shops or grab a snack in the room. The food plan is probably a good purchase for people who are very structured with eating on their vacation and prefer not to eat outside the resort. But we like keeping our options open. 


Saturday, August 20, 2016


Work, work, work, work, work. 

If you were a regular reader of my blog you probably noticed we disappeared for quite a bit.
Well, not actually disappeared but, more like went M.I.A. During that time i got a job working for the city which meant no free time. Outside of working and taking care of the family i barely had much time to do anything. WELL, today is a day i finally get to breath and i just had to do a new post to share some of the fun things that Little miss Madison and her papa have been up to.

Welcome back to anyone who read our old posts and welcome to any new ones that may happen upon our page!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Princess culture

Ever since the day i got the call telling me i would be the father of a baby girl I immediately began thinking about how i would raise her. I thought about how i would go about instilling our values effectively, and how i would avoid the mistakes the adults in my life had made when i was a child.

I also began looking at every little girl and even the women i saw on the street, or on television, to deconstruct exactly how this little person grew up to become a girl. Since I've never been a little girl its hard to know exactly what things a little girl likes but i certainly do my best to be supportive, and at this age (15 months) theres not much difference between the two genders. Soon however, it will be time for toys from one of two sections in the Toys R Us store, the boys side or the girls side. 

When you walk into the girls side you're immediately overcome by all the PINK and the princess dolls, princess costumes, princess balls, princess shoes, princess chairs, in short: princess themed EVERYTHING. I'm sure most people are asking, what exactly is wrong with a princess themed toilet seat? The short answer is: nothing. The longer answer is, everything, and heres why. 

I consider myself a feminist and to me that means a woman has carte blanche over her life decisions from the menial ones, to the major ones, so i fully support my daughter (and any girl) who wants to play with princess dolls, or pretend they are a princess and that one day their prince will come to rescue them, but i don't support pushing said interest in princess culture on my daughter.  Especially considering that, from the ground up, its about as anti-feminist as it gets. Waiting to be rescued by a man? just, no. 

So what is a feminist dad to do? Well, i haven't gotten that far yet, for now i'll supply her with all types of toys but in time i'm sure she will begin to develop a preference for one thing over another. As of now she loves Mickey mouse and Doc Mcstuffins, so we're all good....but i can already see it...Madison comes home from school with a princess doll hidden in her bag, it falls out, and i scream in horror....THE HORROR! 

For the shorter version of why im not fond of princess culture, this image has made its way  around the internet, for quite some time actually. I wouldn't take it too seriously, however it does make some good points. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

The babysitter

We all knew it had to happen sooner or later, a babysitter. Eventually we would HAVE to find someone to watch the LO on the rare occasion we wanted to set foot outside of the house to see a movie, go on a date, or just get some fresh air. It was extra difficult for us as we don't live near any family and the majority of our friends live pretty far away in the city and don't have children so we were pretty much out in the cold for getting help from anyone we knew personally. Thankfully i do have one friend here in my area who can watch her but we needed an additional babysitter for when she wasn't available.

So after much soul searching we finally settled on I was highly averse to finding a babysitter on a website as its so impersonal and you don't know who or what you're getting, but we were at our wits end and needed to find someone.

After dozens and dozens of emails with local people we finally found some local people who are experienced and had good references, which means we can finally leave the house without baby in tow.

Now if i can just leave the house without calling 900 times to make sure she hasn't fallen in our non-existent backyard pool, or run into the middle of the expressway, true its about 2 miles from our house, but hey it COULD happen.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Turkey Meatloaf sandwiches!

I've always thought meatloaf was a lazy dinner option for when there was no time or resources for anything else. Then i made my first batch of the stuff....i was in heaven.

I've made this recipe for the past two weeks, last week i came down with a 24 hour stomach bug which hit JUST as i finished chopping the onions. It came on so fast that i could barely get it in the oven before almost passing out while standing upright. Obviously i didn't get to eat any, so i made it again last night and this time i absolutely devoured it.

I always try to use fresh ingredients and with a recipe like this as there aren't a lot of bells and whistles and each ingredient really shows in the final product. I'm VERY loose with my measurements, so feel free to modify this as you go and add or subtract amounts of things based on taste.

Start off by preheating your oven to 375

I use enough for a small batch as that's the only size my grocer sells, so this is for approximately 3/4 lb of ground turkey.

Loosely chop up one jalapeno, 1 small onion, half a bell pepper (i use red), and add them to a bowl.

To that, add one beaten egg, half a cup of bread crumbs, and your ground turkey

chop up a few sprigs of parsley, roughly 1 TBSP, and add that to the mix.

Finally add about a half tsp of cayenne, 1.5 tsp of salt, and 1.5 tsp of pepper (fresh ground if possible)

Mash it all up nicely then turn out into a baking pan, spray with cooking spray if needed. Remember this is for sandwiches so it needs to be nice and uniform in shape. 

Last take about 1/4 cup of ketchup and put it in a tiny bowl. Add 1 tsp of cayenne pepper and mix thoroughly then spread uniformly across the top of the loaf. I would also suggest making more for putting on the sandwiches if your as big a fan of tomato sauce as our family is. 

Then toss in the oven for roughly 35-40 minutes or until the internal temp reads 170 degrees. 

Slice up and serve on a freshly warmed bun with pepper jack cheese (FYI this is almost as important as the meatloaf) as the flavors balance quite nicely.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tuna with a French twist

We had just finished a walk through downtown Key West in the blistering and unforgiving heat of a late August day when we happened upon a little food stall with a french transplant who made the most delightful sandwiches.  What follows is my adaptation of her recipe as I felt there was no way I would be able to survive without ever tasting the best tuba recipe I had ever tried.

Unfortunately (for the reader) i'm generally not one for measuring so the entire recipe is 'to taste'. Im a seafood junkie and id even go so far to as to call myself a tuna snob....if its not well made i just wont be able to eat it, so i promise you this recipe is well worth your time. 

Begin with canned white albacore tuna, I prefer the type in water as the other additives will have a bit of oil and you don't want oil overload.

Separate the chunks so they're manageable, then chop up some marinated artichokes and add them in. 

Next chop up some capers unless theyre too small, keep in mind the salt content as you add them. If you like it saltier add more and you can even add a bit of the juice. Or if you're a caper addict like me, you can just dump the entire thing in, i'm joking of course....

Or am i? 

Next add some black olives, canned is fine, slice them up if they aren't pre-sliced. I tend to go light on the olives as they can be overpowering. 


PARMESAN!! Add oodles of it, don't skimp as it really warms up the flavor.And if that wasn't enough lastly add some Mayo and even though it is to taste I would still suggest doing it sparingly. Sometimes i even add it as im putting it on the bread so that i dont have to add it to the will store better and longer that way.

Finish it off with a sprinkling of fresh lemon juice, freshly cracked pepper, and some Parmesan chips (if you so choose) Serve on toasted sourdough. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

The day time conundrum

Ever since the day we brought her home one of the biggest things we have had to think about was what we would do with her during the day. Pre-child it seemed like such an easy question to answer, take care of her during the day at home until kindergarten of course! I mean, why pay a stranger to do something i can do for free? Not to mention i can raise her the way we want to and i can also oversee her nutrition and have no fears for how well she is being treated in whatever day care i decided to try.

Then the first tantrum happened. Well i shouldn't say first tantrum as it wasnt a tantrum, it was more of a meltdown because i had dared leave her alone and go to the other room without her. Eventually i found out that daycare is not only a necessity for parents who work, but for children to experience the world as it is away from their parents.

Until we do get her into daycare i do everything i can to ensure she gets time with other kids, Gymboree, the play center at the mall, the park, but aside from leaving her with her daddy (im Papa) she still doesnt get time away from me.

Next step: Dropping her off for some time with our new babysitter! Lets hope this is a success.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Diaper Dekor Plus Pail

If youve seen my reviews before, you know im scathingly honest about whether or not something works. Usually there is good and there is bad, in the case of the Diaper Dekor Plus Pail its a case of a true 50/50.

Lets begin with the good:

It looks nice, well, as nice as a diaper garbage pail could possibly look without spending a ton of money. It also holds in the smell until it begins to get full to capacity, or unless the little one has particularly pungent presents for me. Its relatively stable and can be locked so the baby doesn't get tempted to try to climb inside and do some digging, however its not perfect which brings me to the less than stellar elements of the item....

Now for the not so good:

Its difficult to get into, i could overlook this when i have a nice big wet diaper and i dont mind futzing around with it (oh yes, i went full Yiddish on you there), but when its something more, erm....substantial its impossible to do without first unlocking the entire top and propping it open in order to get the diaper in. You see that little squarish opening? Thats what the diaper has to fit into and its a trap door with a spring on even if you push it open with one hand you still cant get the diaper in without getting poo on the sides.

So typically our changed go:

1) Sniff
2) If dirty prop pail open and get everything ready
3) Give baby something to play with so she keeps her hands out of the soiled spots
4) Remove/wipe/set aside
5) new diaper/powder/yada, yada, yada (ok that ones not Yiddish but, close enough)
6) Then the process of dealing with the pail....Pull the entire top off (which makes the built up smell come wafting out.WHOOOO!)
7) Insert diaper very carefully and replace lid
8) Wash diaper/liner if necessary (we use cloth diapers with disposable inserts)

If its just a wet diaper usually the wipes just end up propped between the lid and the trap door until i get the chance to insert them fully. The trap door is REALLY that small.

And my least favorite, however not a deal breaker if i had to repurchase, it uses proprietary bags. Which means you cant go to the corner store and buy some trash bags when it runs have to buy THEIR brand. They do last a long time though and they arent ridiculously expensive, just be sure to read the instructions as its slightly complicated the first time around.

In short it works, but its a pain to use and if you have Man Hands (Seinfeld reference #2) like myself the trapdoor is null and void.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Smile and a Nod

Written as a guest blogger for the Gdiapers blog Diaper therapy

Before I had a baby I thought the hardest part would be the diaper changes, or possibly the feedings, nothing could've prepared me for what was to trump my biggest baddest fears…..other parents.

From the day I stepped out of that Sierra Vista hospital with Madison ive been subject to one of the following responses by other parents:

    1)      Where is the mother? (This is the overwhelmingly largest question im asked)
    2)      You’re taking her out by yourself?
    3)      Do you need me to hold the baby for you while you do (whatever im currently attempting to do)

Even worse than the above three, just yesterday I heard the cringe worthy “GOOD JOB DAD!!” because I had dared to take her out in her push car.  At times it’s enough to make me want to throw in the towel and not leave the house until she is able to drive, or at the very least tote around a female companion to quell the constant stares, questions, and assumptions.

Perhaps the most irritating time was when I was at the airport flying alone with her at approximately the age of 9 months. In a thick creole accent the bag check guy asked “Where’s the mama??” to which I replied “It’s just her and myself this trip”. His reply: “Yeah, likely story”, as if a male is incapable of taking care of a baby.

At first I used to offer an explanation, that my husband and I had adopted her so there is no “mother”, or rather that I was the one who filled that role, but that became too time consuming. Next I began to just say, “I’m the mother”, which of course opens a whole other line of questions and stares. So now I just smile and nod and leave it at that, it works well for me as people really don’t need to know my life story.

And when I stop to dissect why questions 1, 2, and 3 are so bothersome, aside from the obvious that I have to answer the same question yet again, I can scarcely blame the people asking the question. Nosey-ness is a bad trait, however it’s a trait we as humans are all cursed with, so I cannot hold that against them. Its that people assume a male can’t put his bumbling aside for a few hours a day in order to take their child out.

There is another layer to the story and one that is not completely lost on me even in my day to day irritations with the outside world.  Stereotypes, however bad they may be, usually have a root in reality and the truth is many men would NOT be good at of taking care of a baby, but then again neither would many women.  The sexism that tells women that they are baby machines and incapable of anything else, is the same sexism that tells men they are laugh-worthy, bumbling idiots and are only good for bringing home the bacon….or in my case, the vegetarian strips.

Moral of the story? Sexism hurts us all. Don’t assume next time you see  a man with a baby and a cart of groceries that the mom is home sick in bed and he is ‘stuck’ with the kids for the afternoon. Maybe he is the caregiver in the family,  or maybe he Is the ONLY family the child has. Before you ask him about his life story or ask (as a complete stranger) to hold his baby so he doesn't spill his beer all over it, or drop it in front of a moving car, you just enjoy the sight of someone breaking gender stereotypes.

A simple smile will do. 

First time in the backyard.

I would say it was a success, she looked, sat, and looked some more before giving me that "OK, we're done here" look.

Well technically the second if you count the ill fated attempt at playing in the snow for the first time last winter, but i swore i would never speak of that again.

The next step will be attempting to build a sandbox....this promises to be good. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Buttermilk Biscuits are DIVINE

One of the main staples of a country kitchen is atmosphere, how you feel when you walk in and sit down. And what better way to establish atmosphere than a heaping pile of fresh buttermilk biscuits right out of the oven.

How do you make them you ask?

Its easy, and then again its not. I had to do trial and error multiple times before i worked out the kinks to figure out exactly what it needed to be perfect. 

These are the basic tips that can give you mountainous flaky buttery biscuits. 

1) Think cold, think FROZEN, the colder your ingredients are the better it will come out. I freeze my buttermilk when i get it so that when im ready to go i just pop them out of the trays and toss them in the microwave until they are just melted enough to work with (but still COLD!), Its also good because it makes your buttermilk last a long time if you don't use it every day. I also freeze my butter, when its time to use it i cut it with a large knife into small bits as fast as i can. Additionally i keep my flour refrigerated, not a necessity  but it doesn't hurt. 

2) Don't touch it more than you have to. I suppose this goes back to number one, but thats how important it is. Cut in the ingredients and use tools instead of hands to incorporate, the heat from your hands can melt the butter. When i cut in my (frozen) butter i barely cut it in enough to be incorporated. you can actually see chunks of butter in the dough and this is good. 

3) Make sure it's rolled THICK before you cut it, at least 3/4 of an inch. If not you wont get that rise that you need for it to be a flaky biscuit. after you combine the wet and dry ingredients do a few quick turns on a floured surface to get it ready to be rolled and cut. 

4) Use a cast iron skillet. Anyone who uses them can tell you, they are magic. They make everything taste better, and no thats not an exaggeration. If you put them on too thin of a surface to bake the bottom will cook too fast and they will be too hard on the bottom.

That's basically it, whether you use this recipe or another if you follow those four tips you will be good to go. 

4 cups of flour
2 cups of buttermilk
4 teaspoons of baking powder 
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1-2 teaspoons of salt
2 sticks of butter (unsalted)

Pre-heat oven to 375
combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl
cut in the butter using a pastry cutter if you dont have one you can use two knives. (if you use frozen butter cut it into small pieces before adding to the flour)
add the buttermilk
Gather ingredients and turn dough onto floured surface
Do a (very) few quick kneads until it is the right elasticity to roll out and cut. 
Roll to 1" thick (very important)
Cut using a cup or biscuit cutter make sure they are large (3 inches across)

Place in cast iron skillet, or pyrex dish if you dont have a cast iron skillet. 

Bake for 20 minutes or until tops are lightly browned. 

Brush tops with salted butter when done. 

Spring is here, time to garden.

One of my favorite things used to be spending time working in the yard., this was when i actually had time to spend doing anything except change diapers and clean up baby toys. Now since we have moved into a new home i have a nice little plot of land in the back with just enough space (and sunlight) to do a comfortable size garden.

Apparently the house sat for at least one and a half years before we moved in and the previous owners put very little time and effort into taking care of it so its been quite a chore getting it ready for fruits and veggies.

This weekend consisted of digging up every little rock in the garden (and there were more than quite a few LARGE ones as well), tilling it, putting down compost, then fresh topsoil. After that was done in went the plants!

We've got strawberries, and every variety of heirloom tomato you could want. Next came building an outdoor compost bin. It went surprisingly well considering i had no idea what i was doing. I just saved a palette from a previous delivery and then stopped by home depot to snag one of their. A few hours of banging later plus i built a nice little frame. All thats needed is a some strong chicken wire then its all done.

Friday, April 19, 2013


Its been a harrowing experience, seeing her start to walk that is....but milestones are always bittersweet. My biggest fear is her running off and getting hit by a truck (thanks Pet Semetary), or running into the corner of a table, but all attempts to prevent the inevitable have failed.

So here we are.

I suppose i should be happy, the next step is getting a job and taking out the trash right? Based on my observations so far as the all powerful all knowing "Papa", i would guess she would excel as a food smearer, or possibly as a water spiller. Whatever she chooses ill be right there cheering her on!

Go Madison, GO!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

1st easter

I've felt a bit guilty over the past year for not making each event a grandiose budget busting newspaper worthy affair. But when i stop and think logically about it i feel better in the end, after all she wont remember most of these days and most of the money + time spent would be for us.

Today will be no different.

When i was a kid and had my first Easter with my adoptive mother i remember waking up to a big basket of toys and goodies at the foot of the bed. Even though she probably wont remember it i want to have a similar experience to me so I bought her first Easter basket and filled it with a few 1 year old friendly items.

For eggs i just used vinegar and red cabbage which i then boiled and placed in the refrigerator overnight so the color would set then deepen.

I was going to use turmeric as well for some yellow ones but i only had so much time on my hands. 

Anyways if your interested in giving it a try the basic instructions are below:

Cut up some red cabbage, i used half a head and sliced it into smaller pieces so the color would really seep out quickly.

Add your eggs to room temp. water, a 1 year old can only eat so many so i used four. 

Then 2-3 tbsp of white vinegar and 1 quart of water, or slightly more if you have a lot of cabbage.

Add the cabbage then turn on he heat til it boils. Let it boil for 10 minutes then turn it off, let it sit til cool. at this point transfer to the refrigerator overnight. In the morning you will have nice blue eggs waiting for you're L.O. to eat, hunt, and enjoy however he/she sees fit. Just be sure to let air dry as the color can be wiped off until it is dry, you can also use a hairdryer on low (or no if you have the option) heat.

Happy Easter!!!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Vacationers blues

As we sit here, early for a late flight, I'm forced to think about the lessons I've learned today:

1. Motion sickness spitup smells worse than regular day to day spit-up. MUCH worse.
2. Always, Always, Always pack a spare set of clothes for the baby in the diaper bag.
3. Boiled crawfish are better on Fridays.
4. Discount bins at drug stores rock for finding cheap toys.
5. Vacations are draining and only fun for the baby.
6. Apparently a bottle of orange juice next to a bottle of formula make the TSAs spidey senses tingle.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Today is the day

That we go to the doctor for more shots. I feel as though i hear taps being played in the background whenever i get up on a day that includes doctor visits for the baby. Unsurprisingly Madison HATES do I since I'm the one who has to force her to get them and then calm her cries of "Waaaaah" which loosely translates from babynese to "When i'm sixteen i'm so going to get even by crashing your car into a tree." 

Crazy eyes AKA chipmunk and me at the doctor.

Still its one of those things that HAS to be done, and for those who aren't parents yet I've got some bad news, they get them every 3 months. Even worse is that after 2 or 3 times simply bringing them to the office they know whats coming so the screams of horror begin immediately.

Tip: One way to keep her from going into a frenzy post shot is to reassure her and give her a bottle. Cel phones and keys are another way if you're short on formula/milk, anything to get their mind off of it.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Blueberry Lemon cake with vanilla buttercream frosting

or: Madisons first birthday cake!

First birthdays only come around once a lifetime so i figured what better way to celebrate than to make one from scratch here at home. After all, the store bought ones are so impersonal right? Plus i had been dying to break in my new stand mixer!

How did this lovely piece of heaven come to be you ask? 

Ingredients needed:

3-1/3 cups all purpose flour
.5 teaspoons of kosher salt
.5 teaspoons baking powder
.5 teaspoons baking soda
1.5 sticks of room temperature unsalted butter
2 cups sugar 
1/3 cup of lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest 
4 eggs
1 cup + of buttermilk
2.5 cups of blueberries
2 sticks unsalted room temp butter
1 lb confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons whole milk room temperature
.5 teaspoons vanilla extract 

Start by sifting 3-1/3 cups of flour, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda into a bowl.

Set aside and in a separate bowl cream together 1.5 sticks (3/4 cups) of room temperature unsalted butter and 2 cups of sugar. You'll know its done once it looks light and fluffy and you cant see granules of sugar. 

Grate 1 teaspoon of lemon zest and add to the mixture. Beware, lemon graters and thumbs dont play well together....

Add in 1/3 cup of lemon juice to the wet mixture. To that beat in 4 eggs one at a time, it should be nice and yellow when you're done.

With your mixer set to a very low speed sift in your dry ingredients a bit at a time and 1 cup of buttermilk. Alternate adding in dry and wet about 1/4 of each at a time. 

After its all combined gently fold in (by hand using a spatula) 2 cups of blueberries. 

Next fill an three 8 inch round nonstick cake pans with 1/3 of the mixture and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until its done and a toothpick, inserted into the center comes out clean.I sifted flour on mine to help it come out clean but you can also use cooking spray or nothing at all if you fancy. 

Let cool completely then transfer to a wire rack until you are ready to ice and stack. 

Now, the FROSTING!!!

Cream 2 sticks of room temp unsalted butter in a large bowl then with the mixer on its lowest speed slowly add 1 lb of powdered confectioners sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of room temperature whole milk. 

Once done, place your first layer on a cake tray or plate, ice the top of it, then place the second tier on top. Repeat to the top then ice the sides. Be sure its cooled completely as it will make the icing thin out and drip. 

When done, decorate the top with remaining blueberries and if its your first birthday, oodles of sparkly candles. 

I would say it was a success.


Just an FYI to all my billions of readers (hey its good to have a goal to aim for right?) we have a facebook page to accompany this here blog.


Compost in the kitchen

Im an earth nut AND a gardening nut which means anything that combines recycling and beefing up my plants is an automatic no brainer. Since we are in a new home and my outdoor compost heap hasn't been built yet i wanted a way to start my heap indoors that didnt stink up the joint.

Then, she stepped into my life.....

The Norpro kitchen compost crock is an odorless way to save all your kitchen scraps and turn them into compost and it doesn't look too shabby to boot.  I cook most if not all of my food from scratch, I mean, I even feel guilty for using pre-made pie crusts.....THE SHAME! So this usually means lots of rinds and berries and stems and shavings with nowhere to go except the trash. This solved that problem, it eats a good amount of trash without using red wigglers (i dont think there would be enough oxygen for worms to survive in there) and once its done you can go straight to your garden or flower pots with the brown gold known as compost. 

The black thing on top is the air filter to keep all the methane smells at bay. 

I highly suggest this one for any gardeners or even if you just have house plants and want to keep them in best of health. 

For some info on HOW to compost, check out this link, or the book "Compost" by Ken Thompson its not particularly difficult but there are a few things to keep in mind: acidity, moisture level, temperature, worms if you choose to use them, nitrogen levels. It may sound confusing but its very easy after you do a wee bit of reading. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Adoption finalized!

For those who dont know how adoption works, here is a brief summary of how it goes:

1) Party A decides is wants a baby and since natural birth isnt an option for one reason or another they start searching for a party B

2) Party B meets party A and decides to give them their child.

3) Birth takes place, preliminary paperwork is signed and child goes into custody of party A

4) Courts go over documents and there is a long back and forth between the Courts and the lawyer hired by party A.

5) Once everything is in order (in our case 1 year later) the paperwork is signed and our status is updated from "glorified baby sitters" to "Official fathers".

That was a long process but i am happy its finally complete. Now, time to find her a little brother!