I Am Baker

frosting

When your sweet bright eyed 5 year old girl

wakes up early,

looks up at you innocently,

Morning Frost

and asks,

“Mommy?”

Morning Frost

“Is it frosting outside?”

And all you can think is,

Morning Frost

I need to head to CVS.

They have a great coupon on sugar right now.

I Am Baker

5 important lessons learned from kids soccer


As our summer of jam packed of kids’ activities and outside fun winds down, I realized that my sweet little girl has taught me a few valuable life lessons. Audrey Soccer 2014 1. ACT LIKE YOUR TEAM IS THE BEST.  Rock on with your bad self in your generic team t-shirt!  My little Audrey was nothing short of elated when she was chosen for the pink team.  To her, it was as if she had been chosen for the Olympic team.  She loves and supports her pink team and in convinced they are the best soccer team ever assembled. (Keep in mind that at her level they don’t even keep score and that when a goal is scored, it is often a team scoring on itself. #truestory) Audrey, soccer 2014 2. HAVING FUN IS KEY.  Even when just performing drills.  Audrey’s favorite part about soccer practice is standing in line waiting for her turn.  This is where her social butterfly skills shine, as she smiles and charms and engages everyone around her. Is it almost as if soccer is just catalyst to toddler happy hour.  And uh, actually playing soccer is fun too.  I heard. Audrey, soccer 2014 3. HYDRATION IS ESSENTIAL.  (and not just the obligatory glass of wine after having survived youth soccer practice, although that too is often essential.)  Audrey loves everything about Capri Sun and I love that their 100% Juice products don’t have artificial flavors and preservatives.  She loves that she gets to stab a straw into a bright shiny object filled with delicious liquid (a glorious rite of passage that never gets old, for kids and adults alike!) and I love that it helps her get her body what it needs to perform during social hour soccer games. soccer 4. PLAYING IS MORE IMPORTANT THAT WINNING.  Just being a part of a team is a big part of Audrey’s growth into a mature and well-rounded adult.  She learns valuable lessons about listening, supporting, and encouraging others. She also learns that talking about Rarity’s flowing pony mane in the middle of the game is not necessarily the best time.  And that headbands are totally in fashion right now.  And that boys are icky. Life lessons here folks.  Life lessons. Audrey, soccer 2014 5. WHATS GOOD FOR KIDS IS GOOD FOR MOMS.  Getting outside and being active?  Good for kids and moms.  Learning how to be a part of a team?  Good for kids and moms.  Being refreshed with a delicious drink that has 25% less sugar?  Great for kids, great for moms. Although I love watching Audrey play soccer, I am actually torn between three different activities on game night, as I have three kids out playing!  I purchase the iconic Capri Sun box (now made in paperboard instead of cardboard) and pop them in the freezer the morning of game day, then throw it in the car as we head off to the fields.  By the time practice and games are over (or at least well underway), the Capri Sun is still cold and perfectly refreshing! Capri Sun Roarin’ Waters is an official sponsor of Major League Soccer and is offering some great ways for kids to participate!
For the second year, Capri Sun is giving kids the ultimate sip of liquid swagger by inviting kids to take on Pro Athletes and win! This year, Capri Sun leveraged the excitement of their MLS sponsorship by gathering together a team of soccer Pros. These guys are some of the best in the league. BUT, when it comes to playing kids in the way kids play… these Pros don’t stand a chance.

·         The Kids vs Pros MLS Soccer Showdown Instant Win Game will send 4 kids, their friends, and families to sunny Orlando, FL, to take on MLS Pros in a live event. At the event, kids will truly stand out by competing in soccer-themed contests where being kid-sized gives them an amusing advantage over the Pros. Plus, there are 1,000s of instant win soccer prizes for daily chances to win.

o   Website URL: http://www.caprisun.com/kidsvspros 

o   Look for specially marked boxes of Capri Sun at your local grocery store.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.  MANY WILL ENTER, ONLY FOUR WILL WIN A GRAND PRIZE. 

Open to residents of the 50 United States and D.C., 6-17 years of age. Game starts 7/28/14 and ends 11/30/14.

I Am Baker

in which i am complaining (and need you)

So.  Turns out having kids in school is just as hard as homeschooling.

kids-1

I have three kids in school right now, a 3rd grader, 2nd grader, and 1st grader.  Tonight, like many nights, they each had homework.  By the time I was able to work with each child individually, 2 1/2 hours had passed.  (The kids are at an age that they need a parent or adult to do the work with them as most of it is reading together and checking work and memorization.)

As a result of that, dinner was late on the table.  The kids were late to bath, and then late to bed.  Baby was grumpy and in need of her own bedtime ritual, which was also sorely behind schedule.

And then, as if writing and reciting Bible verses and spelling words and reading about Ruff the dog wasn’t enough, now it is time to read with little Eddie before bed.

I am tuckered out.

Basically, my kids enjoy school (a lot) and don’t mind homework.  (I am absolutely fine with the amount of homework each child is given, and in no way find it excessive.  I would actually like to be able to devote more time to each child one-on-one, but cannot conceive of a way to do that.)  It’s me.  It’s all me.  I don’t know if I can handle that much homework at night and be expected to still do everything else the family needs!

Truthfully, the transition to the kids being in school has been harder than I imagined.  But not in the normal way, in a weird i-am-mommy-but-not-homeschooler-anymore-but-work-fulltime-but-stay-at-home-mom kind of way.

I just sort of assumed that I would be the mom who was helping out in class and ever present in the kids’ learning and social development.  It was a given that I would know who they are hanging with and who is influencing them and that they would be the brightest most well behaved kids in the class and that Audrey would have perfectly perfect styled hair every single day.

Audrey

That I would have had the kids’ teachers over for dinner, or at the very least, met with them so that I know more about them.

The truth is, I have not helped out in class.  Not one time.  Granted, I have been at home with a 3 year old and 1 year old, but you’d think I would find a way to be there for all my kids.  I am just now, very slowly, starting to figure out who the people are who have such a huge influence in my kids life.

I am lucky if Audrey’s hair gets combed in the morning.

Audrey riding bike

Lets just call this look… “messy pony”.  We dominate the messy pony. (I also just discovered that one of my children has been wearing dirty underwear to school because I mentioned that it is ok to wear pants more than once between washings. They just assumed that also applied to underwear. AND socks. I am mortified. And laughing because I often laugh at inappropriate times.)

I have not talked one-on-one with either of my kids’ teachers (Parker and Audrey have the same teacher as 1st and 2nd grades are combined) nor figured out a date when they can come to dinner. It’s already looking like mid-November.

None of this is going as planned and I didn’t even know I had a plan. So I sit here exhausted and a bit defeated and a lot hopeful that someone can shed some light.

Tell me please, if you would be willing… how do you do it? How do you manage school work with the kids and still manage the home? (As well as the needs of the children not in school?) What kind of relationships do you have with teachers and what should I be doing differently? What does your after-school schedule look like?

And thank you in advance for any insight you can give this weary mom. :)

I Am Baker I Am Baker

i have this dream…

Dreams.

I would definitely consider myself a dreamer.  I like to think about things. I like to dream about things that will probably never happen.  I like to just sit in the fantasy of “what if”.

We have a small stream on our property that empties into a little pond.  The pond is only 8 feet deep, but it’s waters are dark and murky and still.  As I would sit in my living room and look over at the pond on a cool fall day, I would see something different.

Lazy River poolsFBimage from Kuykendall – Lazy Rivers

 A lazy river. You know, the kind that are in fancy waterparks?  With people on big inner-tubes just relaxing and going round and round, moved lazily along by the jets in the water.  The river would be small, but it would empty into a perfectly round pool (that was the former pond), similar to the image above.

I know in my heart of hearts that we will never be putting a lazy river on our property.  We live in Minnesota.  We are not millionaires.  And lazy rivers are pretty darn impractical for many reasons.

It’s safe to say that I have no hope of that BIG HUGE CRAZY idea becoming a reality.

But I still love to dream about it.

audrey-backyard

 

I am reminded of how much God wants to give me the desires of my heart, but so thankful that He already knows what I need.

Maybe He already knows that many memories will be made on the long winding trails by adventurous little kids with endless imaginations and courage. That clubs will be formed and pacts made and discoveries of nests and bugs and new flowers will create far more lasting reflections than concrete and chlorine.

I love that He can see beyond worldly (and sometimes selfish) desires.  That He doesn’t provide something simply because I ask.  That all things, good and bad, will be used to strengthen our relationship and bond.

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”  Romans 8:28

He created me.  He knows me better than I know myself.  And He knows exactly what will truly fulfill me.

I have another dream.  And that is that someday the desires of my heart will be in line with God’s will.

Now that is a worthy dream.

 

I Am Baker

life

Life has been crazy.

I have been stressed and calm and happy and sad and excited and dejected and that was just today.

Since updating my mommy blog has been something I have been wanting to do forever but have been woefully negligent in doing so, I am just going FULL BOAR on it tonight.

eddie

 

This little man is growing up.  In less than a month he will be 3 and I cant handle it.  He is my snuggle bear and so stinking cute and makes us all laugh on a daily basis.

I have started taking our sweet Eddie to speech therapy once a week.  It was a tough choice because he is so small and because it’s quite expensive and our deductible is very, very high so we pay for most everything!  But he is worth it and I am hoping to see some improvement soon.  He seems to have a hard time with “sm” words and “pr” words.  He also drops words and doesn’t care to identify ‘he’ and ‘she’ correctly.  All fixable, and the prognosis is very good.

audrey-sassy

 

This sassy malassy is a stinker winker bear.  My sweet Audrey.  Full of spirit and words and energy, I find that she is my greatest challenge everyday.  Not only does she love to get dressed up as a princess (every.single.day.) but she is now obsessed with Elsa from Frozen and is constantly asking for us to tie blankets around her so she can have a long cape.  Not that the cold bothers her, that is.

parker-image

Cookies on Blue Plate by Parker

colton-image

 Cookies on Red Plate by Colton

I have been trying to teach Colton and Parker photography basics.  So far we have started on food photography, and they are LOVING it.

The above assignment was for the kids to pick any props they wanted and they had to “style” the shoot.  Once they got everything laid out they way they wanted, we put the camera on a tri-pod and talked about lighting.  How light bounces and reflects and shadows and natural vs. artificial.

This has been challenging because I am always learning as well!, but youtube has some great tutorials.

Secretly I am hoping one of them really has a passion for photography and I can start asking them to take all my blog pictures for me!

Intentional Parenting

 

I started writing a series on Intentional Parenting.  I have two weeks done now, and its really making a difference in my life!  Just hoping to do some more research and get some life experience before I share it.  Hoping it will help others as much as me!

I have also started running.  As in, running.  I know that is hard to believe as anyone who knows me knows I HATE RUNNING.  One day I just woke up and said, “I think I need to like running.”  And I did.

treadmill

 

This was the first time I ran over 2 miles.  I think I had a permagrin that whole night.  It felt SO good to reach that goal!

Tonight I ran 4 miles in 52 minutes.  That actually equals out to be a slow jog, like a 13 minute mile, but its a big deal for me.  A BIG deal.  The night before last I ran for one hour straight.  No stopping.  An hour!

I look forward to my run everyday and have thankfully avoided injury thus far.  My biggest challenge to date is mental.  I get bored.  I get distracted.  I get tired. (da)  So hubby downloaded The Biggest Loser and I watch that.  It’s been REALLY helpful and inspirational.  (I tried running without it and was only able to go a mile… that goes to show how mentally weak I am!)

Just hoping I can stick with it and get healthy (er).

Surprise Inside Cakes Cover1

image credit susan powers

Last but not least is this guy.  Officially on the book store shelves in 2 days.  Talk about a labor of love!  I have developed such a huge respect for the people in this industry.  The literary agents and publicists and publishers and editors and copyeditors.  Wow.  Those folks are such a talented and creative and AMAZING bunch.  I hope to have the opportunity to know them more in the future.

That being said, if you have not purchased the book do it NOW! (please)  I want to share this experience with you and read it with you and bake cakes together!

Amazon: http://goo.gl/zX1V9k

And with that I am headed to bed.  (And I didnt even talk about homeschooling!  I have some big changes to report on that front.  Hopefully soon!)

Be blessed!

I Am Baker

Rainbow Birthday Cake

My little girl turned five this past week.  Five!  In the midst of extensive Christmas baking, I took a break from all this green and red and peppermint and made a perfectly perfect girly girl cake.

With Audrey’s help of course!  The last couple years I have let her “design” her cake;  she tells me what colors and themes she wants and I do my best to make it happen.

Like this Rose Cake.  And this Neapolitan Cake.

Swirly Rainbow Cake (Inside and Out!) #rainbow #cake #birthdaycake

 Her requests were pretty simple:

1. Lots of flowers

2. Every color in the rainbow.

3. Lots of frosting. (but no chocolate cake because her brother doesn’t like chocolate and she is very thoughtful like that)

Swirly Rainbow Cake (Inside and Out!) #rainbow #cake #birthdaycake

 

I even let her pick the cake stand, which just happens to be one of my all time favorites.  I found it in a specialty shop near our new home.  The owner of the shop did not want to let it go!  Even though there was a price tag on it, they had been using it for display for so long it had become part of the ambiance.  I tried so hard to not show my desperation, but in my head I was screaming, “I HAVE TO HAVE THAT CAKE STAND!”

I think her soul heard my souls cries.

Do you think I am being too dramatic?  Let’s see… what do most women love?

Ah yes.  Shoes.  Pretend I was talking about a pair of Jimmy Choo’s.

Swirly Rainbow Cake (Inside and Out!) #rainbow #cake #birthdaycake

 

Back to the cake.  Audrey did request a Rosette Cake, but… and this is hard for me to admit… sometimes I get tired of making that cake!  So I asked her if it would be ok to change things up a little tiny bit.

She refused.

I asked sweetly.  She said no.  She crossed her arms and stood up tall and looked me in the eye.

“I promise I will still try to make it pretty!” I pleaded.

“Oh sure mom!  Whatever you want.” And she happily flounced away in her princess dress.

Swirly Rainbow Cake (Inside and Out!) #rainbow #cake #birthdaycake

 

So this is my “compromise”.  I didn’t make the full on rosette shape, but still tried to make it “flowery”.  And it has every color in the rainbow.  Except Indigo.

Cause like, I prefer my rainbows with six colors ok?

Swirly Rainbow Cake (Inside and Out!) #rainbow #cake #birthdaycake

 Audrey loved her cake and loved being a princess for a whole day.

She loved the attention and the gifts.

But most of all, I hope she loved the love.

Swirly Rainbow Cake (Inside and Out!) #rainbow #cake #birthdaycake

 Happy Birthday Sweety!

Here is a recipe for How to Make a Rainbow Cake.

I shared a picture of Audrey blowing out the candles on this cake on my Instagram account.  I am iambaker.

I Am Baker

The Giving Cookie

 

I have the amazing privilege and honor to be able to homeschool my kids.  I have spent hours going over curriculum and studying learning styles and trying to determine the best ways to teach my little ones everything they need to know about english, math and science.

But as any parent knows, we teach our kids so much more than history and literature. We are fortunate enough to be a part in the growing of their hearts.

This past Saturday sweet little 4 year old Audrey and I were hanging out in the kitchen.  I was making a grocery list and she was lamenting over not having anything to do.

On a whim, we decided to bake some cookies.

Audrey Helping with Cookies! “And what should we do with all these delicious cookies Audrey?”

“Eat them!”

“Well, we can’t eat all of them.  Do you think we should give some away?”

She got very quiet and I knew she wanted to say no.  I could just see her trying to figure out a way for us to be able to keep all the cookies (and trust me, the thought crossed my mind, they were yummy!).

She finally said, “I guess.” Sensing she needed a little more motivation I said, “How much do you love getting cookies Audrey?”

“I LOVE IT!  Its my favorite thing in the world!”

“Well,” I started slowly, “wouldn’t it be nice to let someone else have the same feeling a joy?  Wouldn’t you love to see a friends face when they realize they get to eat our delicious cookies?” She nodded excitedly. So I decided that we would give our cookies to our local fire department.

Cookies for Random Acts of Kindness

We packaged them up nicely and the kids wrote cards and we all got in the car and drove to the Fire Station.  In the car we talked about acts of kindness, about how giving to others was truly a gift to ourselves, about how we look at and think about the world. (going for a lesson on optimism)

We pulled into the Fire Station.  It was closed.  Not a soul in site.

So we drove miles and miles to the neighboring community and found their Fire Station.  Which was also closed.

I sat in my car in the deserted parking lot and felt my shoulders slump.  Great lesson I was teaching my kids here.  We did all that work and they didn’t get to experience the joy of giving.  I turned the car around and tried to ignore the feelings of failure.

As we were turning on to our road the kids noticed the neighbors outside doing some yard work.  “Mom, mom, mom!!  Lets give the cookies to them!”

Well, yes!  Of course.  Why didnt I think of that right away? I pulled into the neighbors drive and the kids rushed out of the car cookies and card in hand.  “We brought you a gift!” Audrey shouted to a woman she had never met. (We just moved here a couple months ago)

Our sweet neighbor came over and accepted the cookies from the kids.   We all introduced ourselves and had a wonderful conversation.  Leigh and her husband were so appreciative of the gift and I could tell that we were going to be fast friends.

When we got home that night the kids told dad all about their experience with giving and how good it felt.  I think they, even more so than me, were able to see the beauty in a random act of kindness.  It has definitely inspired then to want to do more… to give more… to get out and build up relationships with the people around us.  They are excitedly talking about writing cards to friends and baking more treats to bring to Leigh’s and our other neighbors. In the end what I had perceived in a failed lesson was actually a fun and rewarding learning experience for us all!

The Best Part is an online community that’s dedicated to brightening your day—every day. How? By spreading optimism, one share at a time. The Best Part posts inspirational stories, encouraging quotes, good news and other upbeat items on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram—and encourages fans and followers to share that optimism with their friends. Because when optimism is shared, it grows, making an even more positive impact on our world. Check out what others are sharing on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

 

I Am Baker

Pink Ombre Pancakes with Marshmallow Fluff Frosting

What do you do when your only daughter, the only girl among three boys, isn’t an only daughter anymore?

Pink Ombre Pancakes from iambaker.net

I have been worrying a lot lately.  Our sweet Audrey has spent the last four years as the princess among the boys.  She gets new clothes all the time (hand-me-downs, but new to her), she gets to skip haircut day and she gets mandatory privacy in the bathroom.

She is daddy’s little girl.

Mommy’s little angel.

And doted upon by her brothers.

And seeing as her mom is no girly girl, Audrey wears the Pink Girly Hat in the family.

Pink Ombre Pancakes from iambaker.net

But then it all changed.

Miss Olivia joined our family.  Was the birth of Miss Olivia going to bother Audrey?  Would she feel any less special?

I have stressed and worried excessively.  Would our baby girl, our precious precocious Audrey be emotionally stunted at this pivotal time in her life?

Well.

It occured to me…

Pink Ombre Pancakes with Marshmallow Fluff Frosting

I am looking at this all wrong.

Audrey is not going to lose anything.

Because Audrey is going to gain the most beautiful and precious relationship.

Pink Ombre Pancakes

A sister.

Audrey & Olivia

I made Audrey these pancakes as a special treat.  The pink is simply because she likes it and the marshmallow is an over the top indulgent way to make the treat extra special.

Just like her.

I wanted us to be able to sit down together and talk about how amazing and loved she is.

Seems to me that it would be a super fun, stylish and yummy way to let your angel know they are loved!

Pink Ombre Pancakes with Marshmallow Fluff Frosting

Ingredients

    Pancakes
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch salt
  • Pink gel food coloring
  • Marshmallow Frosting
  • 1 cup marshmallow fluff or creme
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows

Instructions

  1. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a big bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, beat together buttermilk, eggs, melted butter and vanilla.
  3. When you are ready to cook, combine the two mixtures. until just blended. Do not overmix.
  4. Separate batter into three bowls. In first bowl add one small drop pink gel food coloring. Stir until coloring is incorporated. In second bowl add 3-4 drops pink gel food coloring. Stir until color is incorporated. Leave last bowl as is.
  5. Pour approximately 1/2 cup batter onto hot skillet and cook until bubbles form around edges and over pancake. Flip pancake and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute more.
  6. Frosting
  7. Place 1 cup of marshmallow fluff into a microwave safe bowl.
  8. Heat for 20-30 seconds.
  9. Add 1-2 tsp. water to get a runnier consistency.
  10. Pour over pancakes.
  11. Top with mini marshmallows and serve immediately.
  12. *If you are stacking the pancakes, I would pour about 1 tbsp fluff frosting over every pancake as you are stacking.
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http://iambaker.net/pink-ombre-marshmallow-fluffpancakes/

 

 

I Am Baker

what i have learned

colton

We are in a constant state of learning around here.

Learning about our new home.  Learning about our neighborhood and surrounding community.

About what grocery store is the best and where is the closest gas station.

IMG_3127.inga

About what window has the best view of the sunrise, and about what trail has the most wild flowers and least amount of deer flies!

But

by far

one of the best things we learned is that when it rains, big puddles form, and they are great for splashing.

Dad and Inga

 

And after some splashing and discovering and exploring…

we learn

that the best thing about our new home

is learning about it together.