Baby Sign: A Success Story!

When pregnant I wanted to do everything right for my son. I read every book. I watched what I ate, took my vitamins, slept, drank water, and exercised.

I promised myself that my son wouldn’t watch television until he was three, that I would read to him every night, I’d cloth diaper, I’d potty train early, I would provide routine for him, I would do baby sign,  and I would feed him all natural, organic, homemade food.
Yep, I was that pregnant woman. I didn’t live up to most of my hopes for parenting. Reality quickly settled in. I know some parents can do it. I’m amazed by them and I admire them. But, hell, I admire most parents nowadays. I’m in awe that we as a people can do this job and not screw up entirely.
Anyways, we tried baby sign. We felt entirely silly signing to a baby who was unresponsive, and often screaming. We stopped being consistent. We never saw any sign that he was getting it. So we gave it up. 
Then, I kept seeing babies do it. I saw them everywhere. They were signing please when they wanted something. Sorry when they did something wrong. Thank you when you gave them something. It was unreal how many babies were getting it. 
So, we tried it again. We decided to keep it with two signs because we knew our inability to be consistent. We worked on “All Done” and “More.”
And, after about a month… he got it. Suddenly he was repeating us and saying “All Done” or “More” with his hands. They aren’t perfect signs. His “All Done” is usually a certain movement with one of his hands instead of both of his hands. But, he is communicating to us and we understand. He is still learning to do it all the time. He mostly repeats us. But, occasionally he will do it all on his own when he wants more food or when he is all done with some activity. And, I’m in love with it. It is so nice that he doesn’t have to be frustrated with us for not understanding him.
Next on our list of signs to work on? Please and Thank You. 
Did you do baby sign? What are your tips on making it work?

Recipe: Pumpkin Spice Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Recipe: Pumpkin Spice Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

I love Fall. The leaves changing. The warm shades of colors. Tights. Boots.
Oh, and Pumpkin Spice everything!

Recently I was invited to a friend’s house for dinner and I wanted to bring a treat. So, I decided to make a cake. I love cake. And, sometimes I make my cakes completely from scratch. When pressed for time, however, I cheat a little and use a mix. I ALWAYS make my frosting though. I don’t think I could ever go back to store bought frosting now that I know how to make my own.

This cake was a bit of a cheat. I had seen somewhere, probably Pinterest, that someone had mixed a can of pumpkin into a box of spice cake. I thought it was brilliant. But, when making this cake I had no idea where I found that link and couldn’t remember what they added or didn’t add to make the cake come out right. I knew the pumpkin would change the moistness of the cake. So, I experimented. The cake came out wonderfully. So, I decided I must share how I did it.

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

The Cake:

Ingredients—
  • 1 Box of Spice Cake Mix
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Can of Pumpkin Puree (15 oz)
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 2— nine inch round baking pans
Directions: 
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees F
  • Mix wet ingredients together, pour into dry mix, incorporate by mixing with hand mixer for 2 minutes
  • Pour into cake pans
  • Bake for 28-31 minutes or until tooth pick stuck into the middle of the cake comes out clean
  • Let cake cool on baking rack before frosting
Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup and extra for drizzling
  • 1 stick of butter at room temperature
  • 1 8 oz package of cream cheese at room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Dash of salt
  • milk to be used if needed for consistency ( I didn’t need it… but, some may!)
Directions:
  • Whip together butter and cream cheese using a hand or stand mixer
  • Slowly add in powdered sugar and continue to whip
  • Add in salt, syrup, and vanilla as you are adding in the sugar (makes the whipping process go easier)
  • Problem Solve. Is your frosting too thin? Add more sugar. Too sweet? More salt. Too thick? Add some milk. Too lumpy? Keep whipping. 
To frost cake: 
  • Trim tops of one of the two cake layers to make a flat surface. 
  • Top the trimmed cake with a large dollop of frosting, spread. 
  • Drizzle the frosting with maple syrup
  • Top the layer with the second layer of cake
  • Add a large dollop of frosting and spread across cake. 
I chose not to cover the sides of my cake. I also added some of Trader Joe’s amazing Trader Joe’s Cinnamon Sugar Grinder along the rim of the cake. Finally, I topped the cake with little flags made from fabric scraps and wooden dowels.

This was seriously one of the best cakes I’ve ever made. I’d love to know if you make this cake and how it was received!

This post has been linked up to Create and Share Linky Party over at Trendy Treehouse and Pincushion Creations Homemade By You.

*A link above is an affiliate link. I use and love the products I promote. But, if you happen to buy the product via an affiliate link then you help support the blogger that posted it. See here for my advertising policies. And, thanks for supporting me and my blog!

First Birthday Surprise

First Birthday Surprise

One of the things I really, really want to do as a mom (that I feel my parents did for me) is make each and every birthday extra special. It doesn’t need to be anything crazy, like a huge party. It needs to be something special though.

X’s First Birthday was on a different day than his party. We didn’t know what to do for him, because honestly he won’t remember much and not a whole lot of stuff leaves a huge impact on him. We decided to have a big family breakfast and then go to the beach during the day that day. (X loves the beach.)
We had decided to not purchase him a gift from us, and instead throw his birthday party. At ten in the evening, the night before his birthday, I got really sad that he wouldn’t have a gift to open on his actual birthday. I wanted something for him to open, that would not sit around the house and collect dust, and that would engage him. Thus came this idea…

First Birthday Surprise

Our little man felt like he needed to climb in the box rather than open it the traditional way.

But, he was still pretty surprised!

DIRECTIONS:
1. Inflate balloons with helium. I used a disposable helium tank that I had already and “Happy Birthday” balloons.
2. Pack balloons into a large box. Tape box shut— I used painters tape and only on the edges so that my son would have an easier time getting the box open.
3. Wrap box. (Do not use a lot of tape so that the wrapping is easy to get open.)
4. Let the kiddo wake up and have a blast opening his/her surprise!

“Where did all the balloons go!?”

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