This past Saturday, I found myself breastfeeding in public for the first time. Well, public in this sense. I have breastfed Caleb in the car many, many times when we have either been coming or going somewhere. It’s not like I have been avoiding breastfeeding in public, it’s just one of those things that never needed to happen. When I’ve gone somewhere, typically I will feed Caleb before leaving. Now that he’s a little bit older, we usually are able to give him a little something from our plates.

On Saturday, however, a local coffee shop welcomed a group of breastfeeding women as part of the Global Big Latch On.

Global Big Latch On events take place at registered locations around the world, where people gather together to breastfeed and offer support to each other. 20,562 children were counted as breastfeeding during the one minute count (and quite many more were attending but snoozing during that moment). The purpose behind the event is to promote and support breastfeeding families. There were a couple of lactation consultants attending this event available for question.

All in all, there were 17 babies attending this event with about 12 breastfeeding at the same time. Our local newspaper was present to cover the event and we even had someone taking pictures of the moms and their babes. It was great getting to meet with other women and share our experiences with one another. It’s been hard for me to find other moms to connect with in person since this is a small town. There typically aren’t a lot of opportunities out there for connecting.

These photos were taken by Amanda Kielar Photography. She took a ton of great photos that you can view on her Facebook page. These are just some of the ones featuring me and little man (there are a couple more on her page).

I’m so glad that I was able to attend this event. I had a hard time breastfeeding when Caleb was first born. To be honest, without Robb encouraging me and pushing me, I think that I would have given up. Yes, I do give Caleb formula on occasion at daycare (when I’ve had a stressful day at work and just can’t pump much) but at home, he is 100% on the breast. I use a special organic formula sourced from Germany that I’ll feature in another post.

I love being near the Outer Banks. It’s nothing for me to just get up on a day and drive down there for a few hours. During my maternity leave, I actually loaded Caleb up in the car and drove down there, picked up some Duck Donuts and came back home. It was a wonderful trip and a good way to spend a morning.

Caleb’s first taste of cantaloupe – he loved it!

Every summer for about 18 years now, my grandparents go down to the Outer Banks for about a week and stay in a condo inviting the rest of the family to come. I usually try to get down there. In the past few years though, I’ve only managed to go down for the day. The condo is located right near the ocean and when I was younger, it felt safe for me to be able to come and go as I pleased pretty much.

Two of Caleb’s favorite toys – a cup and a spoon!

The latest tropical storm lurked about 150 miles south off the coast of North Carolina this weekend, making it overcast, WINDY, and cool. The temperatures lurked in the low 80’s near about all weekend, giving us a nice break from the previous weeks. We couldn’t go on the beach because of how hard the sand was being blown everywhere but that’s okay – we still had fun!

Bonding time with the grandson!

My mom had picked Caleb up a float for the pool so we went to the indoor pool for about 15-20 minutes and let Caleb float around. He’s been in the water before and enjoys it. His little legs were kicking as hard as they could. I think that I have a little water baby on my hands and I couldn’t be happier about it!

Caleb was wore out from floating around, so I put him down for a brief nap before he resumed crawling around on the carpet. Crawling is something that he just started doing that weekend and he was so proud to show his skills off. He has even been working on pulling himself up a little bit. Now that he is mobile… we have our hands full!

After his nap, my mom, Caleb and I went down to Rock-A-Bye Baby OBX and picked up some really cute goodies. I can’t wait to get back and shop some more! I’m working on a YouTube video right now that’ll feature some of the goodies that I purchased from the shop as well as some clips of Caleb swimming.

I took Monday off of work so that Caleb and I could relax a little bit. Since it was a much warmer day, I took him outside and allowed him to just go to town with a bowl of apple puree. I think he had fun!

Disclaimer: Tidewater Sandals sent me this product for free in exchange for a honest review.

I love flip flops. A little too much I think. If the weather was decent enough, I think that I could live in my flip flops (and believe me, I try to make it as long as possible, even when my toes start to turn purple in the winter). But when I wear flip flops, I need to make sure that they provide me with some sort of support, not only for my feet in general, but for my arches.

I have finally found my perfect pair of flip flops. Just look at these beauties from Tidewater Sandals.

Tallulah Gold | Tidewater Sandals

They are comfortable, stylish, cost effective – everything that I want in a shoe.

These sandals are perfect to wear to work or just around town and have arch support (which is key for me). I have been wearing them for the past month pretty much nonstop and are in love with them. I even wore them to Pinehurst this past weekend and they were super comfy to walk around in. I wore them yesterday during a huge rainstorm and loved that my feet were not slipping and sliding all over the place.

I really can’t say enough about these shoes. They are already a staple of my summer wardrobe and will continue to be a staple through fall… and maybe even winter!

Want to get your own pair? Tidewater Sandals is offering all of my readers a 15% off coupon code, BELLE15, that will be good through the end of May! Go ahead and get your summer wear today!

I love going to the farmer’s market and the Edenton Farmer’s Market is one of my all-time favorite markets. I love the variety that is offered and the market seems to really have a bond with the rest of the community. Even better, they just opened up in a snazzy new permanent location this year. I’ve been wanting to check it out for a while now so Robb and I bundled up Caleb and made the drive over to Edenton.

I always set myself a spending limit for the farmer’s market. If I don’t, then I usually end up going way past my spending budget for the month. $40 seems to be the magical number for me since we grow a lot of our own food. I view the farmer’s market mainly as a way to supplement what we grow and as a venue to find some super awesome items. So here is what I got for my Farmer’s Market $40:

As of Monday morning, all we have left from our haul is two rabbit ears, some honey goat cheese, the microgreens, and the ground lamb. There is nothing like cooking with fresh, local vegetables.

After showing Caleb off at the farmer’s market, we decided to walk a few blocks downtown. I wish that it had been a few degrees warmer but it wasn’t bad if you stayed out of the wind. Robb had carried Caleb around the market but I slipped him into his carrier for our longer walk. Our Lil Bean is growing so fast that he will really tire out your arms! One of the things that I like most about babywearing (besides the bonding time) is that on a chilly day, it helps to keep Caleb nice and toasty.

Like every other time when we go to Edenton, I made Robb go into the Cupola House garden to take some photos of me. If the weather had been a bit nicer, I would have made him go to a few other spots but I decided that could way for another day. Maybe when Caleb is slightly bigger and we will be able to take him down to the playground and I can swing with him.

We went into Salty Kisses Boutique to check out their sale and found an absolutely adorable monster hat for Caleb when he gets a bit bigger.

For lunch, we ate at the recently opened Governor’s Pub. Robb had a burger while I had a turkey Reuben (aka, the “Rachel”).

We were all tuckered out by then so we piled in the car and headed back home.

I love our little day trips and can’t wait to take Caleb on some more adventures! Though I think that he might have been a little less than impressed with the day…

I still remember the first time my mother and I attempted my granny’s 16-layer chocolate cake even though it has been almost 20 years now. We had worked all afternoon on it, carefully cooking each paper thin layer of cake, guarding the fudge-like frosting as it cooked away on the stove so that it wouldn’t burn, and finally, assembling it. Pleased with ourselves, we stepped out of the kitchen until a loud splat brought us running back. Our beautiful cake was now in bits and pieces all over the floor – we had assembled it while it had been too warm and the layers had slid apart. I looked at my mom and did the only thing that I could do at the moment. I sat on the floor and started eating.

It was delicious.

That’s the kind of magic that my granny’s cake had. I can’t think of the holidays without picturing her chocolate cake, sitting modestly on top of the freezer in the backroom, though it should have been issued a place of honor at the main table. Every time we gathered at her house, for Thanksgiving, for Christmas, for birthdays, the cake would be waiting for us. We all had to pass through the backroom to enter our house (no one ever used the front door) so we all would feel a glimmer of excitement when we spotted that cake sitting there.

Even when arthritis crippled her hands, she pressed on, switching from homemade cake batter to one out of a box. She faithfully made her icing the same way, though at times my grandfather had to take over for her (under her watchful eye of course). Sometimes the cake would have 14 layers, sometimes closer to 19. It was always a game to see who could come the closest to guessing the number of layers before we counted, peeling off each layer to eat, line by line.

My granny passed away this past January, only a few brief months before I would find out that I’m pregnant with my first child. I’m looking forward to sharing the magic of this cake with my own child as he grows. Even though I might have learned my lesson to let the layers cool before assembling the cake, who knows, maybe I’ll let him help me and start a tradition of eating cake off of the floor.

Trust me, it’s worth it.

Even though my granny started using a box cake mix in her later years, I went with her original recipe. When Robb saw me unloading not just butter but margarine for this cake, he said that it HAD to be good with all of that fat in there.

The key is nice, thin layers. I made my layers just a little too thick but my body was just exhausted. Being 8 months pregnant would do that to you!

There is an ingredient in the frosting that doesn’t normally appear in most other boiled frosting recipes, an ingredient that I think turns this into an almost foolproof recipe – marshmallows. I’ve done a little digging around and it seems that adding in marshmallows became a thing in a few areas of the country back in the 1960’s. When I called my mom to ask if she remembered including marshmallows during our initial fateful recreation years ago, she said that it didn’t seem familiar to her but perhaps that was why her attempt failed.

After letting your frosting cool for just a few minutes – and be careful because it will be hot – start stacking your cake, pouring the frosting over layer by layer. Making this cake requires a tremendous amount of patience.  If you try to hurry through it, your layers will start to slip and slide just like ours did.

The worst part about making this cake is even after you get it all assembled – you still have to wait. Wait for it to harden and solidify. It’ll be well worth the wait, trust me.


Print Recipe
Granny's Old-Fashioned Multi-layer Cake with Boiled Chocolate Frosting
Don’t be ashamed if your first couple of attempts at making this cake come out less than spectacular. It took my granny years to perfect her cake and even then, she would occasionally put out a product that was, in her mind, “sub-par”. I simply called it rustic.
Course Dessert
Servings
1 12-layer(ish) cake
Ingredients
Cake
  • 1 stick margarine room temperature
  • 1 stick butter room temperature
  • 2 c. white cane sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 c. self-rising flour
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 c. whole milk
Frosting
  • 1 1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 1/2 c. white cane sugar
  • 2 1/4 c. evaporated milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 stick margarine
  • 12 large marshmallows
Course Dessert
Servings
1 12-layer(ish) cake
Ingredients
Cake
  • 1 stick margarine room temperature
  • 1 stick butter room temperature
  • 2 c. white cane sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 c. self-rising flour
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 c. whole milk
Frosting
  • 1 1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 1/2 c. white cane sugar
  • 2 1/4 c. evaporated milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 stick margarine
  • 12 large marshmallows
Instructions
Cake
  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease and flour your 9” baking pans (I used shortening and flour).
  3. Beat butter, margarine, and sugar together with an electric mixer until creamy.
  4. Add in your eggs, vanilla, milk, and flour, mixing until well combined.
  5. Using a measuring cup, measuring out just over ¼ of a cup of batter in each of your baking tins. Smooth out the batter using the back of a spoon.
  6. Bake each layer for 8-10 minutes until done - depending on the amount of batter you add to each tin will dictate how long it will take to cook. You’ll want the cake to spring back when touching lightly in the center. Remove from pans to the cooling racks.
  7. Wipe out cake pans, grease and flour the again, and bake the remaining cake layers as directed.
Frosting
  1. In a large heavy saucepan, melt the cocoa powder, sugar, evaporated milk, vanilla extract, margarine, and marshmallows over medium-low heat until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Bring to a rolling boil and cook for 8 minutes, stirring constantly. Be careful as the liquid will be hot.
  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  4. Assemble your cake, pouring your frosting over each layer.
  5. Let sit for a and enjoy!
Recipe Notes

Don’t be in a rush. If you notice that your cake is starting to slide after you begin frosting it, secure it with a few wooden dowels or skewers. Since the layers are so thin on this cake, you will notice that you can see the ridges through the frosting. That is okay!

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