Life with a 10 Month Old

I haven’t done just a general update on Caleb in a long time and I’ve had quite a few people asking me for one. Even though Caleb doesn’t turn 10 months officially for about 3 more days, I’m calling this his 10-month update.

It amazes me how quickly Caleb’s first year has been going by. In just a few short months, I’ll have a one-year old on my hands! Caleb started walking not long before he turned 9 months and since he figured out how to step those short little steps, there has been no stopping him. He has been walking here, there, everywhere around the house. It amazed the ladies at daycare how quickly he started walking and how well he walks. I think I have a determined – headstrong – little boy on my hands.

Just about three weeks ago, I felt Caleb’s first tooth poking through his bottom gums. A week later, another bottom tooth poked through. Then this past Friday, an upper tooth popped though! So it seems like he is averaging one tooth a week.

Most nights he sleeps through, or maybe will wake up once during the night. He’s easy to put back to sleep though for the most part with just a few minutes of nursing. His biggest issue is that some mornings, he will start tossing and turning at about 5-5:30 a.m. Once he starts to toss and turn, I find myself wide awake. I recently switched out one of his bottles that I send to daycare with some food and he is loving it. My goal is to offer breast milk to him as long as he wants but I’m not putting the pressure on myself to maintain a rigorous pumping and feeding schedule. It is less stress on my end.

Caleb loves to eat. Anything and everything. I try mostly to stick with whole foods – green beans, blueberries, and cucumbers are his favorite. I try to give him very little items with processed sugar simply because I don’t want him addicted to those kind of sweet treats. He loves it but just because you love something doesn’t mean you should have it!

This past weekend, we all went to a local farm festival. We went to the same festival last year when I was 29 weeks pregnant.

29 Weeks Pregnant

As long as we are in the area, I think we are going to try and continue the tradition of having our photo taken in front of this piece of farm equipment!

The farm festival, along with a trip on Saturday to a craft show and farmer’s market up in Wanchese, served as sort of my birthday adventure. I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend. Caleb made quick friends with a little pig, though he didn’t seem very impressed by his new friendship. Or with any of it really. 😀 I will say that he did love getting the opportunity to sample the food inside of the market!



Granny’s Old-Fashioned Multi-layer Cake with Boiled Chocolate Frosting

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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Janie and Jack Holiday Collection

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which means that I’ll receive a commission if you purchase from this link. I was compensated for this post.

Janie and Jack recently released their new holiday Mommy and Me collection and I am in love! The collection is inspired by the special memories created between a mother and her child during the holiday season. As a first time mom due in December, I’m excited about the memories I that will soon create with Lil Bean.

The collection features a range of clothing for women and girls/boys ranging in age from 0-12 years old. The price point is very reasonable, ranging from $7-$169. It includes a wide array of styles in classic red hues and luxe velvets, perfect for a festive holiday get together.

Here are a few of my favorite pieces from the collection:

Embroidered Rosette Socks ($7) – I am a sucker for itty bitty baby socks as I think most people are. There is just something so adorable about their smallness and these socks, with their dainty embroidered rosette, take the cake. Even though these are geared more towards a baby girl, I don’t see why little baby boys couldn’t wear them as well!

Plaid 1-Piece ($42) – This is a wonderfully festive one-piece perfect for dressing your little one in when it’s time to celebrate. Chances are, I’m going to be too tuckered out this year on having just had a baby to really make the effort in dressing our Lil Bean up but I love this for maybe next Christmas. Besides, anyone who knows me knows that I am obsessed with plaid.

Dog Bib ($14) – I only just now noticed how well this adorable dog bib matches the Plaid 1-Piece (above). This is a soft cotton bib, machine washable, that is perfect for wiping up any holiday spittle that might dribble out from your little one partying too hard. The little embroidered dog adds just a touch of festive cuteness.

Faux Fur Sweater Dress ($69) – Even though my eyes tend to gravitate more towards boy items, I couldn’t resist sharing this knit dress with you all. Wouldn’t it be adorable for a little girl and I love the faux fur collar.

Velvet Tie Dress ($148) – This elegant velvet shift dress is not just for moms, but for anyone looking for a festive dress for their holiday party. It even has pockets which is a nice touch for someone like me who really doesn’t carry around a purse all that often.

In honor of the collection, Janie and Jack also released an exclusive video moderated by author/nutritionist/mother Daphne Oz featuring mother-child duos and fans of the brand to talk about their relationships and dress themselves and their mothers in their favorite looks.

Watch the Full J&J Holiday Collection Me and Mommy Video

Do you make it a point to buy a festive holiday outfit for yourself or your little one?

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today I rolled out of bed as a 30-year old. Literally, rolled. Robb laughs at me because I usually need a little momentum to get myself out of bed now, so I have to kick my legs or I’ll swing them over the edge of the bed and slide. Once I get bigger and start needing help, I know that he’ll be right there to pull me up.

So yeah. I rolled out of bed as a 30-year old, 31 weeks pregnant. I’ve been so fortunate to have the life that I have. I know that every life is filled with its ups and downs but I’m blessed that as of today, I have had so many more ups than anything else. I can only hope that with all the changes that are coming soon, the ups keep on coming.

How could I resist a 30th birthday bump picture – even if it’s a dreary day and the lighting is off?

My mom called as I was fixing myself breakfast. For as long as I can remember, she’s played this special birthday song for me from “Captain Zoom”. We both know all the words (and for the most part, it’s the first words that pop into my bed come the morning of October 12th). She purchased it as a cassette many, many years ago but as cassette players started to fade away, she started to panic about finding a way to play it so I surprised her one year with a CD.

I love traditions. We don’t have very many in our family really, other than “Captain Zoom” and my mom giving us pajamas or something similar on Christmas Eve. But all it takes to start a tradition is for someone to make that first move. With Lil Bean joining us, I look forward to starting even more traditions.

What are some of your favorite family traditions?

Update:

I thought I would give a quick update on some of the awesome things I received for my birthday.

Check out these goodies from my mom – she knows me so well! I love the little onsies and the “Beware the Hen Poo” sign is to replace one I lost earlier in the year. It came all the way from Ireland! I’ve been looking forward to reading “The Cooking Gene” by Michael Twitty. What is really neat is that the jar of pink rocks is actually rose quartz that mom found during their mountain camping trip.

What’s even neater is that rose quartz is a good stone to take to the hospital to place near the baby/mother during the birthing process to promote bonding!