Sunday, August 23, 2015

Weekly Digest, August 23, 2015

We spent the majority of this week battling sickness.  Collin started getting sick last Sunday with a cough and sore throat, Isaac caught it a few days ago with an added fever, I got a weird case of lockjaw yesterday, and Daisy got pink eye yesterday and is still working through it with the help of some lavender oil.  We're desperately hoping that we're at the tail end of it and the others don't catch this sore throat (or pink eye!).
Sammy started kindergarten on Wednesday!  He was super excited, especially to get to wear his brand new Hotwheels backpack.  Sammy has such a huge personality at home but is super shy at school.  Hopefully he'll make some friends soon.
We had our first of many girls-only outings on Friday while the boys were at school.  Ellie wanted to go to Farm Country at Thanksgiving Point, so I strapped Daisy to my chest and off we went to ride the ponies and pet the animals.

On Tuesday morning Elinor randomly informed me that she was ready to throw away her tag book.  She never used a pacifier, but as a toddler got attached to the tags on her stuffed lamb.  Despite regular washings, the tag and its surrounding area got unbearably disgusting and smelly, so we cut it off.  Then she found the tag on her blanket.  Same story after a few months.  Finally, she found this flannel tag book that had belonged to Isaac when he was a baby.  It has different textured (mostly satin) tags all around the cloth pages, so she had her pick of tags.  We started cutting off one tag at a time a few months ago, hoping to make the weaning process a little easier on her, but she was ridiculously attached to the thing.  So her sudden proclamation that she was done with it came as quite a shock.  I kept asking her if she was serious, reiterating the permanency of this decision.  She insisted she was done and tossed the book in the trash can herself.  (I secretly fished it out and washed and hid it, because we're chickens.)  Of course when nap time came around that day she asked for her tag book, but she was surprisingly okay with it when I reminded her of her decision.  She's been going to bed each night just fine without it, but naps have been more of a struggle.  We're thinking of dropping her nap times entirely anyway, since she stays awake bouncing off walls until 10:30 each night when she does nap.  Anyway, we're thrilled to say goodbye to the tag book and be done with this chapter of her life!
Daisy isn't a great sleeper.  She usually gets a couple of 3-hour stretches during the first half of the night, then spends the rest of the night waking up every hour.  It doesn't seem to matter if I put her back in the bassinet, the crib, or if I co-sleep with her - she just wakes up every hour from 4:00 on.  I've been going crazy with exhaustion, because she also has this funny habit of waking up within 20 minutes any time I lie down for a nap.  So to cope, I made this yellow cake with chocolate frosting late last night.  I've been fiddling with yellow butter cake recipes for a while now to make them work at high altitude (no matter what I do they always end up falling in the center - something that never happened when we lived at sea level).  Last night I finally achieved high altitude yellow cake nirvana!  The cake was perfectly risen, perfectly fluffy and buttery and moist.  I started with the yellow cake recipe from the Annie's Eats website, then increased the flour by 2 tbsp, used extra-large eggs, decreased the leavening by 1/2 tsp, and increased the baking temp by 25 degrees and just kept an eye on the cakes for doneness.  It doesn't look like much here because it was a simple cake made to satisfy a craving, but this is what triumph looks like:
And just for future reference, here's the recipe with all my tweaks:
Yellow Butter Cake with Chocolate Frosting

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing pans
1½ cups + 2 T all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting pans
1½ cups cake flour
 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1¾ cups sugar
4 extra-large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1¼ cups milk


  • Preheat the oven to 375˚ F.  Line the bottoms of two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper.  Butter and flour the edges of the pans, tapping out the excess; set aside.  In a medium bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, and salt; whisk together to blend well and set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar.  Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed.  Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Blend in the vanilla.  With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the milk.  Beat each addition just until incorporated.
  • Divide the batter between the prepared baking pans.  Bake, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until the cakes are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, ~30 minutes.  Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool 20 minutes. Invert the cakes onto the rack and peel off the parchment.  Let the cakes cool completely before frosting

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