September 22, 2014

Mila Monday + Raspberry Cake!

Amelia: 172 weeks & Margot: 74 weeks*

We decided to celebrate our anniversary a little different this year. Instead of making about us and our marriage, we included the girls and made it a celebration of the start of our family. Our family's birthday, if you will. And when you celebrate a birthday, you need birthday cake. Raspberry birthday cake with white chocolate cream cheese frosting. Obviously.

We put seven candles on it, sang Happy Birthday to our family, and the girls blew them out. It was pretty cute, even if I wasn't able to get a decent photo of them doing it.

I tried to include a little of everyone's favorites: raspberries for David, pink for Mila, amazing frosting for me, and, well, cake in general for Margot. Girl loves her some cake.

Like mother like daughter. And father. And sister, for that matter.
It was a fun and fairly easy way for us to share a special day with our girls, talk about our wedding day with them, and celebrate our little family together. Plus there was lots of leftover cake to munch on over the weekend. New favorite tradition? I think so!
Raspberry Cake with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Raspberry Cake
(adapted from Honest Cooking)

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
1 small package (12 oz, I believe) frozen raspberries, thawed
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 small package (3 oz) raspberry gelatin
3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour two 8" cake rounds.

Pour thawed raspberries into a small bowl. Using a spoon, press out most of the juice over the sink. Continue to press, stir, and shop until you have a thick pulpy mixture.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. Stir in raspberry pulp with a wooden spoon.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining dry ingredients. Fold half of this mixture into the wet ingredients. Add buttermilk and stir until just combined, then fold in the remaining dry ingredient mixture. (Your batter will look broken, rather than smooth, because of the raspberries.)

Allow batter to rest for 15 minutes. Then pour into prepared pans and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
(adapted slightly from Grandmother's Kitchen)

1 cup white chocolate chips
1 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Melt chocolate chips in microwave, stopping every 10 seconds to stir. Allow to cool slightly. Beat together cream cheese and butter. Beat in white chocolate. Slowly add powdered sugar, beating on low, until smooth. Add vanilla and beat again until fully combined.

Assembly: I highly recommend doing a crumb coat before completely frosting this cake, as it will seal in all the red crumbs and leave your white frosting pristine. You can find a good video tutorial for crumb coats here.

Garnish your cake with fresh raspberries (or sprinkles, if you have a child like Mila who insists on eating sprinkles with everything). Slice and serve. Stores well in the refrigerator for up to five days.



*Technically I'm a week behind and today they're 173 and 75 weeks respectively. Dang broken computer. It's fixed now, though! Huzzah! Back to online life as usual!

September 18, 2014

Marrriage Month: An Interview with Alicia of "Snowstorm"

I'm still out of luck on the computer front, which is putting a serious damper on the bloggins. I suppose I could start blogging from David's computer on the regular (which is what I'm doing right now) or try to do it from my phone, but I'm seriously missing Photoshop, which is only on my laptop. Blerg. Still, I've got a couple more interviews scheduled, so marriage month will carry on regardless!

Today we're reading about Alicia's brand-spanking-new marriage,. I started reading her blog Snowstorm around the time she got engaged, and it's been so fun to follow along as she shared her love story, her wedding, and her subsequent new family adventures. She's my token newlywed this month because 1) I like her quite a bit and 2) I think we can all benefit from a reminder of how marriage feels at the very beginning.

***

Tell us a little about your family.  

Andrew and I have been married five months so we're pretty much experts on this whole marriage thing.  We enjoy binge-watching Netflix and eating Mexican food together. We don't have kids yet (unless you count our dog), but they're definitely in our future plans. As for now, we're just enjoying newly married life and all that it entails,


What first made you decide Andrew was “the one”? 

One of our favorite stories to tell is how we met. I'll give you the short version though- we saw each other for the first time in a men's restroom (for the long version, you can check out our love story on my blog). After our first encounter, I continually joked with friends and family that I had met my future husband. As the dates followed, the nickname of my future husband became that much more serious. So I guess you could say, I knew from the beginning that Andrew was the one.

Why is he still “the one”?

Because he gives me a good morning kiss every day before he leaves for work. Because he lets me watch my reality shows without complaining too much. Because he always agrees with me when I suggest going on a Dairy Queen run. Because he does the dishes and helps me around the house. He is constantly doing all these little things that remind me that he's "the one". 
What do you love most about being married in general? What do you love most about your marriage specifically? 
In a general sense, I love the feeling of being accepted and also being apart of my own little family unit. When it comes to our marriage specifically,  I love always having my best friend by my side. I can definitely say without a doubt that Andrew is my favorite roommate I've ever had, hands down, no competition.
What is one of the most difficult things you’ve had to overcome in your marriage? 
I hate to be that cheesy cliche couple, but we haven't had anything too difficult we've had to overcome yet. Some may attribute that to being so fresh in the marriage business, but I'd like to think we've worked on keeping our marriage challenge free. Andrew and I have made it a priority to communicate. We discuss anything and everything and trust each other to be considerate of each other's thoughts and feelings. Of course, that's not to say we'll never experience trials or hardships, but hopefully the foundation we've laid will make them easier to face together.

What kinds of things do you do (or have you done) to strengthen your relationship? 

We read our scriptures and say our prayers together every day. We also try to go on a date every week.
If you could give any marital advice, what would it be? 

Make time for the little things. Go out of your way to make his favorite meal or to leave him a love note to find for later. The simple things are sometimes the best way to strengthen a relationship.

***

Sounds like they're off to a great start, no? I love that they are already laying a foundation of good communication in preparation for whatever life may throw at them in the years to come.

And oh! How I miss the luxury of being able to go on a date every week without having to make babysitting arrangements! Good for you guys for taking advantage of it now!

Thanks for being with us, Alicia!

September 16, 2014

Marriage Month: An Interview with Jenna of "Mom the Intern"

As you know, I've solicited some help from a few dear friends and bloggers I admire. I sent them each the same questionnaire about marriage, because I wanted to show how different a strong marriage can look from couple to couple. I realized as the replies started coming in, though, that there are quite a few common threads that seem to bind couples together. You'll see what I mean over the next few weeks. It's always nice to see what real relationships look like and learn from the good ones, don't you think?

Today's response comes from Jenna who blogs over at Mom the Intern. She's another friend I've made through the Arizona Bloggers Meetup group, and I'm so glad. Jenna handles her role as a mother with such grace, humor, and style that I defy anyone who doesn't admire her for it. Also something to admire: how much she adores her husband. The way she talks about him you'd never know they've been together as long as they have. Read on and see what I mean.

***

Tell us a little about your family.

Dillon likes to brag that I just showed up on his doorstep one day, and it's the literal truth. A mutual friend set us up on a blind date and I first met Dillon after we knocked on his door to pick him up. I thought he was the most handsome guy I'd ever seen. We began dating almost immediately after that night. I was 17, he was 21. Talk about crazy. We dated for a whole year, went up to BYU together and got engaged mid-semester. We were married two short months later in December 2005 ... so we're coming up on nine years. (Holy flip!) We have three incredible children -- Audrey (6), Carson (4) and Clara (4 months).

What first made you decide your husband was “the one”?

Well, it certainly didn't hurt that he looked just like Tom Cruise a la Top Gun. But, I suspected he was "the one" the moment we began talking. He had the prettiest green eyes, full of kindness and acceptance. His smile was so sincere. He listened intently to everything I said. He spoke in gentle, happy tones. I didn't want our first date to end.

Since I was barely a senior in high school when we met, I knew we had to take things sllllooooowwwwly. In the meantime (while I waited to turn 18), we had a lot of fun together. We went to concerts, church functions, restaurants and movies, painted pottery and made desserts, traveled, took evening walks around the local nature preserve and mostly, we talked. A whole lot. And after an entire year of getting to know Dillon, I felt like he lacked nothing for me. He was my perfect match. He was ... "THE ONE." I'm really glad the feeling was mutual!

Why is he still “the one”?  

Shortly after we got married, I realized Dillon's calm demeanor, unbreakable patience and long-suffering kindness were exactly what I needed in my life. I tend to be frenetic, impatient and emotional, so he balances me out in this way. On the other hand, he is forgetful and unorganized while my memory is a steel trap and I have impeccable organizational skills. I'm artistic and creative; he is mathematical and didactic. I'm all about justice while he is more merciful. Our strengths are very different, yet we compliment each other so well. Just like peanut butter and chocolate (our favorite dessert combination).

Plus, we make totally cute kids.

What do you love most about being married in general? What do you love most about your marriage specifically?

I love having a constant support in my life, someone who knows all my ins and outs and on whom I can rely for anything. And I love being that support for Dillon, too. In our marriage, I love how we simply "get" each other. We rarely have philosophical arguments because we're almost always on the same page. And on the rare occasion we're not, we talk it out until we get there.

What is one of the most difficult things you’ve had to overcome in your marriage?

I had a very traumatic birth with my second baby, and the injury I suffered greatly affected our intimate life. It took over a year for me to heal to the point things in that department could return to normal. Dillon was so patient as I healed and underwent physical therapy during that time. He wiped my tears while I grieved for the gentle birth I'd desired and comforted me when I couldn't understand why I had to go through it. Overcoming this challenge required patience from both of us. One thing's for sure -- as miserable as it was, the whole thing brought us closer together. We learned a lot about human intimacy beyond a physical relationship and how to achieve it in the face of disability.

What kinds of things do you do (or have you done) to strengthen your relationship?

Daily one-on-one time is crucial for us. Date nights are wonderful but aren't always feasible, especially with a new baby. But every night after the kids are in bed, we shut the door and spend time together. We watch a movie or something fun on Netflix, we fold laundry, we make plans and we talk and talk and talk. Some days, we only have five minutes together right before bed due to the busy lives we lead. But we make the most of it.

The other thing is whenever I feel like we're growing apart, I try harder to perform small acts of kindness for him. I'll make his favorite meal, finish a task we've been putting off, buy him his favorite candy when I'm at the store ... little things like that. I have found when I take time to think of him and show him I care, it brings us together. Selfishness only divides us.

Being united in our faith is huge, too. We try to make sure we're on the same plane spiritually, living our faith jointly and supporting one another in our religious responsibilities. A spiritual leader of ours counseled us to take turns praying for the other spouse every night, out-loud so they can hear. Dillon prays on the odd days and I pray on the even days. It helps us think of the other first and be more mindful of their needs. Plus, how cool is it to hear your one true love petition God on your behalf? Very cool.

If you could give any marital advice, what would it be?

Leave the kids at home and go on a cruise or some other relaxing vacation at least once in your marriage. Seriously.

Also, I've heard it said you should never go to bed angry. But I've found that usually when I'm irrationally irritated with my husband, it's because I'm tired. So when you're angry, go to bed. A good night's sleep usually resolves the problem on its own.

***

See? She's so romantic but in a practical, possible way. For me, at any rate, that's pretty much the dream marriage. And I know struggles with physical intimacy are tough to talk about, but I really appreciate Jenna's candor in that regard. Husbands and wives aren't always on the same page when it comes to sex, but this is a great example of how you can be supportive, figure out what works for both of you, and continue to draw closer to each other no matter what is or isn't going on in the bedroom.


Thanks so much for setting a great example for us, Jenna!

September 15, 2014

Technical Difficulties

My computer is having some issues. And by issues, I mean it's in about a billion tiny pieces. Maybe not quite a billion, but when computer guts are involved does it matter how many there are?

Point is I don't have Mila Monday up for you today because, well, that. It's a bigger bummer than it might normally be because I was going to share a recipe for a raspberry cake that is deeelicious. Hopefully we'll be back to normal so I can post that on Wednesday. Fingers crossed.

I do have another marriage interview set up for tomorrow and one for Thursday, so even if I'm not able to share new Jen content, you still get to enjoy two great guest posts this week. Hooray! Thank goodness for guest bloggers and scheduled posts!

Prayers for my sad laptop and for my engineer husband who will be reassembling it soon, and hugs all around!

September 12, 2014

The Bloom of the Week || 14

The girls and I went for a walk around the Gilbert temple yesterday.

We found a whole bank of what I'm pretty sure is pineapple sage (but I'm not 100% sure) on the north side. Margot climbed on her belly up and down the shallow steps, Mila skipped and danced, and I took pictures of flowers.

It was sooooo hot but really nice to be out in the sunshine for a bit. And the girls--especially Mila--love seeing the temple and talking about when Mama and Daddy got married.

I'm sure the chicken nuggets we brought along didn't hurt either.

***

Maybe it's because I've got marriage on the brain these days, but I've seen a surprising number of marriage-related things on the interwebs this week.

First, this post on A Cup of Jo was eye-opening to me. Why aren't comedy marriages more balanced? Good for Seth Rogen's wife for pointing it out and helping him make a change.

Two videos from Buzzfeed: Stupid things we fight about (anyone else totally relate to the "what to have for dinner" bit?) and why you probably don't want to marry a Disney prince in real life.

A couple of my friends have also written about marriage lately and I love seeing all the love for love! You should check out both Ariana and Ali's posts...they're quick but sweet reads.


In completely un-marital news, these booties and these flats from Old Navy have me biting my bottom lip in consternation. Twenty five bucks for a pair of shoes isn't a huge commitment, but would I actually wear them? I'm such a wuss. Somebody convince me one way or the other.

Sunday is our actual anniversary. We'll be spending it at church! And meetings! And with David's family! So romantic!

Actually we do have some fun plans for the weekend which I'm excited to share with you, so watch for Monday's post. It'll be more than just pictures of my kids, I promise. See you then!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...