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I have shared activities I've done with my grandchildren with you on past posts. I love to try to make memories with them. For example, this post was from last year when my grandchildren who now live in Wyoming were here. (sigh)
At this time in my life, I am watching my 15 month old granddaughter 4 days a week. She is at the age where she is curious about many things, strives to be independent, needs to be constantly supervised, is a little too young for art projects and loves to be outside. I know that this stage is going to fly by quickly and I am trying to enjoy it with her as much as I can. It is so cute to hear her learning language and to see her experience new things. I am so blessed to be a part of her growth.
Now that the weather is nice, she loves to go outside as much as possible, I thought I would share with you some of the fun that we have together during these beautiful Spring days.
After we eat breakfast, we put on sunscreen (a must all year round in Phoenix), and then we go outside to water the garden. She "talks" to me all about it as we water. This watering can is heavy for her. I get it started pouring and she holds it for me. I am ordering this cute child sized watering can from Amazon for her to use. It is a Melissa and Doug Brand, which I have always been happy with. Compared with all of the kid sized watering cans I've seen, this one is a very good price! Look how cute it is! She will love it, as will my other grandchildren when they come to visit. I had some small metal cans for my older grandchildren, but they have seen better days. If you would prefer metal, this is a reasonably priced one.
While we were in the garden today, we found a great surprise! Look!
After the excitement of finding the tomatoes, Emily started picking up rocks to carry around. If she doesn't have a rock in her hand, she likes to have a piece of sidewalk chalk. She loves to use the back block fence as her canvas to use the chalk on and likes me to draw with her. If you don't like getting your hands all chalky, my daughter-in-law purchased some chalk holders for my grandson that help with that. They are awesome because they provide good grip for little fingers. These are by Melissa and Doug. The others are Peppa Pig themed. My grandson would love those. Chalk with chalk holders would be a welcome Easter Basket gift!
Today, as Emily picked up rocks, I thought about the rock painting craze that seems to have happened lately. She is too young for paints, but I found some rocks that we could draw on and she really got into that!
One thing that we are thankful to have in our backyard is a wagon! Emily has to have a ride in it everyday. When her cousin Spencer comes to visit, our wagon is a two seater and they can both have a ride together. Our wagon is a hand-me-down, but here is a similar one. The kids have all loved to either ride in it or pull each other around. I love pulling her around the yard not only because she gets a kick out of it, it also gives me some exercise! 4 laps around my yard gave me 200 steps this morning. Then we did 2 more laps in the afternoon! The added weight of pulling the wagon with the toddler in it has to burn more calories, right? Ha ha
When we come in from our time in the backyard in the morning, she is about ready for a morning nap, so we wash our hands and read a book and then listen to some songs on the Echo Dot, more commonly known as Alexa. Emily loves to dance to the songs, but if I play some quiet ones, she will often fall right to sleep on my shoulder. (Sometimes, if we're lucky.) Later in the afternoon, we will go out and do our backyard routine all over again.
A little sun for vitamin D, a little exercise, a bit of gardening, some exploring and creativity. What could be better than that?
Have you ever heard of Baby Led Weaning? Before I had my little chicken nugget I had never heard of it. I always planned on starting her on pureed foods just like I had started, and basically everyone I have ever known who has ever had a baby has done.
Well, then at her four month appointment her doctor told me I could start her on solids and I bought some veggies and pureed them and we got started and... well... it was just a lot of work. Until very recently she was really only into eating one meal a day and I didn't have the energy to keep pureeing different things. I have purchased baby food from time to time, but it can be, and IS, so expensive!
So, I started researching Baby Led Weaning (BLW) and now that my little miss is six months old we are implementing it and I have to say, it is SO much messier than purees, but so much easier to feed her!
Enter these muffins. ABC Baby Led Weaning Muffins I call them. the ABC in these muffins stands for Apple Banana Carrot. Those are the main ingredients in these BLW muffins. They make them light and sweet. The texture is perfect for a little one just learning to eat, who may not have teeth yet!
We have FINALLY been getting rain here, which is wonderful! The only drawback is that the storms keep happening right during this little lady's swimming lessons. I got her all dressed to go when her swim instructor (who happens to be someone I had previously baby sat when he was in diapers) called to say that lessons were once again cancelled because of the rain.
Well, we didn't feel like changing yet, so we made these ABC BLW muffins in our swimsuit. You are not required to do the same, but, it could be fun if you tried!
As I am doing more research and coming up with more BLW recipes and ideas I'll be posting them where our subscribers can access them! So if you aren't subscribed yet make sure you sign up! We promise, no spam, just fun extra perks!
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I am excited to share today's post with you because it was the first time I got to make a cake for someone in a long time (like really decorating a cake) and I enjoyed it! It was also my first time making a pinata cake, and it was a lot of fun!
About a month ago a girl I go to church with said she was looking for a cake maker for a cake she needed rather quickly. I told her I could probably do it for her if she didn't need anything too elaborate. That's when she told me she wanted a pinata cake for her gender reveal. I was so excited because I didn't even know she was pregnant! Babies are so wonderful and exciting, and this is such a fun way to do a gender reveal!
She dropped offer her little piece of paper for me, and it was a weird feeling knowing that I knew what she was having before she did!
Well, she is having a baby boy so I went and found some blue chocolate sixlet candies to fill the cake with. She and her husband were doing the gender reveal with her family in Spain, so there were only going to be two people eating the cake, so I decided to do six inch rounds. I felt like this would be the best size since the cake was going to be three layers. It was fun to make and I was so happy when she sent me the picture of the cut cake with the little chocolates spilling out!
To make a pinata cake you can use whatever cake recipe you like the best, or even a box mix if you want! (I have a great chocolate recipe I intend on sharing with you soon!) Since this was a gender reveal cake I decided to do a funfetti cake, since it would have colorful candy chips in the batter.
To Assemble Your Cake:
Now I feel like a minimum of three layers is bet for a pinata cake. You could probably do two, but having a layer underneath really helps the candy pop out! I used a small glass to cut a hole out of the center layer of the cake.
Start with your bottom cake, spread a thin layer of frosting all around the cake, then place the center layer with the middle cut out.
Spread another thin layer of frosting around the outside and top of the cake.
Fill the center with your candy.
Place the top layer on top, and do another crumb layer.
To frost the cake I put my frosting in a piping back and pipe it on with a flat tip. I have a round cake decorating tray. Once the frosting is all piped on so your cake looks like this you can use a frosting smoother make it look beautiful. Place the smoother on the cake at a 45 degree angle and spin the cake . You'll have to stop periodically to remove excess frosting, but eventually the side of your cake will be nice and smooth. you can then carefully smooth the frosting over the edges and smooth it on the top.
To decorate the cake I just used pink and blue sprinkles. It was simple and sweet, but I knew she didn't want to spend much time looking at the cake, she wanted to cut into it and find out if she is having a boy or a girl! So I just tried to make it look nice, but add a little fun with the sprinkles.
Cake making and decorating is something I really enjoy. It's hard to find the time with an infant to really spend on it, but there is something so satisfying about looking at a beautiful cake!
Creators of Hot Cocoa Bombs! (copyrighted)
Helen Reynolds: Mother of six children , grandmother to ten and counting! I love to cook, craft and create things and I especially love doing that with my family, So, when my lawyer daughter, Lindsey, and my artist daughter, Madalynn, and I came up with the idea of Hot Cocoa Bombs, this blog was born. Then, one more daughter, with her technical and science skills, plus creativity has joined in to round us out! Read more about us here!
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