Things That Oink

It was Nattie's birthday on Saturday, and I decided, at the insistence of some friends and family, to actually make a real birthday cake this year. Or cupcakes as it turned out. I asked Nattie what her favorite was and she said "a surprise" which perfectly coincided with the gently whisperings in my ear from another adult entity about carrot cake. Who wants carrot cake for their birthday? I decided to go out on a limb and give it a whirl. And since Josh is convinced we are destitute after The Holidays, I further decided to make it all from scratch. The only thing we had to buy was red food coloring. I would like to hereby nominate myself for a Good Mom award for Outstanding Effort in the Area of Birthday Dessert Design. If I win this prize, I will give a nod of recognition to my artistic consultant, who also doubles as my boss, and Nattie's best friend for insisting on a pig cake.

You all know I don't like nuts. I did, however, plan to add walnuts like the recipe calls for into the second half of the cupcake batter. I forgot. Oops. Josh was crushed, but was consoled by the added raisins which made Kizzie gag, and in the end, it was all for the best since one of Nattie's friends is allergic to Walnuts. I'll go ahead and credit that little triumph to my stellar intuition. I googled "carrot cake recipe" and actually ended up using the one at the top of the list. I didn't even skip past the sponsored links like I usually do, looking for a "real person" link. I will post the recipe, but also the link to the site, which actually pretty cool. I liked this recipe because it comes from the 40s and anything from the 40s is cool. I have to say, the thought of carrot cake does not make my mouth water. I'd just as soon have an extra slice of garlic bread than a slab of carrot cake, which, as Josh (my carrot cake adoring husband) points out, is egregiously stupid since garlic bread has WAY more calories than Carrot Cake. He knows because he looked it up on his calorie counter app and manipulated the inputs to read that way. (yes, 1/4 ounce of carrot cake does have less than 1/2 loaf of garlic bread. good job, honey.) I made this very basic, traditional recipe with coconut oil, organic flour and sugar, raisins, and of course, no nuts. The website I stole this from is called Just A Pinch, and I will probably use it again.
Best Carrot Cake Ever

2 csugar
1 1/4 coil
4large eggs
2 cflour
2 tspbaking soda
1 Tbspcinnamon
1 tspsalt
3 cgrated carrots
1 cchopped walnuts
12 ozpowdered sugar
23 oz. cream cheese room temp
1 tspvanilla extract
2 Tbsp
2 Tbspmilk


In large bowl, beat sugar and oil. Add eggs and beat well.
I warmed up the coconut oil for easier mixing - and you could maybe reduce it a tiny bit. 
 Sift together flour, soda, cinnamon, and salt into egg mixture; mix well; fold in carrots and nuts.
I added a pinch of nutmeg too. Mostly because I was excited to try my new nutmeg grater. 
 Place batter in greased 9x13 pan; bake for 45 minutes in a 350 oven. (Check once because of oven variances.)
I baked in cupcake tins for about 15 min? Give or take. You know how well I use timers. 
 FROSTING: Beat together powdered sugar, cream cheese, vanilla, butter and milk; (and add red food coloring to desired PINKNESS!) spread on cooled carrot cake.

obviously cream cheese frosting tastes better pink, right?

Things To Talk About

I have a lot of things I want to say. I feel like maybe I should make a list first so I don't forget them all while I am saying the first one. Except it's too late and I already have. I am not sure who I should blame for my short term memory loss but I do blame them, whoever they are that is responsible.

First: it was pointed out to me that I failed to commend Halle for her heroic effort at her very first timed Nordic Ski competition, in which she place 3rd overall. For anyone who doesn't know, my daughter Halle is a badass (sorry Mom, but it's appropriate). Most of you already know that since you watched me develop her from a sweet, soft, innocent little doll faced child into the analytical, eccentric, fixating tomboy that she is. Actually Halle came out grunting like a cute little baby monster, and when she started imitating the movements of a barn owl at age two, I knew she was special. Halle never played princesses or dolls or house or dress up. Ok, she played dress up, and here is the proof:

Halle is the one on the right. She was never without her purple hat and red cape.

But aside from the occasional emotional meltdown, Halle has been the closest thing to a son that I will ever have. Except for Ethan, but that's a whole different story. Since Halle was a tiny baby she was the easiest thing to care for. Sleeping was her main occupation as an infant, and still is as a 16 year old. She could sleep 12 hours a day and still be functional. I think maybe it was because she was growing at about a rate of 6 feet a year and it was exhausting work, doing all that eating. We've called her Hollow Leg Hal because she always has room for seconds, and thirds, and puts any man I've ever known to shame with her ability to pack it away. The one thing you can say for Halle is that when she decides to do something, she is ALL in. Whether it is arranging rubber farm animals by species and genus on the running board of a bouncy horse, or designing the ultimate wizarding wand for an unsuspecting best friend, she will not be dissuaded from her task until it is accomplished to perfection. Halle never does anything halfway - Except her chores. Halle started cross country running last year and loved it. I think her long legs make the trek an easy lope for her, where I would be panting and scrambling just to survive a 5K job. Since Nordic Skiing started in November, it's pretty much been all she can talk about, think about, dream about. She found a niche, and she is in love. Maybe more so than we have ever seen her or will see her again. I guess we'd better learn to embrace her chosen mate. I tried cross country skiing once. I went with my uncle and cousin who were quite experienced. I was probably 15 and a lot like MacKenzie. I wore my aunt's boots which were at least 1.5 sizes too small and they took me on a seven mile loop at Mt. Spokane. Obviously I swore I would never be duped into such lunacy again. I am pretty sure I got gangrene in the blisters I wore into my ankles that day. Josh likes almost any kind of hard work in the snow, especially if he can wear a heavy medical pack and impress a bunch of people, so he's been happy to sign up as the resident medic/dad at local practices. I have yet to brave the cold to stand and cheer for Halle, but somehow it seemed like enough that we drove 18 hours in two days to pick her up from her dad's three days early so she could make her Nordic team sleepover, wax party, and first race last weekend. Josh did all of the driving so it was totally worth it, of course. I was able to sleep between bouts of complaining and latte stops. Nordic Skiing is the newest in a long line of driving intensive undertakings that we have joined in with our oldest child. Desperately concerned for her future success, she is taking the shotgun approach to high school, thinking if she does everything, she will be good enough at something to make it in the world. What Halle hasn't figured out yet is that she is good at EVERYTHING she does. Partly because she works hard and partly because she is a talented kid. And I haven't even started on her art and writing. Don't think I am not proud of my quirky, slightly nerdy kid. I programmed her to this weirdness half intentionally, replacing baby dolls with dinosaurs and pink frills with overalls. She is tough, smart, silly and beautiful. I have no fears for her future. Every turn will be bright. A third place ribbon is awesome, but we all know it's just her first run. 

Ok. Saying all of that took so long that I definitely can't remember the other things. I'll get back to you.

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