Creedence

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They sang a Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR) song tonight on The Voice. (We can watch it here in The Netherlands, but it is on a delay.) For me, CCR (and John Fogerty) is synonymous with my Dad. It doesn’t really matter which song. When one plays, I am right back there in the cab of my dad’s pick up truck. I am sitting in the passenger’s seat as he drives. Or I am cutting across farm fields driving on country roads. Or my twin sister and I are belting out a song while heading to our softball game. Then I am huddled in a chair next to his open casket begging for this nightmare to end and cursing my father for taking my kids’ grandfather from them. All the while, CCR plays in the background.

Then I have this thought that Dad is looking down from wherever he is and feeling like he isn’t missing much. Yes, he is missing out on memories with his family, but outside of that little circle, I bet he doesn’t feel like he is missing much. I wonder if he felt that while he was still alive. Do we all feel like that at a certain point? Do we eventually feel like we have seen all we want to see? We have hit all the milestones there will be. We have felt the highest of the highs and lowest of the lows and nothing else will ever push us to those extremes. Do we reach a jaded, ragged, easy assurance or peaceful resignation? Is that the goal?

(Photo by Piano Piano! from Flickr)



So Damn Lucky

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Look at this face. She is gorgeous. Her smile just lights me up from the inside. She has that effect on everyone. Wiglet is eight and a half months old and sitting up. She just goes for it. In her quiet, happy way, she sets her sights on something and wiggles her way over. Her crawl looks more like the worm at this point. And she love, love, loves her big sister E. She squeals with delight when E tries to make her laugh. Wiglet laughs so hard she gets the hiccups. Their relationship right now is such a gift to watch.

Izzy is our little trooper for sure. I think she had a stomach bug for two days, but I could not be for sure because she was so happy through it. Everything that went in came right back up. She gave the meaning to the words ‘throwing up’. She would fuss, pause, chuck her guts across the room, look at me and start gurgling and smile again. No crying, no fever, no sleepless nights – what an angel. And beautiful on top of that. How did we get so lucky?





Update: Dropping a Ball – Food

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I picked up our second batch of meals today. I found a nice woman that makes great food. Once a month, she makes us a batch of seven meals. It is so nice to try new food, to not cook and to not grocery shop. Tonight’s meal was a bit of a miss, though. Goat stew. It was well made, but, well… And then there are these buns. Wow! Yum! They are filled with beef or curried chicken. So great! I could wolf down five of these.





My First Week

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I started my new job this week. That is why you haven’t heard from me. I will not go into it much, but I am working for a software company. Sweet lord, is it fast paced. It feels like I jumped ship from the Titanic and onto a speeding train. I think it will be great.

So, here we go again. And I am trying hard to keep that mythical word “balance” in mind. It is right there – in the back of my mind – laughing at me. There is no such thing as balance right now.

Our home repairs took a giant step forward this week. On Wednesday, my day off with both girls (sigh), our new floor was installed in our bedroom. It is beautiful, but the stain it was treated with stinks to high heaven. So it took a few more days of airing out the room before we could sleep in it again. This week, our built-in closets get re-installed in our bedroom and the sliding glass doors to our deck get measured for replacement. All of this is thanks to our frenemy, water. 

Then we get to cram all of our clothes & linens back into our closet just in time for my mom to arrive for a month visit. As always, I am really looking forward to her visit, but I am still crossing my fingers that all will go as planned and she will have both a bed to sleep in and a place to put her stuff. 

Here are pictures of the new floor and hole in our bedroom where a closet will hopefully be by the end of the week.





Cake Diary Update: Devil Ate Victoria Cake

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So here are pictures of the cake I made today. I ended up spelling “Older than Dirt” with gummy worms. The marshmellow fluff icing turned out great. To make the dirt along the bottom, I added chocolate cookies to the cake scraps. 





Here are the recipes I used:

Marshmellow Fluff Icing

Devils Food Pudding Cake

Dark Chocolate Ganache

Cake Diary: Devil Ate Victoria

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I love to bake. I would bake everyday if I could. I truly enjoy any chance I get to bake. Cakes, like writing, and I have a love-hate relationship. I love planning them out and making th components, but by the end of it I am so over it that I have to force myself to eat the finished product. Okay, force is an exaggeration.

I love chocolate. I love it so much that I am learning how to balance it out. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing after all. I have been known to put so much chocolate into a cake that it hurts your teeth or leaves you slightly ill. Wimps. I’m working on it.

Our neighbour turned 50 yesterday and he likes baking almost as much as he likes eating chocolate desserts. So my present to him is a birthday cake. I have limited time, but I want to do something memorable. It is a special birthday so go big or go home, I say.

I have a four layer cake in mind, but as I baked the layers today, two of them are very fluffy so it might be six layers in the end. Gravity has me concerned slightly. Ah well, I will go for it. It will taste great. 

I am calling it a Devil Ate Victoria cake. It will be a Victoria Sponge cake sandwiched inside of a devil’s food pudding cake. I am hoping to alternate the layers with dark chocolate ganache and marshmellow fluff icing. I have not used marshmellow fluff before, but I have a jar of it that needs to get used. And the butter and powdered sugar icing I made this afternoon looks like curdeled egg whites so I struck out in that. 

Now, how to decorate it? I think I will make a ’50’ on top out of foil wrapped chocolate eggs. That is very typically Dutch for this time of year so I want to give a nod to the fact that he (a Canadian) is celebrating his 5-0 here. And I am thinking of decorating the base of the cake in crumbled chocolate cake that I will have from levelling off the layers. Then, I will have gummy worms crawling up the sides of this very tall cake. I want to temper some white chocolate spelling out “Older than dirt” and place that along the cakes sides, but that will be a first as well so we will see if it pans outs.

I took some short cuts this time around. I used box mixes for both the Victoria Sponge and Devil’s Food cakes. Yes, I admit it. I am not above box mixes. They are basically fail proof which is really important to me when making a cake for a special occasion limited time. I also added a packet of instant chocolate pudding to the Devil’s Food cake. And I will be using store bought marshmellow fluff. I have some great baking cookbooks and I even picked out recipes from them and bought the ingredients then shelved them and went for Betty (Crocker).

So…stay tuned. Pictures tomorrow.

Synchronicity: Truth to Birth Order

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I believe in synchronicity, meaningful coincidences. I believe that the universe keeps bringing lessons into your life until you learn them. It is kind if a cosmic do over. Thank God for that, I say.

I am starting to see myself in our youngest daughter, Wiglet, now just eight months old. She is the youngest. I was the youngest. I am a twin, but born minutes after my sister and we have an older sister. So I may be the youngest twice removed or something. 

For starters, Wiglet looks a lot like me as a baby. It is uncanny really. She is such a quiet baby. I am an introvert myself. 

Our oldest, is quite the opposite. Her extroversion is becoming more and more pronounced as her language(s) develop. She literally chats up whomever is sitting next to us on the tram. In Dutch, she starts in on the weather that day, the favorite pastime in this country. Amused, the man or woman responds and starts chatting to me. Soon I have to reveal that my Dutch just cannot keep up. Then E starts in telling this stranger about her day and I am left trying to explain this line of conversation that has dropped totally out of the blue. I wonder what it will be like once Wiglet starts speaking. I really must work on my Dutch.

My husband is also a first born, also an extrovert. It is no wonder he and E clash heads. Wiglet and I laugh amongst ourselves at the two of them battling it out at the end of the table during dinner. Our oldest, E, refuses to try new food. It is really a principle for her, I think. A power struggle.

E demands attention. I have to make a real effort to train my attention on Wiglet as she rocks herself on all fours and begins crawling. I cheer her on and her face breaks into a smile, beaming with pride. Wiglet is a sneaky little thing too. She uses her older sister as a diversion to get into whatever piques her curiosity at the moment. When you catch her at it, she just turns on a surprised smile. Maybe I am reading too much into it, though.

Here are photos of me as a baby and one of Wiglet taken last week. You be the judge.