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  • Donut muffins

    Speaking of recipes you have to make...

    I found this recipe for donut muffins on Red Tricycle and I knew I had to try it. I first had one of these scrumptious breakfast desserts at Bette's Diner in Berkeley and I immediately fell in love. The muffin itself is pretty plain, but then it's dipped in butter and rolled in cinnamon sugar (a la Bubble Bread), which sends it over the top.

    The only thing I changed was to scale back the cinnamon to a teaspoon instead of a tablespoon. I feel like people have a compulsion to add too much cinnamon to recipes. Or maybe it's just me. But I thought the batch of muffins I made turned out perfectly and they were gone in a flash!

  • Biscuit donuts

    Um, why did no one tell me about the wonderfulness that is a biscuit donut?

    I learned about them on the Say Yes blog and couldn't believe I'd never tried them before. Basically all you do is crack open a can of biscuit dough, stamp out the middles, fry the donuts in oil and roll them in cinnamon sugar.

    They come out remarkably similar to donuts you would buy in a store. They remind me a lot of the cider donuts you get when you go apple picking.

    It does take a pretty large amount of oil for frying, but you can actually save it an reuse it another time. Because you will be making these again.

    I am a lazy cook, so I did not use a thermometer to figure out how hot the oil was. When it seemed like the donuts were cooking too fast, I turned down the burner a little bit. That seemed to work fine. They got brown and crispy really quickly, so it didn't take long to make a batch of 8 plus the donut holes. Harper ate most of those and we ate the whole ones. Perfect!

    This was sort of the opposite of the breakfast baking I did the weekend before. I have been determined for a long time to find a yeast cinnamon roll recipe that was worth all the effort. I've tried 3 times, I think, and they were never good enough. I mean, how can a cinnamon roll that takes 3 hours to make be just OK?

    But I finally found THE recipe. I think it came up on Pinterest and it just looked too good not to try. One morning I actually had energy so I got to work. I had to be at the store later that morning so I ended up taking some shortcuts and the recipe still turned out fine. For the first rise, I probably gave it 40 minutes instead of an hour. Then I think I shortened the second rise a little too. The dough was very sticky, but it rolled out just fine.

    I made some other changes too. I used all butter instead of margarine because I am a butter girl. My yeast was expired but that didn't seem to matter either. And then I probably used 1 tablespoon of cinnamon instead of 3. That seemed like plenty to me.

    The cream cheese icing seemed like it was too sugary and not cream cheesy enough. But then later it seemed fine, so maybe it just needed to meld a little more.

    I couldn't make this recipe everyday (and definitely shouldn't!) but I will keep it on file for special occasions. It is everything you want from a cinnamon roll — soft, crumbly bread with a gooey center and melty frosting on top. And at least when you make these at home you know what's in them.

  • Max 7-9 months and Harper 3.5

    I had to take this picture to document the fact that prior to this I had left him sitting on the floor on the other side of the room. Apparently he can pull himself to standing and push his little play table several feet.

    At 9 months, Max is doing a lot of the same things Harper was at that age.

    Yup, that was Harper!

    He can balance standing up as long as he's holding onto something.

    He really likes to be walked around the house. He doesn't quite crawl, but he seems close to crab crawling with one leg out the way Harper did.

    For a while I had him rigged up in the Jenny Jump Up so that he could stand at the table, but he already doesn't need it.

    We learned the hard way that you can't leave him on a couch or bed anymore. He will totally roll off (head first, of course).

    7 months.

    8 months.

    It seems strange to say, but the last 3 months have been much harder than the previous 3. I think it's mostly because of teeth. Max has 6 now, and every time he gets a new one, he is miserable and sleepless.

    That picture pretty much sums up how I've felt lately — tiiired.

    Then a few weeks ago, we all got sick, but Max got it the worst. He had a fever for like 4 days, and he couldn't sleep for being so stuffed up. And we just could not get his sleep on track after that.

    He was so tired he fell asleep playing with toys.

    Fortunately, we accomplished a couple of things after that. We got a second car (an electric Leaf!) and I found a daycare for Max. I'm not sure if it's related to his daycare provider or not, but he's been sleeping most of the night ever since.

    So we have our happy Max back, and it's great.

    The biggest thing that happened over the last 3 months, though, was our vacation to Portland and Seattle. Traveling with two little kids was tough, but they did great on their flights.

    The hardest part was lugging around all the stuff (stroller, 2 carseats, luggage, diaper bag, etc.). And then traveling between the two cities, which took WAY longer than we had anticipated.

    We did get some family photos, which was nice.

    This one, from a Portland breakfast spot, is my favorite.

    This one kind of sums up the chaos of our trip.

    We stayed at Air BnBs, which worked out great. Plus, I got two blissful days of wandering around Portland while the kids had free daycare from Mike's conference.

    Still dreaming about Blue Star Donuts.

    We took a break for a mall carousel.

    Max loves playing in the grass.

    One of the best things we got to do was meet up with an old friend from Kansas and ride on her family's boat. They took us around Lake Union in Seattle, which was just unbelievably beautiful.

    Harper was a little scared, but she did great.

    We tried to do the public market in Seattle, but it was too crazy crowded.

    Instead we headed to Discovery Park for a hike.

    This picture is so Harper — all dirt and shin bruises.

    On our last day we took the kids to Alki Beach and we got some great photos of them playing in the sand together.

    They still get along really well. These pictures of them with Harper's Soccer Shots headband crack me up.

    Grammie came to visit for a couple weeks, which was so nice.

    We are planning TWO trips to visit family for the holidays, so it will be fun to see everyone we've missed.

    I've been super busy and stressed from all the knitting orders that have come in, but it's kind of par for the course.

    My boss is opening another store in Breckenridge, so I am making a whole bunch of items for that.

    We did have a nice respite at a local beach we found. There are so few really quiet places around, so we'll have to remember this one.

    This time with two little kids can be really brutal some days. But I also feel this sense of fulfillment I never have before. It's not perfect, but I have so many of the things I always wanted. And especially now that we have the house pretty much finished and I'm back to work, it's easier to appreciate it all.

    I love this picture. Oh, to be 3 again.

    As Harper gets closer to 4, I think she's calming down a little. She's learning how to spell and how to communicate better, and she says the most adorable things like, "mommy, you're my best friend."

    Harper's taking yoga and I bought a jogging stroller so I can run. Hopefully if Max keeps sleeping well we can all come out of the haze and feel normal again. I have some new products, including these adorable crowns.

    I should have more to share soon!