#MicroblogMonday – Summer’s over, back to the grind

Summer’s over, August is almost over and we are almost three quarter’s of the way through 2018. WHERE has this year gone!? Seriously.

Tadbit turned 3 (much) earlier this year. She’s funny, stubborn, independent, sweet and everything rolled into one bundle of energy. Mr Siili often remarks/asks if this is what I was like at this age. I don’t know whether to laugh or groan. We chopped her hair off in June. We are all much happier about it. For Tadbit, she hated hated hated having her hair brushed. I disliked the fight over brushing hair. And she’s pretty cute with her short hair. Even if many others thought she was a boy because of her short hair and non-pink clothes. Whatever.

Paxlet is 5 and soon to be a teen on Thursday. Some days…it seems like all we do is fight. I know I was like this with my mom around this age. Pay back is a bitch sometimes. Paxlet started preschool/kindergarten. (Yes, kids don’t start 1st grade until the year they turn 7.) He loves it! I have no worries that he will do just fine in school.

Do you remember my multiple posts the last couple of years about my kids not speaking in English and would they ever learn to speak English? It has finally happened!!! You all saw that coming, didn’t you?
We visited my family in the US in May and the kids’ language skills have just exploded! Paxlet had started to speak a bit to me in English before the trip, but during and after, he mostly speaks to me in English. He has even switched from Finnish to English, mid-sentence when he realizes he is speaking to me and not Mr Siili. There are some words he’s not sure of, but if he asks about them or says them in Finnish, I’ll repeat them or make sure to use them in my reply. Tadbit uses English now, but still a lot of Finnish also. What’s funny/cute is that she throws in Finnish words while she is talking to me as if she hasn’t switched languages at all. We’re not sure she notices the differences between the two languages fully. I love that my kids are speaking more English. And relieved my fears have been proved wrong.

I’m still doing Parkrun. I ran a new personal best this last Saturday of 32:44. That beat my old time by 2 minutes! I give credit to my running partner. She helped me keep a steady pace and to not walk even when I would have, if I had been on my own. My goal is to run 50 parkruns before October 2019. I don’t think it will be that difficult to do 29 more runs in a little over a year.
I’ll will also start an 8 week FitCamp program next week. I’m aiming to lose a couple of kilos and hopefully learn something new about nutrition that I can use in my daily life. I feel like I am slowly getting some of me back!

This summer was a hot hot one! By hot, I mean it was over 26C (78,8F) and many days closer to 30C (86F) for over 50 days. The last time it was remotely this hot for this long was in the 1940s. It was a humid too. We all just about died. LOL. I enjoyed it as much as I could, but I was more comfortable when it was closer to 20C (70F) again. Fall is definitely on its way. The mornings need a jacket and afternoons only a t-shirt.

As summer is over, we’re all back at work, daycare or school. This year is the first that our kids are going to two different places in the morning. Tadbit has a new daycare lady, which is 1km (0,6mi) away (compared to the 2 minute walk we had previous years). And Paxlet’s school is right in the middle of that distance. We’re finding a new rhythm to mornings and afternoons. I’ve also started working 6 hours days instead of 5 hours, which is taking time for me to get used to also.

How was your summer? Is life treating you well?

MicroblogMonday For more microposts, go visit Mel’s post at Stirrup Queens.

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Blast from the past: Cabbage Patch Kids


These are my Cabbage Patch kids! There are many emotions tied to them.

My dad climbed into the attic and dug them out for me. I’m so excited to see them and know that they are in great condition. I always knew they were there, but I never really had any need of them until my Tadbit came along and loves dollies (and Lightning McQueen, Olfa, Anna, Elsa, cats, cows, etc). I can’t wait until we go to the US next year.

Charlie Caleb is on the left. His name was Charlie Randy, but I didn’t like how it sounded with my last name, so I sent in his birth certificate to get it officially changed. Charlie is fe-male. It depended on my mood and what I dressed them/it up in. Those are it’s original clothes (and shoes I think).

Heidi was made by my mom. I didn’t appreciate her (the doll and my  mom) enough when I was younger, but my heart aches with love now at how much my mom loved me.

#MicroblogMonday – Remembering

Thanksgiving is this Thursday. Some years, it sneaks up on me and others I am very much aware of it. It’s what happens when a holiday isn’t celebrated where you live (and you’ve been away from country for the holiday for most of 17 years). I think this year it has mostly sneaked* up on me. I mean, I knew Thanksgiving was coming, but I didn’t really start feeling it until just the other day and especially last night.

The night before Thanksgiving is when my grandma died. I was 14. I had wanted to stay the night at a friend’s house that night, but my mom wouldn’t let me. But that next morning she said I could go to my friends. I thought it strange, but being 14, I didn’t think about it much further. Until that evening after the Thanksgiving festivities had ended and my mom told us the news. We ended up leaving to my grandparents house the next day.

I remember that I didn’t have my school work with me. We were reading Great Expectations in English class. I remember Perrin (4 years older than me) taking me and my siblings to a truck stop for hot chocolate while we were in my grandparents’ hometown. He had taught me how to play pool that summer. And I had a huge 14 year old girl crush on him. (It would never ever be anything more, because he was a proper Mormon boy.) I remember seeing my grandmother in her open casket. It was her, but it wasn’t. It was also the first (and only?) time I’ve seen a dead person. I remember the dress I wore to the funeral: the same turquoise dress I wore to my 8th grade dance. (My grandmother wouldn’t have wanted me to be sad and wear black my mom told me.) I remember the last conversation I had with my grandma. She was telling me that she might get her ears pierced.

I remember.

 

*Sneaked is a correct past tense form of snuck, I googled it.

MicroblogMonday For more microposts, go visit Mel’s post at Stirrup Queens.

US Election 2016 results

I’m feeling a bit sick to my stomach and at a loss for words.

I think Obama said it best with “…the sun will rise in the morning…”, however I am a bit less optimistic about the second half of the sentence: “and America will still be the greatest nation on Earth.”

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Debbie Gibson’s Electric Youth perfume

A couple of weeks ago, a co-worker and I were discussing smells. Particularly, perfumes. I said how I used to be able to wear perfume and essential oils, but these days I have become like my mom and I am extremely sensitive to smells. Many perfumes, hand lotions and fragrances actually make me ill if I have to be around them. I get a runny nose, headache, itchy-fevery eyes, which just makes for an over all yuck feeling. I have had to ask Christmas flowers to be taken out of the office and co-workers to not use a certain hand lotions or perfumes. I feel bad asking this, but if I don’t I feel physically ill.

All of this led me to remember Debbie Gibson’s Electric Youth perfume that I got for Christmas one year. (Anyone else?) I loved that perfume! At least I think I loved it. Or maybe it was that my friends also had it and it was popular at the time. I grew out of it and I think I ended up tossing the last bit of it out. Years later, my mom reminded me of my love for it and how she couldn’t stand it. To her, it smelled like cat piss. Thanks mom! I’m thankful she didn’t tell me that at the time, I know I wouldn’t have handled it well.

Did you ever have Electric Youth or some other celebrity’s perfume?

MicroblogMonday For more microposts, go visit Mel’s post at Stirrup Queens.

Chewie Gooey Brownie Cake update and lots of pictures

So, it took me a few days to get the rest of these pictures up. Friday was spent all day with the kids and once the kids were in bed, I baked a Muzzy’s Cheesecake and cleaned. Then all of Saturday was spent cleaning more and having a party.

Here are the finished cakes! Chewie Gooey Brownie Cake on the left and Muzzy’s Cheesecake on the right.
I’m going to get the cheesecake recipe typed up as soon as I can and posted here. I’ve promised it to a couple of friends.
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And both cakes cut.
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When I was young, my dad made me this redwood desk. I used it a lot, the scratches on the surface prove that. And now my dad has mailed it to me for my birthday!!! I was totally shocked when I opened the package they sent and saw this. I love my dad.
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And this is all the stuff that was inside of it. Plus a Chutes and Ladders game that isn’t shown. We have enough balloons to last us a lifetime.
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My lovely friends gave me these beautiful flowers.
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The end of summer, for us and well, mostly all of Finland, wouldn’t be complete without a “bit” of rain. Paxlet thoroughly enjoyed playing in the downpour.
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Tomorrow is my first day back at work since the end of February 2015. That’s 1 year and 5 months away from work. Not long enough! I feel like my grumblings about having/getting to go back to work sound ungrateful. Especially when I am constantly aware of how short the time is in the US. I also know some people don’t have a job to go back to. I am so incredibly thankful for the time I have had to be home with my kids.

4-0h and Chewie Gooey Brownie Cake

Updated with pictures at the bottom.

It was (still is for another hour) my birthday today. Mostly, it was a day like any other day: taking care of kids, food shopping, cooking, cleaning and eventually getting the kids to bed. Aaah! Silence. Evening silence is always nice.

I received the best gifts this year. Mr Siili bought me a new-to-me laptop. It was a complete surprise. I was happily plugging along with my very slow laptop. This former business-owned laptop is insanely fast! I got to test it out the last couple of nights, but Mr Siili and the kids wrapped it up this morning and made me a card to go with it. Paxlet covered it with stickers and wrote his own name. Tadbit even drew on it a bit.
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Also, I received a package from my family last night. In the package was the redwood desk my dad made me when I was a little girl. Oh my goodness! I love it and am so happy to have it here. I’ll take pictures of it and post them soon.

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During this evening’s peaceful silence, I’m baking a Chewy Gooey Brownie Cake for my “party” on Saturday. This cake, if you can really call it a cake, is everything the title says and more. It is a dense, chocolatey, gooey heaven with a cream cheese like layer on top. I remember when I first tasted this at GCC, the coffee house where I worked at when I was younger. I didn’t try it for a long time because there is nuts in it. I don’t do nuts. Not in my Banana Nut Bread nor my Chocolate Chip Cookies. But this, it works! And nuts aren’t so bad in the other two recipes either, just if I have the choice when baking them, I leave the nuts out.

Here’s the crust (right) and filling already prepared and the spring form pan waiting to be assembled.
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I have taken to doubling the topping (filling) because it is yummy! And in my opinion, there’s not enough of it as the recipe calls for. Here you can see some of the crust drowning peeking out from under the topping. When a regular amount of the topping is made, you want to spread the topping close to the edge, but not quite going over it or touching the sides. Once baked and cooled, it creates a pretty edge/rim.
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The cake is still in the oven. I hope to post finished pictures soon/tomorrow. In the meantime, here’s the recipe below.

Chewie Gooey Brownie Cake

Bake at 350F (325F) for 60-65 minutes
Use a toothpick to check for done-ness. The toothpick will come out clean when done.

Use a 9″ spring form pan. Put a layer of baking paper on the bottom of the pan. Cool the cake when done. Remember to remove the wax paper before putting it in the fridge to chill.

Crust:
Mix:
1 cup (8oz / 225g) melted butter
4 squares melted unsweetened chocolate (12 tablespoons baking cocoa + 4 tablespoons butter)
Beat in:
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
Stir in:
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans)

Filling: (I usually double this.)
Beat until fluffy:
8oz (230g) soft cream cheese
Add and beat 2 minutes:
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Drop large spoonfuls on top of the chocolate layer. Use a knife to lightly score, in a crisscross pattern. (I don’t do this when I double the filing.)

Topping:
Mix together and cover the top of the cake and drizzle some drips down the side:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon baking cocoa
1 tablespoon butter
1-2 tablespoons boiling water
Sprinkle 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (pecans) on top

Update: here’s the finished cake on the left.
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And it cut:

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