Catching up

by karoline on September 30, 2015

half birthdayIt has been ages since I last posted.  In fact, this little one wasn’t even born yet.  Let’s just say she has been keeping me busy.  It was a fun but exhausting 6 months.  To celebrate that she has finally started sleeping a bit, I collected a few pics of the work that I have been able to eek out in between nursing sessions, diaper changes, and endless snuggles.  We started out slow, but each month I get a little bit of time back to myself.  Wouldn’t trade it for the world, though.  She’s worth every bit of chaos!

celebration cupcakes


To celebrate my mom’s birthday, we ordered in (baby was only a month old), but we did have home made dessert.  I was super excited about my new found ability to wrap the baby in the Moby and bake while she slept on my chest.  The vibrant blue frosting had been in the freezer since O’s cookie monster birthday party.

patriotic cupcakes

Memorial Day saw a return of the last of the blue frosting and a simple patriotic decoration.

chocolate cake with strawberries

We picked our own strawberries in Indiana and cooked them in a compote for this decadent chocolate bundt cake.

raspberry muffin

More baking with fruit during berry season: oversize raspberry muffins with crumb topping.

red white and blue bundt cake

O helped me put together this patriotic bundt for my dad’s firecracker birthday.  It was a bit tacky but oh so fun.

4th of july pullapart flag cupcakes

Our good friends hosted a farewell party before their big move, and we thought this pull apart cupcake flag made the perfect addition to their July third fest.

ice cream pie

I scream, you scream. We all scream for ice cream PIE.

almond scones

Stone fruit season brought these gorgeous almond scones.

naked cake

We served this version of the trendy naked cake at our daughter’s blessing ceremony.  These are often used in rustic or DIY weddings.  We weren’t having a wedding, but the occasion seemed just as momentous.  I love the simplicity of the crumb cake look with fresh flowers.  And, to be perfectly honest, it was the ease of assembly that appealed to me since that’s about all I could manage with the little ones underfoot.

I’m eager to do more baking and blogging as the year goes on.  Birthday and smash cake season will be here before I know it!

{ 1 comment }

Bare belly shot

by karoline on March 4, 2015

bare belly maternity photo

One of the perks of living with my brother is that he was once a photography student, and he is always at the ready when I get some cockamamie idea for a photo shoot.  Nearing the end of this (read: my last) pregnancy, I am eager to document every moment.  Someone once told me to be sure to take pictures of your bare belly so that you can remember just how enlarged you really were.  I took this to the extreme when I was pregnant with our first and did a nude maternity shoot with a professional who was looking to expand her portfolio and therefore offering a free session for willing nude models.  Boy, was that ever an experience.  This time, given that my brother was the photog and I don’t really feel the need to relive that naked modeling experience, I chose something more simple but equally as striking.  A quick Pinterest search brought up photos of bare bellies on dark backgrounds shot in black & white with only the color of the bow illuminated.  I found a black outfit, dug up a pink ribbon that was thankfully long enough to make it all the way around my enormous girth, and taped a large sheet of black paper to the wall.  Using only the natural light from our bay window, my brother was able to capture this moment perfectly.  He is a whiz with Photoshop and provided me with this image in only a few minutes.  It is, by far, my favorite belly shot.  And fitting as my little girl will be born just in time for my birthday.  She is the best gift I have ever and will ever receive.


Winter styling

by karoline on March 2, 2015

pear poundcakeAs I write this, I am 15 days shy of delivering my miracle baby.  I’ve completed all of my work assignments, packed my bags, washed the clothes, finished the nursery, etc, etc.  We are ready.  So, I took a moment to look back on a few of the projects that I finished before signing off for my unofficial maternity leave.  This pear pound cake was not only moist but rich and decadent with swirls of caramel throughout and juicy pears interspersed.  But, it is the photo I love the most.  It reminds me of a Renaissance still life, and I think I just might print a copy for my dining room.  Through the light, you can tell it is winter, yet the picture gives off warm and comforting vibes: all the great feelings of winter without the dreariness and the dread of the never-ending snow and cold.  It’s why we should all bake more often — to soothe our souls and our minds.

apricot glazed chicken drumettes

This photo was part of a spread on snacks for Superbowl Sunday (go Patriots!).  I love the convergence of the turquoise plate and the orange glaze.  I don’t really eat wings, but this looks oh-so-inviting.

pear ginger crisp

This pear crisp reminded me why sweets are my favorite type of foods to shoot.  There is something inevitably beautiful about even the most simple of baked goods that just isn’t present in a photo of a savory dish.  That said, summer’s finest tomatoes do make for a stunning shot.  Oh, summer, please come soon.

pavlova with figs

This pavlova gave me hell during recipe testing, but the end result was gorgeous.  I would prefer a fresh fruit option for its aesthetic appeal, but I completely understand the choice of dried figs given the season.  They do make for a more mature dessert, perfect for you and a loved one.

seven layer dip

This is a modern take on the old-school 7 layer dip.  We subbed out refried beans and zipped up sauces with fresh guacamole and cumin-scented yogurt.  The results are decadent.  Feel free to double, triple and quadruple dip when using individual glasses for serving.

Signing off for now to finish baking this bun in my oven, but I will be back with more fun projects in no time.  I’ve already been sneaking peaks at Pinterest for newborn photography as well as rainbow smash cakes for a potential St. Patty’s Day first birthday party…I just can’t help myself!


A sprinkle shower of my very own

by karoline on February 8, 2015

pink cupcakes for baby girl sprinkle showerMy very excellent mother, with the help of a dear friend of mine, threw me the most fabulous little sprinkle of a shower to celebrate and welcome our 2nd baby girl.  The woman is amazing.  She can throw a perfect party without even a glance at Pinterest.  Mom indulged my request to finally just “show up as a guest without doing all the work.”  Still, I insisted that I bring the sweets.  It’s amazing how much pleasure can be derived from making a simple batch of cupcakes when you only have to make a couple dozen.  I special ordered a mix of pink, brown and white sprinkles to match our nursery decor and top off these chocolate cupcakes with pink vanilla buttercream.

sprinkle  shower

It felt a little excessive and indulgent to throw a mini baby shower for our 2nd girl, but the truth is that when you had to work as hard as we did to get here, you want to celebrate each and every moment.  An enormous thank you to all that came to be with us and sprinkled me with such generosity.  I am overwhelmed and feel so very loved…just like this precious baby whom I CANNOT wait to meet.


Pinterest-worth belly shots

by karoline on February 2, 2015

maternity photoWhen you work as hard as we did to get pregnant, you savor every second of it.  For me, a good part of that savoring is photo-documenting the miraculous changes happening in my body.  I am not one of those women who worries that I am fat or not looking my best.  In fact, I feel more beautiful as a pregnant woman than I ever have before.  Every glance down at my ever-expanding belly puts a smile on my face, reminding me that we are the lucky ones- those folks who walked the journey of infertility and will (hopefully) emerge with a healthy baby girl in only a few short weeks.

maternity photo with ultrasound pic

During my first pregnancy, I was careful to also document my growth, knowing that it might be my only pregnancy.  Budgets and knowledge were different for us then.  So, I had no idea it was possible to hire a pro to take some maternity shots.  This time, we hired  Stephanie of Bright Eye Photography to shoot my belly bump along with our annual family holiday pic.

maternity photo with big sister

The photos were even more fun since we got to involve our daughter.

maternity photo with big sister

Her favorite game is playing doctor, which became an adorable moment to capture.  Who better to check on than her little sister?

big sis, lil sis maternity photo

She is SO excited about the pending arrival of her little sister.

black and white maternity photo

This was my favorite photo from our shoot.  It makes me chuckle every time, and I LOVE that maternity jeans and toddler jeans both have navy blue elastic waistbands!

winter maternity photos

Lucky for me, my bump was big enough to shoot at only 20 weeks, but as the weeks go by, there are more opportunities to take gorgeous photos.  Sometimes, you don’t need a pro –  just need a willing mother and brother (who are both pretty big photography buffs) and a neighbor with a row of snow laden trees.

maternity photos in the snow

We braved the cold, the blowing wind, and the knee-deep snow to get a few outdoor shots during the first blizzard of 2015.

snow maternity pictures

We looked at lots of inspirational shots on Pinterest, and it seemed that to get the best photo, you had to shoot on location in Yosemite – or someplace else equally grandiose and pristine.  With the right framing and cropping, we were able to make it appear as if we were out in the vast wilderness, when in reality, we were just standing in my neighbor’s back yard.

belly bump photos in the snow

With all that snow, I was thankful to be only 8 months along, instead of 9 or 10.  No blizzard babies, please!


C is for Cookie

by karoline on January 29, 2015

cookie monster cupcakesI CANNOT believe my little girl is 3 already.  There is nothing like a birthday to remind you that, “the days are long, but the years are short.”  Last February, shortly after her Tea for Two party, O decided that she wanted a cookie monster party for her 3rd birthday.  Much to the surprise of many of my friends, she adamantly stuck with her request for the whole year, and we did indeed have a very successful cookie monster party.

pink monster cupcake

The girl is still OBSESSED with pink.  So, when it became clear that her cookie monster party was going to be a “blue” party, she got a bit distressed.  Our compromise was that she could have her very own, special, PINK monster cupcake, but all of the other details were going to match our furry blue friend.

cookie monster dessert buffet

In addition to cupcakes, we made a variety of cookies to send home as favors: chocolate chip cookies that were baked instead with blue M&Ms, spritz cookies with blue sprinkles, Aunt Carol’s famous oatmeal raisin cookies with blue sprinkles, and O’s favorite – “C is for Cookie” iced shortbread cookies.

cookie monster balloon wreath

One of the ways I was able to tighten the budget on this party was to reuse items from past parties.  This balloon wreath was originally from my friend, Kelsea’s, sprinkle.  I simply removed the “It’s a Boy!” ribbons and added cookies and monsters.

cookie banner

I already had these blue papers on hand from my mom’s “When I’m 64” banner.  I was even able to use some of the pre-cut pendants.  To match the cookie theme, I found this free printable cookie and used it many places throughout the party.

cookie guess

This was one of the 3 games we had.  I was shocked when my brother guessed the exact number correctly!

cookie toss game

Once again, I converted our bean bag game into a party game.  I jokingly called this one “Toss your Cookies!”  It was a blast.  2 of the partygoers had 3 shootouts to determine a winner.  In the end, we were anxious for cake, and they both ended up getting prizes.

pin the cookie

Pin the cookie was equally as adorable, but some of the younger revelers were hesitant to put on a bandana.

custom cookie monster stickers

Etsy was again a part of my undoing, as I could not resist little details like these custom stickers on the favor bags.

As much as it pained me not to order the blue cookie monster tutu set, I was able to restrain myself and go with a blue party dress and cookie monster barrettes (again from Etsy).  The birthday girl was thrilled, and she got exactly what she “NEEDED” to complete her collections.

I’m already looking forward to next year!

For more great party ideas, check out my board on Pinterest.


A rainbow celebration for a sweet girl’s 1st birthday

January 10, 2015

A little while back, I proclaimed to be done with baking until after we have settled into the chaos of being parents to 2 wild and crazy girls, but my friend Brandy (of made me such a great offer that I couldn’t refuse.  She is the ideal baking “client” as she made very few […]

Read the full article →

It’s the most wonderful (busy) time of year

December 17, 2014

With a bun in the oven and a high-maintenance toddler, things have been even busier this holiday season than they have in years past.  That said, next year promises to be even busier!  Instead of making proper posts on all that we have been up to, I’ve chosen a few of the highlights and put […]

Read the full article →

Fish cupcakes

October 26, 2014

Along the way of our journey with infertility, I met a truly special person.  Sara, the former leader of my RESOLVE infertility support group, became an instant lifesaver for me.  We first bonded over the fact that we both were able to successfully conceive and deliver a healthy baby girl but then really struggled to […]

Read the full article →