The Very Hungry Caterpillar Birthday Cupcakes

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For my little guy’s birthday I made cupcakes for him and his little daycare buddies.  I went with the “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” theme.  I love how it turned out.  Because his daycare group is made up of babies and toddlers, I made “baby” cupcakes using the Applesauce Spice Cake recipe from Wholesome Baby Food.  For the frosting I  followed their Banana Glaze recipe.  The cupcakes were a hit. For the cupcake toppers I used Microsoft Word, google images search “Hungry Caterpillar”, circle hole punches from Michaels, and glued each to toothpicks.

The recipes were adapted from the recipes on Wholesome Baby Food

Applesauce Spice Cake 

3 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 1/4 cup frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 Macintosh apples – peeled, cored and finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour one 9 inch square baking pan.

Beat the eggs until they drop like ribbons from the beaters. Continue beating and add the oil in a thin stream. Beat in the 1 cup applesauce and the 1 cup unsweetened apple juice concentrate then mix in the flour gradually until well blended. Add the baking soda, ground ginger, ground almonds and apples. Fold together until well mixed.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees F about 40 minutes or until the cake tests clean with a knife or toothpick. Cool completely before frosting.

Banana Glaze

1/2 med. banana
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 or more c. powdered sugar

Mash banana well add lemon juice. Gradually add powdered sugar until you obtain right spreading consistency. Ice cake after completely cool.

 What did you do for your little one’s first birthday?


A New Year a New Planner

As a teacher, I am constantly on the lookout for the perfect yearly/monthly/weekly planner.  I thought I had found a pretty good one.  It was simple, had a good amount of space for my lesson plans and daily class agendas, but was missing one major component CUTENESS.  It was such a boring looking planbook with a plain gray cover and more gray to be found inside.  It lacked all the things I loved-color, modern font, a cute cover.

Then, while strolling through the Target aisles, I found it, the cutest planbook! It is made by Greenroom.  The only MAJOR downfall of this planner is it starts in January and ends in December. I need an academic planner that is from August to August, but, despite this drawback I couldn’t resist and purchased it.

Here are some pictures of my new planbook.  I am so excited about it, dare I even say, I am looking forward to going back to work tomorrow and looking at what is in store for the rest of the school year.

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Baby I Don’t Wanna Cry

Today was the beginning of the new school year.  My little guy had a big day too. It was his first day at daycare.  Both he and I cried (a lot).

I made this music mixtape to both acknowledge and have a little fun with how I am feeling.  It is called, “Baby I don’t wanna cry” and each song is about crying.

For the other moms out there what was your  experience dropping baby off at a caretaker for the first time?  How did you handle it?

Breastmilk Donation

I have been meaning to write this post for awhile now.  When I returned to work after maternity leave, I found that I had excessive lipase in my breastmilk.  The result was soapy sour like milk that my little guy refused to take.  After some research I learned how to treat the breastmilk so he would take it.  I have a post about it here.

Upon finding out that my little guy wouldn’t take the milk, I was sad at the thought of the milk going to waste.  I did some research about breastmilk donation and found that despite the excessive lipase, human milk donation centers will happily accept it.  Turns out babies in the intensive care unit get the milk through a feeding tube and won’t be bothered by the change of texture and smell.

After completing some paperwork, I am happy to report that in early June I dropped off the milk at a local hospital.  For those of you considering donating your breastmilk, I encourage you to.  It is pretty rewarding knowing you’re providing for a baby in need.


Dealing with excessive lipase

For many of the working moms out there, I am sure you would agree that the last week of maternity leave is pretty emotional. To add to an already rough week my little guy was refusing to take the milk I had stockpiled in the freezer. It turns out I have an excess lipase issue that causes my expressed milk to smell and taste soapy and rancid after just a few days. Learning this left me concerned, confused and frustrated.

Luckily, I found several great resources on excess lipase. A resource I often turn to for breastfeeding issues is Kelly Mom. There is a helpful article about how to scald and store milk that has too much lipase here. According to the resources I found, some babies will still take it, but my little guy refused. I joke that he’s too much of a foodie to settle for my excess lipase milk. So I spent that last week before returning to work frustrated and disappointed. It was unfortunate that I had use my free moments pumping and scalding breastmilk, when I would much rather enjoy my last days of maternity leave with my little guy. Fortunately, my supportive hubby was there for me every step of the way.

For those of you who are experiencing the excess lipase issue here is how I have been dealing with it.

Step 1: Identify the problem

Before resorting to the extra step of scalding the milk, I had to first figure out if excess lipase was really my issue. To test my milk I divided my pumped milk into two containers. One of the containers was then labeled with the date, time, and the word “unscalded”. For the other container, I went through the process of scalding the milk and then labeled it with the date, time and the word “scalded”. I then kept a notepad near the refrigerator to taste test the two containers of milk. I made a T chart with one side labeled “unscalded” and the other “scalded”. I tested both containers every few hours and would write “ok” if the milk still tasted and smelled ok and wrote “no” when I knew my little guy would no longer take it. My unscalded milk smelled soapy and rancid by the end of the second day, while my scalded milk lasted four days. Based on my test, I did have excess lipase.

Step 2: Pumping breastmilk

When I returned to work, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to scald my milk right away. I learned that scalding it when I got home from work was fine. That was a major relief. My advice for anyone with excess lipase would be to store your milk in a fridge rather than relying on an ice pack. It kept ‘fresher’ longer.

Step 3: Scalding the milk

I think this is the trickiest of all the steps. To scald the milk pour your milk into a saucepan and turn the heat up to high. Watch the milk carefully. Once the milk along the sides of the saucepan start to bubble immediately take the saucepan off the heat and pour the milk into a glass container.

Step 4: Cool the scalded milk

To quickly cool the scalded milk I put the glass jar of milk into a bowl of ice water. I would let the jar sit for about five minutes.

Step 5: Transfer the milk into the bottles to be refrigerated or frozen

After about five minutes of leaving the milk to cool in ice water, I would transfer it to the bottles for feeding the next day. I found that even with scalding the milk, my frozen milk still had a soapy consistency. I did my best to avoid frozen milk even if it meant some days we would have too much milk and eventually have to pour it down the drain.

There you have it, how to deal with excess lipase. Don’t you think going back to work is already enough of an emotional rollercoaster? It was a tough week for me, but thanks to online resources I was able to get through it and know that while at work I was still able to breastfeed my little guy. Hopefully this post will help any other parents out there going through similar issues. For new moms out there, breastfeeding is hard, but worth it in so many ways. This was one of several occasions I considered formula but am glad I stuck with it. What issues did you have with breastfeeding? What was the result?

Now, what about my freezer stockpiled with over 100 ounces of breastmilk? Stay tuned.