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I hope you all had a great New Year.  We kept it mellow after flying home from our Christmas holiday in Texas.  Like every year since Oliver came along, it went by in a blur.   But a lot of amazing things did happen.  Oliver’s speech has blown up. It’s amazing to have a somewhat of a conversation with him.

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Oliver is fully potty-trained, no diapers at all!!! Not even at night. I should pat myself on the back for this, but really Oliver did this all on his own!!!

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Meme came out to celebrate Easter with us.

 

I took my first girls trip since Oliver was born to celebrate all our 40th birthdays.  We had such a great time that we may make this an annual trip.

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Love all these ladies something special.

Oliver turned two and I can’t believe as I’m writing this he is two and half.  We had a small brunch for him in the park.  The plan for his third birthday is a trip to Hawaii for us three, lets hope this will happen.

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Oliver learning how to echo in the toilet.

 

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Pops and Oliver building.

 

We had many visitors. Always both sets of grandparents come every year, but we also had visits from my brother Justin and his girlfriend Jen.  We went on a few brewery tours here in LA and in Santa Barbara, since Justin is about to open a brewery with this two good buddies in New Jersey.

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Jonathan’s brother David also came for a visit along with his wife Lo, daughters Leá, and Cloé.  We went the beach, Disney and a Halloween party, and my niece Leá looked at a UCLA and Cal Tech.  I met Leá when she was about 6, it’s crazy to think that she will be embarking off to college in a year and half.

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Jonathan’s parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.  They threw a huge party.  We all pitched in and made lots of fun and memorable things to surprise them with at the party.

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Then in August we went to New Jersey to spend a week at the beach with my whole family at the beach.  Even though I’m not that big of a beach person we always have a great time because Oliver really loves it.  Oliver went berry and nectarine picking with his cousin Audrey for the first time, and this he loved especially after because he got a pure fruit slushy after picking.

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Oliver and his cousin Audrey running around like monkeys our first night at the beach.

 

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Summertime buddies in NJ, Bella and Alex.

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I started school in September to receive a degree in psychology and if all goes the way we want to eventually get a masters in psychology to be a licensed family therapist.  This will take a lot of time but I’m excited for it all and I’m looking forward to reaching my goals.

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Oliver and his buddy Emerson playing in the water at Grand Park

In October we went to Albuquerque for the balloon fest.  This was like nothing I’ve ever seen before and lucky for Jonathan he was invited for a balloon ride from the french team with his dad. Truly memorable.

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Thanksgiving was spent with one of our favorite families, the Allison/Marrin crew.  We had such a great evening and even spent the night.

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Ho ho ho Santa with Audrey, Ian was there too, but clung to his mama as he knew what was waiting for him around the corner.

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My mom retired in December so Oliver and I went home to New Jersey to celebrate with her. Oliver also experienced his first time ice skating and I have to say I think he did really well for a two year old.

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The ladies at my mom’s retirement party….my sister Jocey, my mom, me, and Jen, my brother’s girlfriend (seester).

 

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We spent Christmas in Houston with my in-laws and siblings and others.  I think this was really the first year that Oliver understood Christmas and Santa.  We had a great time. It was 80 degrees most days. I’m not complaining.  Jonathan’s grandfather aka Pops moved from Katy, Texas to Fredericksburg, Texas, about three and half hours outside of Houston.  We spent a night up there so we could really spend sometime with him and the rest of the family.  Jonathan’s aunt Diane and uncle Paul live there, along with Jonathan’s cousin Monica her husband Jim and two of their three children. They all live on a big piece of property with three separate houses.  It’s great that Pops is surrounded by so much love!!!  Oliver really loved the fact that they had chickens, big dogs, and a golf cart to ride around in.

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radish and ricotta sandwiches on pumpernickel for our holiday party.

 

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Jonathan and I at our holiday party.

 

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Camille hosted a gingerbread house decorating party.

We ended our trip in Austin with our friends Billie and her husband Jonathan.  They have two kids Elliot and Oliver, and our Oliver is in between them both age wise, this was nice and they could play and watch movies together while the parents kicked back talked and enjoyed some wine.

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Enjoying some one on one with my love in Texas.

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Oliver enjoying his first hot chocolate.

And for the New Year we spent it eating pizza and drinking champagne in bed watching Tangled with Oliver.  We were invited to parties but had little to no energy once we got off the plane.

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Once we got home we settled back in to our habits and life continued the way it always did before.  I normally have a Sunday ritually of making pancakes, but since it was new years weekend I decided to make my moms famous french toast.  Actually it was requested.  We started the new year with warm heavenly french toast in our bellies and Oliver went on his first bike ride on his own bike.  I have a good feeling 2016 will filled with wonderful memories and new experiences for us all.

 

Baguette French Toast ingredients:

1 baguette sliced up on an angle

2 cups whole milk ( you can substitute whatever milk replacement you’d like)

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla, or 1 vanilla bean scraped

1/3 cup sugar (this optional, but it helps caramelize the outside of the bread)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

 

Directions for toast:

Slice up the bread on an angle and place in 9×11 baking sheet.  Mix the rest of the ingredients together and pour over the bread.  Make sure the bread is coated on both sides. Cover and place in the frig overnight. In the morning heat up your griddle or pan, place a tab of butter in the pan and fry up your toast.  It is heavenly, crispy on the outside and warm and soft on the inside.  Enjoy!!!

Sorry for the lack of posts these last few weeks, between school, holiday shopping and throwing our annual holiday party I had very little time on my hands.  We had an amazing care free holiday,  just what the doctor ordered.  And like every year we made a video of our trip.  Hope you all enjoy our family video.

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Halloween was a hit.  Oliver loved it, once he realized what was going on.  He followed his friends Lucy and Leo run from house to house with so much excitement, once I gave him a chocolate bar while trick or treating, he was more interested in sitting down and eating the rest of his candy.  But eventually he moved on.  He tired out pretty fast.  But interesting enough he didn’t ask for any candy the next day maybe its because we put his bucket up high, or maybe because I ate most of it on the ride home.  Damn these holidays….they are deadly.  But he did love the dress up aspect of it all.  We went to a Halloween party before going trick or treating that our friends put together, which was an awesome idea.  The kids all looked great in their costumes.  I look forward to next year when he can tell me what he wants to be.  I had an idea this year that he wanted to be Elsa, or Anna from Frozen, but next year he will be able to communicate to us what he wants.

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I’ve been testing out new recipes for the holidays, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.  I bought this book a while back and one thing I love about this book is that she categorizes her recipes by season.  I love the healthiness about this book and the food is clean and simple.  It should be a must in every household.  Especially the salads, they are heavenly and like nothing I’ve ever seen. Get this book!!!

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Ingredients for dough:

1 cup rye flour

1 cup flour

pinch of salt

1 1/4 sticks butter

2 Tablespoons light brown sugar

1 egg yolk

Ingredients for filling:

2 sweet crisp apples

juice of 1/2 lemon

finely grated zest of one orange

1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 1/2 cup berries

2/3 cup hazelnuts

Ingredients for glaze:

1 egg lightly beaten

1/4 cup sugar

 

Directions:

For the dough first sift together the flours, next add butter into cubed size, and salt.  Rub the butter and flour together until the butter is pea size.  Next add rub in sugar.  Next add the yolk and 2 teaspoons cold water.  It will be flaky.  Wrap together in disk and place in frig for an hour.

Will the dough is chilling you can start prepping your fruit.  Slice apples with out skin.  And berries to apples along with zest and lemon juice.  Next pulse your nuts, and then add brown sugar and pulse again.  Once the dough has chilled take it out.  Roll out your dough on floured surface.  I found this dough very hard to work with and she says you may have to piece it back together, I had to do this.  SO be patient with the dough:) Once it is rolled out place the dough on a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Place the nut mixture on the dough but leave about two inches from the edge.  Next add the fruit.  Fold over edges, and place in the freezer for 10 minutes.  At this point you should pre heat your oven to 340.  Once the galette has chilled for 10 minutes take it out.  Mix one egg and 2 Tablespoons sugar.  Brush this on the tart

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When I’m not raising my son, doing school work, or doing hobbies such as this, I still do a few hair clients.  I don’t really look at this as work because these are clients I have had for 10 to 15 years, so it’s more like hanging out with an old friend.  I really like doing clients on Saturdays because I have time to listen to programs on KCRW.  One of my favorite shows to listen to is Evan Kleiman.  She has a way of talking about food that you want to hang her with basically all the time, the topics she chooses to talk about are cool and sometimes unheard of, or she will interview someone and it will stick with you all weekend, haunting you in a way.  I was lucky enough to hear her interview Claire Ptak, from a little bakery in London called Violet Bakery.   Claire talked about using different flours for baking.  And how she goes about doing that is bringing out the flavor of the flour and not masking the flavor of the flour.  She talked about these chocolate brownies that she made with rye flour.  Well I will tell you as soon a I heard that I was more than excited and could not wait to get in the kitchen to make these.  So much so that the second I got home I order her book.  It is lovely and must buy for anyone who loves to bake.  And these brownies are to die for.  They just as soft and chewy as any other brownie I have made.  MAKE THESE ASAP!!!!!!!

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Oliver was a big fan of licking the spoon..”yum, yum, yum…mmmmmmm”

 

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…Winnie The Pooh.

I started school in September, so between taking care of Oliver full time and taking classes, I have very little time for anything.  I haven’t talked with friends lately, or my husband which is sad, because they are my lifeline.  We did however go to Albuquerque last week to visit my in-laws, brother and sister-law.  It was quite a trip.  We were there for the balloon fest.  I’ve never experienced anything like it.  You hang out in an open field with hot air balloons lifting off right next to you.  It was amazing in every sense.  I think 300+ balloons went up that day.  My sister-in law is from France and used to do PR for the French team from Lorraine France.  We went to say hi to her friends and the next thing I know, Jonathan is boarding their balloon.  And he did it just like that, he was invited to join their ride and up he went.  I on the other hand turned it down the second I was invited to go.  Oliver had what I would consider to be one of his most memorable melt downs.  He watched his daddy walk away and go up into a balloon and float away.  Not happy, not happy at all.  Tears for a long time. I’m happy Jonathan got to experience the balloon, it looked amazing from the video he shot from above.  And Oliver was especially happy when he saw his daddy again.  It was a lovely day and they even invited us back to have a picnic with them.  A truly memorable day.  It was a great trip and even though I was glued to my computer most of the time, it was still nice to get away for a bit.

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We just celebrated our seven year wedding anniversary.   And because we are so busy we aren’t actually going to celebrate til next week.  I did however have some time to make a cake.  Nothing fancy, I wanted simple, so that’s what I made.  A chocolate cake with a seven minute frosting.  I ask you who wouldn’t love this cake.  No one I know.  Oliver especially loved the frosting.  He kept saying “more on spoon”.  AHHH I love this kid.  Jonathan loved it too.  A nice surprise for him when he came home from work.

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Chocolate cake ingredients:

2 sticks unsalted butter (room temp)

1 1/4 cup sugar

1 cup dark brown sugar

3 eggs

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup butter milk

3/4 cup hot coffee

3/4 cup cocoa powder

2 2/3 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions for cake:

Pre heat oven to 325.  Butter and flour 3 8″ cake pans.  Mix your butter til ribbon like, next add sugar, and one egg at a time.  Once that is incorporated add your vanilla.  Next you want to get your wet and dry ingredients together in separate bowls.  You wet will be buttermilk, coffee and cocoa powder, and your dry will be the rest.  Start by adding your dry and ending with your dry.  Bake for 30-40 minutes.  Start checking your cakes around 30 minutes.

 

Ingredients for frosting:

2 cups sugar

8 egg whites

1 cup corn syrup

Directions for frosting:

Add all of your ingredients to a heat proof bowl.  You will be cooking this over boiling water, double broiler method.  You will need to use a candy thermometer.  Once the mixture has reached 130, take off boiling water add attach to your mixer using the whisk attachment.  Mix on medium to high speed, until it is white and fluffy cloud like.

 

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Last week Jonathan and I had the pleasure of watching our really good friends kids for the day.  We wanted to do something fun.  So we decided on a webisode.  I knew the kids would love it since they loved the one from before  It was a crazy day, and if I’m being honest I really loved the chaos of it all.  It was a ton of fun having three kids run, play, and laugh together all day.

Pop Tart Movie from Bethany on Vimeo.

Ingredients:

1 box puff pastry

1 egg

and kind of filling: jam, nutella, cinnamon sugar

2 cups powdered sugar

sprinkles for the topping

1-2 Tablespoons milk

 

Directions:

Lay out your puff pastry for about an hour, or til it’s soft.  Roll onto a floured surface.  Cut into even squares. Place squares on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Brush the pastry with an egg wash (whipped egg and water).  Fill pastry with filling of your choice.  Place another piece of pastry on top of filling.  Seal shut forking the edges.  Put in the freezer for about 30 minutes.  Now pre-heat your oven to 375.  Egg wash pastry all over before putting into oven.  Bake 20-25 minutes.  Let them cool for about 30 minutes.  To decorate take your powdered sugar and add some milk to make it creamy and spreadable.  Sprinkle…eat…enjoy!!!