Valentine’s Day 2016

This is not a food blog, but I developed a beetroot cupcake recipe today that I like enough to not want to forget, so I’ll share it here:

Valentine (Beetroot Chocolate Chip) Cupcakes

  • 2 large beets, boiled
  • 1/2 c applesauce
  • 1 box vanilla cake mix
  • 1/4 c cocoa
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 bag white chocolate chips
  • sprinkles
  1. Puree beets and applesauce in a blender or food processor.
  2. Mix puree, cake mix, cocoa, and eggs in a large bowl. Then mix in chocolate chips.
  3. Pour into 18 or so cupcake papers. Sprinkle some jimmies on top, and bake for 16 minutes at 350 degrees.

The sprinkles and chocolate chips make Peter happy, the amazing red violet color makes me happy, and the lack of frosting makes Son happy. I’m not going to market this as a healthy recipe, but it does allow me to sort of feel like a good mother because my son ate some vegetables with his lunch.

We have been busy as usual. Alina cut her 8th tooth on January 11th. We had a few glorious weeks where everyone was healthy (with the exception of a persistent cough and feigned illnesses by Peter), but the day care sniffles caught up with us last week, and Alina’s nose has been pretty gross. Overall, Alina has had fewer illnesses than I expected for her first winter in day care. It’s just a pity that Peter convinced his father and then the school nurse that he was sick when he was actually fine, resulting in the need for me to work from home twice in January.

Son and I managed to go on a second child-free date since Alina’s arrival: his company holiday party. The food was mediocre but the company was good and it was nice to just be a couple for a few hours. Alina, however, cried bloody murder when I left her with our sitter. Supposedly, she screamed for a few minutes then put her head on a pillow and napped for an hour. She was okay when she awoke.

Alina has been mastering some new tricks: she drinks from a sippy cup and a straw, blows bubbles in the bath water, and pretends to read books by pointing at pictures, babbling, and turning pages. She also finally started taking steps this past week; I counted 9 consecutive steps on Wednesday the 10th! I’m happy that Alina is now willing to take baths with her brother (instead of me) in the tub with her. I also am guilty of letting her watch baby videos so that I can get stuff done around the house. Finally, I’m glad that Alina leaves elastics in her hair; she looks much better with the hair out of her face.

Peter has been practicing his geography skills with me in the daily online GeoBee Challenge quiz. He took it upon himself to memorize national flags in January and now seems to know 80-90% of the world’s national and territorial flags. I bought him a 600-piece world map puzzle to further indulge his geography obsession. He needed parental help with the edge and oceans, but the parents were appreciative of Peter’s help with the countries.

Peter started taking art classes on Saturdays. The art teacher admires his “abstract” skills as he identifies country shapes in his artwork. His heart painting for Valentine’s Day included Mongolia and Montenegro… because what isn’t sweet about Mongolia and Montenegro? For his 100th day of school, Peter was assigned to arrange 100 items/objects in a creative way. Predictably, he wanted to make 100 countries out of construction paper. I vetoed that idea, and we instead agreed to make 6 national flags whose white stars total 100: United States, Brazil, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Singapore, and Samoa.

Son hadn’t been doing much book binding, but a recent trip to the fabric store inspired us to make more baby books. Son obviously enjoys this hobby, so I like to see him working on it. I would have liked to make Tet more special for him, but several snow storms made travel before and on Tet a bit challenging. We did, however, have a family that we know through Peter’s class over for playdate and dinner the weekend before Tet. I made fresh spring rolls, Son made fried rice, and we shared banh chung, banh dau xanh, mut tet, and dragon fruit. The kids had fun… I had fun… Son would have had more fun if the mother, Sue, had been better able to understand his English. Oh, well. We had Cuong over yesterday, and he and Son were able to have plenty of conversation in Vietnamese.

Chúc Mừng Năm Mới!

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