Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmas in the Farr Home



Amelia's first Christmas was wonderful.

Jeremy and I both went to wake her up that morning, which usually doesn't happen. I think recognized that something special was going on. She rubbed her little eyes and smiled at us when she woke up. It was such a happy little moment.

She "opened" her presents, which pretty much involved me taking the present out of the package. She got lots of babies, stuffed animals, and baby toys. She liked all of her presents, but I'm pretty sure she enjoyed the paper more than anything! :) When I was pregnant a year ago, I thought that my baby's first Christmas would pretty much involve my baby sitting in a corner like a little lump and not really participating. What did I know? Amelia didn't understand the concept, but I think she did have a good time. She was much more active and involved than I imagined.

I didn't take a whole lot of pictures since I had to hold her while she opened presents. Jeremy didn't take a whole lot, either, since he was videotaping the event with our new video camera. Luckily we both have sisters who had the foresight to take pictures for us!

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!



Isn't my baby sister beautiful? :)

Amelia Update

It's been awhile since I posted about Amelia's progress!

Amelia is doing great. She's talking ALL THE TIME now. (I mean, I wonder where she developed this ability?) She also likes to gripe at you if she isn't happy about something. There is a distinct difference between her griping and her talking. And, believe it or not, she gripes much more than she cries. Honestly, she rarely cries - griping is much more her style. She doesn't cry much unless I'm going to a shower with 500 people there I don't know. (Sigh. I won't go into that.)

She loves to smile, coo, and laugh. She has an amazing little giggle that melts my heart into goo. She can't sit up by herself yet, but she's close to being able to do so. I think she could do it if she would actually sit down for more than three minutes a day, but she's much too busy and nosy for that. I feel like she's the nosiest baby ever! :)

She can lift her hands up to you if she wants you to pick her up. She can take out her paci and put it back in her mouth (much to my dismay - sometimes the paci doesn't make it back to her mouth and it ends up on the floor). She can give you "love" and gives little baby hugs from time to time...or so we think. I swear she can also wave, but Jeremy thinks I'm being delusional.

She likes to hear you sing, loves to watch "Charlie Brown Christmas," and genuinely adores any attention you give to her. She devours her rice cereal and will start on fruit soon. She still likes to be swaddled to at night like a little baby, and she usually falls fast asleep as soon as she is swaddled. She is very content to snuggle with Jeremy and I in the morning, and she is in love with this one particular butterfly toy on the top of her pack 'n play more than just about anything else.

My intrepid girl is getting bigger with each and every day, and I am enjoying every minute. I love watching her life unfold before my eyes.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Revolutions

This past weekend, I was reminded of the frailty of this life and the precious gift that our loved ones truly are. There are so few guarantees.

And I've been thinking that it's time to make some life revolutions.

So, until my faith is sight...

I hope...

- that I get the opportunity to pray over my daughter every night until she leaves my home

- that I never cease to forget where I came from

- that I never forget where my students come from

- to get to a state of being where I'm not as self-absorbed. It will be difficult, but I hope I can start living a more selfless life.

- to never forget to tell my husband, my child, my parents, my sister and my friends that I love them.

- that even in my old age I can find beauty and epiphany in the small things

- that I never take anything for granted - that I never forget the difference between happiness and blessing

- to work on being a nicer person, one who is capable of looking past pettiness, disdain, and gossip. Life is short and I should make my relationships with people matter.

- to be able to cook for people as long as I'm able. There is something so comforting about cooking and eating homemade food.

- to love the Lord my God with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my might, and with all of my strength.

I hope.

Nutella Cheesecake

The other day, I decided that I wanted to make a Nutella Cheesecake, because I never heard of one. I mean, you've got Nutella, and you've got cheesecake. How could the two of those together be wrong?!? :)

I think it turned out pretty well. If you like Nutella (and it's a love/hate relationship for most people - I realize it is an acquired taste), you'll love this cheesecake.

So, here's what I developed. I'm writing this recipe from memory, so some of the measurements may be a little off.

Nutella Cheesecake

Nutella is a chocolate hazelnut spread that is famous throughout Europe (especially Italy, where it is from). It is basically like the European version of peanut butter. It can be found in most grocery stores, and is usually located near the peanut butter.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Line a nine-inch springform pan with parchment paper.

Crust:
1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts
1 package graham crackers
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 stick butter, melted

Blend hazelnuts, graham crackers, and sugar in a food processor. Slowly drizzle in butter until mixture is crumbly, but not too moist. Dump contents into the lined spring form pan. Press out crust (a measuring cup works the best) down and around to evenly distribute the bottom and the sides. Bake for ten minutes, and set aside to cool.

Cheesecake mixture:

3 packages of cream cheese, softened
1 6-oz package of mascarpone cheese
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup milk or heavy cream
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup Nutella with splash of milk

Mix together cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, sugar, and flour on a high speed until well blended. Turn mixer to low speed and add eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla extract and cream/milk and do not over mix the cheesecake batter. Pour the mixture over crust.

In a separate bowl, gently mix by hand the Nutella with a splash of milk or cream to thin it out (you will have to mix it for a minute or so until it regains its smooth consistency). Pour the Nutella mixture in the middle of the cheesecake. With a butter knife, swirl the mixture in a clockwise motion until the top is covered with Nutella swirls (be careful not to put your knife in the crust).

Put cheesecake in the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until sides are firm and the center is slightly jiggly. Be careful not to over bake, or you could get cracks in your cheesecake. You can also bake the cheesecake in a water bath. If you do this, bake the cheesecake at 350 degrees for one hour.

(A side note: if you really love Nutella and want more of it, put a large dollop of it (without the skim milk) on the crust before you add the cheesecake mixture. Then, when you cut into the cheesecake, you'll have a yummy chocolaty center. :)

Here's a picture of the finished product: