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Monday, February 29, 2016

Happy Birthday, IKEA!

The other day my friend Jules from The Bergham Chronicles posted this to my Facebook wall. Immediately I thought we should do better than that and bake an actual cake for IKEA!



I have mentioned IKEA before. We don't buy a lot of actual furniture, but we like to have lunch and to people watch there.



I was lucky enough to grow up when IKEA already had its first store in Switzerland. 

So my cake represents my probably earliest memory at all! 

Introducing...

Ta-daaaa! 

The sliding into the ball pit cake!


Complete with our LEGO man who got a job as a furniture carpenter


And Swedish Shopping @ IKEA Barbie






For the full tutorial and bake fail episodes, please go to the back story!

Here are the links to my friends' posts. I am setting up a linky-tool, too if you want to join later, please link up!





Back Story to my IKEA Cake

As I mentioned in my main post, IKEA's kids' area, Småland, was a happy place for me when I was a kid in the late 70s. Is there a better feeling than so slide into the ball pit? I believe not.





So of course I wanted to recreate the edible version, and I was confident that the slide could be made from cookie dough. 

Things were looking good. I had it all figured out, I even constructed a heat-resistant framework.



Can you believe it???


OK, I'm gonna deal with my slide later. 

If all else fails, I'm gonna need a logo sheet cake.

First, print out the mirror-inverted template and place it underneath the baking paper.


Make batter. (Scroll all the way down for recipe)
My kitchen machine is still in the repair shop. Luckily I still have my good old hand mixer!


Fill batter into piping bag and start tracing. Shooot, what's going on?



Transfer batter into squeeze bottle. Weigh down paper with cups. Start over. There you go.


Put the baking sheet in the freezer. The logo needs to be really firm before pouring over the yellow batter.

Time do dress up our LEGO man. Here's a tool belt for you, big guy!


The moment of truth!



For the ball pit I baked another lemon cake. I used a simple square baking pan, cut out a round shape and scooped out some of the cake. I placed a Playmobil slide on the rim and filled the pit with chocolate M&Ms. 



The rocking horses are supposed to be IKEA moose ;-)





Maria's Lemon Sheet Cake 

Ingredients

4 eggs, separated
1.5 cups (300g) granulated white sugar
1 lemon, zest and juice
0.5 cups (120ml) sparkling water
0.66 cups (150ml) sunflower oil
2.5 cups (300g) all purpose flour
1 pack (3.75 teaspoons or 15g) baking powder
1 pinch salt


Instructions

Preheat your oven: 180°C / 350°F

Beat the egg whites until they form firm peaks, set aside.
In a separate bowl mix together egg yolks, sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy.
Pour in water, oil and lemon juice, mix carefully.
Add flour mixture.
Fold in egg whites

Pour on baking sheet, bake for about 20 minutes, test with a toothpick.

Usually you would pour over a light icing (1 cup powdered sugar + 1-2 teaspoons lemon juice) over the still slightly warm sheet cake)

Sarah's Yellow and Blue Zopf

This is Sarah Nick's contribution - a lady I met in a Facebook cooking group. She posted those pictures a while ago, and I asked her if she would like to submit them for our IKEA project. 

She said "sure, why not" so here you go!

"I am usually not into dyeing my food, but I found some food coloring in my pantry, and I was kind of curious, so I thought I'd give it a try." Sarah said. 

She used the traditional Swiss "Zopf" recipe which is also the one we use for our Holidays Grittibänze. 



This is what her bread looked when she took it out of the oven:


And now, the big moment... the cutting of the Zopf!



When Sarah agreed to play along I asked her what IKEA meant to her. She said her favorite department was the kitchen with all the lovely dishware items. "IKEA is fuss-free, diverse, colorful and delicious - everything of which is true for my own personality, too!" 

"I don't get to shop at IKEA very often", she adds. "But of course I'll always have myself a hot dog afterwards, this is key!"


Now check out the other posts:


Spatulas on Parade
Measurements of Merriment
Confessions of a part-time working mom
An American In Basel

The Bergham Chronicles

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Use Your Words - 1, 2, 3

This is a Bonus Edition of Use Your Words

While I used the ones I got to tell you about out Office "Christmas" Dinner  I submitted the following "words" (I thought they were cool): 


1,2,3 ~ 4-leaf clover ~ 5 a day ~ 7/11 ~ 9 to 5

Jenniy did really well, check out her post here! Other bloggers commented how grateful they were for not getting these difficult words, and I was like "come on! They're not THAT hard!

So today I'm here to prove it.

I posted another post called "how to get your kid to take their meds". It's light-hearted. Ugly tasting cough syrup for your usual kid's flu, you know. Colin was just getting over one - again. Or so I thought.

Instead yesterday morning he couldn't use his legs. 

He said they hurt, and he couldn't walk.

I tried not to show how shocked and worried I was. Carried him to the kitchen for breakfast. Carried him upstairs to the bathroom, trying to think of something to do other than crying and hoping it would go away on its own.

Did I mention I work on Fridays. 

Well, not this Friday. 

It is not always beneficial to work for my husband, but on occasions like this? He'll gladly ask me not to go to the office and instead to take care of our son! I'm pretty sure what he meant was "call our pediatrician and make an appointment".

As friendly as our doc is, his reachability and his availability isn't. It's a 9 to 5 office. Even at this time of year, cough, sniffle, sneeze!

So I carried my son down to the garage, and we were on our way to the hospital. My plan was to arrive at the kids' ER before the big rush, and we were lucky enough to be triaged and placed in an exam room pretty much right away. 

It may have helped that I carried my 7 year old boy into the admission area with an expression on my face that said "help him NOW!" 



What I like about medical professionals - they have seen it all. They don't flinch, and they're not like "OMG, that poor baby!" They ask how long has it been going on, where does it hurt, any allergies? They take the temperature, they fill in a form, they get busy! 1,2,3!

A nurse settled us in, gave him some pain meds and applied numbing cream on the crooks of both arms for a potential blood draw later.

We were first seen by a med student who introduced herself by her first name. She was very nice, took a text book history, checked his heart and lungs, made him "walk", asked "does it hurt or does it just feel weak", smiled at him and asked what sports he liked.

When she left the room to go and present to her resident, I could tell she had no clue. 



She came back with her "boss" who introduced herself as Ms Doctor Last Name who asked the exact same questions. I immediately disliked her. Didn't she trust her friendly student? Also she directed all of her questions to me. He's 7 years old, his legs hurt, but he can talk!!!

At least she had an idea on what might be going on with him. 

Myositis, Inflammation of the muscles due to his viral infection. It happens, it goes away after a couple of days, in the meantime you give pain meds and only walk as much as you feel comfortable to. 

She still needed to confirm with her attending, she added.

Aha. Ms Doctor Last Name wasn't allowed to release us.

So we waited. I got him a chocolate milk from the vending machine. It only accepted coins. There was no coin changing machine, so I asked the lady at the admit's desk. I thought she must have a petty cash money box or something. Instead she reached for her wallet and dumped her coins on the desk. 


So even in a hospital the vending machine is full of the usual unhealthy stuff. Sodas, candy. Whatever happened to 5 a day?

We waited some more.

Then both ladies returned at let us know that their boss requested a blood draw to rule out something about the kidneys.

Our spirits dropped. 

Not only did I know that this was going to be difficult for him, but how long did we have to wait 


  1. for the blood draw?
  2. for the results?


"We're a busy hospital, the lab is usually snowed under. Just hang in there. You're welcome to check out the books in the waiting room."

"There are only books for babies", C said.

I tried to negotiate. Can't we go home, and you'll just call with the results? We can always come back?

Absolutely not. We're not to release you until we have all the facts.

Of course.

In the meantime it was almost 12 noon, our stomachs were growling. 

I assumed a trip to the cafeteria was out of question as well. Back to the nice lady at admit I went. "Isn't there some kiosk nearby, like a 7/11 where we can get a sandwich?"

I got him crackers, a mango smoothie and a Disney Planes magazine!




And we waited. It was getting old.

The blood draw did not go well. The nurse was trying to be patient and was all about "I'll be gentle, look, we'll count to three, 1,2,3! 

He withdrew his arm. 

"I don't want to!"
"Mommy, if I really have to, can't you do it?"

She was taking her sweet time, talking, preparing the area,... 

Come on, do it already, it's only getting worse!

He was screaming and crying. Poor guy. 

"I knew that this numbing cream was a scam! I knew it all along!" He was upset. 

When he calmed down, he saw a chance of making the best of if. 

"Mommy, since I was such a brave boy, do you think we could go to the toy store afterwards?"

Well, I don't know. Can you go? As in walk? From the parking lot to the store?

Didn't think so either.


With a little help, though...



4 veggies + 1 piece of chocolate = 5 a day!!!



I helped. I assembled the people and sorted all the pieces by colors.


All done!



Today is Saturday. His legs are much better. I might get to my St. Patrick's Day crafting project this weekend. Our LEGO man needs a 4-leaf clover, don't you agree?


How to get a kid to take their meds

I am so lucky (and grateful) that Colin doesn't get sick often. 

However when he does, he's all man flu. 


This season it is the second time he is staying home from school. So next to him being completely miserable, my freedom is also being compromised. Not a good combination. To add insult to injury he refuses to take meds:


  • He hates cough syrup which is understandable because it's disgusting. So he'll spill it by accident or spit it out.
  • He doesn't want to swallow pills because he insists that
    a) they are not for children (even if the label says "kids" or "junior") and
    b) he will suffocate because they will get stuck in his windpipe.
In fall 2013 he suffered from Epstein Barr Virus and HAD to take a number of drugs, even though the fluffy polar bear pillow, Mommy's love and some peaceful sleep were helping a great deal.



What to do?

Like every boy he liked his vehicles. Firefighter trucks, airplanes, police cars. That's how I came up with the "immune police juice". 



I printed out a picture of a police car and a serious looking officer and told him, this juice was going to arrest his bad virus.


Also I purchased a syringe so I could push the syrup into his mouth, trying to avoid his tongue as well as possible.

He went along.


2016: Poor little guy. So pale.


This bottle's content has expired, but there was still so much left that I dared to still use it. It seemed to work fine. This is what he was looking like half an hour after his "shot":


We also had pancakes for dinner


Plus he was allowed to order some fruit juice. Vitamins and all!


On the very day we were supposed to fly to Johannesburg, South Africa last year he got the stomach flu. The bad kind. The kind that urges you to decide on which end you want to go first... Bad timing, too! I took him to the children's ER. 

They gave him a special power candy. For my own future reference, this is what it was called. It stopped the puking immediately.


He had to drink some sugar water and wait for 30 minutes.


When we arrived without messy incidents (thank you, understanding passengers that let us skip the bathroom line!!) we were facing the next challenge: we were all supposed to take malaria prophylaxis during 12 days. One tablet / day for adults. Three mini tablets for kids. 

He refused to take them.

The first day it took 90 minutes and a lot of sweet talking, being patient, understanding, supportive, blablabla. until he was done. At some point I lost it and yelled at him. That wasn't helpful either but allowed me to communicate my frustration.

The second day it was my husband's turn. He immediately went down the financial route and bribed the little guy. "I'll give you a Franc (almost equivalent to a U.S. Dollar) for each pill you take." 

The time it took to swallow the three pills went down to about 70 minutes. Colin was crying. It was awful.

I was seriously considering to cancel the Kruger Park. There are other parks where you can see elephants and lions.

Of course we had already booked the guides and accommodation, so this was no real option.

We tried to squish the tablets and drink it with some water. Apparently this drink was bitter, and Mr C didn't want to drink it. 

One morning hubby used the stopwatch to demonstrate how quickly one can swallow three tablets. He used Rice Krispies, and I think he was under ten seconds. "Now it's your turn" he challenged Colin. "Can you beat me?"

By the end of our vacation, C was down to 34 seconds.




Success!



He redeemed his hard earned money by purchasing a rugby ball!


PS: As soon as we were home, at breakfast time, he asked "so where are my pills? I've got to make me some money!"