Friday, July 27, 2012

The All Day Princess Party

Yesterday Hubby had to take an overnight trip for work.  We had gotten used to these and then we had a small break and for a brief time having him home was normal.  So having to pack a bag for him was harder than I anticipated.  Since it was going to just me and Clover, I wanted to do something fun.  I didn't have anything in mind so we just kind of went where the day took us.

Halfway through the day I figured out that we are still in the Princess Phase.

We had a picnic in the living room and watched the Princess and the Frog.

Then after some chill time I wanted to be somewhat productive.  I had decided that it was finally time to put up the decals I bought before Christmas.  This meant that the Care Bears had to come down.  I mentally prepared myself.  These where searched for and then lovingly put up in the Care Bear Nursery.  Even though her crib has been long gone the bears were still watching over her.  Until yesterday, when I took them down.  I'm really surprised that I didn't cry.  I don't think I could have shed a tear with Clover being so excited that she was going to be able to put up Princesses in her room.  She got to pick where everything went in her room and even got to apply some herself.

The castle is 42x32 so it takes up a good chunk of her wall

The fairies, Flora, Fauna and Merryweather are above her bed watching over her.

I also took a few minutes to do some stash busting and up cycle a broken crown into a bed decoration/canopy/drape thing.

I attached some wire to the plastic crown, added some tulle and hung it from the ceiling.

I had some tulle that I had planned into making into a tutu for the dance recital and ended up not using it, so it got incorporated into the princess room.  I did have a moment where I stressed out that she might have gotten tangled in the tulle and pull it down.  So after some brainstorming I tried something that worked out pretty well.

I attached some sticky velcro to the side of her bed and then pushed the tulle into it.  You can't see it just looking at it since it's on the side of the bed.  Nice and secure.

The only thing I got to put up was Snow White.  I put her on the dress up cabinet since the Snow White was one of the first costumes we got from a friend of mine.  It was one of the first that started it all.  The decals along with the canvases I made make it very princessy.  The blue walls balance out all the pink things in the room.  In the beginning I thought I might have opposed the Princess Phase but I have embraced it.  At this point I feel like I am encouraging one of her interests.  Just like I would encourage anything she was interested in.  Right now she is interested in dressing up and stories.  I never felt I had to defend myself until someone asked me if I was worried that I was brainwashing her and that she was going to grow up with a Princess Complex.  So the answer to that is nope.  I'm not worried.  Right next to her gowns are other dress up clothes like a ninja costume or a doctors outfit.  She loves Princesses but also adores big robots that change into cars so I'm not really concerned about it.

After working on the room we looked through her cookbook and picked a recipe.  The Magic Wands.  We didn't have any refrigerated dough so we had to find a sugar cookie recipe.  I'm not really good with the rolling out and all that.  Sugar cookies are not my go to recipe for cookies.  They always seem to be lacking something I just can't make out so we rarely make them.  I did find a recipe that claimed that it was the "World's best Sugar Cookies".  They were really yummy and easy.  The frosting was also really yummy and doesn't require an egg like royal icing does.  This may be my new Christmas cookie recipe.  

Rolling out the dough while listening to the Tangled soundtrack.

I think the hardest part about baking with my child is that I have to sometimes give up control and let it just be about the process.  This part is hard for me when I want the cookies to come out perfect.  We rolled the first batch together and then I let her roll the second by herself.  We forgot to put the pretzels in to make them wands so instead we had stars.

Frosting the cookies.

How pretty!  

I want to say that Clover did a really good frosting since she is four but after two she got tired.  So I finished them.  Not a really good job for an adult but like I said sugar cookies are not my strong points.

We finished off the night with some Princess stories while in our Princess jammies.  Not a bad way to end our all day Princess Party.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Laid Up


See that ^?  That is the text equivalent to utter frustration.  The last few weeks I have been making progress.  I was sure I would be paying for it physically at some point or another.  I started work on the entry way and painted a bit.  I was a little sore but nothing major.  I've been Walking it out on the Wii with some mild discomfort but nothing more.  I've even lost a few pounds.  Life was good and I was feeling somewhat normal.  As close to normal that I can possible get at this point.  I won't lie it felt good.

And then I walked into a bench.  I totally and completely forgot it was there and walked my left leg right into it.  Then I tensed up.  The first thing I worried about was my neck.  Because of the Chiari, my neck is on the sensitive side.  I gave it two hours and thought I was fine.  I was pretty happy that I wasn't as fragile as I thought I was.  Only to wake up in the morning in pain.  The pain was what woke me up.  My neck and my shoulders were killing me.  I conceded to my body and spend the day on the couch.  Clover was really good while I rested.

Today there is some improvement but I am still pretty sore.  I just feel frustrated because a bench took me out.  I will have to wait a few days before normal activities can resume and a few more after that to resume extra activities.  For now all I can do is listen to my body and not push myself.  As much as I want to get back to normal.  Whatever normal is.    

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


We had the unfortunate experience of being bamboozled when we bought our house almost ten years ago.  Okay it hasn't exactly been ten years and maybe I am exaggerating for dramatic effect but it has been pretty close to that.  So back when we bought our house, we were young.  Young enough to be asked if my parents where home when I answered the door.  One lady who was selling water even took it upon herself to argue with me that I couldn't possibly be the homeowner.

We were young and we did everything we thought was right.  We got the referral of a realtor and looked at a couple of houses.  When we found one we liked we thought we were in love.  Everything was shiny, the house was bigger than our two bedroom apartment.  We weren't given time to properly get a good look at the house.  We were rushed in and assured that "in this market" if we didn't place an offer, someone else surely would.  How could we let our "dream house" slip away?  We were rushed.  And they knew what they were doing.  Was it legal?  Yes.  Was it ethical?  No.    

After the nightmare that was the paperwork of buying a house and the slipped under the table fees, we had the keys.  While we were painting before we moved in we noticed all sorts of things.  

While siting down after painting I noticed the tile work on the floor.  No spacers and grout everywhere.  Haven't they ever seen HGTV or DIY?  And let's not ignore this beautiful piece of craftsmanship right here.    

Why yes, that is crown molding on the floor.  

The lip of the crown molding that is supposed to connect with the ceiling it was filled in with some sort of silicone caulking or something I can't quite identify.  I mean just look at that beautiful mitered joint right there.  Can you sense the sarcasm?  Can you tell what years and years of looking at that have done to me?  Hubby and I have sat down and decided that we just couldn't look at it anymore.  We couldn't look at that brown color anymore either.  It's time it goes.  It's going to be a lot of work.  A lot of hard back breaking work but when it's done right and beautifully yellow it will look amazing.  

You would think that some point in the many years we have been here we would have fixed all the stuff that is bothering us.  But that is life.  Things get in the way and things get moved farther down the list.  The living room itself has vaulted ceilings so painting the walls is not going to be a small task.  This is one of the reasons it got moved further down the list.  

It boggles my mind how long we have been here.  It doesn't seem that long.  Long enough however to make the conversation that transpired in the kitchen two days ago laughable.  

Hubby:  Juju come here!  I have to show you something!

I walked to the pass thru (large window cut out of the wall between the kitchen and living room)   

Me:  Whatsup?

Hubby:  Did you know that when you turn a burner on the stove a red light comes on?

Me:  Blinkity blink

Hubby repeats himself even more excitedly.  

Me:  Yes honey.  I've been cooking on that stove for almost ten years.  I know about the red light.

Hubby:  Now I don't have to walk over and see if the stove is hot to make sure it's off.  

He's so cute when he learns new things.    

Like Portal But For Friendships

We may not be part of each other's every day lives but when the stars align and we are finally able to catch up we are welcomed with open arms.  It's as if no time has passed.  We have so many stories to share.  In the social media age it's easy to over share but there is still something to be said about catching up face to face.  There never seems to be as much time as we would like but even just a few hours to catch up perhaps over a muffin and a tutu is awesome.

Emotional Development

This last week was a bit rough.  It seems as if my darling Clover is going though another emotional growth spirt.  They are like physical growth spirts except by the end of them I feel like taking a nap because I am so drained from dealing with the meltdown.  Normally I can pinpoint what caused the meltdown and we talk about it once she has calmed down.  I want her to be able to express her feelings.  We usually experience a meltdown once or twice a week.  Last week they occurred every single day.  

It started last monday and went for about a week straight.  If these where physical growth spirts there would be naps and lots of eating and then I would have to buy her new clothes because somehow in a week she managed to outgrow everything.  But these are emotional growth spirts.  They are raw and gnarly.  Sometimes there are battles and even though I don't want to, I have to stand my ground.  It's not the pretty side of parenting, but it is still a part of it.  After this week I have started to approach every meltdown as an learning experience.  Not only for her but for me as well.

It was a long week.  So when a friend offered to take us shopping it was a much needed distraction and I could use some adult interaction.  After three stores and one potty break I bought one thing, and it was a toy.

I picked up the box and read the side.  Clover grabbed it and declared "Mom, I NEED this!  I need it to help me communicate my feelings".  Which she had heard me say from reading the box.  For some reason she was all about this doll and she wanted it.  It was a Kimochi Cat.  It's an orange cat with a pouch in the front that holds little stuffed "feelings".  She carried it around the store and wouldn't set it down.  I rationalized that it was semi educational and I caved.

She played with it and we talked about her feelings.

About two days later I pulled out the little booklet that it came with describing the cat.  My jaw dropped and I laughed so hard.

Kimochi Cat knows what he/she wants, when he/she wants it and why. He/she can be very persuasive and somewhat bossy. Occasionally his/her bossiness leads to confrontation or "cat fights"! She/he comes with a set of his/her own replaceable bandages to heal physical and emotional wounds (i.e. "hurt feelings"). 

When the Kimochis need a leader, they can always count on Cat. Cat lives in a Cherry Blossom Tree and likes to keep his/her house tidy. He/She loves to host tea parties.
Cat's favourite number is 10 and favourite colour is purple. He/she loves to snack on toasted almond cookies and warm milk.
Cat is full of surprises and can sometimes be a little prickly on the outside but on the inside she has a very soft center. 

If you are wondering what I was laughing so hard about just replace the word "Cat" with "Clover" and you have a very accurate description of my daughter.    

Friday, July 13, 2012

Time For Some Indoor Activities

A couple of weeks ago I posted our Super Funtastic Summer List.  I included some stay at home activities for the days that it got really hot and because our travel options are limited these days so I needed some indoor activities.  We had Kool-aid Playdough on the list last year for the same reason.  

The last couple of days we have been out working on and playing with our Super sprinkler.  And then the triple digits hit here.  Usually we are well into our very hot summer.  We've grown up here so we are used to it.  But lately Mother Nature had lulled us into a false sense of security.  No triple digits.  She tricked us.  While I was reading about the heat wave that has been hitting everywhere I thought it was weird that our hometown was hospitable.  Everything is back to normal and the heat is here.  So we have been mostly indoors.  Yesterday we decided to make play dough which we haven't done in a long time.

The Transformers molds that she got for Easter came out.
You know you are jealous of my ability to squish play dough into plastic molds!  

Helping me knead the dough.

We've got some more indoor crafts for today.  I scored some big pearler beads.  The ones you put on the pegs and iron.  I didn't know they made them in a larger size so we are going to work on some fine motor skills and play with those today.  On top of that a very nice lady in line gave me her 40% off coupon while we were in line so I saved a bunch too!   


Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Purple Paisley Piggy Bank 2009-July 2012.

You were a good piggy bank.  You did a very good job of protecting our little Clover's money.  All the change she stole from her grandparents and Dee and Tee.  Maybe we could have worked things out.  I don't know why you decided to end it.  Our witness tells us that you walked off the desk to your untimely demise.  Investigators are still questioning our only witness.  There are suspicions about her credibility.  

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

If There Is One Thing

If there is one thing this girl can know besides write really long sentences featuring emoticons...

This girl can cook!

There I said it.  And I will just pat myself on the back, thankyouverymuch.  When I first started this blog of mine I didn't intend to blog so much about food.  But it is a blog that encompasses major areas of my life and food (good food) just happens to be one of those areas.

Tonight I tried my hand at making Indian food for the first time.  In all my years of cooking, and there have been many, I have never tried making Indian food.  And I've been cooking since I was ten.  The biggest reason for this is that I never knew if I liked Indian food.  I actually haven't tried anything Indianish except for the Curry Chicken Salad at Whole Food's and I'm not really sure if that counts.  Well for Father's Day this year we tried a local Indian place with a couple of friends and it turns out I loved it.

So the next step for me would be to make it at home.

I found this recipe over at The Pioneer Woman for Tikka Masala.  My first hurdle was finding Garam Masala.  The local mega mart did not have a very large Indian section which was sad.  So I turned to the trusty internets and ordered some off of Amazon.  Then while shopping at another store I found some and bought that.  When I got home I compared the two only to find that they were completely different.  One was more of a sweet and the other a savory.  One's main ingredient was nutmeg and the other's was coriander.  So in a moment of indecision, I used both.  I did add another tablespoon of the mix since it didn't seem seasoned enough for me.

The recipe was really easy and basically if you can make chili, you can make this dish.

Don't tell Hubby it was Whole Wheat Naan.  Shhh

I served it with some Naan bread and some rice from the freezer section.  I was too busy working on the sauce and grilling the chicken to focus on the rice so I used some Trader Joe's.

Watching Hubby's reaction was priceless.  It was the first time in a long while that I was able to surprise him and he told me so.  He said it was amazing and he couldn't believe that I made it after only having it one time.

I told him that if there is one thing this girl can do...

Monday, July 2, 2012

Super Sprinkler

Pvc Pipe

It started with this idea from Family Fun Magazine, some stuff from the hardware store and a warm evening.

We took the idea and turned it into our own mini splash zone.  We talked about our design and went to the hardware store with a rough idea of what we wanted.  Then we spread out on the lawn and got to work.

We bought some precut PVC pipe at $1.24 a piece.  If you cut your own this will cut the price down and you can create your own custom pieces.  We bought 3/4 inch pipes, corner connectors, T connecters, some end caps, a hose connector and some clear tubing to watch the water go through.  My only tip is to pay attention to your width of tubing.  There are different sizes so make sure everything fits before you leave so that you don't have to go back.

I poked some holes in the tubing with a tack.

We had some kinks to work on.

It was a learn as you go project.  There where some kinks to work out.  The hose connecter wouldn't stay because of the water pressure.  All the other pieces of pipe do not require glue so we can rebuild it to whatever configuration we want.  The only piece that needed glue was the hose connector.  I used some E600 which so far has been holding and its been about three weeks.

The clear tubbing was nice to look out but we had some issues with that too.

Clover likes when the water pours out of the top.  So since we didn't cap off that one side there isn't enough pressure to send water through the tube.  Sometimes it got water but there wasn't enough pressure to squirt out of the holes.

Don't pay attention to my poor dying grass.

We have rebuilt about four times now and each time it's getting bigger and better!

The drill was charged so I was able to poke holes.

Overall our project was about $30.  We also bought two large bag of connectors but if you wanted to buy individual pieces it might bring the price down.

The best part was when we went back to buy more PVC and Clover declared from the back seat "I just love this store" as we pulled up to Home Depot!

That's my girl!