Hunting for ‘Wabbits’ and Easter Eggs

13 Apr

IMG_9214IMG_9215IMG_9217What better day to go ‘wabbit’ hunting than on Easter Sunday? We couldn’t think of one so we hopped (yup) in the car after breakfast and drove over to Jericho Park. We weren’t the only family with little ones who thought that might be a good idea, but it wasn’t too crazy. We lucked out with a friendly bunny right away and from there on in J was on a mission to find and feed bunnies. She quickly realized that patience and slow movements was the ticket to feeding bunnies and she even managed to feed two itty bitty baby bunnies.

IMG_9228IMG_9227Pointing at her brother or sister who is due to make an appearance any day now!

IMG_9250Later in the afternoon we strolled to Stanley park to see if the bunny left any eggs. Go figure, he did. J was just a little bit excited.

IMG_9252IMG_9244Problem…

IMG_9248Solution.

IMG_9236IMG_9243IMG_9255I asked my sister to take a family photo of us three (and Pee Wee) in front of some pretty flowers. But J insisted on standing in front of these trees. And arguing with a five-year old who’s hopped up on sugar is dangerous territory. So we just went with it.

IMG_9256Pretty soon we will be a family of four. For the most part I think J is pretty excited. But there was a moment the other day when she realized that she would be sharing her room with Pee Wee and I think it took her by surprise. She quickly told me that she could just close her door so Pee Wee couldn’t get in. Things are about to get entertaining.

Here’s a look back at a few Easter posts – HEREHERE, HERE. And Pee Wee, you will be too big next year for me to do this awful thing to you – J, I’m sorry, this was even pre-Pinterest days…what is it about putting a baby in a basket? Poor kid!

JCS March and April 073

Baking in the third trimester

3 Mar

IMG_9056So we’re literally on the home stretch over here, stretch being the operative word! Baby’s (Pee Wee) due date is fast approaching, and with a self-imposed, but still somewhat crucial, to-do list on my brain, I’d like to start ticking things off the list. But then wants are sometimes trumped by what our body will actually allow, and these days my body seems to want nothing more than to lay on the couch – tough to do for a person who likes to be on the move. Of course every day is different, and some days I have tons of energy and feel ready to tackle all sorts of things, but the other day was not one of them. Practice contractions and light-headedness was the theme of the day and I was actually convinced that this baby was going to make an early appearance. But you can only hang out on a couch so long with a five year old on the scene, so we got down to the business of making something tasty so that we would not drive each other too crazy in this little apartment. I’ve had this old-fashioned blueberry crumb cake on my craving list since last summer when a friend made it for her little girl’s first birthday. It’s super moist and has just the right amount of sweet. J probably would have been happy just to eat the streusel but we held off and made the cake. It was pretty easy and we’ll be keeping this one in rotation for sure.

IMG_9037IMG_9041IMG_9045 J was so focused on her job that she was doing cute little concentration things with her lips…

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Here’s the link to the recipe if you’d like to try it. Make sure you butter the pan generously and let the cake cool completely on a rack before your try to remove it. A springform pan isn’t suggested in the recipe but it might make life a bit easier next time around.

p.s. the first picture of the post is pretty much what my belly looks like right now. I am not sure how my body is going to keep growing for a further 7 weeks (I don’t think I have enough skin left!) but assuming this baby is happy on the inside for the next month and a bit, there might be one or two more baking posts.

xo

Pink Marshmallows

7 Feb

IMG_8995IMG_8991IMG_8975I can’t say I’ve ever had a marshmallow craving. And I’m not sure what inspired me to make these (pregnancy?), but since it’s February, we naturally wanted to make them pink. I’d really like to tell you how hard I worked to make these little pink pillows, but honestly, it was one of the easier things I’ve ever made, and pretty fun, too!

IMG_8977IMG_8982I guess the toughest part was just the cutting them into cubes, but after looking up a few tips, we were on a roll.

IMG_9002This one thought they were pretty delicious and we’re thinking that with all the rain in the forecast that we’ll be simmering some hot cocoa tomorrow and dunking in pink marshmallows. To quote from one of J’s favourite book characters (Fancy Nancy) – Double yum!

IMG_9003IMG_9012Dusting off those sugary fingers.

IMG_9020Don’t you think these would be perfect at a baby girl shower? Or making a few different colours and handing them out instead of goodie bags at a kids’ birthday party. Or just eating all of them yourself?!

I used this recipe and modified it a bit by adding 5 or 6 drops of food colouring to make them pink. Also, stole a few tips from some other sites, like using a pizza cutter to make the squares, adding a little cornstarch to the powdered sugar, and next time I’ll be sure to spray some baking spray on the bottom of the pan (or use parchment paper) as many other recipes suggest. Having a candy thermometer is crucial so if you don’t have one, it’s worth grabbing at a kitchen supplies store – not expensive and comes in handy for caramels and other fun things.

IMG_8998I almost forgot the best part – these require no baking. You just whip them up and let them sit on your table overnight until they firm up. They will last in an airtight container for up to ten days. But I hunch these will not last even half that long…haha.

Happy February! And p.s. last year’s Valentine’s treat.

Five

3 Feb

We have a five year old! I’m still getting used to saying that because it just sounds old. J is no longer a baby or a toddler – and just barely still a preschooler. It’s as if she turned five and, poof! Instakid. And to celebrate this big-kid birthday we decided to have a family celebration with a meal and cake of her choice. I told J that I always chose beef dip when I was little. She decided to keep things easy on her Mom and told me that her meal choice started with an ‘H’ – then started to sound it out for me “haaaawww….haaaawwwt” – okay, got it. So Daddy pulled the BBQ out in January and we had a family hot dog party. Here’s a few snaps.

IMG_875520150115_153611For the second year in a row she wanted a pink cake. Who am I to argue with the birthday girl?

IMG_8744IMG_8778Uncles are always good for a laugh.

IMG_8775J doesn’t really know how lucky she is to have Great Grandparents in the picture. Having your children young comes with some pretty cool perks.

IMG_8766Uncles are awesome because they let you put balloon strings up their nose?

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IMG_8807Cake’s getting brighter by the year.

IMG_8818IMG_8823And a birthday is not complete unless you lick the candles. Right?

IMG_8832Fast forward to the following morning when J actually turned five…

IMG_8843We decided it was time to get J a little computer. She was pretty much over the moon and so far it’s been a fun learning tool for her. We decided not to let her have internet access and just loaded it up with some fun apps, music and photos. She has playlists that were shared from Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents, and us of course. Yesterday she was singing You make me feel so young, pretty funny given her age.

20150118_083555I am entirely counting on J being able to help me with my techie troubles a couple years down the road.

IMG_8845So far her favourite app seems to be toca band – fun the first eighteen times she played it. Now I have to insist that she wears her earphones when she plays. But I have to admit, it’s pretty entertaining. She’s also having fun making little movies, painting moustaches on pictures of me, and teaching us about all the new things she is learning – like the fact that polar bears have black skin. Somehow I missed that lesson, but it’s true.

20150118_15483720150118_093842I’d still rather that she play outdoors or do something artsy and creative, but we’ve given her some screen time limits and haven’t run into any major problems yet. Let’s hope that’s a trend that carries on.

IMG_8851Skyping with Daddy in the other room. Ha.

Okay, one last little recap of the celebration that happened the following weekend. A week-long celebration feels a little crazy, but J really wanted to have some of her preschool friends over; and our apartment is preeeetty cozy, so it was best to split up the parties. We decided that five friends for a fifth birthday seemed reasonable. Unlike last year’s seventeen kids for a fourth…

IMG_8858Preparing some goodie bags for her friends a few nights before the party.  I was super impressed with how she organized everything and knew exactly what colour she wanted each friend to have, what cookie cutter, what candy. It was fun to listen to the thought process.

IMG_8863Sweetest little friends.

IMG_8860Once all the little friends arrived we gathered around the table to make birthday party hats. The kids loved customizing their own hats and it was a great way to keep them entertained for a bit (also, mess was contained to one area…so you know that made me happy!)  After hats were done we put them aside to dry and geared up for a rainy walk down the street for a slice of pizza. I was kind of surprised at how well the kids did at getting ready to roll: I imagined this part being a bit crazy with all the boots and scarves, coats, and umbrellas, but somehow it all went pretty smoothly.

20150124_12134920150124_125447IMG_8884After the kids were done with their lunches we splashed our way home for cupcakes.

20150124_095020I figured that I would save myself some work and let the kiddos decorate their own cupcakes. Initially I thought I’d let them do the frosting, but quickly vetoed that idea…

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IMG_8901Love that little five year old face!                                                                                                                                                                                                                        IMG_8904IMG_8895After we were done with cupcakes the kids had a little play session in J’s room (it’s amazing how quickly every single toy can be pulled out) then we lined the kids up at the chalkboard wall, traced their silhouettes and let them colour in their clothes, faces and hair – fun to see the little artists at work.

IMG_8934By 2:15 parents had collected their little ones and somehow our apartment did not look like a bomb went off. Go figure. It was a fun day and a great start to being five!

p.s. A look back at four, three, two and one – sniff.

Little Sister. Big Sister.

29 Jan

IMG_8714IMG_8716IMG_8718It’s been pretty quiet here on my blog. The main reason for that is that I’ve turned my focus to something very exciting that will be coming this April. Here’s a hint: it starts with a B and ends with a Y. It’s caused a lot of excitement over here and I feel like full on nesting mode has kicked in – I do love all this planning and J can barely wait to take on her new role. Another reason for the crickets: I decided to make sleep a priority and tried out a “do less” resolution. I have been attempting to carve out a half an hour a day to read a book, to just stop, to breathe and give myself a ‘quiet time’ – something that we still offer to J each day. It’s good to hit the reset button when your days are fairly hectic. As parents in this digital world, we tend to take on so many things and feel like we should do this and that, and that we’re not doing enough, because someone is always doing it bigger and better. The internet plays a big roll in that and sometimes it’s good to just unplug, retreat for a while (p.s. I’m not very good at it – but I’m trying). That said, I do want to keep up on the occasional post, I like to document family life in this space, especially since Santa treated me to a new camera to play with!

The photos above are from a visit with Auntie J a while back. I just love those smiling faces so much, funny to think that I held both of them in my arms when they were born. My sister and I are 6 and a bit years apart. J and our April baby (a.k.a ‘Pee Wee’) will be 5 and a bit. I know that they will be the best of friends. Can’t wait!

Conversations with my four year old

26 Nov

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I am constantly amazed at the types of things that run through our four year old’s mind: how wild of an imagination she has and how complex and funny her thoughts are becoming. Like many kids, she wakes up talking to herself, chats her way through her day and even falls asleep having happy conversations with her bunny or some imaginary friend. I feel guilty admitting that the ongoing commentary occasionally just fades into the background as I tick through my day-to-day tasks. Then suddenly, I’m snapped back into reality when I realize that I have just been asked how babies are born or how the ocean was made – two big questions that have come up lately.

As far as I can tell, a four year olds primary job is to ask questions and comment on the world around them  – the other is to test boundaries, but that’s another topic. I’ve been doing my best to be present, really listen and give her good answers to the onslaught of inquiries – some days are easier than others. But I want J to know that her thoughts and questions are important and know that I value what she has to say. And I want to remember these conversations: they are clever, surprising, honest, and sometimes it’s those little comments and positive thoughts on life that put a happy spin on my day.

Here’s a few recent comments / conversations:

Me: “Have you seen my dishrag, J?”  J: “I posted it online, ha ha ha!”

J: “I played football in the twenties.” Me: “What?!” J: “Jokin’.”

J: “I don’t ever want to trade you in for a new Mom, I love you too much.” (Phew! I’m not sure where exactly J thinks one might look for a new Mom, but I’m glad that I still have a job)

J: “I want you to give me some fangs.” (bangs)

J: “I wish we could live in the North Pole so we could see Santa all the time. We should do dat sometime.”

J: “When I get married, Daddy will walk me down the aisle…so that will be exciting! (long thoughtful pause…) but there’s SO many men in the world that how will I know which one to fall in love with?!” (Uh, yah, I was totally not ready to have that conversation)

J: “If there’s room at Grandma’s house me and my huds-band can move in with her.”

J: “I want Daddy to do bath tonight to give Mommy a break from dealing with me.” Always thinking about her mama!

J: “Hey, I have an idea: the next morning, I’ll give you five hugs – one in the morning, one in the afternoon and one in the evening. Because five is more than four – so it’s a better deal.” (Clearly she has inherited my stellar math skills)

J: “I wish it would rain cupcakes!” (Me too, kid. Me too)

Me: “Are you done with your raspberries?” J: “Oh, every now and again I come and eat one – so you can just leave them out.”

J: (while looking for a marker) “I need BRIGHT pink and I can’t find it…this is REEALLY BAD!” (Yes, it does sound like a crisis)

It’s these little moments that make all the other challenges of parenting worthwhile. And I must say that there have been power struggles lately, cooperation has hit an all time low and I find myself thumbing through parenting books and scrolling websites for bits of help and insight. My goodness it is a hard job this parenting thing! But it’s these moments and sweet conversations that sustain me and give me the energy and encouragement to wake up and try to make the best out of our day, to be more patient, to lighten up on the stuff that really doesn’t matter, and to appreciate that this is a stage that will not be around forever. I know I will wish it back one day.

One last thing: Tonight was a ‘girls night’ since my husband was working late. Which is half fun, and half oh-great-my day-just-got-way-longer. But as I chewed my last mouthful of pasta and prepared to get up J beat me to the punch, got up, told me she was going to clear my plate and then proceeded to clear the entire table – I mean, the entire table – plates, napkins, cutlery, glasses and condiments. It just made me so happy and proud and I sort of just sat there in awe. It was so sweet. So thank you, four year old. You make me happy.

Red Riding Hood

1 Nov

IMG_8142IMG_8157IMG_8146IMG_8164IMG_8163IMG_8200IMG_8186IMG_8194IMG_8182Yesterday was one busy day! We started the morning decorating cupcakes for the preschool potluck. J was excited to make “worms in dirt” -really just chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting dipped in Oreo cookie crumbs (the dirt) and topped with a gummy worms. Not sure what we did before Pinterest? (Martha Stewart magazines?) Anyhow, after the preschool potluck we got caught in a pretty good rain storm and were totally unprepared, no umbrella or raincoat. Luckily, the rain did not last and the afternoon turned into the most beautiful fall day, perfect for some Halloween photos! And while I love taking photos of the actual trick-or-treating action it’s hard to know what the weather will be like – plus photos after dark can be tough. After a session in the park (where we pretended we were on the path to Grandma’s house), a quick zumba class and an early dinner, we made our way to family and friends’ places to collect an unreasonable amount of candy. We made it home for a late night Japanese take out and  plenty of couch time. It was a good Halloween. And I’m happy to report that we will be getting a visit from the ‘switch witch’ once again this year (you know, leave your candy out for the witch and she takes it and replaces it with a small toy). Win win. Oh, and another win…we scored a family photo…Thanks CM!

IMG_8220  p.s. Halloween last year and the year before that. Oh, and pumpkin cupcakes! 

xo

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