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

A Day in Deep Cove

29 Aug

Last Sunday we took the short drive over to Deep Cove to check out Deep Cove Daze.  Of course it goes without saying that any event offering balloons, face painting and food trucks is always a go for J – but on my end, I was excited for other reasons. My Grandparents (and hence my Mom) lived there once upon a time, so it was fun to imagine them raising their family in those surroundings, perhaps swimming in those waters, walking those streets, and looking at the same mountains. Certainly much has changed since the days when they called Deep Cove home, but I suspect that the charm and beautiful surroundings remain somewhat untouched. You get a sense that it’s just a wonderful place to live and that it’s a tight-knit community. Lots of people puttering in their yards, established homes, beautiful gardens. And my mind immediately started conjuring up dreams of running a little bed and breakfast in a place like that. If you’ve never been, and you’re in the Vancouver area, it is definitely worth a day trip, if only to pop in and out of the  little stores, grab a gelato and relax on the beach for a bit.

Here’s a few photos from our day…

IMG_7725Is it just me or does J look like a big kid now?

IMG_9212IMG_9218IMG_9217All J wanted was Fish and Chips. And by that she really meant just chips.

IMG_9215I was 100% taken by this store  – pulled in by the bike and banner.

IMG_7730My Grandma H always had a door mat that said “GO AWAY” –  I thought it was the best. Until I saw this one.

IMG_7734What’s this? Movie rentals? Do they have places like that anymore? I have to admit that I miss picking my movies out from a movie rental place. And see what I mean about a charming little community?

IMG_9214IMG_7718We’re heading to the PNE in a couple of days so we didn’t spend too much time on rides. But the smile on that little face was worth a buck.

IMG_7744J brought her little point and shoot camera. The next photos are courtesy of her…

IMG_6573IMG_6554IMG_6578An old fashion selfie. You know, you actually have to physically turn the camera around to take the shot. The first time J asked where the screen button was to take a selfie I almost died. Anyhow, fromage anyone?

IMG_6569…I will spare you the shots of the random people J was shooting, and not being super inconspicuous about the whole process. But somehow four-year-olds have this cute thing going on that allows them to get away with things that might otherwise be deemed rather creepy.    * end of Photographer J shots *

IMG_7755IMG_7765Cardboard kayak race. Not really on my bucket list but entertaining nonetheless. I really had no idea that you could make a boat (that works) out of cardboard. Some of the kids had clearly put some serious thought into the process.

IMG_7758IMG_7752The second balloon of the day. The first one escaped into the clouds and the result was half of a rainbow washed off J’s face from the tears. Balloons are serious business, you know.

IMG_7764Until next time, Deep Cove.

We have a floater…

23 Aug

IMG_7674Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a floater. Only a big deal if you know how worried I was that this child would never a) put her face in the water, or b) let me wash her hair without a huge fuss. But somehow between several days spent at the lake this summer and a swim instructor who was just a little bit forceful (thanks, I think), J was actually floating on her back the other day and bobbing up and down in the pool, swallowing more water than is likely healthy. I don’t know that I would go so far as to call her a ‘water kid’ – but at least she’s a ‘I’m-kindof-okay-with-getting-water-in-my-eyes’ kid. In my mind that is something to celebrate. So ding ding!

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