Monday, April 30, 2012

Son is THREE

Almost a month ago, we celebrated Son's third birthday.  We tried to fit in as many of Son's favorite things that we could into one day. We started out with a green airplane cake for breakfast and we didn't stop until both kids were sleeping hard in their car seats at 6pm! 

Husband created another great cake in his tradition of making great kid birthday cakes

He was THRILLED.  

Next he opened his gifts: a T. Rex book from Daughter and a dinosaur tail I made.

our first stop was free play at our favorite bounce house place. Two hours of this and  both kids STILL wanted more!

Then lunch at Nabeel's.
 Next, we stopped for two loaves of bread to feed ducks.  VERY hungry ducks.  We should have gotten FOUR loaves of bread!
the very hungry ducks following us

Son was feeding a duck that was so hungry it tried to eat his shirt.  He was done after that!  (and of course he's still talking about the very hungry duck that tried to eat him)
 Then we tried a new frozen yogurt shop in downtown Birmingham called Paramount.  We all gave it two thumbs up.  Fun place to stop in and it's so close to McWane, I know we'll be back more.

By this point of the day, I am exhausted and would have loved to go home, but it wasn't my birthday.  The kids were still going strong so Husband suggested Rail Road Park.  And my kids have NEVER turned down a trip to Rail Road Park
Pretending to be airplanes

Climbing to the "tippy top"

He finally sat down and took a break with me by the water.

Husband showing off for the group of girls on the right, er, I mean showing Daughter how to do a handstand. 
 My absolute favorite part of the day was when my mom called to talk to Son and wish him a happy birthday.  She told him she'd be over to visit the next day and bring his birthday present.  When they got off the phone Son said, "I wish Nanny would bring a dinosaur tail for Rylie for my birthday."  sigh.  He wanted his sister to have a dinosaur tail too.  So after lunch we stopped in at Hobby Lobby for fabric for a dinosaur tail for her.
now we have 2 scary dinosaurs in the house
We all had such a fun day and most of all our big three year old got to spend the day being king of the world.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Scarf a Long Time Coming and the difference between E and J

I finished this scarf back when it was actually winter.  But, I figure, better late than never.

I got two skeins of Patons Lace at least 2 years ago.  It was definitely the smallest yarn I've ever bought, but I really liked the colors so I wanted to turn it into a scarf I would love.  I really REALLY liked it.  But two years later, I still had not decided what in the world I wanted this scarf to look like.

THE yarn
 Initially, I decided I'll use a small hook.  A very small hook.  And the scarf will be very tight.  I thought with two skeins, I could definitely make an over sized scarf with that.  And then I started working.  And this is what I had accomplished after 30 minutes:
that's not a lot.  It's the chain and one and a half rows.
 So, I reassessed.  Do I really want to be working on this scarf for the next 3 weeks?  um, no.
So, I reached for my favorite Size J hook and started over.
this is one row on the tiny size E and the size J.  Huge difference

the size difference
 That was enough for me to decide I'd rather have a gauzy scarf than a really tight one.  So I got to work and a few work hour later, I finished the first skein and decided that was long enough.
I really like my long gauzy scarf.  and I still love the colors .  And I also love those little green toenails that are attached to those little feet that are attached to Son.
Because I still have the second skein, I'm thinking about moving up to a size G or H and try a less tight one.  Maybe I'll have the patience for it!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sleepy Heads

This is what happens at our house when you skip your nap and decide you want to build block towers instead. You fall asleep on the couch about an hour before your bedtime.

Monday, April 9, 2012

What turning 33 looks like at our house

We went all our for Husband's birthday a couple of weeks ago.  Seriously, you only turn 33 once.  The kids love making big deals about birthdays.  They suggested balloons, a banner, flowers, birthday hats, Husband's favorite dinner, a cake and, of course, snakes and dinosaurs.  Yes,  last year they gave him a toy dinosaur and spider and this year it was a toy dinosaur and toy snake.  So, since they lack the ability to drive a car, cook a meal, bake a cake, and purchasing power for such things, I made it happen.

I'm not a baker (I have never made a cake except from a box and that does not count) so I always make a non-cake dessert for Husband's birthday cake.  This year I decided on a cheesecake.  I've never actually make a cheesecake either but Husband always says it's easy so I thought I'd give it ago.  I made a Hazelnut Cheesecake but used almonds instead of hazelnuts - for the main reason that we already had almonds. It was pretty fantastic.  And we used the leftover amaretto whipped cream in our coffee the next morning. That was a wonderful treat!

Phineas and Ferb also joined the party.  Notice Son and Daughter picked out pink and green candles.

CHEESE.  taking a break between dessert and dinner.  We should always have dessert first!

"Look, I made a Daddy tower."

He was so excited.

Eating their bread and ignoring the Eggplant Parmesan.
It's always fun celebrating Husband.

Happy Birthday, love.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

SBS Blocks 25, 26, 27 (Wonky)

After a bit of a break, we are back at it with the Skill Builder Sampler.  This set concentrated on wonky blocks.  And the first one just happened to be something I have 2 throw quilts worth of experience on: the wonky log cabin!

the wonkies

Block 25: Wonky Log Cabin

Block 26: Wonky Star

Block 27: Wonky Fan
I really liked these blocks.  They were all pretty easy and fun.  I feel like the more I work with the fabric the more I like the fabric choices for each block.  I really do put a lot of thought into which fabric goes where and  which other ones look good with it.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Celebrating 31

The night before my birthday I was exiled to my bedroom while Husband, Daughter and Son worked hard in the kitchen making cupcakes.  Little did I know, they were making Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes with Ganache Frosting. (um, I just went up a dress size TYPING the name)

I never got caught up in the cupcake frenzy of late.  I don't watch cupcake television shows.  I don't go to cupcake bakeries and indulge in whatever the newest flavor is.  I just don't.  I'm not a big fan of desserts as a general rule so Husband always has to give a little more effort than I would assume he'd have to if married to a dessert lover.

This year he hit the jackpot and unless he's making a cheesecake, I want him to make these cupcakes for every birthday I have until I'm dead.   Seriously, click the recipe.  Make these cupcakes.  Fall in love too.  They are incredible.

So anyway, I knew they were making a birthday dessert and it was a surprise, but that's all I knew.  Except what I could get Son to tell me when he'd come in to see every once in awhile.  And I'd stand in the doorway of the kitchen and say things like, "What is going on in this room?" and "What smells so good in here."   

Daughter was such a champ.  She'd quickly shoo me away and tell me to go back to my room and read a book or take a rest.  It was pretty stinking cute.  She was a good surprise keeper and did her best to act like there was no reason in particular that she and her brother were wearing their aprons and huddled in the kitchen with Husband for over 2 hours.

Soon it was time to sing and blow out the candles.  and taste.  WOW.  Taste.  Fantastic.  

After eating our cupcake.  Don't be fooled, Daughter was just as messy as Son, but she washed her mouth and hands before the picture.

She's so silly

Monday, April 2, 2012


About a month ago, I started garden planning.  (BTW, have you tried yet?  It's great for list makers) 

It still blows my mind how excited I get when the seed catalog arrives.  It's pretty much the same excitement I used to feel walking into Express. sigh, a lifetime ago.

This year I decided to keep the Juliet tomatoes, the Marketmore '76 cucumbers, the Early Golden Summer Crookneck squash, and the Black Beauty Zucchini Squash from last year.  And I'm adding Amarillo carrots (a longer thinner carrot than last year), Fledderjohn soybean (an edamame variety that Daughter is ecstatic to grow. Thanks to a dinner with the McEggs, edamame is one of her favorite foods.) AND Grandma Oliver's Green Tomato.  Plus, whatever varieties of red tomatoes I find next week at Marvin's that will be good for canning.

Back to the Grandma Oliver's Green Tomato.  Husband was shocked to learn that there's an actual variety of green tomatoes.  He thought all those times we bought green tomatoes in the grocery store or ate them somewhere we were buying/eating unripe tomatoes.  sigh.  (and he's the country boy and I'm the city girl)  He loves fried green tomatoes and he loves my vegetable hash recipe so if I can grow our own, that's super.

If you've followed my gardening adventures for the past couple of years, you know what trouble I have starting plants from seeds.  Either, I kill them with too much or too little water.  Or I kill them in some other way I have no clue about.  Or the cat digs them up or knocks them over.  Or a kids digs them up.  Something.  every year, something happens that stresses me out about SEEDS.  crazytown.  This year was different.

I got my miracle grow potting mix, my cup with good drainage (yogurt container with holes in the bottom), and I even dug in the flowerbed for a worm for every container.  This year  I actually read the bag of miracle grow that suggests mixing miracle grow with your dirt in a 50/50 mix.  LIGHT BULB, this may have been what killed last year's batch -- too much food, too soon.

It pays to read the directions. 

So, even though my technique had improved, I still doubted whether I could make two seeds survive until they were big enough for the garden.  So, I planted 15 seeds.  yes.  15. hedging my bets.  surely, out of 15, 2 could live!

this is what they looked like about a week after the first one  sprouted.
I did a little pruning between the first picture and the second one.  There were a couple of seedlings that didn't have strong stems so I just plucked them.  And almost felt zero guilt about it.

This is what they looked like last week.  

I think it's safe to say I finally broke my bad luck seedling streak!  ALSO, I have way more Grandma Oliver's Green tomato plants than I need.  I am only planting 2 or maybe 3.  I told my parents I'm giving them 2.  So if anyone relatively local wants a couple, let me know.  Fried green tomatoes all summer.  yum

I'm also excited about basil and mint plants!  Plus our blackberry bushes (even though they are small) have lots of blooms.  It's a good year for the garden.