Friday, January 28, 2011

Eating Dirt

Remember when I made the comment about using Barbie's to re-enact what my wonderful children do? Well I do and I guess that is what matters.
Funny thing about where we live. It snowed last week and this week, today specifically, we are enjoying the 60's. I decided to send the girls outside after quite time/ nap time. They were having a blast, what a great day to get out and enjoy the sun, the outdoor toys and the dirt.
Let's flash back to the last time the girls played outside, it had snowed, a lot. I bundled up the girls and myself since it was at warmest in the teens, and we headed out to the great 5 inches! Big Girl J loves to eat the snow. She loves it so much she calls it ice cream. Apparently I don't give my girls ice cream often enough! As any good big sis would do she taught Little Miss O how to eat the snow. Now you can't just eat snow from anywhere. There are very special, very specific places, like the ice cream shop. The large whiskey barrel planters I have place on the patio. All the way across the patio from 'home,' the play house that consists mainly of a slide and boxed in area with 1 door. So the girls spent about 10 minutes, that translates to hours in freezing temperature time, going from home to the ice cream store getting yummy, fresh and Delicious ice cream. After the fingers froze we returned to the warmth of the fire place, hot chocolate and blankets.
Back to current day. Big Girl J and Little Miss O, getting their shoes on while drinking after nap chocolate milk. I send them outside and sit down at the computer to do a little work. With in minutes Little Miss O comes toward the door crying, but not to hard just enough to make me think her sister knocked her over. But when I turned in my chair and looked at her, I knew what had happened. She had gone to the ice cream shop, and ignored the out of ice cream sign. Little Miss O had dug in the planters, in the dirt and decided to taste the chocolate ice cream, only to discover that it is the worst ice cream in the world. No wonder her big sis wasn't joining in the fun with her. It wasn't fun, it was grainy and gross and when she tried to brush it out of her mouth she only added more dirt. Since she was a bit distraught over eating dirt, I decided not to take a picture. But after she was cleaned up, back to the chocolate milk and had a smile back on her face, I decided to use Barbie to show you how she looked. Now keep in mind Little Miss O was not wearing an evening gown, nor does she have long blonde hair, or any hair for that matter. However to give you an idea, she looked just like this:
Ok, maybe not just like that. Little Miss O only had dirt from mouth down, but I hope this illustration helps to see what I saw.

At least they WANT to help clean

I have a video , but I am not sure how to actually insert this video. I used the app 'quik' on my 'new' phone. It works well, but I obviously don't know how to use it!
Back to the video. There are so many aspects of this video that make me laugh. I think I will start with Little Miss O. About a half hour before the 'mess', Big Girl J was asked to put away her pearl necklaces. She decided to put one on herself and one on her sister instead of putting them in her jewelry box. Shortly after Little Miss O decided to try on her sister's shoes. They are only 5 kid sizes too big... but she did a very good job walking around in them.
Now to what happened. Big Girl J is very into being independent and doing things on her own, this includes feeding the animals. She loves it, one could say it is her favorite part of the day since she tries to feed them multiple times every day. She thinks it is most awesome to feed them 'cupcakes', this is when she puts so much food in the bowl that is has a hump on top that makes it look cupcakey. It seems inevitable that there would be a spill of cat food from this style of feeding. But really she usually does very good, holding the bowl very still, and walking up two steps and navigating around a crazy cat who thinks she will never get fed again.
As you can tell in the video, Little Miss O didn't think holding the pan still would work very well. Now Big Girl J has had a little practice with the broom. And has witnessed mommy start from the top step and work down. But to my defense I have never picked up pieces and thrown it to the lower level only  to sweep it up later. But this method apparently worked very well for Big Girl J. In her process of sweeping and throwing cat food, Little Miss O was trying to catch the pieces in the dust pan. Now not all the pieces landed in the pan, so she felt it would be more effective to pick up the individual pieces and set them in the pan. The pieces would then fall out when she bent down to pick up another one.
The wonderful craziness was just great to watch. I had no urge to help. I guess I knew that when the dog came in the problem would be solved. Shortly after taking the video and trying to figure out how to share it, Little Miss O gave up on helping her sister. And only minutes after that Big Girl J asked me to hold the dust pan. I grabbed the pan, turned around and was very surprised to find an actual pile of cat food pieces in a nice pile on the floor. It may have take 20 minutes, more or less. But Big Girl J got the job done!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Watching the News

Last week we traveled across the state of 'not much out there' to the state of' only has one city and it is salty'. It was a good trip considering the traveling took place in winter, and the chances of road closures are usually high, but lucky for us it wasn't that week. On the wonderful trip we took 4 baby girls, who out numbered the adults by one, to a children's museum. There were many things the kids got to play with and had a tons of fun. Until they got tired and fingers got pinched, but they were good for a couple hours of pure play. One of the areas of play was a 'working' news station. My beautiful girls sat right down in those chairs and said:
In case you didn't catch what she said it was, "Good Morning,... Welcome to the news." Oh so cute, she cracked me up. Big Girl J must think mommy makes her watch too much news. In my defense, I only watch it for an hour in the morning, usually before she even wakes up. Least we compare that one hour to the multiple hours of cartoons she watches all day...
Now for the flood of pictures from the exciting world of the children's museum. Here is the Police Officer:
Just because I need my pacifier, doesn't mean I won't arrest you!

 The construction worker, I feel a song coming on....

 "I don't think the grocery store is a 'right fit' for me"

This was fun, they put paper on a spinney wheel, so they spun it while holding a pencil to it and made pretty circles! Opal even got a try and she did a great job.

This is the fun ball area. See fun, then see where the fingers got pinched, the tube that shoots the balls up into a maze of clear tubes and fun! And then the lid closes as the girls are in awe at the ball shooting up in the air and the next noise you hear is screaming and crying. The pain was quickly forgoten when we enjoyed deep fried cheese on a stick!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Where to start?

Last week was so much fun. So much emotions in seeing my sisters. It seems unfair that they live so far away and we are so close in our relationship with each other, and many families who live very close to each other don't seem to talk or see each other or care to.... Even if my sisters could live 4 to 6 hours away but with one in the middle then we would only have a three hour road trip to meet in the middle. But Sista V, who lives 7 hours away, lives across a stretch of road that has no town in between, just a random series of truck stops and wind farms. Of course Big Sista K lives 4 hours away, by PLANE! There are plenty of wonderful towns we could meet at in the middle, after a full day and some of driving, and spending as much in gas and frustration equal to the airplane ticket itself. But alas, it is probably the degree of separation that keeps our relationship so close.
Big Sista K flew into DIA to travel with me and mine to see Sista V, who just had Baby #2! So the adventures began. We had a great trip. My girls are the best road trippers, watching movies, playing with barbies, leapster video games, leapster laptops and generally wanting what the other was playing with. Taking an hour stop for lunch at a McD's playland, and making good time to get there.
We had lot of fun, with lots of pictures, still on my phone and more to come from a professional.
But back to the where to start problem. Yesterday was the realization of a 3 week mark to the cake competition. And the excitement or nervousness, or pure 'I must be out of my mind'-ness kicked in. So I decide I need to practice the icing technique that I wanted to try on this cake, but only saw on TV. I pulled out the blender and made my butter cream. Then I pulled out a foam block to ice.
This block is a dry foam block for flowers, but had been collecting dust, so I will put it to use... of sorts.
I am not using fondant for this cake, not because I think butter cream is so much better, but for my lack of ability to cover a cake in fondant without a major mess up that I would have to find a way to cover up. So back to this crazy technique I want to try. It is a double coat of two different colors of the butter cream icing, then using a paintbrush to 'rough' up the surface and pull the dark color into the gaps. Of course in my practice I realize I don't have a dark color green, so I added a little black to get the idea. It worked for the practice, but I don't like that color! The lighter color is about perfect.

So if I forgot to mention it, the cake I want to make is a Christmas tree cake. So in the picture it is difficult to see the dark color, probably because the dark color I used wasn't enough of a contrast, tis the reason for practicing.

Can you see it better here? This is where I need feedback. Does it look 'rough' enough. For the record, this small block of foam took a single batch of butter cream... My cake is going to take a lot of icing! Maybe I should go to sam's club for the amount of powdered sugar needed!

Thanks to the best husband in the world, my idea for this cake is coming to life. Yesterday while I was playing with icing, he was making my stand. I think this cake will be between 12 and 15 inches tall. I did use the last of my homemade fondant to make the presents that will sit by the tree. I will let you see those after they are decorated! So thanks to my wonderful, incredibly supportive husband for making this come to life! I am getting pretty excited now!
After I get picture downloaded off my phone, I will start sharing stories from last week!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Great Mess Of '11

I bet this title might get used a few more times this year!
Today I tackled a problem area. My scrap booking corner. I have had no time since either baby was born to scrapbook. But I have bought stamps, I have bought paper. I have been to many stamping parties. I have saved many cards, and pictures and drawings. This isn't a problem with many people, but those people might have an entire room for their crafty needs. Even a whole closet. I don't, I have a dresser, in a corner, behind a chair in the living room. Not a lot of space.

This Picture is taken with the chair moved completely out of the way. See the mess. I didn't open the drawers to show that mess, because they don't open easily.
I purchased a couple organizer items to help with this. In the top drawer is a jumble mess of over stuffed random bags to try and organize stamps, embellishments, punches, inks and random items that have been begging for a real home. The second drawer is sewing items, mixed with a few pieces of fabric, topped off with a couple decorative items. The bottom drawer is literally stuffed to the max with fabric given to me. A problem with that, I can sew. But I am not creative enough, nor have the time to pull out a random piece of fabric and just make something. So I have decided to 'donate' it, since it was free and hasn't been touch in years. It isn't going far, it will be going to the Preschool.

Yes that was all in the bottom drawer!
During the first part of the destruction of the old, Big Girl J was at Preschool and Little Miss O was napping. And CSI was on TV, by the way, I never get to watch anything like this unless I have this anomaly happening.
I thought that part went well. But then I had to wake up Little Miss O, pick up Big Girl J and come home to this:
I feel that this picture doesn't do my mess justice.
So I explained to the girls, you need to give me a little bit in this corner so I can pick up my mess. I sit down and Little Miss O come walking right over every thing and sits on my lap.... Not going to work, but I play for a minute to make her happy. Then she gets up and I get back into it. Big Girl J has been sneaky and found  few stickers, they are on the fireplace, the dog, and her face... Then I hear a very odd noise. And my legs have fallen asleep. And I am pretty sure someone has made poo poo. So I get up, and see, Little Miss O taking handfuls of (clean) kitty litter and throwing them up in the air, and then kicking it around with her feet at the entry way. This isn't where we keep the kitty box, we keep it where I am sitting. Needless to say this was a very cool new place for her to play with. At least it was clean, however she was not. I had to change her stinky bottom. When I get done Big Girl J, who is very helpful, has been to the garage and brought back a broom for the both of us to clean up that mess! And she helped sweep it up.
Then I had a couple more minutes and I was done! Done! Nothing goes as quick with all the interruptions, but at least I got 1 thing done today!

I threw away trash, I got back a basket and couple bags and I feel good about getting to the things I need when I have the urge/need to make invites.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Still Learning

I wanted to figure out a little more about how to 'design' my blog. It isn't going 'well'. But I have at least figured out a couple things.
Little Miss O has been saying a new word a day. She was wonderful with 'thank you' before Christmas but now she is expanding her vocabulary. Yesterday she said 'help' then put her hand still stuck in her sleeve in my face. She said it a few more times after that in different situations. This morning when her hand was stuck in her sleeve she said 'ow' then after freeing her hand she stuck it up to my lips for a kiss!
Big Girl J has been trying to help teach her words. Luckily they have all been good words! My girls grow so much every day. It amazes me.
I was looking for pictures to post for the 'header' of this blog and I found many barbie pictures. On a sister trip to Philly we three bought barbie dolls at the Time's Square Toys-R-Us. We took pictures of the Barbie's posing, fighting and 'hot tubbing' in the bathroom sink. On a recent trip to Chicago with some Pampered Chef Consultants for national conference, I talked them into purchasing barbies to do the same with. Pose them in places were we couldn't go for pictures and for general play and good memories. Then I started to think.... I know, dangerous.... when my girls give me a good story to share, I can use the barbies to re-enact the story to help guide your understanding of what happened.... This could be fun!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Real Challenge

I have a small creative side. Really I have a giant spot in my brain just for creative ideas, however the link from brain to reality is much too small. In fact going from head to paper seems almost impossible at times and if I get the urge to try and sketch an idea is looks as if a drawing my 3 1/2 year old did and I should hang it on the fridge and not take credit for it.
If I am taught techniques I might be able to get from head to paper, then to rough draft, then to a re-do, then maybe to a finished product. Usually some of  the ideas were scrapped by the final draft due to the above mentioned problem. And the overall product has been incredibly simplified due to lack of time to work on it or young children wanting to help. In certain situations I can give Big Girl J something similar to play with so I can do 'my thing.'
One thing I wish I could do better is cake. So one day of shopping at the local craft store I found a flier for cake decorating classes at half off!??!?!? What, a discount of course I'll take it, heck give me two. Oh, sorry, that is my cheap side coming out. So I talked to the Husband and we decided this was a good time to do it, if I really wanted to.
So I signed up, went and got my kit for class 1, and went to the thrift store to find a container to put my little pieces in. I found a purple caboodle, for $2. This makes me very happy because I always wanted one, but by the time my big sisters were ready to hand their caboodle down to me, it was no longer cool, a problem I had with clothes also growing up. But now the caboodle is so beyond cool, it is smokin'!
I embark on the journey of leaning another craft. I have learned many crafts. Some get regular use and others not so much. But this craft I wanted for my girls. My goal from these classes are to make sure my girls always remember how cool their homemade, not store bought, birthday cakes were/ are.
I would get in to the description of cake I had made, but I will save that for a blog when I can learn how to post pictures to this. The real point of this blog is to start a 'series' of blog leading up to a big event.
I found, online, a Colorado cake decorationg club. And that they have a yearly competition in Denver during a home and garden show. I have a step-sister, still in high school, who has also found a love in cake decorating. For Christmas I gave her the paper work and a blank check to pay for her entry fee, and we will do this together. She loved it! Of course.
After seeing the categories and divisions (I will be division 4, beginner adults, because anyone who is not a beginner would put my cake to shame,) I had a few nights before I mentioned to my Husband that I wanted to do this. And in those few nights that creative side of my brain started to create this massive idea of a cake Christmas tree put together in a similar way to those stacked star sugar cookies, but with cake! Of course that was a few months ago and in my 'template' drawings I haven't been able to make this work. Until now, maybe. I cut my templates today on how I will cut my cake and put it together. Husband and I went to the hardware store to find a good size of board to make this work. I am getting closer to getting this idea out of my head and on to cake board.
Of course there will be more to come on the adventures of this cake. The competition isn't until the 2nd weekend of February.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Goals for 2011

The first step to reaching your goals is to write them down.
I went to the Pampered Chef Back to Business meeting the other night to find out the incintive trip for this year. Before that was announced, my director took our group in the hall to do recognition for our team. I found out that I had top sales in her team last year, with $18782.22. When we went back in to the room where the other directors were setting up I was able to look at the posters for top sellers in their own teams. I realized that most of the top sellers were much higher than my sales by double and about the 3rd person down was near my totals.
The meeting started and we sat down to watch the video from home office that would announce our big incintive trip. They started the video with an annoucement that was not expected. There is an extra trip available this year! This is a half way mark trip! That you get to go and enjoy this november! And if you reach the points to earn that trip, you are half way to the other trip. And that trip is a cruise for two!!!
I was very excited. Now as a stay at home mom, I can focus better on this career and I want both of those trips! I want to take my husband on a FREE trip! The pay for the air fare, they pay for the all inclusive part of room and food. Pampered Chef is so awesome! There are other home based businesses that pay for your hotel but not your flight, or pay for your flight but that is it. I am so lucky to work for this company, who really loves their consultants and put us first.
My goals: To 'double dip' I want both trips. I need to have about 6 to 8 shows a month with 1 recruit a month. If I can't fill up the rest of this month I need to over book next month, since that is a double points month. But I will do this. It is my goal, to reach this goal I must over come a big obsticle of talking to strangers. I also must make time every day for calls and keep my desk an organized toy-free zone. I spent an hour yesterday cleaning the desk.
I also have a goal to eat better and work out. I can't refer to this as a diet because that will just ruin it for me from the get go. So I have no other goal in that than to feel better daily by exercising and eating healthier. By exercising 2 to 3 times a week I hope to be a more understanding and better mom. I also will run for another board position at Big Girl J's preschool, that will be Big Girl J and Little Miss O's preschool next year. And for the sake of just having the bathroom re-tiled, I also promise to not complain about the bathroom needing to be re-done!
I also will 'resolve' to right down all of my goals. And tell people about them so I can be held accountable and will have a better chance of reaching these goals.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Gap in Communication

My husband and I have a New Year's Eve tradition of feasting on crab legs. Normally we watch the ads and wait for the king crab to be on a great sale, however this year it just never went on a good sale and the selection of this crab was awful to say the least. So we broke down and 'settled' for snow crab. I know it is still delishious crab meat and I am still glad to eat it, but the king crab says it all in it's name.
So we decided to spend this Eve with a few couple friends, drink a couple drinks, eat a steak and crab feast and play pictionary man. Very fun, it was a blast, although at 1:30am I was the first to throw in the towel and go to bed, I still made the midnight countdown. The countdown we missed trying to take a group picture! I believe I was getting yelled at when I went to look at the TV, to 'get back in the picture' when I said hey the countdown is over!
Back to the crab, the was a lot left, due to over buying and the accompanied steak, potato and rolls. Personally, we needed none of the rest, just the crab will do me fine! But it was a good meal. So my Husband cracked the last of the crab and placed it in a bag. We were asked to take it with us, due to the host not 'liking' leftovers. We didn't complain, in fact we would have probably begged if they hadn't of requested it. We get home on New Year's Day and around lunch I pull out the 'google' and start searching for a good crab cake recipe. Husband asks what I am doing and I tell him, he says, "that sounds yummy." And we go about the rest of the day. A little later I ask Husband if he thinks yogurt is an okay substitution for mayo in the suace for the crab cakes. His response, "You think we need sauce?" I am thinking, "WHAT!?!?! Of course we need sauce!" But instead I just say, "yes, we need sauce" and without an actual to my question, we go on about our day.
Later, around dinner time, I start the biscuts, then move on to the sauce with a plan to finish with cooking the crab cakes. Husband walks in and sees the biscuts, and the sauce in progress and says, "what else are we going to have with this?" I say, "Nothing, this is all I had planned." He then goes to the freezer and pulls out a package of pork chops and starts defrosting them. He then puts them on the counter and says these will go good with it. Then the children become a handful. So Husband takes them in the other room and keeps them entertained. The whole time I am thinking, "what the hell is he thinking!?!?!" I decide there is no reason to fight, I will just make him pork chops, knowing that I will not eat them. The crab cakes are good enough for my dinner.
I finish up the dinner and hollar for the family to come if they are hungry. Husband walks into the kitchen and stares at the counter where all the food is sitting. He stares long enough I get the girls sat down with their plates and milk, before he taked his eyes off the food and says, "I thought when you said crab cakes you were talking about these biscuts."
hahahahaah, now it is clear. He isn't 'crazy' wanting 2 dinners, he had never had good or real crab cakes! Then we laugh for a while, bag up the cooked pork chops for lunch tomorrow, well his lunch, there was still a crab cake left for my lunch! At least he didn't try to play off like he knew all along and ate both porch and crab cake, but needless to say he was happy with the crab cakes, and no other meat for dinner!