Monday, October 31, 2011

Corn Maze and Pumpkin Carving

We went to a corn maze a few Saturdays ago. It was a first experience for me, that I can recall. Alec really enjoyed leading us through the maze. He really enjoys doing (and making) mazes on paper and the magnadoodle so he absolutely LOVED the concept of walking through a maze. They had a fun bouncy pillow thing too that the kids and I jumped on. Personally, that was a lot of fun for me. I think its been too long since I was on anything like that.

The kids and I also devoted a few days of playschool devoted to "P is for pumpkin." We traced the letter, drew pumpkins made pumpkin cookies, a pumpkin jelly roll, pumpkin waffles, pumpkin muffins, roasted pumpkin seeds and pumpkin Chex mix. Of course, we also carved pumpkins.

Alec did his ENTIRELY by himself. With those plastic kid-friendly carving utensils he was having a blast. It actually made the whole experience really great for me. I love seeing him do a fun art project all by himself. Charlie did really well too, although his attention span lasted only as far as taking the seeds out. He really liked the idea of roasting the seeds and eating them. Gwendolyn, like most babies her age, didn't like the goopy pumpkin innards. She didn't want to touch them and instead tried to contain the mess better by picking up stray pumpkin seeds and putting them in the bowl. She's an excellent cleaner-upper and is the first one to help me pick up. She also is the first one to make the messes in the first place.

The finished products! Pretty good! There still is one big pumpkin left to carve....maybe Chris and I will get to it tonight.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Charlie is 3

Our impish, smiley, whiny, adorable, independent, basket-ball-short-loving, chipped teeth Charlie turned 3 last week. The day started off with breakfast in bed since Alec has been wanting that ever since Fathers and Mother's days. "When is brother's day? When we will get breakfast in bed?" He had asked. And yes, I am talking about Alec, not Charlie. But everyone knows whatever Alec wants, Charlie wants, so breakfast in bed it was for our little Charles Leland. He woke up at 6, excited for his birthday and I had to tell him to go back to bed because it wasn't 7:00 yet. Amazingly he obeyed and a bit later I got up to put together eggs, toast and a sprinkled donut for him. And we all went in there to deliver it to him singing all the birthday songs. He beamed through out all of it and opened up a small present...or two...or three. Wait, I think I kept him to just two. Personally, I like to save most of the presents for later so there is still something to look forward to.

We went to the nearest pumpkin patch to pick out pumpkins. It was an hour North of the city. I couldn't believe that was the nearest one... and in fact its the only one and was more of a Halloween Carnival with mazes, tractor rides, puppet shows, food arena, pumpkin painting, petting zoo, haunted house, bands playing etc. It was pretty cold and windy and expensive so we just got 3 of the smallest pumpkins, sat in on a short puppet show and rode the free tractor-pulling-a-big-trailer thing.

Then we had cake and ice cream at home as a family. He wanted a "rainbow cake with light buzz in a rocket." So we ended up having this:


Rainbow chip cake mix cake swirled with the usual Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate cake and a Duplo Buzz Lightyear standing on a rocket drawn on with frosting surrounded by rainbow sprinkles. I think it worked for him because he didn't complain. He usually eats just the frosting and ice cream and leaves the rest of the cake anyway.

He had said he wanted a party with his old EV friends so we did a little virtual party using gmail's video chat on Monday. It was a costume party and we played freeze dance and ate cake. It was fun to see our old friends again and Charlie loved the attention.

We've told him for a while now that he'll be too old to use pacifiers once he turned 3. He happily cut the tips off and threw them in the garbage. He's not complained or even asked for them once. Although he no longer naps and has the HARDEST time falling asleep now...it usually takes 20 minutes of crying. Poor kid, he has no idea how to fall asleep on his own. But I believe he'll learn pretty fast and I'll gladly take 3 years of almost drug-induced sleeping behavior for this adjustment period.
Our Charlie loves following Alec, waking up early, wearing underwear to bed, kicking balls, running "sootah fast", trains, Thomas, trucks, race cars, "Lightning an' Mcqueen", "Light Buzz", helping me in the kitchen (meaning liking bowls and eating dough), taking things from Gwen and giving her hugs, eating off of yellow dishes, drawing race cars on the magnadoodle and has recently really gotten into coloring. He brightens up our life and has the most kissable cheeks of any 3 year old. Happy Birthday Charlie!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Little ham

Gwen already loves to make people laugh. She'll tease me by telling me she's all done with a meal (when she's clearly not) and then laughs at me and whines when I start to take away her tray. Then she'll do it again as soon as I give it back to her. Today she put this crown on upside down and backwards by herself and the boys laughed and laughed so she kept doing it and strut around the house with it on. Silly girl.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Food Fail

This week has seen its share of kitchen fails. Two nights in a row dinner was just off: too much salt/seasonings in the chicken broccoli rice thing, and too much tomato and/or BBQ sauce in the chili I tried to whip up in 10 minutes mixing cans of everything into a pot. UGH! I guess recipes do exist for a reason and I should learn to cook with them more.

But tonight's fail beat them both. We were safe with dinner, since we grabbed some fast food on the way home from picking up Chris from work. But I have had this craving for a good donut ever since we moved here, I was hoping to find a nice mom-and-pops kind of shop that made world class donuts. There's one in my home town (or to be more precise the town right next to my home town) called "Donuts" or lovingly referred to as Lakewood Donuts for any local. They are perfect. Light, Big, Substantial, Soft, and not too sweet.

Anyway I'm sure you can see where this is going... no good donuts here = try to make my own = FAIL. I guess the temperature of the oil is pretty tricky and important so just throwing some yummy dough into a bunch of hot-ish oil for however long it takes to think they could be done is not a good idea. I made two kinds, chocolate cake donuts and regular potato flake donuts with maple glaze. The chocolate ones looked like burnt pieces of cow pies and tasted like crunchy sugar. I haven't fried up the regular ones yet because I gave up.

I gave up because it was 30 minutes past bedtime and NONE of the kids had naps today and the doorbell rings. Oh yeah, we had home teachers coming over! The house was a wreck and smelled like oil and burnt chocolate and Gwen kept grabbing at my shirt because she was tired and wanted to nurse to sleep. Somehow amidst all of this I still found it cute. I've not nursed my boys this long where they were aware enough to ask for it. Still I felt like this:

Anyway, I finally got the house a bit cleaner and am waiting for Chris to get back from the store with balloons for Charlie's birthday tomorrow.... and a deep fryer with temperature control so we can fry up the rest of the donuts.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tables beat plates and chairs

Somehow during every meal all of Charlie's food ends up off his plate and on the table. I just don't get it.



Also, Gwen's recent trick is to climb up the chairs and onto the table. She's so proud of herself until she remembers that she doesn't know how to get down. But she's not that worried. She knows that she was given a strong, loud voice for just these occasions.

Monday, October 17, 2011

puddles + heaters

What is so entertaining but frightening enough that my kids are content to just watch at the edge of the doorstep for so long?

Anyone guess right? The lawn mower! Its loud and big and its the first time they've seen (or at least remembered seeing) Chris do it himself.

I love this goofy cheesy smile Gwen does sometimes. She's so expressive and such a tease and cheeseball. She LOVES to run away from me whenever I say "bedtime" or "diaper change." She'll do it with a huge grin on and watch me out of the corner of her eye and stop running when I stop etc...

The boys saw some good puddles in our alley-way a few weeks ago and wanted to jump in the puddles. They still want to be California boys and refused to wear shoes or pants at least Alec wore a fleece jacket.

They did enjoy warming their feet up by the heaters and requesting "Chot Hocolate." I think they will start to realize on their own soon that it is just TOO COLD for shorts and bare feet. Its below freezing every morning now.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Hooray for Help!

My parents came to stay with us last weekend to help soften the burden of Chris's second Chemo treatment. The fun started with a late night run to Dairy Queen for blizzards. I really enjoyed showing them around our place and I enjoyed even more giving my dad a list of all the things I'd love for him to fix. He put up hooks and mirrors; cut and laid down carpet, fixed two gates and installed motion-sensor lights! He also got my mom's old Iphone unlocked and helped me set up Canadian cell phone coverage! Finally! We're SO grateful and thrilled for it. My mom and I baked apple pie, cleaned the house, made meals, and shopped for winter gear. We now all have snow pants, jackets, gloves, hats (or I should start saying tuques)... well except Charlie still doesn't have a coat that fits him, Value Village has like zero 3T clothes. I'll keep looking for it and we have a big backup if we need it too soon.

They also played with the kids a lot: fake fighting, reading books and more books, outings to the park and play places. Saturday afternoon we went for a walk in the beautiful fall weather, had a picnic and jumped in leaves. Such a perfect afternoon. Sunday afternoon we did another walk up by the river before going over to my Bishops house for Thanksgiving Dinner. That was a really fun time too. My parents are very friendly and good conservationists... I love that about them.

My parents also treated us to pizza and watched the kids so Chris and I could have a date! Our first one here. We tried this Mexican restaurant called Julio's Bario. It was fine... real Canadian Mexican. We'll try the two other Mexican restaurants in Edmonton and look forward to getting some "real" Mexican food in the States.