family fun

And Then He Turned Three: Happy Birthday MM

It’s hard to believe my little man is three years old today. We’ve celebrated his birthday so many times in the last two weeks, you’d think I’d be sick of the fuss, but really is there ever a bad time to eat birthday cake and get a little weepy over time passing?

It’s amazing how much he’s changed since his 2nd birthday, how much we’ve changed as a family and how much we’ve done together and grown together.

I’d like to tell you that today was the perfect day and we celebrated this milestone like the amazing parents we are and it was wonderful, but this is real life and that’s not true. We woke up in a funk – maybe the past two weeks of birthday cakes finally caught up with us in the ultimate of sugar crashes. Maybe the rainy weather two days in a row was just too much on us and left us feeling cramped and cranky. We were in a funk. MM was a typical three year old and gave cause for reprimanding constantly throughout the day. We’d run out of good humor. Having just had the written exam for Dream Company yesterday and no new news today, Dan and I both were probably feeling the reality of our situation a little too well, too. And hormonal old me was just as unhappy about the situation as I was about the fact that we were all so unhappy. It’s my baby’s third birthday – I wanted to be celebrating in some quaint, special way, not bickering, crying like a crazy pregnant woman and scolding the birthday boy all day.

It got better sometime after the much needed naptime. Dan and I talked through my feelings, I stopped crying and I tried harder. I wanted special, I needed it to be cheap and easy, so I figured it out. I wanted to mark the occasion with MM and not let it pass by, so I pulled out some photo albums and scrapbooks from the last three years and showed him pictures of himself as a baby and pictures from old birthdays and the life in between. He loved it of course, even if he didn’t get the point of why I was doing it. After dinner we had one last night of leftover cake and ice cream and I think I  can now say we are birthday’d out. I’ve celebrated sufficiently and made the small memories I was hoping for. And despite the sucky fact that I went all crazy and hormonal and cried and kicked my feet and nagged throughout the morning and afternoon, it turned into an okay day and we are fine now, at least as fine as can be expected.

I have some other stuff I want to talk about soon but I’m not going to clutter this birthday post with it – and I’d like to go veg out and watch American Idol and Fringe, so I’ll save the rest (boring health insurance junk) for later. In short summary version, happy birthday MM. I’m glad we were able to carve a few special moments into the day and even though the entire day wasn’t perfect, it was real and good – just like us. I’m probably going to throw out the rest of the birthday cake tonight before I eat all of it in a hormonal rage tomorrow.

family fun work & the economy

Two Parties Down, One Birthday To Go…

We had MM’s second 3rd birthday party today, with parents, grandparents and Dan’s siblings (i.e. MM’s aunts, uncles, grandparents, great grandparents and us). I made a yellow cake with butter cream frosting and put rainbow sprinkles in both, essentially making my own funfetti cake. It came out pretty good – I also made brownies to make up for the big huge lack of chocolate cake, because I’m weird and consider that a loss. All was delicious. The pizza Dan made was terrific and the whole family raved about it.

MM got an I Spy book, these gigantic Pound Puppies, the Wallace and Grommit tv series on DVD and a handful of other small things. It was a nice, small party – good to see our family and spend that quality time with them. Things are so up in the air right now – it’s hard and weird to make long term plans. We have no idea where we’ll be next week, never mind next month, this summer, etc. I’m trying to take it one day at a time which is painful being the planner that I am. I’ve been looking up what stores, banks, etc. are in the area that Dream Company is in because right now we’re hoping and praying that comes through – especially because no other interviews have happened yet. I hate to put all my imaginary eggs in one basket, but it’s an awfully pretty basket. We’ll see.

So I’m lame and I didn’t take any pictures or videos of the party today – despite having cameras around, I decided to just enjoy myself which is always nice, but I’m sure later I’ll wish I’d taken pictures. This cake wasn’t really as photo worthy as the Madagascar cake but still. Really it’s the family pictures I wish I’d snagged. For memory’s sake and all. Now it’s 3:30pm and I’m wondering if I can convince the boy to nap. He’s actually in a pretty good mood and may just not need it. Part of me wants to go out, but Dan looks pretty happy just lounging so I may just leave us be. Planning to just make some pasta with butter and a salad for dinner tonight – nice and light after all that pizza, cake, brownies and ice cream at lunch. We might watch In Bruges tonight from Netflix or maybe watch last week’s episode of Bones online since we missed it this week.

Wow is this the most boring post ever or what? Hope you are all having a great weekend. 🙂

cooking & recipes memes & carnivals

Aloha Friday: Best Birthday Cakes

It’s time for another Aloha Friday, the day that you take it easy and look forward to the weekend, in Hawaii and blog land anyway. As you should know by now, over at An Island Life, Kailani decided that on Fridays she would take it easy on posting and ask a simple question for you to answer. Nothing that requires a lengthy response.

If you’d like to participate, just post your own question on your blog and leave your link at An Island Life’s blog. Don’t forget to visit the other participants! It’s a great way to make new bloggy friends!

Last weekend was part one of MM’s 3rd birthday celebration. We had all his friends (and ours) over for cake, ice cream, a couple presents and your basic good time – basically it was game night with cake and ice cream – actually that’s exactly what it was. Anyhow, the birthday cake. I’ve had the pleasure of making a handful of birthday cakes for the little man and a couple for my husband – I can bake a cake and it always tastes good – but the decorating, oh the decorating. Inevitably it always has that, “Look ma, I made it myself!” look written all over it. My cake handwriting skills are pathetic at best (really need to work on spacing) and sometimes you go for an idea and it sounds easy but it comes out nothing like how you envisioned it. I’m no pro, basically, and it shows.

But I had high hopes for this year’s cake. The theme was Madagascar and I had the genius idea to go to Target, The Dollar Store, something and pick up some of those tiny little jungle animals – you know the ones the size of GI Joes that are sold in little 20 packs for like a dollar or two? Cheap and easy – and then I don’t have to try drawing jungle animals, which would end badly – and they could be kept as toys for MM afterwards. I decided I’d simply arrange a lion, zebra, giraffe and hippo (assuming I could find all four) on a cake that I’d frost green. I also really wanted to maybe have some separate blue frosting to make a body of water. It sounded easy until the day of the party when I found I had only red food dye. Seriously. Also – I’d have to use plain white frosting to get the colored effect and I’m such a frosting snob. I went back in forth in my head and the pantry after discovering this dilemma – chocolate cake with white frosting? White cake with chocolate frosting? White on white? Chocolate on chocolate?

Along this time I also started to remember my frosting dilemmas. It seems like no matter my best efforts whenever I frost a chocolate cake with white frosting the cake crumbs mix with the frosting giving it an ugly sort of Oreo effect. Which is cool if you’re going for that, but annoying if you aren’t. And okay – I’m just going to say it – in my humble opinion non-chocolate cakes are basically fake cakes. And since the party the following week (now tomorrow) with my family would NEED a yellow cake as both his grandmothers are ironically allergic to chocolate – I didn’t want to gip the poor boy out of chocolate cake altogether. And then it hits me – chocolate frosting looks like… mud. And it’s the same exact color as the cake. So what if crumbs mix in? Who would be able to tell? I put the theory to the test and it’s true – no matter how many times the cake broke apart a bit as I frosted, when I was done nobody would be able to tell.

But what about my Madagascar theme? I dug around my cupboards some more looking for colored sprinkles – hoping I’d find some green – and I did – green colored sugar sprinkles – and not just that, dudes, I found blue, too. Destiny aligned and I had everything I needed to make the cake you see here:

I know… tea lights… while destiny was aligning, it neglected to bring birthday candles.

We made due and I actually kind of like the end result…

And it tasted delicious. And I came to the conclusion that for the slightly decoration impaired cake diva that would be me – chocolate cake and chocolate frosting are a winning combination that I will never doubt again – It’s like wearing black to slim your figure – it hides a couple imperfections but perfectly showcases the overall deliciousness that is chocolate cake. And second revelation is that colored sugar is my new favorite thing ever. I intend to implement this genius idea into every cake and cookie I can as long as we both shall live. Perfection.

So, my Aloha Friday question for today is (you thought I forgot, didn’t you?):

What is your birthday cake secret weapon?

What little tricks of the trade never fail you?

What is your absolute favorite kind of birthday cake?

memes & carnivals photography

WW: Flourless Chocolate Birthday Cake

We ate my birthday cake one night early just because. It was divine. I got the recipe here.

For more wordless fun head to the WW Blog or 5 Minutes for Mom!

family fun

Subject Lines Are Boring

My blog is boring. I was flitting through the first page of my blog, looking back on the last handful of posts and I almost yawned from sheer boredom. Of course, I kind of want to yawn from the sheer boredom of my life. If my life today were a blog post it would read:

  • Only did 3 loads of laundry today, hurray!
  • Got those pictures printed, now to assemble frames and wrap
  • My son’s poop makes me want to vomit now that morning sickness is here in full force.
  • What good is it to take vitamins to ease morning sickness, when I puke them up?
  • Do the calories still count when I can’t seem to keep them in my body? Should I eat a second breakfast?

I know you are all totally riveted by that. The snow has stopped but now we have cold, cold, cold to make ice, ice, ice and WIND to blow everything around and F with our visibility. So I’m all worried about dh’s morning and evening commutes for the next two days until the weather warms up a bit. I need more things to worry about. Yesterday, in a fit of selfishness, I made my husband and two year old watch Gone With The Wind with me, which you know, they just loved. MM kept whining, “Can we turn it off?” “I wanna watch George,” and I was all, “Bite me – I’m watching a movie!” or something. I think dh actually started to like it, but towards the end when all Scarlett’s children and friends and family have died horrible deaths, he was like, “Why did YOU want to watch this again?” because you know how I feel about books, movies, and tv shows where a family member dies – I should be banned. I bawled like a baby and then said, “BECAUSE IT’S GOOD!!!” or something. Then we watched Extreme Home Makeover for a slightly more optimistic end to the evening. (And to be fair, I watch MM’s tv shows and movies on repeat 24/7 every day for like forever, I think I deserved 4 hours of me time).

So once again I’ve written the world’s most boring post because John Mayer isn’t being scandalous enough and all my tv shows are in reruns and although Christmas and my birthday are mere days away and we’re having friends over tonight who moved out of state and we’re super stoked to see them tonight / I’m super excited to eat pizza tonight that I don’t have to cook, today – right now, it’s just laundry and puking and gift wrapping to attend to if MM naps today. And snow. And boring. Remind me when it gets above 30 to play in the snow if it hasn’t all melted yet just to spite me.

The End.

memes & carnivals

Aloha Friday: Dreaming Of A Rich Christmas

It’s time for another Aloha Friday, the day that you take it easy and look forward to the weekend, in Hawaii and blog land anyway. As you should know by now, over at An Island Life, Kailani decided that on Fridays she would take it easy on posting and ask a simple question for you to answer. Nothing that requires a lengthy response.

If you’d like to participate, just post your own question on your blog and leave your link at An Island Life’s blog. Don’t forget to visit the other participants! It’s a great way to make new bloggy friends!

Alright, so far this month I’ve asked you about Christmas movies, Christmas music and what gifts you are looking forward to giving this Christmas. But now with my birthday only FIVE days away (Christmas Eve) I’m feeling a bit less selfless today you could say – I think now’s the time to talk about the getting. And since most of us moms probably aren’t expecting to get the creme de la creme of Christmas gifts (am I the only one who expects to be a bit jipped what with the economy and all – I focused on getting my son and husband happy but didn’t specifically ask for anything myself for Christmas or my birthday – because, well, the things I want, I know nobody else could afford either. I’m sure I’ll get some yummy candy, maybe a sweater and a calendar – and hopefully some gift cards – love those) but for today, let’s dream a bit, shall we? Of White Christmases with Very Rich Santa Clauses who fill our stockings and put presents under our tree FOR US – and then hands us the plate of cookies that we slaved over, and says with a twinkle in his eye, “Mother, I’m sure you deserve these more than I do!” And after he rinses the dishes and puts them in the dishwasher with care, he’ll fly off in his sleigh into the night and call, “Merry Christmas Mrs. Mother, don’t forget the lights!” Or maybe he’ll turn those off for us, too, I haven’t decided. But I’m getting slightly off topic so I’ll go ahead and jump to my question now:

If you could ask for anything for Christmas, money and time are no object, Santa is stinking filthy rich and LOVES you because you’ve been VERY good this year – what would you ask for?

I’m trying to decide between a new car or a house!

How about you?

memes & carnivals

Thursday Thirteen: Dedicated To The Man I Love

Created Using
Created Using

Tomorrow is my husband’s birthday so I’m dedicating this week’s Thursday Thirteen to him – Happy Birthday EVE, dh!

Thirteen Things I Love About My Husband

  1. I love that he makes me coffee or tea every morning before leaving for work – he knows exactly how I take it and almost always makes the perfect cuppa.
  2. I love that he doesn’t mind when I wear pajamas every day (at least he doesn’t seem to mind).
  3. I love that he is such an amazing father.
  4. I love that he can do math in his head for me – he is so smart it’s scary but also awesome and helpful.
  5. I love that he wants to move just as much as I do.
  6. I love that he gets along so well with my family – sometimes better than I do!
  7. I love that I get along with his family so well – maybe better than he does sometimes, too?
  8. I love that he watches all my favorite tv shows with me – even the ones he doesn’t like very much.
  9. I love that he makes the call to order take out for me when I don’t want to.
  10. I love that he is always warm – like a personal space heater.
  11. I love when he makes decisions when I can’t.
  12. I love that he makes amazing breads and pizza homemade AND he’s a good short order cook – some areas in the kitchen where I seem to fail.
  13. I love that he chose to marry me and still seems to be happy with that decision!

Of course I love many things about my husband that would be silly to write here or redundant perhaps, but of course when you go to write it down in list form, it suddenly seems harder, but I love that he’d understand that and this is a Thursday Thirteen and I did come up with thirteen things, so I’d call that Mission: Accomplished.

dieting & exercise

Looking Fine 2009: SIX Weeks To Go

My husband is a genius. He’s a calorie counting diet sense making genius who has lost 10 pounds in about a three weeks. And after ONE week on his “diet” I’ve lost 3.6 pounds. He told me that he has consistently lost 3 pounds every week on this diet. If I have the same luck, I could STILL lose 20 pounds by the new year, even though I slacked off for the last god knows how long.

Another person who deserves thanks? Jen @ Daily Mish Mash who created a rewards system that I was suddenly psyched to win – I worked out 4 times this week and was more active over all. More importantly, I won a GOLD MEDAL for doing it – way better than any reward I could dream up.

So the biggest problem with my calorie counting is that at 1750 calories that seems to leave me just enough wiggle room. It’s super annoying when dh gets 2550 because he’s tall or some shit. He gets to eat meals twice as big as mine. And I have to remember that I’m rarely as hungry as him anyway unless someone puts chocolate cake in front of me – then I’m ravenous. But after a week of this, I know I’ll be okay. The beautiful thing about recording calories is that I know where my wiggle room is and how many indulgences I can have. And folks – I’ve had some form of “dessert” every day for the past week but still slid in under my calorie count line pretty much every day. When I go over it’s by like 20 calories and I think that only happened once last week, maybe twice, and that was in the very beginning.

I’ve been experimenting, having different foods for lunch and breakfast and seeing how many calories it leaves me, and how full I am afterwards, how ravenous I am by dinnertime, etc. It’s very interesting and it’s super rewarding to know I’ve behaved all freaking day even at an all you can eat buffet with my in-laws who are all piling on as much food as possible on their plates and I was able to come home and have a nice little slice of Marzipan Stollen, one of my very favorite holiday treats, which rang in at 320 calories folks and I was still able to have that and a glass of iced tea and come in 150 calories under my max. It kind of rocked.

It’s all about knowing yourself, I’ve told myself, knowing what I will do and what I won’t do – what I will give up and what I won’t give up. It shouldn’t surprise me but portion control was shockingly different in so many areas than I’d guessed – some things I am right on about, but other things – wake up call. It’s good though, because my son is young and my husband and I have a chance to make a change in our eating habits and teach much healthier ones to MM than we might have otherwise. Which is awesome.

So my goals for this week:

  • Keep counting calories, staying under, drinking plenty of water
  • Work out 4-5 times this week for another Gold Medal
  • Try not to go completely over my calorie intake during the weekend long birthday festivities that I’ve cooked up for the dh this weekend. 🙂

How are your diets going? Is anybody else counting calories? I highly recommend using a combination of Calorie Count‘s website and a good food scale to measure your portions for you so you aren’t fiddling with measuring spoons and cups and bailing on the whole concept in a day and a half, like I did a year ago when I first tried it.

PS: Another tip from the dh – put the bowl or plate on your scale and then set it at 0 grams, pounds, whatever and then add your food – it’s easier and more accurate and you can keep setting it back to zero as you add more things to your plate.

family fun

Who needs a Birthday Card when they can get a COMMENT

Today one of my favorite bloggers, Patrice @ Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman is celebrating her 19th Birthday and like any respectable young blogger, her birthday wish is for MORE COMMENTS. To borrow a phrase from Sam @ Little Dragon Fruit, who recently had a birthday also, let’s make Patrice a “Dooce For a Day” – go leave her a comment with some birthday wishes. And then mark your calendars – my birthday is Christmas Eve and I’ll be expecting you.

< / assumptions. >

Happy Birthday Patrice, hope you have a fabuDooce day! Oh and I decided that I aught to get you a little something, so I went to Cake Wrecks and started looking for something awfully funny, but then saw this really nice looking one and decided you deserve nice things, so here you go:

You’re lucky Patrice, I almost gave you this one:

Which, you know, to be fair, is possibly more awesome.

You know what, because I’m such a good friend, you can have both.

It is your birthday after all.