Today Fiona turns 4, unbelievable yet totally believable because I’ve been here for all 4 of those years and I completely appreciate how far she has come! My ‘dear Fiona’ post is in process but not ready but I can’t post ON her birthday and not even mention it.
This past weekend was all the fun. We had friends come from ND so we made extra efforts to hang out with them. Another friend hosted a BBQ and we did indeed bring the Cowboy Caviar mix that Lars made and I had a good time creating a My Little Pony Zombie cake. It was a special request for a 13th birthday and I think I could not have done better and kept it tasty. Fondant looks so nice, but, tastes so yuck. I like to use a really simple chocolate recipe that is 1c heavy cream brought to a boil and then 9oz of chocolate added – stir until smooth and remove. It’s great because you can pour it right on hot for a smooth shell look or wait until the consistency you want to ice with happens due to solidification. You can also wait for it to cool and whip it and that makes it even better for smoothing or piping or even sculpting. I firmly believe that MLP are full of rainbows so I started with a rainbow cake, then a crumb coat, then the icing, then the accessories including swedish fish cut to look like ribs and whopper eyes and my extra ‘puppy chow’ got used as gnarly pony teeth.
The reason I got to do such a fun fancy cake was because our new neighbor is awesome! She is a year older than Niamh but the younger of a boy/girl sibling set so they really don’t play together much and she is girl starved. Their house backs on ours so you don’t even have to cross a street and the moms can both hear what is going on in the yard. She loves coming over and plays with everyone, including Fiona, and they all played with very minimal parental guidance all day Saturday and half the day Monday. I kept an ear on them (bonus to windows open time of year, and, a relatively small house) and around lunch time just piled up a tray with fruit and carrots and leftover pizza and just slid it into the playhouse entry. I also got a good chunk of the routine cleaning done so today I don’t feel behind even though I semi missed my Monday.
Sunday we actually got to go to Valley Fair! The weather cooperated, Vacation Friend was able to go and as always we split nicely where I love the thrill rides and she loves the water stuff and the kids love her so we were set to cover the kids. Our ND friends were the reason we were even going and they also lent a hand on the kid watching since there is nothing better for a 13 year old than the love and adoring company of little kids. I ended up alone on a ride because they all choose other adults and/or teens to be near! It was our first try to stay ‘late’ and it worked pretty well because Fiona just crashed out on me for an hour and a half in the sling and I missed a ride or 2 but no problem, I got the ones I really wanted first thing.
Yesterday was a holiday here so it was like a preview of my summer with 3 kids solo on a nice day. The summer will need some time management instituted but overall it was a nice relaxing day. **I’m really really glad I got that play house done, it is such a perfect place for summer play**
That brings us to today, #3 birthday and I’m at cake capacity. Today I made a bunt just to do something new but it has been a very good cake season. We need to do our 3-girls ‘family’ party soon but thats another schedule issue that I’m going to think about tomorrow.
More than 3 things this week. Its been a mostly good week (glue eating aside)
#1 they say if you have your health… Well, I’m healthy and getting a bit more muscle. It’s a slow thing since I’m really doing more overall muscle things and squats (but I’m not putting my posterior on the internet) This shows my 6-month change
2. This is a project that took some thinking – I take cool pictures every year of the costumes that I work hard on but then they just live in my computer. This year I printed them all out and put them up! Each is just on a piece of scrapbook stock paper and clipped on so they are movable as I feel like rearranging. So far it has captivated Fiona who spends time every day ‘talking’ to all the pictures since a good portion is on her level.
3. Speaking of costumes – here is ‘red superhero’. Most easy costume ever! The arm things are socks with the foot cut off, and, I made a skirt from tied tuile. The other parts are purchased and super re-usable. Best thing is she loves it.
4. Told you Halloween would be prominent… This set of things were snacks for the Daisy troop and they loved them, they will also be reprised in the next 2 weeks lunches. Fiona was the helper and filled all the popcorn bags, helpers get to eat all that gets spilled right?
5. I made this cake as an answer to the pot luck inspiration ‘rescue’. As if D&D isn’t nerdy enough I asked the DM to give us a theme for the meal each time that is a hint for the game. So far its been fun! I searched the internet and nobody seemed to have a lifesaver cake out there so I made this up from known parts. It is 1-part ‘jelly’ roll (cake baked super thin on a cookie sheet on parchment paper), 1-part rainbow cake (divide the white cake batter and color, then, stripe the colors onto the cookie sheet), 1-part whipped cream to roll it up with and finally, 1-part lifesaver gummy candy. I think the long thin IKEA tray also helps, that tray always makes me happy 🙂
6. Last but not least a new game…. We don’t go out much so any ‘entertainment’ budget can go to fun games. This one is a new twist on the game Pandemic that we love. It is an ongoing game so you need a group that will keep playing over time AND it evolves like a choose your own adventure novel. It has 12 ‘acts’ and so many cool things that I can’t wait to play. Bonus, each game only takes about 1.5 hours so no huge commitment 🙂
This weekend we are taking a road trip that I hope will be full of fun. I’m looking forward to seeing the western friends!
My last post on a way too popular topic; potty training.
Our house is now diaper free (pull up at night). #3 is reliable to a good degree to even go by herself. This has been a long journey full of 7.4 years of diapers and I’m happy to NOT have to buy and/or wash diapers anymore.
Personally just NOT buying/washing is all the reward I need but this was a team effort and when the team has an achievement the team needs a celebration. (Someday I’ll write a book on how an MBA is a very good tool for parenting).
The process for training a third child who has close siblings is its own trick. There is the not so small matter of one child getting prizes for going to the bathroom while the other two are told they are too big and had their treats as they were learning too – not an easy lesson for a 4 year old to internalize and accept. Secondly the process of training 1 out of 3 means 2 of 3 are sometimes left hanging while their little sister gets the special treatment or a fast trip to the bathroom dropping everything else. None of this is very fair or fun so long ago I told them at the end, we would have a diaper-free party to celebrate winning as a team.
Today is that day
Niamh actually decided that it was time for a party and took a poll of what they wanted and presented me with a list. Ok, she needs help spelling but that isn’t a stone I can throw.
Here is the resulting cake – chocolate with blue icing, sprinkles, and a dolphin. I have no idea where the dolphin idea came from but I had one in the toy box so on the top it went. We did not do it outside since it is 90 degrees and I’ve had enough of that over the past 2 months and now I have my AC and I’m staying in it!
we added 3 candles, one for each girl who only uses the potty – or, for the 3 years it took Fiona –
It was the first time I made cream cheese icing and I like it, pretty easy overall – 1 stick butter, 1 8oz cream cheese, 2c powdered sugar and 1tbl flavor. I have a bunch leftover too, even after repairing a few licks to the cake.
They were all happy to have a celebration and so am I to mark the end of this phase. It is also a handy thing as an end point for potty treats, any time she asks for one I can refer her to the cake…
I have no idea if this will help anyone else out there potty train a second or third child but the idea that you always celebrate achievements, even small ones, is one I want my kids to have.
I love when the alphabet lines up exactly with what I would like to write 🙂
What a weekend it was! Double birthday parties; tons of positives but a few negatives too.
– 2 kids are happy and the center of the world in rapid succession. You know how all the siblings feel on their sister birthday… hard to tell a kids “just wait a month!” but not too hard to say “tomorrow! just 12 hours until your turn!”
– All the cleaning and setup goes further. I didn’t feel like I was burning energy by putting up a tent and cleaning for a week because I got the benefit for 2 days rather than 2 hours.
– Renting something big like a bouncer feels more economic when you get two full parties from it, and, having it for 2 full days gives tons of other times that we could enjoy. Our company also gave us a pretty decent discount for the second day and I must say, they were a very easy to work with company and it was absolutely effortless on our part.
– Better with practice – the second party was so much easier because we worked the bugs out on the first round. We did shoot ourselves a bit on that though because I didn’t want Zoe to feel like she had ‘the same’ party so I kept trying to make key things different so not everything had economy of scale.
– crossing your fingers for 2 good weather days in a row. We were the luckiest we could ever hope for, both days were perfect but there was plenty of backup plans just in case.
– Nonstop party – maybe this should also go in the positive but we didn’t have any recovery time. We did have a nice gap since the second party was an early evening party, but, it was still like being chained to a treadmill because things had to get done done done.
– a mutually acceptable date is not a perfect fit for either – This party was 2 weeks after Niamh’s real birthday and 3 weeks before Zoe’s… I think it is easier because we clearly labeled them “Friend Party” but still, Zoe isn’t 5 yet! Give me my last 3 weeks of sweed four year old Zoe!
Overall I think the positives win. My sister does a double party for her sons often because they have mostly the same friends but that won’t really work for us. Some friends overlap but I like the two days. I think half the new school friends mom’s who heard we had another party the day before/after assume I have twins and I’m crazy about letting them have their own party…
Coming up next is a bunch of pictures of Zoe’s party. Yes, it looks a lot like Niamh’s but the 5 year old bunch had some real differences. 5 year olds eat less, are less interested in doing puzzles, are more interested in playing with their dolls and on swings, take a longer time to eat and require real cleaning since they are all messy eaters. You also have to remind them to go to the bathroom. They also are 100% more calm with gift opening, Niamh’s friends were like a mosh pit, Zoe’s all sat quietly – I did try to encourage this by giving them all a blanket spot to sit, and, a box of popcorn to eat while watching. Zoe’s friends all have siblings that came and bounced post party and Niamh’s friends were all gone within 5 minutes of the stated finish time. Niamh’s theme was golden birthday, Zoe’s theme was PJ party. Without further comment, Zoe:
different table cloth
Pizza’s for all
cake (yes, I wore PJ’s too)
sniff… she isn’t 5 yet! Shut up cake!
Animals giving the puzzle a try
blanket ‘goodie bag’ was a hit
It was a wonderful, full, happy weekend.