Friday, July 27, 2012

Quotes of the summer

Driving down the road after seeing a person advertising for a yogurt store:
Lucy: "Mommy I want to be an ice cream cone when I grow up. A chocolate ice cream cone."
mmm OK??

Driving home from swimming:
Me:  "I just talked to daddy and we are going to Wendy's for dinner"
Cate:  "Yeah, are we picking him up?"
Me:  "No he is meeting us there"
Lucy:  "Is he driving in our car or his?"
Me:  "His, he is meeting us there"
Lucy:  "OK, I'm going to relax until we get there"
Me:  "Good idea Lucy"
Lucy:  "I'm going take a chill out break"  (guess I've been saying "chill out" a little too much lately-the 80s girl in me coming out)

Driving home from camp:
Cate & Lucy - mommy mommy mommy mommy - for sorts of reasons
Me: Turn on the book on CD and both kids are silent for 5 minutes
Lucy:  "Mommy?"
Me:  "WHAT"  (ok maybe a little too much frustration sneaks out)
Lucy:  "But I only said Mommy once"

Walking back to our car after the July 4th parade:
Cate:  "I want to watch TV until Uncle Lane gets here"
Lucy:  "Cate first of all, we have to get to the car"  (good point Lucy - but "first of all" from a 3 yr old?)

Getting ready to take a shower after spending the afternoon in the pool:
Lucy:  "Mom I'm hydrated"
Me:  "What honey??"
Lucy:  "I'm very hydrated and thats good"
Me:  "You are hydrated???"  (still having trouble believing my 3 year old is using that word)
Lucy:  "Yes - It was very sunny today but I spent all day in the water so I'm very hydrated"
After the fact Ric told me they had a converstation the day before on why it was important to drink water on a hot day.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A real tomato!!!

Phase 3 of our back yard redo that I talked about here a couple weeks ago is going to be a kitchen garden in the same spot our potted tomatoes are now.  Hopefully that work will begin in the fall so it is ready for my inexpert attempts at planting next spring.  I've seen it said many times in article and I tend to believe it - kids eat more when they help grow or pick out the veggies.  My girls are pretty good (well Cate is great & Lucy is coming along) veggie & fruit eaters normally but they always eat with no hesitation if they helped make the food.  Our tomato plantings from this spring are a trial run to see if they will take to the new garden idea and so far so good!  One of the pots definitely has "blossom end rot" but fingers crossed we haven't seen it on the other plants - yet.  We got our first eatable tomato & cucumber this weekend!  I made the mistake of actually picking the cucumber before I realized I needed it to be picked by little hands since we only had one good tomato to pick.  So in order to avoid the "I wanted to do it" tears, I fudged a little and "put" the cucumber back (I set it in the pot and wrapped a vine around it - viola!). 
The girls were so excited to pick their veggies and ate every bit of them fresh with no dressing!
both girls ran to the plants when I told them one was ready to pick

Cate found it first and was showing Lucy (please ignore her funny pants in 95 degrees but she was so itchy I had to put steroid cream on her legs and didn't want her getting all over)

our first little yummy tomato!

Cate does the honor of picking it

she is proud of her little tomato

Lucy "picks" the first cucumber

she is proud of her little cuc too!

running up to show daddy!

"hello - hello - this is my cucumber phone"

Monday, July 23, 2012

Pancakes! (dairy free, egg free pancakes for Lucy)

This weekend we had another little cooking lesson - pancakes.  Now these are not my mother's awesome homemade pancakes that takes like heaven but quickie Bisquick ones but the girls didn't care.  It was good for us to give up our weekly trip out for Sunday breakfast and have one around the kitchen table.  The girls poured in the measured ingredients and stirred the batters which they love doing. 
For ours I just followed the normal directions:
2 cups Bisquick
1 cup milk
2 eggs
Mix until blended, cook on hot griddle

For Lucy we did a little modification since dry Bisquick is a dairy free/egg free product we made a half batch with this modification:
1 cup Bisquick
1/2 cup Almond Milk
2.5 teaspoons Ground Flax seed, mixed with 3 Tablespoons Water (I cooked on low in microwave 45 seconds or until starts to gel)
Mix until blended, cook on hot griddle.

We also added some fresh blueberries to the pancakes once they were poured on the griddle.  They are not my favorite pancakes but I'm totally spoiled by my mom's version.  The girls loved them and ate at least two each.  Eating breakfast in your PJs is a great way to start off a Sunday!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

My mermaid daughter

I know I'm repeating myself but I L.O.V.E. how well Cate swims!  Nothing holds Cate back in the water.  She has been taking periodic swim lessons over the summer to improve her front crawl, learn a true back crawl (not one underwater) and start on the new skill of breast stroke.  She is doing great on all of those (sad side note, her practice group for swim team can't find a local pool since theirs is closed for repairs this fall so maybe no swim team this fall :-().  But her true love right now is swimming underwater - just like her mommy!  She has always liked to dive for diving sticks but needed a little push to help her get going downward.  Then after a swim class a couple weeks ago it all clicked and she has it figured out.  She even retrieved a dive stick from at least 4 feet of water last weekend.  I do love my mermaid daughter!
really mom - more pictures?

ta da!

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Joy of Tomatos

I'm having a love hate relationship with tomatoes right now.  At the beginning of May the girls  & I planted 8 teeny tiny (free) tomato plants into 4 pots.  We put them on the deck so they could see them growing out the window every day.  They loved watching them grow and grow and grow - past the little cages until they were about to topple themselves over.  So I bought so much large pots and fought with the huge plants until I had all 8 in their own pots with new fertilizer and lots of water.  I was amazed that I didn't kill a single plant.  Then the little green tomatoes started to show up all over the plants - the girls were thrilled.  After only one pre-picked (by Cate) causality, we finally saw our first little red tomato - the girls were ecstatic.  So was I, until I turned it over to see the weird dark place on the bottom.  Our tomato had "blossom end rot" - which I knew all about because a friend who had gotten the same plants as me had already had the issue and discovered the cause - too little calcium in the, common in potted tomatoes.  I crossed my fingers it was only that one but sure enough a second one started going red this weekend and it shows the same signs.  I'm treating the plants but who know if I'm already too late.  After all the work and money I've spent on these "free" plants, I'm going to cry if we don't get to eat any of them.
So that is the hate part, the love part is the best thing since sliced bread - the BLT.  Not just any BLT, a BLT made with garden tomatoes (someone elses :-( of course) and served on a paper plate while wearing swim suits.   This has to be one of the best things about summer - don't you think?
the fixings

the masterpiece BLT

Lucy made herself one only to take it apart to actual eat it!

Cate was much more concerned about eating bacon then a sandwich.

daddy gets the joy

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Imagination Anywhere

My girls have awesome imaginations.  Who would have thought that a Sunday afternoon trip to Staples to buy the dollar school supply deals could turn into something as fun as a day at the playground?

"What would you like to order mommy?"  (since I wasn't sure what kind of store/restaurant this was I went with pumpernickel)

"I'm washing in the shower, lalala"

Pilot Cate:  "Fasten your seat belt please"

"Here we go to Florida"
"Look at the clouds"

"Welcome to my bakery Cate, what is your order?"

"Hello patient, I'm Dr Cate, does your tummy hurt?"

Unfortunately the trip afterwards to Target was much more a test of my patience then a display of imagination.  Maybe next weekend we'll hit Office Depot???

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Extreme Backyard Makeover by Grandpa

So this can only be tied back to Cate & Lucy in the fact that we did a backyard redesign so they would have more area to play in.  When we bought our house we loved that it had a pool and a forest in the backyard and nothing else.  We didn't care there was no grass - actually less mowing was a selling point for us.  We didn't think of our kids loving to swing and wanting a playground.  Then a couple years ago my sister & brother in-law gave us an awesome play set and the trees seemed a little less appealing.  I am lucky be cause I have an awesome, amazing, hard working, talented,  incredible handyman/builder father (I won't repeat this but you can read it into the simple words "my dad" in for the rest of the post).  He made the hill beside the pool into a spot just big enough to fit the play set:
pre-renovation picture of the play set

And for two years this was perfect for the girls.  We went out there maybe once a week during the appropriate weather and played.  The girls were pretty calm around the set and did the normal toddler/little girl swinging, climbing, and for Cate - playing with mulch.  As last fall ended, I noticed a major change in this play - it had become adventurous, high swinging, fast sliding, lots of running around.  That is a little scary when you are never more than 5 feet from concrete.  So I started imagining taking out some of the trees you see in the background, leveling out the yard some and moving the play set back a little.  As I dreamed about it over the winter and beginning of spring my dreams got bigger.  I saw a little patch of grass to kick a soccer ball on, I saw a glider swing for the girls to play on together, I saw a space safe enough for them to play by themselves with me reading on the back porch (before you doubt the safety given our pool - we have a safety cover which is one anytime it is closed which is strong enough for me to walk on - trust me I've done it a couple times chasing Lucy).  I got my dad and Ric on board so I was able to get the big trees removed while my parents where still in Florida. 

Side note - "my dad" (see description above) had just finished a project that gave us an amazing storage space before he left for Florida so getting him on board with my new project took a little bit of eyelash batting -
beginning of storage space/pool room project

finished project
My parents got back right before Easter and instead of a forest we had this when he returned:

So at the end of spring the construction project began.  The first problem to deal with was a safety concern I hadn't addressed sufficiently in my mental plan - we have a cement drainage culvert about 3 feet behind the pool that was originally protected by overgrown bushes but once my dad removed them we realized a fence might not make it safe enough.  My dad had an awesome idea and followed it though beautifully - cover it with a deck.  So this is when the project went from a little plot of land for the play set and a little patch of grass changed into a dream of a full backyard renovation!

So after too many hours to count of work by my dad and various bobcats, dump truck, stump grinders and a helper here and there - in 100 degree + weather of course - my dad finished our back yard in time for our annual July 4th party.  I have no idea how he did it but he is amazing (and my mom so understanding as all her projects got put on hold).  It is even better than my dream - how many things you can say that about?  The girls are going to love growing up in this new area where they can grow and explore safely. 

I can never thank my dad enough for these projects - he has made our house and yard into a home we never want to leave.

Now if they just had a playhouse in the back corner ...... (I know I'm spoiled rotten)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Kid's Book Review - "Ahoy Titanic"

Here is my first book review but I have to start out with a confession - I LOVE the book but I also know the author so my opinion is not totally unbiased. 

I know what you are thinking to start with - a children's book about the titanic - depressing.  But this book is not about the sinking of the Titanic, it is about the amazing ship itself.  The story follows two kids, Willa and Sam, who are exploring the Titanic after boarding for its maiden journey in 1912.  There are descriptions of all the amazing parts of the ship from the radio room to the squash courts.  Each page has beautiful illustrations and I love the fictional dialogue the kids have with actual people who were on the ship.  There are also "Did You Know" boxes on each page with really interesting facts about the Titanic that I never knew.   We read to the girls every night and have since the day they came home from the hospital.  So many of the books they pick are books Ric and I feel like we "have" to read.  Sometimes we get a new one that makes it fun to read again and I love those moments for all of us.  Ahoy Titanic is one of those moments because the writing is great and the subject content is so intriguing to people of all ages that you can't help but like reading it.

I admit I bought the book to support Cassie and knowing her background in education I had no doubt it would be a great book but I was still amazed at what a fun book it is to read.  Last night I read it to Lucy and she was so interested in the diagrams of the huge boat, I had to promise to leave it in her room so she could look at it in the morning again.  She was even totally quiet for most of the reading which for anyone who knows Lucy is pretty amazing!  I have a feeling she will be asking for me to read the book with the "big boat" on it again tonight.
(you probably can't click this link but you can purchase the book by typing it in, searching for it on or finding them on facebook to get the link.)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Happy Birthday America!

Hope everyone had a great 4th of July yesterday.  I had such a great day I forgot to take pictures.  Sorry!! Not a single shot, even on my phone - doesn't make for a very good blog post.
Yesterday we did our typical celebrations for July 4th or "Happy Birthday America" day as Cate refers to it.  It is a day that I love out town the most - we are 30 minutes for the heart of a big city with parks, attractions, museums, theaters, cool restaurants and it takes a forever to drive across our county because of all the traffic but sometimes it just feels like such a small town.  July 4th is one of the those days.  There is a parade that consists of 25% beauty queens, 25% emergency vehicles, 40% politicians and a float or two.  But the people watching are awesome - little girls dressed in matching outfits and bows, blankets and chairs on the side of the road and you always see people you know.  Cate is in her favorite medium waiting for the parade to get to us - in front of a captive audience as she gets to stand in the street to lecture, sing, and dance.  (and she looked darn cute in her dress & bow - wish I could prove it)
After the parade we rushed home to finish the party prep.  The July 4th party is our annual tradition and we love it.  We had a crowd, awesome food, perfect swimming weather and lots of good friends. 
We didn't make it to the fireworks because Lucy did a no-nap crash out about 6:30 and Cate followed by falling asleep during her nightly Curious George episode at about 7:45.  I did get to see the tops of the fireworks above the trees so that will have to do until next year!

It was simply said - perfect. 
Hope your day was great too!