Saturday, November 30, 2013

Emmett's birthday party

We had Emmett's birthday party today.  We kept it pretty small, just invited one other family that are good friends of ours.  Their kids are older than ours, but they still all get along really well.  In fact, whenever we asked Emmett who he wanted to invite to his party, his first answer was their son.  We went mini-golfing and then came back to our place for supper (hot dogs - Emmett's fav) and cake. 

I didn't do a "theme" for  Emmett's party, but I thought he would get a kick out of this dirt cake in a dump truck.  I had wanted it to be a surprise for him (I bought the dump truck just for this), but it didn't quite work out that way.  He had lots of fun, though, helping me decorate the cake with gummi worms and chocolate rocks.


Not sure what's with this face.  Couldn't get a smile out of him.

Now there's a smile!

Digging in!

Emmett probably would've sat there all evening, listening to stories.

Trying out his new scooter.  Again, couldn't get a smile - but he was probably just mad at me that he had to stop scooting long enough for me to take this picture!

Friday, November 29, 2013

So it begins...

We started Emmett's birthday celebrations today. Since he doesn't go to preschool on Mondays (his actual birthday), they celebrated his birthday today.  Last year (when Annika was there), the school had a strict policy that the only things that could be brought in for birthdays were either fruit/veggies, which could be eaten in class, or store-bought packaged snacks (like nut-free granola bars or Rice Krispie treats) to take home - no homemade stuff allowed.  This year they've relaxed the rule a little, and you can now bring in homemade stuff for the kids to take home (and the parents can decide if they let their kids have it or not).  I decided to make Lego-shaped chocolates (getting another use from the Lego mold I bought for Emmett's birthday last year!), since I figured they would be easier to take home than a cupcake, and they should be safe for everyone to eat (I guess unless they're allergic to chocolate).  Emmett was very excited to hand out the treats to his classmates, and I heard several parents oohing and aahing over them in the hallway, which made me feel good too. ;)

Wearing his birthday crown from at school.

In the afternoon we baked cupcakes, which we'll bring to our small group supper on Sunday.  Emmett didn't quite get the fact that the cupcakes were for another day, though - after they were baked, he said "let's eat cupcakes now!"  'Cuz why would you make cupcakes and then NOT eat them immediately, right?!?

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Parent teacher conference

We had our first parent teacher conference (actually I think they call it a "student-led" conference) and it went really well. It's great to see what Annika has been doing in school, and I'm so glad that she really enjoys school and learning new things.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


This afternoon we went to an indoor play place with Annika's friend and her mom.  The kids had a blast, which sort of surprised me, since our kids usually don't get very far at the McDonald's play place before deciding that it's "too high" or "too scary".  But they were all over this climbing structure and they LOVED the slides.  At first Emmett made me come up with him (and down the slides with him), but by the end he had the confidence and bravery to do it all by himself.  Side note: I also had the bravery to climb all the way up to the top - I'm not a fan of heights, and even this was enough to make me a little uneasy at first (but I got over it).  It was a great way to spend the afternoon (especially since the place was practically deserted, probably thanks to the poor weather this afternoon), however it was a bit too expensive to become a regular hangout.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Update: Emmett's scarf & Emmett's bed

I finished Emmett's scarf today.  I'm very pleased with how it turned out.  This was my first time trying several different things - the ribbed pattern, switching between 2 colors for the stripes, and making a fringe.  Emmett really likes it too, and this will be one thing that he won't quickly grow out of (as long as orange is still his favorite color!).

Scarf pattern found here 
(with a few changes - I made it slightly smaller, and the stripes a little wider, and added a fringe)

Now, about Emmett's bed.  You may recall that last week Monday we changed his crib into a day bed.  Well, we've had some good and some bad with the change.  The good (excellent/amazing, really) is that so far he hasn't once gotten up out of bed after we've put him to bed in the evening, and in the morning he also stays in his bed until I come to get him.  The bad is that he has completely stopped napping.  Prior to the change he was still napping about 2 hours, 3-4 times a week.  Since we made the change he has not napped at all.  AT ALL.  Insert sad mommy face here.  It looks like he is done for good.  I guess the bright side is that it will likely be an easier change than when Annika stopped napping since a) I don't have to deal with a newborn at the same time, and b) we already have a "quiet time" routine established with Annika (one hour of TV time and one hour of quiet play time in her room) and Emmett seems to be adapting to it quite well (he's not quite used to playing on his own for that long, but he's doing a lot better than Annika did when she first started quiet time).  The other advantage is that now I can do things with the kids after lunch, instead of having to wait until after nap time and snack time - which didn't leave much time till supper time.  So it looks like we'll survive this transition, but I have to say, I'm still a little sad about it.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Slow cooker meal of the week: home-style beef

Lately I've been trying to use my slow cooker at least once a week and this evening I tried out a new recipe - "home-style beef."  You can find the recipe in the Kraft What's Cooking magazine or online here (if you check out the recipe, take note of the recommendation to serve with "hot" mashed potatoes - as opposed to the ice cold mashed potatoes that most people usually serve up???).

Annika helped me "star" the recipes I wanted to make.

Here are our reviews:

Me - I thought it was really good.  It smelled A-MAY-ZING while it was cooking.  I never used to be a fan of onions, but something changed when I was pregnant with Emmett and now I really enjoy them (although not raw - still can't do raw onions).  The rest of the family isn't really into onions, so I only added one, instead of the four called for in the recipe.  The meat was really tender and the sauce had a good flavor.
Carey - liked it, but thought that it smelled better than it actually tasted.  Carey is not a big fan of onions, but actually ate some and thought they were okay (since they basically just tasted like the sauce after cooking all day).
Annika - didn't really like any of it (but did try it).
Emmett - liked the meat and the sauce, but not really the onions.  He had seconds of meat.

Overall verdict: I would make this again, but it probably won't become part of our regular rotation.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


We won't put our tree up for 2 more weeks (I wait until after Emmett's birthday on Dec 2), but I bought a new ornament today to add to my collection. I've been collecting snowflake ornaments for 10 years.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The end of an era

Today is a milestone day for Emmett - we converted his crib into a "big boy" bed.

I know, I know, at nearly 3 he is pretty old to still be sleeping in a crib, but after Annika stopped napping when we moved her from a crib to a bed (right around the time Emmett was born - worst timing ever), I told myself that as long as Emmett was still napping, and still safe and happy in his crib, I wasn't going to change anything.  Well, the time has finally come.  He never tried to get out (other than one or two half-hearted attempts that didn't amount to anything), and up until recently was very happy in his crib.  However, the past few weeks his naps have been dwindling (he still naps almost 2 hours, but it only happens about 3 or 4 times a week, not every day), and he started talking about being too big for his crib, and needing a big boy bed.  So we decided the time had come, and Emmett and I changed the crib into a day bed this morning.

Ready to get to work - luckily we didn't need his saw. ;)

Very excited about his "new bed", he needed to test it out right away with a book.

I put him down for a nap this afternoon, but wasn't really expecting him to sleep (and he didn't).  However, he did stay in his room for the whole time, which is great.  And I figured it was probably okay that he didn't nap, so hopefully he would be so tired at bed time to go to bed without any fuss.  And so far, so good.  We put him to bed about 20 minutes ago, and so far it's all quiet upstairs.  Hopefully it's an easy transition for us all (and hopefully he's not quite ready to give up all his naps yet - mama's not ready for that!).

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The knitting bug

As you may recall, I taught myself how to knit earlier this year.  After playing around with a few small projects (washcloths and "rugs" for Annika's doll house), I decided I wanted a challenge, and decided to knit a sweater for my then niece-or-nephew-to-be.  We didn't know boy or girl, so I had to make something "gender neutral" and I decided I didn't want to make anything yellow or green ("traditional" gender neutral colors).  So I decided to go with black and grey.  I figured it would be manly enough for a boy, and easily "dolled up" with pink leggings or something for a girl.  I finished the sweater a while ago, but I only recently gave it to my niece at her baby shower, so now I can finally share a picture of it.  I'm pretty proud of it, although I did have a dream the other night that the whole thing fell apart the first time she wore it! :P  I guess we'll have to wait a while to see if that comes true - it was supposed to be 6-12 month size, but my gauge was a bit off, and I think it's more like 18-24 month size.  Oh well, it will fit eventually!

After I finished the sweater I took a long break from knitting, but I've recently gotten back into it.  I made myself this chunky infinity scarf...

...this ruffle scarf for Annika (ok, I'll admit - this isn't knit.  I tried following the knitting instructions and got frustrated, so I found an easy fake-crochet way of doing it instead)...

...and can you guess which little orange-loving boy this scarf will be for??  The colors and stripes are inspired by Emmett's favorite sweater, which he'll soon be too big for.  Hopefully he doesn't grow out of the scarf as fast.  He's very excited that I'm making something for him, but I think he thinks it should be done as quickly as Annika's scarf (which took me maybe an hour or two), so I've got to get knitting!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Home movies

Popped some popcorn and watched home movies with the kids this evening. Emmett's favorite is the one of our old house being torn down.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Tis the season

One of my favorite Christmas traditions is the chocolate Advent calendars. Last year I had a hard time finding "plain" calendars (that is, not Angry Birds, not Disney Princesses, not Lego, etc), so when I spotted these today I threw them in the cart right away, even though it feels a bit early (for me) to be thinking about Christmas.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Pretty things

Annika and I hosted a jewellery party this afternoon, and there were plenty of pretty things to look at!  Annika bought a new necklace with her own money, and I ordered a new family tree pendant with my hostess credit (I'll post a pic when I receive it). I was very proud of myself for just sticking to what I had planned to get, but I saw lots of things I could put on my Christmas list!  Annika had a lot of fun too - when everyone left she asked when we could have another jewellery party!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Winnipeg Jets wooden peg doll

Last Christmas I wanted to paint a set of wooden dolls for Emmett, but I only got 3 of the 5 done in time for Christmas.  The other 2 have been sitting on the shelf for the past almost year (!!).  I decided it was time to get them done.  Here's the first one - a Winnipeg Jets player.  The other one is still in progress - Emmett requested an "Emmett" doll. :)  I'll post pictures of all 5 once the last one is done.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

One more pumpkin

The cheese ball I made for our small group potluck supper this evening. Don't worry, it wasn't pumpkin flavoured.

Friday, November 1, 2013