30 June 2011

Birthday Adventuring

Okay, when I said we were having a birthday week, I actually meant a birthday month.  This past week has we have moved away from Victoria, vacationed in Sandpoint, Idaho, and tried to put our lives back together in Calgary again.  So, this next week will be a catch up week to get us to all the exciting things we're doing all summer.  I've got some reviews, a giveaway, and some potty training adventures ahead!

So, without further ado, let's talk about Eli and his incredible, adventuresome, triple wicked awesome birthday adventures!!!

On the day Eli turned four we woke up early for some "Birthday Mush." This is a tradition I had forgotten about until my sister-in-law mentioned that this year was the first time she didn't do "Birthday Mush."  As a kid we always ate oatmeal for breakfast on our birthdays. If we ate our entire bowl we would find that the birthday fairy left some money for us at the bottom. If we didn't eat our entire bowl, all the money would disappear!  So, on the morning of Eli's birthday we started the tradition in our own family, and sat down to some "Birthday Mush."  And let me tell you, the birthday fairy was generous this year and Eli (and even Silas) really cashed in. 
 Then Eli opened his birthday present, which he still insists on wearing as much as possible.
 Jared went out to the car for a few minutes, and when he got back he found a pirate map on our door step!  Naturally we frantically got dressed and headed out to see if there was pirate treasure where X marks the spot. 

 We'd never been to the beach that early, or at low tide, and it was a whole new adventure!  The pirates knew what they were doing when they hid their treasure. 
 And there's the X!
 Just where the map said it would be.
 Real pirates don't need shovels, let's find that treasure!!!
 There it is.  Golden (which happens to be Eli's favourite colour right now... that's right, golden) chocolates!!!  This pirate even conceded to sharing a bit of his treasure, for fear that it might disappear, just like the money in his mush.
With our booty in hand we loaded in our car and drove to what we called, "The Sea Star Beach."  At low tide you can go and see whole groups of sea stars stuck to the underside of rocks.  Eli LOVES sea stars, so it seemed a natural thing to do on his birthday!
 There they are. 
 Okay, so there were also hundreds of those nasty snot like things. Guess what they are?  Anemones!  At high water, when they are all opened up they are really quite beautiful.  But at low tide they kind of deflate and really grossed us out.  If you touched them though they would suck up all tight and stick to you, so at least they offered some entertainment!

Sadly Jared had to go to school during Eli's birthday celebrations, so we went home for a nap and waited for him to finish. 

When he was home we headed back to  Fisherman's Wharf to see if we could see some real pirates.  The pirates were apparently off pillaging some village, because they were nowhere to be seen, but we did see our seal friends again!

 Eli spent some of his birthday mush money buying some fish to feed the hungry seals. 

 Our meal was worthy of any pirate.  We ate real fish and chips right in the harbor. 
We checked out dead fish under the docks.
Then we imagined what it would have been like had the pirates been around to take us on a pirate adventure.  It would have been pretty awesome, we imagine!

When it was all over we headed home to bed, to dream of pirates, and seals, and all other exciting things. 

It was wonderful.  I love my Eli so much and am grateful for the last four years and all he has taught me.  Here's to many more wonderful birthdays and adventures with my boys.

22 June 2011

At the Aquarium with Friends!

That's right, we have friends.  We've been here two months, and we finally found friends. Right before we go home.  Great.  Anyway, we went to church when I got back and ran into some old Calgary hommies, Jenny and Jeremy Coad and their three sweet boys.  Jenny has season passes to the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre, a great little aquarium right off the ocean, full of all the creatures right from the ocean around us.  It was pretty cool.  There was a great touch pool that the kids could dip right into.  Silas did puke all over himself and me in the middle of our adventure, and the Coad boys weren't nearly as interested as Eli in all the things they'd grown up with around them all the time, so we had to go out for a lunch break, but all in all it was a great day.  I'd definitely take the boys back. 

Kay, Eli totally had a crush on this girl.  Her name was Sara, and she spent a whole hour with Eli answering his every question.  I loved her too. He'd ask, "What's that?" And she'd be straight up and give him the full name of whatever creature he was pointing at. Then he'd as "What's it do?" and she'd go into a full explanation of the life and times of said creature.  He knows more about jelly fish and sea urchins than any other four year old I know. I think I'll write a letter to suggest Sara gets a raise. 

This is a trick picture, for there are actually four kids in it.  Behind each boy you see is his little brother.  Can you see them?

We finished off a great day with dinner at the Coad's where they made a great "fruit cake" for Eli's birthday (it was the day before.)  We went home and he declared that he "really liked having cousins here in Victoria, too."

21 June 2011

Buy My 'Papes, Sir - Newsboy Hat

I love to knit and crochet.  Okay, maybe my love borders on obsession, which borders on total neglect of my children and husband for hours at a time while I sit, yarn in hand... but whatevs.

On my favourite pattern site, Ravelry, there are over 220 000 patterns available.  Of those 220 000 there are 73 000 patterns that specify that they are for the female gender, be it baby girls, child aged girls or grown women.  Never mind the thousands of clothing items for dolls.  There are only 8 000 that specify that they are for boys.  Okay, forget the math. The point is there are an infinite amount of patterns out there for girls, and a limited amount for boys.  And I get it.  Sweaters, dresses, darling hats with larger-than-your-baby's-head flowers on them tend to be way more exciting than plain toques (Canadian for beanies.)  But, I like to dress up my boys, and I like to make things for them. So, in my attempt to do just that, Silas got a new hat!

No, it isn't meant to be on sideways, but when a 20 month old dresses himself...


Call me lazy, but the quickest way to knit and crochet is to use thick yarn and big stitches.  So these hats are designed to be quick and easy.  Made with bulky yarn (or two strands of worsted weight yarn, even better because you can bust up your stash like mad making these) they only take an hour to make.  That's my idea of a great project.   So, whip out your crochet hooks and crochet up one of these for your own little one, or for the next baby shower you go to.  Put that bag of yarn from your grandma to work!

Here's the pattern for the Buy My 'Papes, Sir Newsboy Hat. (Just click on the link, and it will take you there.)  If you do make one, I'd love to see pictures, or upload them to Ravelry.  Let me know if you have any problem getting the PDF and I will make sure to get it to you.


20 June 2011

Tutorial: A Birthday Shirt

Did you notice the shirt Eli was wearing on his birthday?  Well, let me refresh your memory:
I didn't think he would like it so much, but he wouldn't even put his pirate shirt on because he "loves the shirt that says I'm four."  He wanted to wear it the next day too, but apparently when I made it I forgot that no woman in her right mind would make her four-year-old a white shirt for his birthday, however cool it is?  I should have picked the blue shirt.

The shirt was so easy to make. The t-shirt cost me only $6 at H&M, the fabrics for the applique were just scraps from the Black Apple Dolls I made last year. I am going to make one for Silas's second birthday - I just have to find a plain blue shirt in his size.

Okay, let's get started:

Stuff you need:
- plain t-shirt (beware of white!)
- 2 contrasting fabric scraps
- a lightweight, double sided, fusible interfacing - I use Heat'n Bond Lite
- sewing maching

Take your shirt, fabric and interfacing. You will use a lot less fabric if you cut out your fabric shape and the interfacing first, and then very carefully iron the interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric.  Otherwise you can iron a large square of fabric to the interfacing and then cut the shape out of both.  Because I was using scraps I did it the first way and just trimmed the edges afterward.  So, once you decide which way you want to do it, pick a shape, any shape, and using one fabric, cut that shape out.  My circle was precisely the size of that nice yellow record sitting beside the t-shirt.  You could cut out a star, a square, even a trapezium if it suits your fancy.  Any shape will do.  Out of the second fabric cut a number.  I just drew mine freehand, but you could blow up a number in Word and use it as a stencil.

Peel the paper backing off the interfacing and iron the shape to the centre of your t-shirt.  


Using a matching thread and either a applique stitch or a zig-zag stitch, sew along the entire edge of your shape.
Iron your number anywhere onto your t-shirt and sew it onto the t-shirt too.

 And that's it.  You're done.  Your kid will never forget how old they are again (and neither will you)!  Enjoy.

19 June 2011

best. dad. ever.

Too bad for the rest of you, but my boys have got him, and since there can be only one, all your children are hooped.  That's right. We've got the very. best. dad. ever.

Don't ask me where I got this idea. It was on a blog, somewhere. I'd love to remember, so if you know, tell me.  But, in any case, the t-shirt we made Jared for Father's Day really sums it up.  I'm a lucky wife, and my boys are even luckier. 

Love you Jared!


17 June 2011

The Greatest Raw Chocolate Dessert EVER!

If I haven't convinced you to try a raw food recipe yet, please let this be the first. You won't be disappointed, I promise!  I have being trying to write this post for months now, but the problem is, every time I make this recipe it gets eaten long before I can take any pictures.  But, finally I remembered to have my camera on hand while I made it.  Trust me, the pictures don't even come close to doing this justice.  My sister, Alice, came up with this recipe, and she will forever go down in history as the creator of this fantastic dessert. We love you Alice!

This recipe is fabulous for so many reasons.  First of all, it is good for you. No, it's not just not bad for you, but it is good for you.  Do you know how healthy coconut and raw cacao is?  Don't trust me, do some research and you will be eating this all day, every day.  Also, the ingredient list is simple and can be made with just a bowl and a spoon. Many people may not have almond butter or coconut oil on hand, but both are easy to get a hold of.  I use cacao powder, because it's raw, but it can certainly be switched for cocoa, and vanilla extract can be used instead of powder.  Alice likes it best with maple syrup, but agave nectar would be just fine. You get the point.  As I tell Jared often, raw food is an art, not a science.

Make it, and enjoy!

Raw Chocolate Fudge

1 cup - raw almond butter
1/2 cup - coconut oil (warmed to liquid state)
2 cups - shredded coconut
1/2 cup - agave nectar or maple syrup 
1/3 cup - cacao powder
1 tsp - vanilla powder
1/2 tsp - salt
1/2 cup - ground almonds/almond flour (optional)

 Mix together all ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Place the mixture into a 9x9 or similar sized pan. Place in the freezer for at least two hours before serving.  Keep in freezer, if you don't eat it all at once!

16 June 2011

Tide Pool Exploring

Why it hasn't been blazing hot at all here in Victoria, I don't know. Instead, we never leave the house without sweaters, and the place where we go most often and want it to be warm the most, the beach, is usually the chilliest, due to that pesky wind.  We did manage to find one empty beach though, with beautiful, sandy, warm tide pools, full of all sorts of "sand creatures," as Eli calls them.  We didn't bring our swim suits, so the boys stripped down and relished in the warmth. 

And, because we all know how much I love breastfeeding pictures in beautiful places:

15 June 2011

He's FOUR!!!

How can one not be madly in love with this kid?  I honestly don't know.  It's been four years since I was transformed from who I was into who I am, and I wouldn't go back for anything.  Eli makes me smile every single day.  He has taught me more about myself, my relationships, my God, than any classroom could ever teach.  He has completed rocked my world!  Today will be a day of crazy pirate adventures, treasure hunts, and eating what ever he wants, but for now I just want to declare to the world that I. LOVE. THIS. KID!
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