Thursday, April 17, 2014

Someone's Four and a Tradition is Born

I've had a busy day preparing for tonight's festivities so haven't had a chance to do my usual nostalgic birthday post.
It's probably for the best since four years sounds way too old and I'd rather not dwell on the fact that Fiona is just that.
I'll share more about her party when I'm not the victim of a sugar crash combined with the swimming sleepies.
Today I wanted to quickly share what I hope becomes a new ritual for us.
Jeff was at the car show all last weekend so came home Sunday night craving some quality family time.
The evening just screamed "Movie Night" and that's exactly what we did.
This was no ordinary movie night though.
Living room tent
 We rearranged the living room and brought down a bunch of flat sheets to turn it into a tent.
 Daddy filled our 3-little-bear sized bowls with popcorn.
Living room tent
 The kids were in fort heaven.
We decided to start introducing the kids to family movies from our childhood.
There's something so right {and sometimes so wrong, I'll admit} about 80's movies.
First up was this classic.
Afterwards I told Fiona that when E.T. was made I was her age.
 {I was actually Cedric's age I realize now.}
She stared at me blankly for a few seconds then between bursts of laughter said "no way Mommy" and gave me a look that had "silly Mama" written all over it.
Thanks kid, you're sure making it tough to convince myself I'm still young.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Track and Shield is Back for Another Season

My involvement with the shop is somewhat limited.
I do our bookkeeping from my home office and rarely go to the shop with the kids.
It's still a novelty for them to go in but I know that would quickly change if they had to hang out there more often.
It's not exactly a children's paradise with one toy and a single baby book.
Cedric much prefers to terrorize the filing cabinets, debit machine and phone.
In fact, he remains the only one who can change the language and turn the answering machine off.
Needless to say, I don't have a lot of contact with our employees even when I do manage to pop in.

It is so important to me, therefore, to have opportunities to feel like a part of the team.
Track and Shield was just that for me.
Last year we may have overdone it.
We registered the team for 6 races and also did Melissa's Road Race in Banff in the fall.
I loved each and every one but by the end of the summer our team was pretty sparse.
The owners may do as many this year with more of a focus on just a few for the staff who are willing to play along.

We have chosen our first two races for 2014.
We will skip April and start with The Mother's Day Walk/Run in May.
Mother's Day Run 2013
This is a really chill and fun event.
Last year we topped it off with a picnic to make it my best Mother's Day yet.
{No pressure for this Mother's Day of course.}
If you'd like to join our team drop me a line and I'll give you the sign up info.

We have also registered for Color Me Rad.
We were slated to do the Calgary race last year before the flooding forced them to cancel.
I have heard nothing but great things about this run so am excited to participate this year.
I mean, how insane does this look?
Luckily Chloe was on the ball and alerted us all that the race was open since it's already sold out.
There is still a waiting list if you missed it and are interested.

I have started outdoor running of course but haven't taken it too seriously yet.
I love getting into race season since I'm much more motivated to get on the trails.
Even the snow today {sorry about that} can't dampen my spirits.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

This is a Scattered One

The end is near.
Our backyard is a lake as it always is at this time of year.
{And you think you have grading problems.}
But, honestly, I don't mind.
It means that all that snow and ice is slowly melting away.
I love this shot of Cedric because his getup reminds me so much of camping with my Dad when we were kids.

We have been making believe that it's spring for weeks now.
In the middle of March I swapped all of our winter boots and coats for rain boots and windbreakers.
I was rewarded for being so prompt with a massive dump of snow and -20s.
That'll learn me.
I was going through pics and came across these from around the time I was flaunting our rain boots in Mother nature's face.
I have now repeated this cavalier act so if we get a couple of feet tomorrow you can blame me.
 I also wanted to share our first macaroni art experience.
{I warned you, scattered.}
The kids loved it, especially since I dyed some of the noodles with food colouring {just a few drops in about a half cup of water, soak then let dry}.
 Of course this happened and believe me this was not the only ingestion incident.
 When I first set them up Fiona was meticulous, placing each perfectly.
I left the room for minutes and returned to a bottle of glue and the rest of the macaroni dumped on the page.
That sucker is so heavy I can't even hang it with my sticky tack.
Fiona has gone through phases of reserved and unleashed lately.
Sometimes it seems as though she wakes up a different girl than the day before.
She is more often than not delightful but we have been suspending privileges like nobody's business lately.
The difference as far as I can tell is that she's much more opinionated, is learning the art of negotiation and, unfortunately, manipulation.
She was in especially fine form yesterday and there's some residual tension today.
When we were out shopping today she suddenly asked me:
"Mom, why didn't I get a nice Mommy?"
Let the mind games begin.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Cloffice Part 1: DIY Moroccan Stencil

I have been meaning to share my "cloffice" for a while now.
I actually credit this little nook with my starting a blog.
Years ago I googled turning+a+small+space+into+an+office+nook and came across this new fangled site called Pinterest.  
Yep, that's how old this project is.
I wasn't sure what this Pinterest was but still put my application in to be accepted to this super exclusive site.
During those initial hours upon hours upon hours of perusing I kept stumbling on lifestyle bloggers and started following a few.
I was immediately hooked and was envious of how these women were chronicling theirs and their families lives so decided to do the same for us.
You Auto Know Blog was born.

Back to the cloffice.
This space was a little doorless closet right in the middle of the house nowhere near any of the entrances.
Practical right? 
It was screaming for a repurpose.
It's now starting to look a little worse for wear but has held it's function really well.
The best parts of getting the computer to the main floor are that a) we now have access to our music in our main living space and b) we all end up spending our time together on the main floor even if we're each doing our own thing.
Moroccan Stencil in Cloffice
The project basically consisted of 1) tearing out the closet rod and shelf 2) patching and painting  3) installing shelves and 4) moving in.

I just wanted to share the painting part today.
I was way too cheap to pay for a stencil so decided to make my own.
I made it fairly large because I knew this space would get cluttered enough without a busy pattern.
There are a bunch of free printables out there but I wanted it bigger than I have the capability to print.
After much trial and error this was by far the easiest {for me} and most precise without spending a lot of time.

Start by taping 2 8x10 sheets of paper together.
Using a kids plate {a side plate could work as long as it's not more that 6" wide} trace two circles touching one end of the paper and each other.
Make two folds, one on the other end of the circles and one on the top of them.
I like folding before cutting to get that perfectly straight line at right angles to the page.
Next cut both sides off so you're left with just the two circles in a rectangle.
Make sure to cut the side piece off first and keep the top strip {which should be the length of your main sheet} you will need this later.
Fold the above piece so each circle is folded exactly in half. {I used a dark pen so I could see that the circle halves matching up.}
Cut out the spaces between the circles. {Nicely, you will need these.}
Tape the two straight edges left of your rectangle together.
Fold then cut that top strip that you saved in half and arrange it above and below the main sheet then arrange the circle cut out pieces above and below that.
Tape it all together and voila.
Moroccan Stencil
With the stencil I simply started in the bottom, placed and traced on my wall {that I had already painted in my base colour} with pencil.
Once the pattern was traced over the whole  wall I used a small paintbrush {doesn't have to be fancy, I just used one of my kid's} to retrace in white.
Simple and easy but it ended up being the exact look I wanted.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Unintentional Green Project

I haven't posted about a green project in a while because, well, I haven't done a green project in a while.
My projects have tended towards the de-cluttering type which are not really as much fun to share.
But the other day, in a truly remarkable display of domestic skill, I put a beautiful merino wool sweater in the wash and...wait for it.
The dryer.
I would like to say this was an isolated incident but I did the exact same thing with a beautiful sweater dress about a year ago.
Bottom line: I should not own nice clothes.
I was so disappointed but immediately thought that both items of clothing looked like they would fit Fiona perfectly.
And sure enough...
She rocked both of them.
I didn't even have to ask her to pose, she was all over being my model.
Obviously I am not suggesting this as a fabulous project that you should do with your most precious wool items.
It is but a small consolation for my devastating mistake.
And of course another excuse to post pics of this sweet girl.

Friday, March 21, 2014

World Down Syndrome Day 2014

For those of you who don't know, it's World Down Syndrome Day.
I do not have a family member with Down Syndrome.
My beautiful sister has, however, faced many of the same challenges that those with Down Syndrome do.
I love the video that my friend Carly posted on Facebook today.
It rings true for me as I have watched my sister do what many thought she never would.
She has held the same job for over 10 years and gets to it on her own.
She cooks for herself and cleans the condo that she pays a mortgage on.
She does it all without complaining and takes a huge amount of pride in doing it well.
The part of this video that really got me choked up is the glimpse of the Moms.
They're not the stars of the show. 
They wouldn't want to be.
They just want to see their child succeed.
You know each and every one of them has cried, worried and feared just as that first Mom did.
Then they promptly moved forward, worked hard and sometimes fought against discrimination and assumptions.
I watched my parents do exactly that for my sister.
It goes without saying that Pamela is a huge inspiration for me and I know I need to tell her that more frequently.
But I don't know that I've ever told my parents how inspiring I think they are for giving her the happiness she has.
"Everyone has the right to be happy."

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Cedric's Airplane Party

The celebration is officially over.
Cedric has turned two and we have thoroughly recognized that fact.
The final piece of that puzzle being, of course, the party.
Airplane cake
Between Germany and colorguard and well, life I dropped the planning ball and sent these email invites out during the week prior.
Luckily most of our friends made it and the kids had a blast.
My no gift request was initially because I didn't want anyone rushing around finding a last minute gift.
But if I'm being honest it was so lovely to only have a few gifts trickle in over the last couple of weeks.
After a birthday I would usually have an overwhelming need to purge and there is none of that this year.
Now don't go feeling sorry for Cedric, he still received more that enough for his birthday I assure you.
I like to choose a theme to at least guide the cake I will be making.
Cedric is totally obsessed with planes at the moment so it wasn't a hard choice.Cloud and airplane decoration
I searched for airplane cake templates and came across this Mom's brilliant design
I just added a little to the cut detail here and pieced it together a little differently so even though it's not my original idea I still wanted to share.
I loved that only one cake batch was required, keeping it simple.
I used this chocolate cake recipe again because I always love the way it turns out.
After you bake your 2 9" round cakes you simply cut both in half.
That's the only cut for cake #1.
Then cut one of cake #2's halves in half again and cut a third off the end of the other half. 
 Secure the 2 halves of cake #1 together with icing.
 The last cut is to split each of the sections of cake #2 except the end quarter {which is extra}.
 The largest pieces become the wings, the next become the tail and the smallest become the horizontal stabilizers. 
{I would have called these the back wings because I know zilch about airplane anatomy but I looked it up for you, you're welcome.}
Airplane cake
Slather icing {I used this buttercream recipe again} over the whole cake.
Airplane cake
 Then add whatever details you desire with a piping bag.
Airplane cake
I had one decoration which involved a bag of white balloons, some twine to tie them all together and bringing these airplanes down from Ced's room.
Last minute party=one decoration.
Cloud and airplane decoration
The best parts of any party of course are the guests.
Cedric, being the second child and so young, doesn't really have his own group of friends.
Fiona's neighbourhood friends, however, are so much fun and great buddies to Ced so they helped us celebrate.
 We even had my Aunt join us from Ontario via Facetime.
Birthday smooches from Diana for this guy, he was in heaven.
  Cedric is so loved, we are so lucky to have such amazing people in our lives.
I think it will be upsetting for me when my kids' birthday parties are only for their friends and not my own as well.
Thanks to everyone who helped us celebrate the big 2!

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