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!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Hicks Family in Germany Part 4: Back in Dusseldorf

I'd like to start by congratulating myself for completing these vacation posts.
I know it took a while so thanks for sticking with me to the end.

We spent the rest of our trip seeing the sights of Dusseldorf but were first in desperate need of a park visit.
 Our hosts have a great park on their block and each time we would head to the train or grocery store we would pass this park without stopping.
Cruel, I know.
 Each time we would promise a play in the near future which is not much consolation for toddlers with only a sense of present time.
 It was, however, definitely worth the wait.
The park is called Zoo Park and is so named because it was a zoo before the war.
After it was bombed it became apparent that a zoo in the middle of the city wasn't the best idea and the space was turned to a park.
There were still remnants of the monkey cage which was amazing and eerie to see.
 Next we headed to a different kind of playground, the Schumacher Brewery.
Alt beer is a Dusseldorf specialty and exclusively brewed there.
And it is delicious.
The Germans obviously know their beer so this didn't come as much of a surprise.
Jeff was especially thrilled at how the beer is served in small {frequent} glasses to keep the beer cold.  
Next was a walk through the swanky part of town...
 ...past many symbols of Dusseldorf...
 ...and beauty like this...
...into Altstadt {Old Town}...
 ...where we drank more Altbier...
 ...and the local liquor, Killepitsch.
 This was actually a lot of fun.
You order at what is literally a pane of window that opens onto the street.
The kids even had a taste...

...of juice shots of course.
We ended our outing with a walk along the River Rhine capped off with a trip up in the Rhine-Tower.
Back at the apartment Jon treated us to a great Abendbrot.
Germans tend to eat a hot meal at lunch and a cold sandwich type meal for dinner.
Of course the quality of their meat, cheese and bread is amazing which I fear could be expensive to recreate here.
 On day two we chose to see Benrath Palace.
This little chicken was, naturally, more than pleased with the pink Palace.
 The palace itself is fantastic but the best part actually ended up being the grounds.
They were beautiful and it gave the kids a chance to let off some steam.
 Jeff accidentally took this overexposed shot and I loved it.
 I just couldn't get enough of these two, but I already went there a few weeks ago.
 Charmian commented how she loved all the shoes at the front door.
I agree, there's something so satisfying about a full house.
There were seven of us in a 2 bedroom apartment with one bathroom.
Though it might sound like a nightmare to some it was amazing and we would go back in a heartbeat.
Thanks Charmian, Jon and Alessandra for giving us such an amazing time.

Friday, March 7, 2014

A Surprisingly Eventful Birthday

We hadn't planned much for Cedric's actual birthday.
Some cupcakes and maybe swimming.
Then Jeff agreed to do a gig for Shaun Bosch at Cafe Haven so new plans were born.
We still did some {pre-dinner} cupcakes.
I mean, what's better than dessert before supper for your birthday? 
The music was great as always.
Cedric was pretty psyched to see Daddy the rockstar in action again.
 He was also stoked that Fiona actually gave him birthday cuddles.
 As did Gram.
My parents just happen to live 5 minutes from this venue so came out for the music and to see the birthday boy.
After Shaun's set, Ken Stead took the stage.
This was a new artist for me and I was so happy to have discovered him.
I loved his songs so much I bought an album before heading home, definitely worth checking out.
 We finished the night with some Famoso and some laughs.
 I just love my little family of jokers.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

We're Counting in Years Now Folks

I'm pausing from my shamefully un-prompt vacation posts to focus on the sweetest little guy I know.
Don't get me wrong now, he's a handful but I really wouldn't change a thing about him.
Today he's 2!
Officially a toddler everyone, did you hear that?
A toddler!
 He's probably actually been one for while but I'm in denial.
That's the way with your second right? 
You swear that they're still your baby for as long as possible.
I mean, look at this angel.
Those cheeks and lips just scream baby.
{Every once in a while I become aware of the fact that this blog will definitely embarrass my kids some day.  Now is one of those times.}
 Ced is still a man of few words but is consistently picking more up.
His favourite this week are "tick" {stick}, "puck" {umm, he says that one perfectly}, and "cooooore" {he scooooores}.
I'm pretty sure I'm watching my hopes of not being a hockey Mom go down the drain as we speak.
 He loves anything motorized and any type of ball or thing to whack said ball with.
He loves his sister and will regularly try to cuddle with her whether she likes it or not.
{She more often does not.}
I want to give this kid the world and he totally deserves it.
He, however, got this shiner for his birthday after a lost battle with the stairs.
I think that's still one of the cutest mugs you ever did see.
And as anyone who knows how much of a daredevil our birthday boy is would say.
Wasn't the first, won't be the last.

Happy 2nd Birthday handsome.


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